Make San Luis Obispo your winter wonderland this holiday season and enjoy Central Coast classics in addition to SLO's holiday charm! With endless things to do in San Luis Obispo, your family will make lifelong memories whether creating sand angels at Avila Beach or watching the Nutcracker together. Plan your winter getaway in time to catch the Christmas parades, decorated Victorian houses, unique holiday gift shopping events, Santa visits in Mission Plaza, ice skating and more! Visit our accommodations pages to book your stay today.
Things to Do in San Luis Obispo This Holiday Season
- Avila Valley Barn: Indulge in some hot apple cider and holiday gift shopping at Avila Valley Barn. Continue your adventure out to Avila Beach and be sure to try Central Coast style "snow" angels.
- Ice Skating: Ice skate with family and friends at the Winter WonderSLO Jiffy Lube Ice Skating Rink. The rink will be open from December 18th through January 3rd from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
- San Luis Obispo Downtown Trolley: Ready for a blast from the past? Catch a ride on the Old San Luis Obispo Downtown Trolley, which travels between Downtown and surrounding hotel areas. Costing a mere 50 cents, this classic cable-car-style trolley is a fun way to travel with your family whether heading to Santa's House or for a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. Visit our trolley page for schedules and routes.
- Shopping: Shop at boutiques and art galleries throughout Downtown San Luis Obispo to scout out the perfect gifts for your family and friends.
- One-of-a-Kind Movie Night: Cozy up for a unique movie night at the historic, Art Deco Fremont Theatre or roll into the Sunset Drive-In for an outdoor movie experience.
- Monarchs Galore: Visit November through February to witness the mesmerizing scene of 25,000 butterflies—one of the largest Monarch colonies in the nation— among the Eucalyptus groves of Pismo Beach.
San Luis Obispo Holiday Events
- Santa's House: Kick off the Christmas season at Santa's House Opening Day, taking place in San Luis Obispo's Mission Plaza on Friday, November 27th from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Plan a day full of family fun and visit Santa Claus to snap a photo and make memories together. Santa's House will remain open for the entire holiday season from November 27th to December 24th. Each child that visits Santa Claus will receive a take away including a candy cane, toy and coloring book at no charge. Additionally, Santa's House visitors can take a photo with their own device for $5, receive a souvenir framed photo for $7.50, or get both for $11.
- Classic Carousel: Enjoy a spin on San Luis Obispo's Classic Carousel, located right next to Santa's House in Mission Plaza. The carousel will be open from December 1st to December 27th although hours of operation vary by day. A single ride cost $3 or indulge in 5 whirls for just $10.
- Holiday Parade: Mark your calendars for December 4th! San Luis Obispo Downtown Association's 40th Annual Holiday Parade will be on full display in Downtown from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Bundle up with some hot cocoa and watch floats, marching bands, vehicles and dancers fill the streets with cheer!
- Lighted Boat Parade: Head north on Highway 1 to Morro Bay for the Annual Lighted Boat Parade, lighting up the harbor on December 5th for a whimsical holiday experience.
- Holidays in the Plaza: Start your holiday shopping at Holiday in the Plaza, a craft fair taking place December 5th and 6th from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Mission Plaza. Find that one-of-a-kind gift you have been looking for from featured artists and artisans.
- The Nutcracker: The Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo will be performing the Nutcracker at Christopher Cohan Center, December 11th through December 13th. Snag your tickets quick before the Nutcracker sells out to experience this classic, holiday production with your family.
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