Stroll Down Higuera Street

Before I was a local, I used to visit San Luis Obispo with my family. It was our go-to vacation spot. The weather. The variety of things to see and do. The great food. The enchanting downtown (I didn’t know the word “enchanting” then, but I knew it had something magical). Our favorite routine, though, was nothing extravagant; it was a simple one.

We would head downtown, specifically, to San Luis Creek. We’d play along the bank of the creek, jumping from rock to rock to cross to the other side. We’d skip rocks in the water.

Then we’d head up the path to Country Culture Yogurt, just above the creek, to enjoy a refreshing, sweet treat. (Unfortunately, Country Culture Yogurt was one of the few yogurt shops in town at the time, and now it’s closed. Fortunately, SLO has, I believe, four yogurt shops plus Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab downtown—woohoo!) My family would sit down at one of the picnic tables overlooking the creek below and eat our yogurt, talking, cracking jokes and just spending time together.

But it didn’t end there. We’d usually finish up by having dinner on Vieni Vai’s creek-side (noticing the theme here?) patio. Before I was adventurous enough to try maybe a penne with pesto, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes or a butternut squash ravioli dish, my go-to meal as a kid was Fettuccini Alfredo. We’d act like kids, my dad included, my mom probably a little embarrassed of our silliness but secretly loving every minute of it.

After we stuffed ourselves on amazing Italian food and bread, we’d walk out (possibly waddle out holding our bellies) and stroll through the tree-covered downtown, the branches of its trees studded with white lights that really solidified that magical feeling. Then we’d head back to our hotel, possibly a little sad that we’d be leaving the next morning to head home.

Like I said, it was nothing spectacular—and yet it was. It was perfect. And I’ll never forget those moments with my mom, dad, sister and brother.

But now I live here with my wife and kids, and I get to enjoy these same things with my family. I get to create new memories. Even if I didn’t live here, believe me, I would bring my family back to enjoy San Luis Obispo (and between you and me, SLO is even better than it was 20 years ago when I was a kid).

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