Looking to impress your family with San Luis Obispo but don’t know where to start? With KCPR’s Guide to Family Weekend, there will never be a dull moment in your schedule.
San Luis Obispo staples
High Street Deli at 350 High St. | 805-541-4738
If you are looking to eat lunch like a SLOcal, grab a sandwich at High Street Deli. This historic spot with a hippie vibe can be found hidden in one of the area’s residential neighborhoods with a line out the door. Known for its one-of-a-kind sandwiches, High Street is not afraid to get messy and serve up huge sandwiches and juicy pickles. Stop by for the “420 Special” between 4:20 and 5:30 p.m. to order any sandwich for $8.50.
Farmers’ Market | 805-541-0286
If you are in town on Thursday, experience a San Luis Obispo tradition and visit the Farmers’ Market. Higuera Street comes alive from 6 to 9 p.m. with the sounds of live music as well as excited students and community members. Shoppers can get their fix of locally grown fresh produce, handmade art and jewelry, and information from local groups while strolling down the street. You can also spot vendors serving up made-to-order food such as barbecue, quesadillas and churros. Eat and shop local while enjoying this weekly market!
Avila Valley Barn at 560 Avila Beach Dr. | 805-595-2816
Get into the fall spirit by picking out pumpkins and enjoying a slice of pie at Avila Valley Barn. Throughout October, this rustic farm has fall-themed activities for the whole family. Visitors can wander through the hay maze and sample treats such as caramel apples and roasted corn. Animal lovers can check out the petting zoo and feed the goats. On your way out, grab a souvenir or some fresh produce to savor the flavor of San Luis Obispo.
The Tri-Tip Challenge at 1001 Higuera St. | 805-783-1001
Try out this hiking challenge by summiting three of San Luis Obispo’s most famous peaks: Cerro San Luis (Madonna Mountain), Bishop Peak and The “P” on Cal Poly’s campus. After reaching the top of each one, head down to Firestone Grill and order a tri-tip sandwich to fully complete the challenge!
The Madonna Inn at 100 Madonna Rd. | 805-543-3000
This historic hotel is known for its themed rooms and famous “Pink Champagne Cake.” Established in 1958, The Madonna Inn is a site where visitors can book a room, eat at the Copper Cafe and Gold Rush Steakhouse, and stroll around the grounds. Its elaborate decor and bakery filled with cakes and pastries make it a place worth visiting.
Dinner downtown by cuisine
Craving a big bowl of pasta after a full day of touring San Luis Obispo? Downtown San Luis Obispo’s Italian selection has the power to impress the whole family. Giuseppe’s Cucina Italiana is a local favorite that serves up handmade pasta, pizza, desserts and more. Its original location is in Pismo Beach, but San Luis Obispo was lucky enough to have a location open downtown. Their fall menu includes mouthwatering dishes such as seafood risotto and Sicilian pistachio cheesecake, and their year-round offerings include classics like carbonara and a wide variety of pizzas. 849 Monterey St. | 805-541-9922
Mama’s Meatball can also be found downtown, and they specialize in freshly baked pizza dough and bread. House-made garlic knots are included with every meal, and they can be followed by dishes like Ravioli di Zucca (butternut squash ravioli) or Ossobuco (braised veal shank). You can also end your meal with tiramisu or homemade gelato. 570 Higuera St., Suite 130 | 805-544-0861
Downtown San Luis Obispo is home to two iconic pizza spots: Woodstock’s and Flour House. Woodstock’s Pizza is an award-winning independent pizzeria chain with an 80s vibe. Their “Zesty Red Sauce,” or any sauce of your choosing, is rolled under the edge of the crust, ensuring some sauce in every bite. Woodstock’s continuously offers deals such as student discounts and lunch specials. 1000 Higuera St. | 805-541-4420
For an Italian pizza experience, Flour House cooks up authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. Cooked in clay ovens, Flour House creates chewy crusts that are topped with fresh ingredients. Both restaurants have options for those with dietary restrictions and allergies, and their menu items are customizable. Grab a slice (or a whole pie for yourself) at either of these SLO staple pizza spots! 690 Higuera St. | 805-544-5282
If you are in the mood for classic BBQ or tavern-style food, Downtown San Luis Obispo has a few spots to satisfy your cravings. Old San Luis BBQ takes pride in its Santa Maria-style BBQ, specializing in chicken, pulled pork, and tri-tip. Pair one of their sandwiches or sliders with a craft beer or a salad, and pick it up at their window. 3870-3 Broad St. | 805-242-6439
Finney’s Crafthouse has food meant for sharing, incorporating flavors from places around the world. This is shown through dishes like their Moroccan salad and poke nachos. There is plenty of seating inside and outside, and you can soak up the tavern vibe while sharing a meal with your family. San Luis Obispo has spots for both traditional BBQ and new-age American cuisine. 857 Monterey St. | 805-439-2556
If you are looking for quality sushi or unforgettable Thai food, Downtown San Luis Obispo has places for you! Reviews displayed on the Goshi Sushi website rave about the ambiance of the restaurant and the high-quality fish. They serve rolls, nigiri, sashimi and other main courses for those not in the mood for sushi. 570 Higuera St., Suite 155 | 805-543-8942
Thai Palace has a plethora of curries, noodle dishes, meat entrees and vegan and vegetarian options. They even have pineapple fried rice that is served in the pineapple! The restaurant itself is dimly lit and filled with enthusiastic diners, and it offers up the chance for a casual meal or an elegant night out. Flavors and quality ingredients are prioritized by these two spots. 1015 Court St. | 805-594-1744
Dessert and drinks
McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams at 868 Monteret St. | 805-439-5055
has an array of flavors that can suit anything you’re in the mood for. They have traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla, but they are not afraid to expand the horizons of flavor. You can find flavors such as “Chocolate Covered Strawberry” and “Sweet Cream Caramel Brownie.” They also create vegan flavors like “Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch” and “Passion Fruit Lemon Swirl.”
SloDoCo Donuts at 793 East Foothill Blvd. | 805-782-9766
is part of the San Luis Obispo and student culture. They boast a variety of over 100 types of donuts sold daily, and they serve up donuts to fit anyone’s dietary restrictions. SloDoCo creates various flavors of traditional, vegan, and gluten-free donuts that are one of a kind. Their flavors include classics like chocolate and glazed, but they also create unique donuts such as “Milk and Cookies” and “Chai Cream Cheese.” Their October menu features spooky designs and fall flavors. Swing by SloDoCo for an unforgettable donut experience!
Sidecar Cocktail Co. at 1040 Broad St. | 805-439-3563
Wanting both a drink and an experience? Sidecar mixologists create craft cocktails that are custom-made to your preferences. They have a menu of drinks — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — but also serve custom cocktails upon request. Customers can tell their mixologist what they like and do not like in a drink, and they can be surprised by the creation they are served! Sidecar also serves food.
What to do
Cal Poly vs Eastern Washington football game
This Satuday, Cal Poly will play Eastern Washington in the Alex G. Spanos Stadium at 5:05 p.m. Show your school spirit and make sure to wear your Cal Poly green. They will also be giving out cowbells for the first 4000 fans who show up!
Battle Axe at 691 Higuera St. | 805-439-1700
Tap into your competitive side with a family axe-throwing competition! After booking a session and watching a demonstration, let the games begin. This indoor venue is a newer entertainment spot in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it is a great opportunity to try a new activity with the whole family.