Getty Images

San Luis Obispo

Almost midway between LA and San Francisco, at the junction of Hwys 101 and 1, San Luis Obispo is a popular overnight stop for road-trippers. It also makes a handy base from which to explore coastal towns Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and Morro Bay, as well as Hearst Castle. SLO may not have any big-ticket sights, unless you count the Spanish-Colonial mission and, perhaps, the kooky Madonna Inn. But this refreshingly low-key city does have an enviably high quality of life, helped along by CalPoly university students who inject a healthy dose of hubbub into the streets, bars and cafes. Thursdays are great time to be in SLO – the farmers market turns downtown’s Higuera St into a party with live music and sidewalk BBQs.

Explore San Luis Obispo

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout San Luis Obispo.


Learn more about San Luis Obispo

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.