Take it SLO: A Guide to San Luis Obispo

Take it SLO: A Guide to San Luis Obispo

Big Sur MountainsSan Luis Obispo (or SLO, as the locals call it) is one of California’s oldest and most picturesque sea-side cities. Founded in 1772 by St. Junipero Serra, this haven of fine wine and sunshine attracts a lot of out-of-towners for a visit every year (and can even claim Zac Efron as a native son). Read on below for all things SLO:

Get your #nom on at:
Old SLO BBQ Co.: Sample authentic Santa Maria-style BBQ and this popular eatery (the Cowboy Corn Pie and Tri-Tip Sandwich — with carmelized bacon! — are local favorites). This hearty fare will get you fueled for a walk along the nearby breath-taking ocean vistas.

SLO Brew: This brewery and restaurant features live music, so grab a blueberry beer, chow down on some watermelon BBQ ribs, and be serenaded to the sounds of salsa, bluegrass, or jazz.

Wild Horse Winery and Vineyards: They may have horses in their name, but they’ve got llamas on the brain. This unique winery features tours and tastings that end with a llama petting session! Wine flights and fuzzies — we’re totally on board with that.

Be sure to check out:
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa: The fifth of twenty-one Missions built along the El Camino Real, this one’s considered the most beautiful. Nestled in the center of town, this Mission serves as an architectural landmark, active parish, and gathering point for city celebrations.

Hearst Castle: Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst chose SLO as the site to build one of the most famous homes in America. Featuring golden swimming pools, lush gardens and exquisite art, this Great Gatsby-style structure is sure to amaze. Don’t forget to grab a #zebraselfie (yes, there’s a zebra!).

Farmers Markets: Be sure to stop by the farmers’ and county markets around SLO on Thursday nights from 6-9. From gorgeous flowers to tasty snacks or handmade crafts from local artisans, these large gatherings put the focus on homegrown, quality goods that you can’t find in a store.

Don’t forget:
Morro Bay: Talk about a treasure cove. Sparkling blue waters, interesting rock formations and rugged coastline cliffs adorned with wildflowers make this scenic spot a must-visit. Whether it’s whale watching, surfing, or saying hello to sunning sea otters, you’re sure to be stunned by the breathtaking views.

Want to check out this Golden State gem? Amtrak can take you there in style on the Coast Starlight, with huge picture windows overlooking the Pacific and plenty of sunset views from the observation car to share on Instagram.

Have you been to SLO? Tell us about it in the comments below!