San Luis Obispo’s 5 Most Tourist-Friendly Places

October 4, 2021

You don’t get designated the “Happiest City in America” if you’re not an incredibly tourist-friendly destination. If you have plans to spend some time soon in the cheerful slice of West Coast paradise that is San Luis Obispo, there are, in fact, many pleasant, inviting places to visit here that are especially appealing to tourists. We go over five of the top spots fitting into this category below.

1. Downtown SLO

You can’t get more tourist friendly than downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s extremely walkable, and parking is also available if you’ll be driving here. It’s also a great place to conveniently dine, shop, or take a casual walk along charming tree-lined streets. Downtown SLO highlights include:

• Bubblegum Alley, where you can leave your own gum behind or just take some selfies
• Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, a kid-friendly downtown fave that offers creamery tours
• San Luis Obispo Creek, which runs through downtown SLO and has a bridge you can walk across

2. Higuera Street

Locals and visitors alike flock to Higuera Street, which is also in downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s worthy of a separate spot on this list, though, because of the weekly farmers’ market held here when weather permits. It’s a festive evening event that features booths stocked with fruits, veggies, pizza, sushi, and other tasty delights as well as live music and a fun, engaging atmosphere.

3. Pismo State Beach

The most tourist-friendly beach in the area is easily Pismo State Beach. Spanning 17 miles, it cradles the nearby towns of Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, and Oceano. While you’re here, you’re welcome to stroll along the Pismo Beach Pier or enjoy other beach-related activities that include:

• Swimming in a relaxed, picturesque setting
• Sunbathing on soft sand
• Surfing or bodyboarding in consistent waves
• Sailing and kayaking if you rent what you need locally
• Checking out nearby Monarch Butterfly Grove during the fall and early winter months
• Visiting nearby Dinosaur Caves Park, which has a dinosaur-themed playground

After spending the day at the beach in the sun and fresh air, you’ll be more than ready to return to your hotel near San Luis Obispo for some rest and relaxation by the pool or spa.

4. Local Museums

SLO is home to three especially tourist-friendly museums that cater to different interests. The first one is the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, which is worth visiting if you prefer to absorb local culture and art by perusing an assortment of permanent and temporary exhibits. Next is the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, which presents an impressive collection of railroad-related artifacts and displays. Lastly, if you’re coming to SLO with kids, there’s the tourist-friendly San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, which has an interactive play area.

5. Bishop Peak

Named after the three-pointed bishop’s miter it resembles, Bishop Peak is the most tourist-friendly hiking destination in the area. Two of the main trails here will reward you with panoramic Central Coast views. What’s more, you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to have an enjoyable time at this particular spot during your visit. For instance, the trailhead that starts on Patricia Drive features a gentle grade that will gradually take you to the top. 

When you visit San Luis Obispo, there’s so much to do and see that you won’t be able to enjoy everything on your list in just one day, so reserve a room for several days at Sands Inn & Suites, a premier San Luis Obispo boutique hotel. Bring the whole family to our pet-friendly inn and enjoy our on-site gym, heated outdoor pool and spa, and free WiFi. Our staff is dedicated to making your stay a memorable one, so call us to reserve your room today at (800) 441-4657.

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