How to Spend a Weekend in San Luis Obispo

Zack Garhart
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How to Spend a Weekend in San Luis Obispo

Located 95 miles north of Santa Barbara, the city of San Luis Obispo is one of the gems of the Central Coast in California. While founded in 1772, San Luis Obispo (SLO) has been inhabited for thousands of years. Its historic architecture and charming downtown area make it a popular destination for travelers. From our Santa Barbara Beach Hostel, it’s easy to access San Luis Obispo by car, bus, or train. With plenty to do and see, San Luis Obispo is a great spot for a weekend getaway.

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Hike Bishop Peak

Locals and travelers flock to San Luis Obispo for its many outdoor activities. One of the top things to do in San Luis Obispo for outdoor enthusiasts is to hike Bishop Peak. This summit is the tallest of the Nine Sisters, a chain of ancient volcanic peaks. While there are great views throughout the hike to the top of Bishop Peak, the view from the top is the best around. Climbing Bishop Peak offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city and surrounding area. The total hike to the top of Bishop Peak takes a few hours, and the highest point is at 1,559 feet.  Sun exposure varies throughout the trail, and there are ample shady spots along the trail. Overall the hike is modest and not too steep. As with any hike, it’s important to pack plenty of water and some snacks for the way up.

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Eat Local

San Luis Obispo’s downtown area has plenty of quaint coffee shops and awesome eateries. Whether you’re in the mood for a glass of local wine, tapas, tacos, or a hearty sandwich, San Luis Obispo has something for everyone. The food scene in San Luis Obispo is vast and highly regarded. One of our favorite local spots is High Street Deli. This place packs out on the weekends and stays busy throughout the day. It’s best to order ahead for pick-up if you’re on a time crunch, but trust us: it’s worth the wait.

For something more up-scale, check out Buona Tavola or Flour House. Both are Italian restaurants with authentic fare and homemade pasta dishes. We recommend the pizza at Flour House, and doing it on a Monday when they run their Meter Monday special! If you’re in the mood for seafood, look no further than Pier 46. This family-run establishment sources fresh, local fish and internationally sourced products.

To finish off the night, head on over to Nightcap. Located in the Granada Hotel, this cozy lounge focuses on craft cocktails and the ambiance is unmatched.

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Shop, Sip and Smoke

Downtown SLO is super walkable and small enough to get around on foot. The best way to access San Luis Obispo to the fullest is by car, but Amtrak offers bus and train services that will drop you off right in the heart of downtown SLO. With everything from record stores and vintage clothing shops to art stores and boutiques, San Luis Obispo has a wide array of shops. If you’re a smoker, don’t miss out on Megan’s Organic Market. Megan’s is one of our favorite dispensaries in Southern California, and they have a wide selection with fair prices!

One last thing before you go: Hit up The Madonna Inn. Plan to spend some time walking through the hotel, and make sure to check out the different rooms. Without giving too much away, you’ll thank us later.

Are you looking for more recommendations on what to do in San Luis Obispo? Check out this video!

Before booking any of our ITH Hostel locations, sign up for our Traveler’s Club. It’s free to sign up and will save you money on all future bookings! 


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