One of the strangest, yet most popular landmark attractions in San Luis Obispo is Bubblegum Alley. This anomaly is set in the heart of Downtown San Luis Obispo, known for its scenic babbling creek, tree-lined streets, boutiques, unique cafes and family-friendly attractions like Thursday night Farmers’ Market and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.
Yet there it stands, a hidden gem tucked away in a small alley right off Higuera Street, between Broad and Garden Street. This narrow, 70-foot-long alleyway invites visitors to partake in an unusual rite of passage: creating chewed bubblegum graffiti.
Although the origin story of Bubblegum Alley is a little “sticky,” this landmark attraction became well established by the early 1970s and has survived two full cleanings. Bubblegum Alley in SLO is not the only one on the West Coast; there has been an ongoing rivalry with another gum alley in Seattle.
Since there is no stopping its organic growth, you may as well participate in this movement. Grab a gumball at local SLO Sweets or Rocket Fizz and leave your mark on Bubblegum Alley. Appreciate the communal art form for what it is and stick your unique stamp on San Luis Obispo.
Take a selfie in front of the gum to document your contribution to the wall. But don’t get too close, or you may make the unfortunate mistake of swiping your cheek along the wall, letting it leave its mark on you! After visiting this attraction, check out some of the nearby shops and restaurants on that block. No matter what you do, we know the memories you make in San Luis Obispo will be sure to stick.
Things to do Around Bubblegum Alley
- Grab a pizza and a pint at Blast 825 Taproom
- Pick up an ice cream sandwich at Batch, just around the corner
- Shop for clothes, accessories and more at local boutiques like Ambiance and Len Collective
- Sit down for a nice meal at NOVO or SLO Brew across the street
Between 733 and 737 Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo
Bubblegum Alley in the News
- Los Angeles Times | Inside the Great Gum Wall Standoff Between Seattle and San Luis Obispo
- Lonely Planet | San Luis Obispo: The Perfect Pitstop on your California Road Trip
- Sweet | 48 Hours in San Luis Obispo, Sweet-Style
- MSN.com | 19 of the World’s Weirdest Tourist Attractions
- Atlas Obscura | San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley
- Los Angeles Times | Enjoy Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, But Don’t Get Attached
- Hidden California | Bubblegum Alley
- The Mercury News | California’s Own Gum Wall, Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo
- Mental Floss | The Sticky History of Bubblegum Alley