Ah, San Luis Obispo. A magical little city in central California with a climate that’s so pleasant it can support a year round night farmers market. (The Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market happens every Thursday in the heart of downtown stretching for six blocks, and it should be on the very top of your to do list when you visit this charming place.) Now is actually the perfect time to visit because the city of San Luis Obispo’s tourism board, Visit SLO, is paying $100 in cash to anyone who books at least a two-night stay at one of their participating hotels before March 31! You can read more about the promotion, called Money For a Rainy Day, and how to claim your cash here!
I highly encourage you to take advantage of this sweet deal and escape the soggy Pacific Northwest for beautiful, sunny San Luis Obispo. We had the loveliest time, here’s your guide on where to eat and what to do here!
Make sure your visit falls with you being here on a Thursday, the farmers market was one of the highlights of our trip. Amazing fresh produce, massive barbecue pits and lots of live music make this more of a street fair than a farmers market.
Don’t Miss: Bubblegum Alley
Bubblegum Alley is your first stop in San Luis Obispo and your number one photo op here as well! Make sure you’ve got some gum with you for this pic (there’s a convenience store around the corner if you forgot pack some).
Stay: The SLO Brew Lofts
These striking, luxury modern apartments are in the middle of downtown, making it the perfect home base for your trip! The Thursday night farmers market above is right outside your front door as are dozens of shops and restaurants. The space itself is stunning, and every loft comes complete with a record player and collection of vinyl to play which we thought was so fun!
Have Tacos and Good Times at the carrisa
This beautifully designed restaurant is a local hot spot serving fresh, California fusion and delicious margaritas. I think we tried every taco on the menu and they’ve got my full support. the carrisa is located directly below the SLO Brew Lofts, which makes your whole experience easy breezy!
Morning coffee + pastries at Scout Coffee
This coffee shop is a beauty where they’re serving craft roasted coffee alongside made from scratch pastries.
Get Your Smoothie on at Nourish
The Blueberry Ginger: Blueberries, Shredded Coconut, Ginger, Lime, Chia Seeds, Banana, Oat Milk
Fresh smoothies and green juices are always my preferred way to start the day. The lovely Nourish cafe has yummy breakfast sammies and toasts and creative smoothies like this one.
Go Record Shopping at Boo Boo Records
Named one of the best record stores in the US by Rolling Stone, this shop in downtown SLO has been in business for over 40 years. It’s a must visit for any music lover.
Taste Whiskey at SLO Stills and Sip Beer Next Door at SLO Brew Rock
Sip local beer in a fun, laid back atmosphere with lots of games and super tasty food (the grilled cheese was masterful) at SLO Brew Rock. Take a break from brews and do a whiskey tasting next door at the SLO Stills. Their team is extremely knowledgeable and you’ll get an in depth explanation of what they do with whiskey.
The Grilled Cheese Sando: Cheddar, Gouda and Gruyere Cheese Grilled in Texas Toast
The Brew Burger: 1/3 lb Angus Beef, New York Cheddar, Onion, Greens and SLO Brew Whiskey BBQ Sauce
Eat Beautiful Toasts and Fresh Smoothies at Seeds
Seeds is an awesome smoothie and toast bar in downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s got a darling back patio to sip smoothies and indulge in their extensive toast menu.
Get a Soak and a Massage and Snap a Photo of the Mural in Front of East Well Being Tea and Spa
Kick back and relax with a soak and massage at East Well Being Tea and Spa. Sip one of their high quality teas after your treatment and don’t miss the funky mural out front – it’s very Instagram worthy.
Thoughtful Cocktails and Mocktails and Locally Sourced Dishes at Sidecar Cocktail Co.
Elote Balls: Lightly Fried Corn, Cilantro, Chipotle, Lime, Parmesan
I knew right away by the vibe, space and menu that we were going to love Sidecar, and we did. Not only do they have a fantastic cocktail menu with unique, thoughtful libations using both seasonal and unfamiliar ingredients, but they also have a spirit-free cocktail menu that’s just as impressive. The food here is also spectacular, everything we had was incredibly fresh and done in a way that celebrated the ingredients.
Miso Honey Cornbread: Fresh Corn, Miso Honey Butter and Chili Salt
The Suckerpunch: Cirtus Cordial + Lemon + Aquafaba + Chamomile Tea
Brussel Sprouts: Balsamic Glaze, Blue Cheese, Roasted Garlic Aioli
You can just leave me here to soak up sunshine and sip mocktails.
Indulge in a Fantastic Peruvian Meal at Mistura
Tomalito Negro: Peruvian Black Squid Ink Hominy Tamales topped with Wild Shrimp in Aji Sauce
We felt at home the moment we walked through the door at Mistura. Chef Nicola was warmly greeting guests, and our server, Juan Carlos was incredibly welcoming and walked us masterfully through each dish. The food was wonderful, Chef himself had just returned from Peru, where his wife is from and where he got all his recipes. My favorire thing I ate was this shrimp tamale, though I also super enjoyed the beef heart.
La Pituca: Fresh Burrata served over Organic Tomatoes, Avocado, Quinoa, Roasted Beets, Kale and Balsamic Dressing
A fresh, beautiful prawn special
Corazón: Beef Heart, Choclo Cusqueno, Rocoto de Carretilla
La Flor: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Blooming Maracuya Mousse, Dark Chocolate Ganache Flower