A gem among the historic Spanish California missions, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is a must-see for history buffs, family vacationers and California tourists.
Founded in 1772 and built on its current foundation in 1792, the Mission, which continues to be an active church, lies at the center of modern-day Downtown San Luis Obispo on a traffic-free block of Palm Street between Chorro and Broad. Just outside the Mission sits the spacious community park and San Luis Creek, commonly known as Mission Plaza. Mission Plaza faces the bustling shopping and dining district and hosts multiple community events such as the free summer Concerts in the Plaza series, the monthly Bike Night and Santa’s House during the holiday season.
The fifth California mission founded by Father Junipero Serra, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France. The vestibule, added in 1820, along with other expansions and restorations have been made to allow for the growing number of parishioners in the Mission. Recently, the iconic grizzly bear statue was added in Mission Plaza to celebrate the original discovery of the Valley of the Bears during the missionaries’ exploration. Today, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa stands as the central parish church for the City of San Luis Obispo.
Enjoy a free tour of the Mission, museum and gift shop, as well as its thriving garden featuring a well, fountains and trellises. Docent led group tours begin daily at 1:15 p.m. in the front of the Mission for you and your family to enjoy. The spacious Mission Plaza and grassy slopes surrounding the creek make for great picnic grounds after your tour.