Top Things to Do this Winter 2016

Sunny and 75? Yep, that’s winter in San Luis Obispo for ya! In a town that arguably has the best weather on the West Coast, San Luis Obispo offers alluring indoor and outdoor activities for both families and friends to enjoy all winter long. Plan your winter getaway to San Luis Obispo today!

Shopping in San Luis Obispo

Wondering what to get your loved ones this holiday season? Wander through the tree lined streets of Downtown San Luis Obispo and explore a variety of stores from unique, local boutiques to trendy chain stores. As an added bonus, check out our list of holiday presents unique to San Luis Obispo with one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every person in your life.

Beach Bonfire

Located just 20 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, the Oceano Dunes are the perfect spot to enjoy a beach sunset that you’ll never forget. Watch the sky light up with vivid colors over the Pacific Ocean while you and your crew cozy up to a toasty, beach bonfire. Don’t forget to bring marshmallows, graham crackers and your favorite topping to make delicious s’mores creations.

Don’t have all the supplies and fixings? Beach Butlerz offers five different beach bonfire packages, including all the supplies, set up and clean up. All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the Central Coast!

Cheers to Craft Beer

Central Coast Brewing CompanyLet’s face it, beer tasting fits into almost every SLO vacation, no matter what the season is. San Luis Obispo’s local breweries offer more than just handcrafted, delicious beer. Visitors can relax and unwind in a laidback yet fun-filled atmosphere, listening to live bands, enjoying game nights and tasting delicious eats from the local food trucks. What more could you ask for?

In the winter, Bang the Drum Brewery challenges their visitors to trivia every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and you can always count on SLO Brew to get the crowd dancing with a new live band on stage almost every night! Explore our favorite breweries in and around SLO or switch things up and hop on the San Luis Obispo Cider Trail, featuring local cideries and ciders to purchase in town.

Go Whale Watching

California Gray Whales migrate down the coast from the Bering Sea to Mexico throughout the winter and into May, making this season the perfect time to set out on a whale watching tour. While out at sea, catch glimpses of the Central Coast sea life up close and personal with dolphins playing in the waves, sea otters flipping around and harbor seals cruising the coastline.

Holiday Charm in San Luis Obispo

Santa's House in San Luis Obispo Mission PlazaWe must say, San Luis Obispo’s charm shines extra bright during the holiday season.  Starting on November 25, Mission Plaza in Downtown San Luis Obispo is decked out in holiday décor, complete with Santa’s House and the Classic Carousel. Join in the holiday cheer and explore our full list of can’t miss holiday events in San Luis Obispo today!

Santa’s House | November 25 – December 24

Santa makes his holiday debut at the opening of Santa’s House on November 25 at Mission Plaza.  From 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., visitors and locals alike are invited to come take photos with Santa and check out all the holiday decorations.

Classic Carousel | November 29 – December 27

Right next door to Santa’s House stands the Classic Carousel. Hop on your favorite pony and take a spin around for some festive, family fun.

Warm Up in the Hot Springs

What better way to warm up from the chilly, coastal breeze than relaxing in an all-natural hot spring? Avila Hot Springs offers a 20’ x 20’ public, hot mineral soaking pool sourced from natural springs deep in the earth’s core. The springs are cooled with fresh water to keep the pool at 104 degrees year-round.

Want something more intimate?  Sycamore Springs Resort & Spa has 23 private, open-air mineral hot tubs, naturally heated from over 100 acres of underground springs. Groups can also reserve the Oasis Waterfall Lagoon to experience a serene environment, complete with a flowing waterfall of jade green mineral water to relax and awaken both your body and mind.

Rainy Day Activities

Fremont Theatre San Luis ObispoWith winter, also comes the chance of rain. Fortunately, San Luis Obispo has plenty of indoor activities that will keep you dry.  Use the rain as an excuse to check out the unique movie theaters throughout San Luis Obispo or head over to Art Bar SLO to create a masterpiece during a painting class led by local artists.

If you’re looking for an adventure, take on the indoor rock climbing walls at Crux Climbing Center or SLO Op Climbing Gym.  Before you know it, you’ll be outside bouldering with the pros! Find out about other indoor fitness classes that you and your crew can enjoy on the unexpected rainy days including yoga, cycling, barre and more.

Winter Events in San Luis Obispo You Don’t Want to Miss


Festival Mozaic WinterMezzo

Indulge in the musical wonders of Beethoven, Bach and many more when internationally-renowned artists come to San Luis Obispo for unique weekend concert series. Take advantage of our seasonal promotion and receive a $50 Visa gift card when you attend a WinterMezzo event and book two consecutive nights at a San Luis Obispo lodging property.

  • January 28-29: NPR radio host, Christopher O’Reily discusses his musical career and performs his program highlights.
  • February 24-26: Faure, Brahms and Bridge give insights into their musical compositions and perform their boldest works on the piano.

SLO Holiday Parade | December 2

Kick off December with San Luis Obispo’s Annual Holiday Parade complete with decorated floats, marching bands and dancers, taking place from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Higuera Street in Downtown San Luis Obispo.

SLO Little Theatre’s Holiday Productions

The San Luis Obispo Little Theatre presents two holiday productions this winter in their intimate, 100 seat playhouse in the heart of Downtown San Luis Obispo. Catch a show or two this holiday season.

Restaurant Month | January 2 – 31

Delight your taste buds all month long during San Luis Obispo County Restaurant Month. Local restaurants offer one-of-a-kind, three course meals, starting at $30 per person. As a bonus, participating wineries throughout San Luis Obispo wine country discount their tasting fees, bottle and case purchases, too.

SLO Craft Beer Fest | February 24 – 25

Enjoy a weekend of beer-tastic events during the annual SLO Craft Beer Fest! With the addition of the Friday night event, you can enjoy 2-days of craft beer, food pairings and educational beer seminars at the Madonna Inn Expo Center. Purchase your tickets today!

Tags: Arts & Culture, Attractions & Entertainment, Eat & Drink, Family, Outdoor & Recreation

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