If you want to get out of Berkeley for a day, San Luis Obispo, or SLO, is a great place to escape to. According to Oprah Winfrey, it’s America’s happiest city! You can rent a GIG car for the day and head south for about three and a half hours until you reach it, but the train is also an option. Here’s a guide to SLO based on my trip this past summer.
A trip to SLO is not complete without going to Scout Coffee. I ordered their lavender matcha with housemade oatmilk and it was delicious! The workers there are so nice and the shop has a very cute atmosphere. They even have an extensive selection of gifts such as jewelry and apparel. Once you experience it you’ll realize why they’re often voted best coffee shop in San Luis Obispo!
After grabbing some caffeine to start your morning, head on over to the Cerro San Luis Trail to experience some of the beautiful nature that SLO has to offer. It’s about a four-mile hike and isn’t too steep. That said, it’s perfect for beginner hikers, but anyone will enjoy this hike. At the top there are amazing 360 degree views of the Madonna Inn, Cal Poly University and plenty of green mountains which makes the trek up there well worth it!
An iconic place to go for lunch is High Street Market & Deli. It’s a very cute place that has a lot of character. It has an old-timey feel inside and an outdoor patio that’s filled with plants surrounded by a white-picket fence. They serve huge portions for a reasonable price, so you can definitely split a sandwich with a friend. It was pretty busy when I was there, but well worth the wait!
Downtown San Luis Obispo is very charming and lively with plenty of activities. There are trees that line the streets and people wandering into restaurants and shops everywhere you look. Here you’ll find an abundance of boutiques, thrift stores, surf shops and even some more well known stores as well. I stopped by Calico Trading Company, which is a high end thrift store, and there were so many unique pieces for a great price!
If you happen to go on a Thursday, it’s absolutely necessary to check out their famous farmer’s market. The city blocks off the entire downtown area for people to browse the various stands. You can find flowers, produce, jams, honey, bread and more. They also have food stands where you can stop and grab a bite to eat. Even if you don’t want to purchase anything, it’s a great place for people watching and listening to live music.
There’s plenty more to do so if you have the time — so turn it into a weekend trip! You can even travel further to Avila Beach and Pismo Beach which are both super close. If you don’t have a lot of time, I am confident that you’ll enjoy a stress-free day in this lovely Pacific Coast town.