It was a beautiful drive down to San Luis Obispo, but being on the road the whole day sure had us beat! We were so happy to arrive at our hotel at the end of the long drive.
I didn’t find too many hotel options in San Luis Obispo, so it came down to a choice between staying at the super kitsch Madonna Inn, or the Granada Hotel & Bistro. In the end, location + vintage modern styling won out and we made the Granada Hotel our home for the two nights we were in town.
There wasn’t a single bit of this recently redone, chic hotel that wasn’t picture perfect. Salvaged pieces and art were placed in interesting ways throughout. There was so much to look at.
We booked a Deluxe Studio room and– truth be told– our room was on the smaller side compared to most hotels we had stayed in thus far on our trip. However, the room was smartly designed. It came appointed with interesting freebies such as high end shampoos and perfectly curated “mini-bar” provisions (for additional fees). What the room lacked in space, the hotel more than made up for in its cool features, convenient location, and thoughtful details. We were treated to a free glass of wine each upon check in, and we appreciated the lovely handwritten welcome note on our pillow. Every evening we came back to find two house-made, gourmet chocolates on our night stand.
To top off the evening we grabbed a pizza from the nearby Woodstock Pizza and brought it back to eat on the outdoor patio with a glass of wine for me and a beer for Pat. A Cal Poly fraternity and sorority were having a fund raiser there that evening, so the restaurant was slammed. It was a long wait for our pizza, but it was a pretty decent pie.
The hotel made an amazing breakfast which we had both mornings on the patio. No other guests seemed to discover this little corner of the hotel, so we were happy to claim it as our private oasis.
Early the next day we met up with Pat’s brother, Scott, and sister-in-law, Lindsay, in Pismo Beach. We met them at Old West Cinnamon Rolls, and even though I was full from our hotel breakfast, it took a lot of strength to resist the fresh baked goodness. I have to come hungry on our next trip!
We caught up as we walked down the Pismo Beach pier, and wandered around nearby surf shops.
The only thing I knew about Pismo Beach prior to going was a reference from the 90’s movie Clueless where the “Pismo Beach Disaster” is referenced (which I learned is a fictitious event). It’s actually a great beach town with lots of local charm.
Next Scott and Lindsay took us on the most gorgeous hike at Cave Landing and Pirate’s Cove at Shell Beach. It was classified as an easy trail, but it was definitely hard enough for Pat and I who are used to the level grounds of Florida and Georgia.
We saw beautiful flowers and oceanside views along the way.
There was also a cave at the midway point of the trek. The beautiful views made the difficult terrain well worth it! Couldn’t get enough of these California landscapes!
San Luis Obispo Mission
After lunch we wandered the grounds of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (founded in 1772). Beautiful gardens lined the walkways. It was so peaceful.
Inside the mission were brightly painted floral vines all along the walls.
Downtown Farmer’s Market
While initially I was bummed out that we were visiting midweek, this ended up being perfect timing. The SLO Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday evening, year round, on Higher Street, just steps from our hotel. This isn’t your run of the mill farmer’s market… this is more like a large street festival. There are restaurants lined with food booths, local farmers selling produce, entertainers and live music. It was a great place to walk around and get a bite to eat.
Downtown SLO Local Charm
We also took time to go wander around some of the shops in downtown SLO. Rocket Fizz has one of the funnest candy stores I’d ever seen! Not only were there sugary treats everywhere, but there were also large colorful characters too. Sully and Mike seemed to greet everyone at the door.
We visited the local landmark, Bubblegum Alley. It’s similar to Seattle’s gum wall and equally as gross too. I guess when people are done with gum from Rocket Fizz, it’s easy to deposit nearby.
We finished the night at one of Lindsay’s favorite places, Linnaea’s coffee shop. I had some hot chocolate to end the day with. We sat inside, but Linnaea’s has a stunning outdoor area too. I imagine it’s a peaceful place to study for local students.
The next morning, our final day in SLO, we had breakfast at our hotel (again), this time with Scott and Lindsay. We wandered around with them for a good part of the morning, checking out the local music and comic shops. Captain Nemo’s got high praise from comic book lover, Pat. Boo Boo Records was also fun to wander around in and check out their art prints, cd’s, and vinyl.
San Luis Obispo has so much to do and see. I hope we can come back soon. On our next trip I hope we can explore the Arroyo Grande region, known for its wine. I would also love to do another hike.
Thanks, Scott and Lindsay for showing us such a good time!