15 Best Things to Do in San Luis Obispo

15 Best Things to Do in San Luis Obispo

Set in the backdrop of the most beautiful Santa Lucia Mountains- the city of San Luis Obispo is a mesmerizing visual treat.

Did you know that it is even nicknamed the happiest city in the States? Yes, if you saw the scenes of San Luis Obispo- you’d be the happiest person on earth too.

Filled with some of the pristine CA beaches with crystal clear waters, lush green forests, and gorgeous mountains- San Luis Obispo is a place filled with delights.

These are the top 15 things to do in San Luis Obispo-

Pray at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
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When in San Luis Obispo, you have a lot of options to choose from.

After all, it is a Californian city with plenty of scenes to devour on. But, the thing that we have chosen for you to check out on the first day of your trip is something more on the serene side. Welcome to San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

The San Luis Obispo de Tolosa opened its doors to the public back in 1772. Father Serra was the founder of this church, and he found this location to be the best for the weather was good along with the tribal people.

When you look inside the mission- you can see the intricately detailed floral patterns that look beautiful and the outside is elegant too!

Have a beach day at Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach
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After all, we are in Southern California- the best thing we can do is to check out some of the most picturesque beaches we can get our hands-on.

For this very reason, we will be taking you to the most famous beach town- Pismo Beach.
A haven for pro surfers- Pismo Beach is something that everyone enjoys.

Also, the place is so attractive that you would not want to leave at all!

The sunny climate of the beach is what draws a lot of people to its shores. It is close to the city of San Luis Obispo, but you have to take a short drive of 15 minutes.

There are a lot of people crowding the beach and it is crowded most of the time along with a lively ambiance.

Check out the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum

San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum
SLOGlen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are into railroads and trains- the best way for you to enjoy a morning is to take a quick trip to San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum.

Want to more about the history of Californian railways? Visit the museum to get a better grasp of the history.

The San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum has the main motto of preserving the history of railways. There is everything you need to know about the different line right here.

A building is still being constructed, and when it will be over- you can see a huge space of almost 1200 acres. There are also different railroad models here.

Click some pictures of Avila Beach

Avila Beach
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The perfect beach that leads to the gorgeous San Luis Obispo Bay- Avila Beach is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of San Luis Obispo.

You have already checked out Pismo Beach, and Avila is quite close to Pismo. So, you can check it out right after you are done enjoying yourself at Pismo Beach.

The sea is quite calm here for which people mainly use Avila Beach for kayaking as well as swimming.

Do you want to learn to surf? This is the perfect beach to do so. Also, the beach holds several festivals and concerts all year round!

Shop at the San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market

Carrot at San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market
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San Luis Obispo is the haven for all farmers’ markets. If you notice well enough- you’d see that almost five markets are being held in different places of Morrow Bay, San Luis Obispo, and Arroyo Grande.

And, each one of them is unique in their very own way. And, the best part about shopping in the farmers’ market is that you get to have a taste of the locals. The local families bring all the delicious goodies that have been made in their houses.

There are also a lot of seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you are looking forward to eating some organic produce- then shopping at the farmers’ market is the best thing to do.

The baked goodies are also quite delicious here. There are also fresh meals available.

Appreciate the art at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
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Now is the time to take you to see some of the most gorgeous art of San Luis Obispo in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

It might look like a quaint little museum, but it truly has some of the best items on display. You can see a lot of sculptures and pieces of art hanging around.

There are also a lot of photographs on display by some of the most famous photographers. It is an aesthetic place to check out if you have some free time on your hand.

Enjoy the different shades of greens at Leaning Pine Arboretum

Leaning Pine Arboretum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

We have a bit of a cool thing to show you inside the Cal Poly University campus. Do you like exploring the different shades of greens? Well, allow us to take you on a tour of the very best Leaning Pine Arboretum.

A lot of plant species native to California’s Central Coastal region can be found here in plenty. There is also a collection of palm trees that have been displayed gracefully.

Many international gardens can also be found here that have been flown from various parts of the world. If you are looking for some of the best pictures for your Instagram feed- this is the place to achieve that!

Take a stroll around Downtown

Downtown in San Luis Obispo
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You have already taken a look around the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, so you are in the downtown area. Once you are here- it is not great if you just leave. It is time to look around and explore the downtown area for a bit.

We’d suggest that you start the exploration by making it to Higuera Street. The street has some of the best restaurants and cafes for you to check out if you are hungry. Also, it overlooks San Luis Obispo Creek.

