A First Time Guide to a Weekend in San Luis Obispo

By Nora Estrada

This is a guest post by our friend from the central coast blog CEN CAL GAL

Novo Restaurant. Credit: Novo Restaurant

Heading to San Luis Obispo county for the first time? There’s so much to do and see. Luckily, the Central Coast has something for everyone. Maybe that’s why Oprah said it’s the happiest town in America. Or maybe it’s just all the good wine!

Whether it’s wine tasting over 200+ wineries, beach combing, hiking, biking, shopping and more, there are plenty of activities that are fit for your whole family. SLO locals take pride in a healthy and active community, the farm-to-table movement, and savoring all the local artisan treats. So bring the family, bring the pups and get ready to enjoy the “SLO life”.

If you’re in town for just a weekend, here’s an itinerary to dip your toes into life on the Central Coast.

The Mission. Credit: Wikipedia

  • Breakfast/Brunch
    • Sidecar (1127 Broad St.) – Order the Bloody Mary, and thank us later.
  • Morning activity options:
    • Browse downtown shops (around Higuera St. @ Chorro St.). Our favorites, Ambiance, Coverings and Eco Bambino (for the kiddos).
    • Take a stroll through the Mission and Plaza, and a walk down by the creek.
  • Lunch
    • Luna Red (1023 Chorro St.) – This is a great tapas spot in the heart of downtown SLO. The outdoor patio is a great way to soak in the Central Coast sun.

Bishop’s Peak. Credit: Leif Arne Storset

  • Afternoon activity options:
    • Up for a hike? Bishop’s Peak is a must-do. It’s steep at first, but keep with it and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of San Luis Obispo.
    • Keeping it low key? Well, wine tasting of course! Head to Edna Valley. Our favorites: Baileyana Winery (break out the bocce ball!), Chamisal, Wolff & Saucelito Canyon. For these tasting rooms, head south on Broad St. and a left on Biddle Ranch Rd. Follow the cute white winery signs from there.
  • Dinner
    • Novo Restaurant (726 Higuera St.) – Request a table in the back patio by the creek. It’s a beautiful ambiance under the string lights and a great example of a fresh and happy Central Coast experience.

Apple Farm. Credit: Vagabond3


  • Breakfast/Brunch
    • Apple Farm (2015 Monterey St.)
  • Morning activity options
    • Head out to Morro Bay to see “the rock”.
    • Enjoy a walk on the beach or through Montana de Oro state park in Los Osos.
  • Lunch
    • Eureka Burger (1141 Chorro St.)– We highly recommend the fig burger!
  • Afternoon activity options:
    • Head southwest towards Avila Beach and go wine tasting at Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards (1947 See Canyon Rd.).
    • Next stop is Avila Valley Barn (560 Avila Beach Dr) for some locally made goodies. You won’t be disappointed with this truly unique spot.
    • Finally, grab a soak in a mineral hot spring at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort (1215 Avila Beach Dr.) near Avila Valley Barn before getting ready for dinner.
  • Dinner
    • Foremost Wine Company (570 Higuera St.)

Madonna Inn. Credit: Entertainment Designer

But where should you stay? Here are our go-to accommodations:

  1. Madonna Inn (100 Madonna Rd.) – You don’t have to love pink to stay here. This classic establishment is a site to see. Our favorite is the Romance Room.
  2. Apple Farm (2015 Monterey St.) – It doesn’t get much cozier than this! And be sure not to miss out on their famous pies.
  3. Granada Hotel & Bistro (1126 Morro St.) – A perfect spot if you want me to right smack in the middle of downtown SLO.

This is just the surface. There’s still much to explore like Cambria, Paso Robles, Cayucos, Harmony, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and more. So come, get your feet wet with a weekend in San Luis Obispo, and come back to see us for more. You can rest assured you’ll be fed with farm fresh food, and your wine palette will be delighted.


CEN CAL GAL is a lifestyle blog for California’s Central Coast. Its two editors cover everything from fashion and home décor to events and local culture. There’s Nor Cal, and there’s So Cal, but Cen Cal is a unique identity all its own. Follow CEN CAL GAL as they explore the Central Coast and highlight the best ways to enjoy the area. http://www.cencalgal.com/