Top Things to do in San Luis County

San Luis Pier

Friends often ask me, where to go and what to do while visiting different areas on the Central Coast.  I always reply…Look at my website!  Keys 2 the Coast is on the go, exploring great places to wine, dine and explore.  We have a blog that is a treasure trove of great information on hot spots in every city in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey County.

Most recently we decided to feature the best of San Luis Obispo County (SLO) for all ages. Situated between Pismo Beach and Morro Bay, SLO, it the unofficial center of the Central Coast and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Experience hiking, wineries, breweries, shopping, and a charming downtown district. A pleasant mix of beach culture, some of the country’s best farmland, and metropolitan sensibilities. San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities, yet there’s always something new and exciting going on. Whether you’re in town for a day or several weeks, there is an adventure waiting for you next time you’re here. Offering laid back vibes, surfing, spectacular natural beauty, and local artistry. There are tons of amazing things to do in San Luis Obispo.

Get sticky in Bubblegum Alley.

Bubblegum Alley

Bubblegum Alley is a 15-foot high and 70-foot long alley lined with an estimated two million pieces of chewed gum. Located in San Luis Obispo’s charming downtown district, the gum wall is an ever-changing organism, with hundreds of pieces added daily. Though a wall of masticated gum is pretty appalling, it’s pretty much one of the things you have to do in San Luis Obispo. And don’t worry — if you don’t have any gum, there’s a gumball machine at the alley’s entrance that probably makes more money per hour than most of us do at our 9 to 5.

Climb or hike Bishop Peak.Bishops Peak View

Popular for hiking and climbing, Bishop’s Peak is a 1,546-foot volcanic plug that resembles a bishop’s miter. Bishop’s Peak is the tallest of the Morros, a chain of similar peaks that stretch to Morro Bay. You can reach the top via a 3.5-mile roundtrip hiking trail, or if you have the skill and equipment, you can climb to the peak.

Catch a film at Sunset Drive-In.

Sunset Drive In

Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Looking for a family-friendly thing to do in San Luis Obispo. Sunset Drive-In shows two new releases each night. Bring munchies from home, or purchase some from the drive-in’s concession stand. Grab your pillows, blankets, and a comfortable camping chair, and bring your family and friends for a night of fun and films.

Let kids play and discover at San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.

Children’s Museum

A wonderful thing to do in San Luis Obispo, if you have kids, the Children’s Museum seeks to inspire learning through play. With a host of permanent and temporary exhibits ranging from space to dinosaurs, under the ocean, and many things in between, your children will love the interactive, hands-on exhibits at San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.

Catch a live show at the Fremont Theatre.

Fremont Theatre

Located in downtown San Luis Obispo, the Fremont Theatre is an Art Deco movie house that draws tourists and locals alike for classic and contemporary films. The theatre, which was built in 1942, has live music and showings on a daily basis. But those aren’t the only things that draw visitors. Boasting a retro pink exterior, hand-painted ceilings and walls, and vintage palm carpet, the theatre’s exterior almost steals the show.

Check out the Choo Choos in San Luis Obispo.


The San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum was founded to preserve and present the history of the railroads in California, specifically the central coast. The museum houses a collection of rolling stock and other railroad equipment. There’s also a gift shop that sells railroad related memorabilia. If you love trains, the railroad museum should absolutely be on your “things to do in San Luis Obispo” list.

Soak in the sights at Cerro San Luis Obispo.

Oasis Hiking Club

Photo Courtesy ~ OASIS

Cerro San Luis Obispo is a 1,292-foot mountain and is part of the chain called the Nine Sisters. The steep terrain makes it popular among hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers. The loop trail is 3.9 miles and boasts beautiful wildflowers and sweeping views of the surrounding area from the peak. Since there are only 500 feet of elevation gain, the trail is rated as moderate in difficulty.

Play at Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach

The iconic Pismo Beach is just 15 minutes away from San Luis Obispo. A popular surf destination with 17 miles of shoreline, sun-dappled cliffs, and warm water, even if you’re not a surfer, Pismo Beach is one of the most popular places to go near San Luis Obispo. After hanging out on the shore, take a stroll along the picturesque pier.

Book a stay at the Madonna Inn.

Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn is one of the world’s most unconventional hotels. A pink-and-white paradise with more than 100 uniquely themed rooms, the Madonna Inn is not just a hotel, it’s an experience. There’s a scenic pool, a hot pink tennis court, trail rides, live theatre, an all-pink steakhouse, and other wildly eccentric touches.

Cool off in Lopez Lake.

Lopez Lake

Catch some reprieve from the California heat at Lopez Lake. Boasting 22 miles of shoreline and 4,200 acres of wildlife, hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic spots, visiting Lopez Lake is one of the best things to do in San Luis Obispo if you want to experience the outdoors. You can fish, jet ski, windsurf, or kayak during the day, and at night, you can get comfortable at one of the 350+ campsites around Lopez Lake.

Step back in time at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

California’s fifth-oldest mission, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded in 1772 and served as home for natives, missionaries, and soldiers. Today, you can travel back in time and check out the antique-laden rooms that are furnished and laid out in much the same way as they would have been when California was entering a new era several centuries ago. In addition to the house, the grounds have extensive gardens with century-old vineyards, rose bushes, oak trees, cacti, citrus trees, and more.

Get a glimpse of the local culture at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.


Get to know California through its artists when you visit the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Focusing on contemporary pieces, the museum has paintings, sculptures, prints, film, and photography which speak of California’s past and present. Enjoy a phone-audio or docent-led tour, or just browse the galleries at your own pace

Whether you’re visiting for the scenic beauty, the art, the culture, or something else, there are tons of things to do in San Luis Obispo, and they’re awaiting your discovery.