San Luis Obispo: Discover Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Charming Gum Wall

San Luis Obispo | Introduction

San Luis Obispo, often referred to as SLO, is a small town on the central California coast. Though it may be small, its reputation is not. Surrounded by the sea and mountains, and located on Highway 1 between San Francisco and LA, it's close to attractions such as Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, and not too far from Hearst Castle and Solvang. It’s a great spot for weekend travelers or those looking for a midway stop on a California CA-1 coastal drive.

If you're traveling along the California coast, consider stopping at San Luis Obispo for a meal and a leisurely stroll around town. Upon reaching San Luis Obispo, this historic town may not have many attractions, but its streets carry an old-world charm. Take an easy walk downtown, where you can browse through quaint shops and restaurants. If timing allows, consider staying overnight to savor the relaxed small-town atmosphere.

Find a stay in SLO:

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa | Old Mission Church

Mission San Luis Obispo is located in the center of the small town, built in 1772. This Spanish-style church is quite beautiful and has a small museum for visitors to explore, along with a lovely garden outdoors. I particularly enjoyed the outdoor space, and before I knew it, I had wandered around for an hour.

Bubblegum Alley

The Gum Wall in the city center is a popular spot for many people to take photos and check in, similar to Seattle's Gum Wall. This alley is filled on both sides with chewed gum stuck on the walls. The origin of the gum wall is a bit of a mystery, but it is said that some tourists come here specifically to add a piece of their own chewed gum.

San Luis Obispo Creek Trail

In the little town, there's also a small trail to walk on, conveniently located along the San Luis Obispo Creek. Many people come here for a stroll after dining at the nearby restaurants, making it a quite comfortable spot.

Recommended Restaurant | Luna Red

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Price: $$

If San Luis Obispo is used as a midpoint stop, people usually come here to have a meal. Luna Red is a restaurant located close to the town center and not far from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The ambiance inside the restaurant is nice, and the location is very convenient. We tried their most famous Mixto Paella, and also ordered a pitcher of Tequila-based Sangria. The Paella was richly filled with chicken, sausage, fish, and clams, offering much more meat and seafood proportionally than rice, sufficient for four people. The taste was good too, and it is worth recommending.

Recommended Coffee Shop | Scout Coffee

Scout Coffee is a hipster coffee shop in the town, and the overall vibe of the place is very comforting. I recommend their Oat milk chai latte; it's quite good.

  • For more Central California attractions, click here.
  • For more CA-1 attractions, click here.

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