Things To Do in San Luis Obispo (SLO)
Family Events in SLO County
Upcoming 2023 Events
Through December 24, 2023 - Holiday Plaza & Santa's House Downtown San Luis Obispo at 12PM. Here's my video clip of my walk through Holiday Plaza when Mission Plaza is transformed with Christmas lights last year below. Press the play button.
See Santa's House Hours for pictures between 11/24 - 12/24. Address: 989 Chorro St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Selected Dates in December - Christmas At The Ranch at Santa Margarita Ranch. Train ride tickets vary as there are two different trains. Each passenger ticket comes with hot cocoa and a cookie. Each train ride is 30 minutes long. Diesel Locomotive and Open-Air Train Cars tickets are $25 per adult and $15 per child. The Historic 1800s Steam Train with Rides Inside the Original Disneyland Coaches tickets are $35 per adult and $20 per child. Babies who are 2 years old and under are free. Tickets and FAQs. Address: 9000 Yerba Buena Ave., Santa Margarita, CA 93453. I've been to this ranch before. See my Youtube short video below at Santa Margarita Ranch.
Through December 2023 - Field of Lights in Sensorio (famous art light installations) in Paso Robles is open from Thurs - Sat evenings or Thurs - Sun evenings, depending on the month. Weather permitting only as it's all outdoors. See my videos and photos that I took at Sensorio.
Through December 23, 2023 - Cambria Christmas Market by Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria, California. There is an admission cost per person. Enjoy 2+ million Christmas lights, Vendor Market, festive food & drink, visits from Santa, live music and more! You can view my Youtube Short of my walk through Cambria Christmas Market last year (press play below).
I've visited this famous Christmas Market in Cambria with my family. See my IG video reel that I created from my Cambria Christmas Market visit. This is a ticketed event or if you book a room at Cambria Pines Lodge, then it is inclusive. Learn more about Cambria and my brunch experience at Cambria Pines Lodge. Address: 905 Burton Dr. Cambria, California 93428
December 1, 2023 (Fri) - 47th Annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade in