Great Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend in SLO

October 16, 2023

Nestled in California’s Central Coast region, San Luis Obispo is a great place to spend Thanksgiving weekend if you prefer generally pleasant weather and a relaxed, casual vibe. If you’ve already made the decision to head here for the long weekend, there are plenty of things to consider doing and enjoying locally. Take your pick from our list of Thanksgiving events and activities for your family or friends below: 

Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner at a Local SLO Restaurant

There are many places here where you can treat yourself and anyone else coming with you to a terrific meal on Thanksgiving Day. One possibility is Brasserie SLO at Hotel Cerro. For $85 per person, you’ll have a choice of herb confit turkey, slow-roasted salmon, or roasted prime rib, along with other meal selections. Dessert is included, and reservations are encouraged. Other San Luis Obispo restaurants with holiday offerings for Thanksgiving include:

• Alex Madonna’s Gold Rush Steak House at Madonna Inn
• Café Roma, which will be offering a prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner
• Mistura, which will be serving up a three-course prix fixe dinner
• Granada Bistro, which will also be offering gluten-free options


Check Out the Cambria Christmas Market

After you’ve had your turkey and pumpkin pie, shift into Christmas mode during your SLO visit with a 40-minute trip to nearby Cambria. The Cambria Christmas Market is one of the most anticipated annual holiday events in Southern California. Featuring 2+ million twinkling lights and artisan vendors, this is a family-friendly event where kids can see Santa and enjoy a fun train ride while munching on delicious food. Grown-ups can chill at cozy fire pits or jam with local musicians.

It’s never too early to buy gifts this Christmas, as you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list here. Drop by the market on most nights starting November 24 to December 23, 2023. Marvel at the sparkling lights illuminating the night and the variety of baked goods, fresh food, and drinks. Take this opportunity to bond with family and friends as you experience Winter Wonderland.


Visit the Winter Faire & Juried Craft Show at Morro Bay

Get to know Morro Bay’s up-and-coming artists in the Annual Winter Faire & Juried Craft Show. Feast your eyes on some of Central Coast’s finest art pieces presented in different artistic mediums, from traditional to modern. This special holiday event features paintings, photography, and fine crafts from artists. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift for a loved one or want to spend an afternoon enjoying beautiful artwork, you won’t want to miss this exciting showcase of creativity! The exhibit will be on display from November 9, 2023 to December 31, 2023.


39th Annual Thanksgiving for Paso Robles

Looking for opportunities to pay it forward on Thanksgiving? The Thanksgiving for Paso Robles needs you for the 39th Annual Thanksgiving for Paso Robles on November 23, 2023 from 12nn to 2pm at the Centennial Park Activity Center. Plenty of things you can do from pre-cleaning, decorating, setting tables, bussing, and more cleaning. You can also help raise funds to buy food or pick it up, prepare it, and serve it. Helping other people can be a family bonding experience. Make sure to pre-register as they need to organize and mobilize the right people. Those who are 16 years and older can help in the kitchen while kids can help decorate boxes. You can also sign up your family to deliver meals. Click here to register


The Holiday Plaza



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Get ready for a fun and festive day to kick off the holiday season in San Luis Obispo! The annual Santa’s House & Holiday Plaza Opening Day Celebration at Mission Plaza is happening on November 24th at 12pm, bringing joy and cheer for all. Dazzling displays and twinkling lights will transform the plaza into a winter wonderland. Little ones can visit Santa in his cozy house and take a nostalgic ride on the classic carousel. 

An exciting musical light show will immerse attendees into the holidays. Plus, Santa makes a grand entrance on a firetruck before enjoying a performance by the SLO County Band. It’s sure to be a merry day filled with holiday magic! Don’t miss this free, family-friendly event that officially opens the plaza for a season of festivities.


Shopping in Downtown SLO

The charming tree-lined streets of San Luis Obispo are pleasant and inviting year-round, including during Thanksgiving weekend. Many of the stores and boutique shops here will be open for at least the better part of the holiday weekend. Higuera Street is an especially popular and lively spot in this area.


Getting in Touch with Nature

If you prefer a more active and outdoorsy Thanksgiving weekend, SLO has many possibilities to consider. One of the more popular destinations is Bishop Peak, which has a gradually inclining trail as well as another more challenging one. You’ll be treated to impressive coastal panoramas if you opt to hike to the top. Some of the other outdoor options to consider here during a Thanksgiving weekend visit include:

• Nearby Avila Beach and Pismo Beach
• Montaña de Oro State Park on Pecho Valley Road
• Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in nearby Cambria

After enjoying a day of fun in the fresh air and sunshine, you’ll be ready to return to your San Luis Obispo boutique hotel for some rest and relaxation by the pool or spa.



Keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive as you revel in the comfort of your room at Sands Inn & Suites, a charming boutique hotel near San Luis Obispo. From our beautifully appointed rooms to our tranquil fountain area and heated pool and spa, we can provide you with everything you need for the perfect holiday escape. To learn more about our amenities and reserve your room, call us today at (800) 441-4657.

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