Nominated America’s happiest city, San Luis Obispo sits between the Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean and slap-bang in the middle of the Central Coast Wine Country. The latter might be a clue as to why people are so contented here. For a relaxing chill-out with a spot of hiking, market-browsing and, of course, wine-tasting, choose one of our best places to stay in San Luis Obispo.
Take a vineyard tour in one of several small, often family-run wineries, clustered in nearby Edna Valley, such as Talley Vineyards, Sextant Wines and Tolosa Winery. Or stroll around town where you’ll find several craft breweries, laidback bars and cafes. On Thursday evenings head for Higuera Street which is turned into the second largest farmers’ market in the western United States.
Fancy a touch of real Americana? Head to Sunset Drive-in, a classic drive-in cinema. Or for a touch of the weird, stroll down ‘Bubblegum Alley’. The clue is in the name; yes the walls are covered with brightly coloured chewing gum.
Two popular activities just outside town are a hike up Bishop Peak, the tallest of the Nine Sisters, part of a chain of volcanic peaks, and, an hour’s drive north, a visit to the fantasy-land of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. This was publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst’s ‘summer home’, a sprawling confection of castle, golden swimming pools and lush gardens.
Another good reason for choosing one of the best places to stay in San Luis Obispo is that the town is midway between LA and San Francisco, so the perfect stop-off between the two landmark cities.
The restaurant of the Granada Hotel & Bistro has a deserved reputation for its French cuisine and extensive wine list, and there’s outside terrace dining, too. A converted 1929 former industrial building, the 17 rooms combine original features of exposed brick walls with an industrial-chic and vintage styling.
San Luis Obispo (California)
Luxury boutique built in 1929 with Industrial-era interiors. Rooms are comfortable and popular. Bistro Restaurant, renowned across town for its extensive wine listings and French cuisine, a fantastic reason to stay. This quiet, chic hotel lends itself to local exploring, back to nature and relaxing.