Walking tours give you a first-hand experience of San Luis Obispo and provide a great way to stay active while vacationing. With San Luis Obispo’s clear skies and moderate weather year-round, you are sure to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Downtown SLO Walking Tour
Downtown San Luis Obispo has more to offer than meets the eye. If done right, you can make a day out of exploring the five or six blocks that make up Downtown SLO. While you can see some of its charm from your car window, the real adventure starts once you get out of the car and explore. Begin your walking tour by parking your car in the parking garage off Palm Street. From there, you can head down Chorro Street toward the Palm Street Theatre.
- Palm Theatre: The Palm Theatre has been around since March of 1988. In the summer of 2004, the owners installed 98 solar panels on the roof of the Palm, becoming the first movie theatre in the United States to become solar powered. If you want to catch a movie, check out current movie listings. Continue down Chorro Street and you will run into the entrance of the San Luis Obispo Mission.
- Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa: Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded in 1772 by Father Junípero Serra. Named after Saint Louis of Anjou, the Bishop of Toulouse, the Mission is the namesake of the City of San Luis Obispo. Continue through Mission Plaza and you will find a bridge that crosses over Cedar Creek. If you pass over the creek, you might just find a secret garden.
- The Secret Garden Organic Herb Shop: The Secret Garden Organic Herb Shop is a local gem that opened in the summer of 2004. Experience this unique open-air shop lined with mason jars of tea and other natural herbs. From the secret garden, you can continue walking down the creek and find the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
- The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art: Founded in the 1950s, the San Luis Obispo Art Association evolved into the San Luis Obispo Art Center, which transformed into today’s San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, locally known as SLOMA. Admission to the museum is free, and docent-led tours can be scheduled at your convenience. If you have kids along for the walking tour, be sure to check out the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.
- The San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum: The SLO Children’s Museum was created to provide a fun place for families to explore, discover, and learn through hands-on exhibits and programs. With three floors and an outside playscape, SLO Children’s Museum is jam packed with exhibits for children ages 1-10. From here, you can head down Nipomo Street towards Higuera Street and walk through the many boutiques and shops. If you are in Downtown SLO on a Thursday evening, the San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market will be in full swing. Once you and your group have worked up an appetite, a stop at The Creamery Marketplace on Higuera St. is sure to hit the spot.
- The Creamery Marketplace: Nestled in the newly renovated, mural-adorned courtyard on Higuera Street, The Creamery Marketplace is a fine collection of shops and restaurants, ranging from Italian and Mexican food to nitrogen-cooled ice cream scoops. There really is something for everyone! The outdoor seating options offer a lovely spot to rest your feet, and the entrance’s infamous “In-Cow-able Hulk” statue is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. As you loop back down Monterey Street towards your car with your coffee or ice cream cone in-hand, make a final stop by Boo Boo Records.
- Boo Boo Records: This authentic record store has been in business for over forty years in San Luis Obispo County. Boo Boo Records continues to offer unique and iconic lifestyle gifts while always expanding its vast selection of new and used Vinyl, CD’s and DVD’s.
Other Walking Tours in San Luis Obispo
Café Walking Tour
Guide yourself through this fun tour of cafés in Downtown San Luis Obispo, featuring cozy coffee shops and hidden gems. Taste the delicious coffee and pastries that are unique to San Luis Obispo while exploring the vibes of the different cafes and coffee shops in town.
Cal Poly Tours
Visit Cal Poly’s campus and receive a phenomenal guided tour, touching on all the best spots of the university. They offer multiple guided experiences to help you get a feel for the campus and to answer any questions you may have. If you’d prefer a less formal visit, grab a map or download this app and explore the campus on your own. No matter your walking tour style, there is a Cal Poly tour perfect for you.
Walking Food Tours
Taste, sip, and walk your way through San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast Food Tour or Taste of SLO walking tour. Your taste buds will be delighted by the variety of culinary styles and traditions that have made their way to the Central Coast, many of which you may never have tried otherwise! Experience all the best local cuisine, featuring Edna Valley wines paired with cheeses to farm-to-fork dishes. These tasty tours vary from 2 to 4.5 hours to complete, giving you the option of an all-day adventure, or something a little more “short and sweet.”
San Luis Obispo’s history is chalked full of incredible characters, compelling conflicts, and cultural diversity. Led by an architectural historian, Secret SLO’s Heart of SLO Walking Tour offers visitors a chance to travel back in time as they recount the events and investigate the buildings that have become the San Luis Obispo we see today. Secret SLO’s tours cover a range of topics, from the outlaw-focused “Lawless San Luis” tour, to the spooky “Ghosts of San Luis” walking tour. Join one of their scheduled outings today and experience SLO in a whole new light.