Bubblegum Alley is also quite a unique place that tourists often want to check out. If you are looking for some great Chinese- China Town is here too where you can eat to your heart’s content.

Explore around Avila Village

You had a good time at Avila Beach. Now, if you have some more time, you should get down and do a little exploration around the Avila Village.

There are a lot of shopping spots here along with a few eateries. Tourists love the Avila Village for it is quite an old one!

But, there are certain other things too that the people usually love doing here. The main two of them are hiking and hot springs. Yes, Avila is well renowned for the Avila Hot Springs were a lot of tourists come to relax.

If you are looking for a fun day after spending at the beach, you should head over to the Bob Jones Bike Trail for a short cool hike. The hike is almost 3 miles where you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Visit the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Now, we’d suggest taking a trip to the infamous El Chorro Regional Park. Not only is the location is exquisite, but the things to check out are also amazing. Here is situated the gorgeous San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden.

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is surrounded by Morro Bay along with some of the most beautiful flowers in the area.

In the 5 acres of land that is entirely covered by gorgeous hues of different flowers- San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has some good examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna.

A nursery is also present within the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden where you can take home any of the saplings you like.

Go hiking at Bishop Peak

Bishop Peak
Jeffrey T. Kreulen / Shutterstock.com

Do you want to get into some adventure now? Here, we can suggest to you something that will make your blood rush.

Here in the area of San Luis Obispo- we have the iconic Bishop Peak. It is not only the most famous peak of San Luis Obispo, but it is also the highest in the area.

And, the bonus point? You can go hiking here for there are a lot of trails here. But, sometimes the hikes of the Bishop Peak can be too much for amateurs.

If you are someone who is in good health and has gone hiking much time before- the ultimate hike to the summit is just for you.

Enjoy the aquatic life at Shell Beach

Shell Beach
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CA beaches are the best things about California apart from their vineyards and amazing sunsets. But, it often happens that these beaches are crowded.

We mean- CA is well known for its sunny beach life. And, most people travel across the States to have a taste of this enjoyment.

But, are you looking for a more secluded area with a beach? Hold on- we might have something just for you!

In Shell Beach- you won’t find a lot of crowds, but it is the most serene and beautiful beach you can see in San Luis Obispo. There are also a lot of marine animals here in Shell Beach.

You can see them if you pay attention. Starfishes sticking to the rocks under shallow water, dolphins splashing water with their every jumps, while whales coming to the surface- all these beautiful sights can be enjoyed just in Shell Beach.

Pay a visit to the History Center of San Luis Obispo County

History Center of San Luis Obispo County
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San Luis Obispo has one of the most interesting pasts. But, the thing is we often get lost amid all its nature and beauty spots that we forget to learn about the past.

If you are someone who has a keen interest in learning about the history and the wonderful past of the city of San Luis Obispo- you must pay a visit to the infamous History Center of San Luis Obispo County.

They prioritize the preservation of history in the best way possible! There are a lot of regional artifacts that can be found in the museum. All those things will give you a better idea of how the city used to be back in its old days!

See the sand dunes at Oceano Dunes

Oceano Dunes
Alberto Loyo / Shutterstock.com

There are a lot of amazing and unique things to do in San Luis Obispo. And, dashing against sand dunes is one of those unique traits of San Luis Obispo. Come on, let us introduce you to one of the most exciting adventures on your trip.

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is one of the most adventurous and charming paths in CA. And, the best part about this area?

You can dive straight into the beach area through this. It is comprised of a huge amount of land of almost 1,200 acres where there is nothing but gorgeous coastal terrains.

There are a lot of sandy beaches across the area along with a lot of sand dunes which makes the ride more exciting. Many people also enjoy horseback riding along these tough terrains.

See the diverse Irish Hills Natural Reserve

Irish Hills Natural Reserve in San Luis Obispo
Peter D. Tillman, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the last day of your trip, we have a unique spot for you to check out. So, get ready and follow us on a journey to and across the Irish Hills Natural Reserve.

The Irish Hills Natural Reserve is such a place that is filled with different shades of green. No matter where you look- you will just see the wild grasses. But, it is said that the Irish Hills Natural Reserve has a lot of wildlife hidden within it.

Also, one of the best activities to pursue in this reserve is go hiking.

Most tourists come to the Irish Hills Natural Reserve to try out their hands in hiking. You can even catch some of the gorgeous views of Bishop Peak from here.

There are also a lot of cliffs followed by a gorgeous canyon. So, take your time to explore the place and spend a lovely day!

It has been one of the best trips. And, now we have to bid you farewell for today. Have a safe trip!