Credit: Madonna Inn
Credit: Madonna Inn

How to Spend the Perfect 24 Hours in San Luis Obispo

Explore the Laid-Back Lifestyle and Captivating Scenery of the Central Coast

Deemed one of the happiest cities in America, San Luis Obispo—or as locals call it, SLO—is a quaint town on the central coast of California that’s bustling with things to do. From hiking the city’s rolling green hills to grabbing a pint at the popular SLO Brew Rock, any visitor is sure to fall in love with the charm of San Luis Obispo. But before you head to Yelp looking for places to shop, eat and dine, we’ve pieced together the perfect 24-hour guide to help you experience this sliver of central coast like a true local. San Luis Obispo Itinerary


Luxury Digs

Hotel San Luis Obispo

In the heart of downtown sits the all-new Hotel San Luis Obispo—a 78-room urban resort perfect for those in search of a posh getaway. This stylish retreat features everything from original artwork and a fine-dining steakhouse to a rooftop lounge offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Grab a prickly pear margarita at the High Bar before heading down to Ox and Anchor for a decadent steak.

Local Insight: Parents of Cal Poly SLO students can enroll in Poly Parent Perks for special offers and discounts each time they visit and stay at Hotel SLO.

San Luis Obispo Itinerary

Cozy in Central Coast

San Luis Creek Lodge

Credit: Jonny Valiant

This reimagined California lodge epitomizes the tranquility and relaxation of the central coast throughout its sophisticated, contemporary design. Nina Freudenberger, the author of the best-selling design book, Surf Shack, collaborated on this cozy, boutique lodge. Erewhon snacks are offered in each room, and complimentary coffee and pastries will be delivered to your door each morning.

A.M. Eats

Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe

Credit: @elliekoleen

No vacation is complete without a hearty brunch, and Sally Loo’s is just the place. This neighborhood cafe is housed in a charming 1930s building and serves up a tasty selection of eats, including hand-crafted espresso drinks, paninis and breakfast dishes.

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Makin’ My Way Downtown


Head downtown for the afternoon and explore San Luis Obispo’s bustling tree-lined Higuera St. Here, you’ll find an assortment of open-air restaurants and quaint boutiques, including Ambiance—a stylish shop with chic apparel, home decor, gifts and accessories. 

San Luis Obispo Itinerary

Pretty in Pink

Madonna Inn

A California icon since 1958, Madonna Inn offers visitors a sense of time-honored hospitality with it’s opulent decor, themed guest rooms and award-winning restaurants. Just about everything in and at Madonna Inn is bright pink, so prepare for some photo ops, and don’t leave without trying one of their famous freshly baked cakes!

Beer O’Clock

SLO Brew Rock

Credit: Slo Brew Rock

Situated about 10 minutes from downtown sits SLO Brew Rock—a popular place for a pint. This 30-barrel brewhouse and taproom is centered around a towering rock and features plenty of outdoor seating, fire pits and games—giant Jenga and cornhole, anyone? The Rock also has a stellar menu of pub grub; we say try the sausage, pretzel and fondue!

San Luis Obispo Itinerary

Ciao Down

Flour House

In the mood for some ‘za? Head to Flour House downtown for a tasty Neapolitan-style pizza or pasta dish! You’ll fall in love with the restaurant’s cozy patio and authentic Italian ambiance. Flour House also offers a stellar Meter Monday deal where you can order a pizza the size of your table that serves eight people!

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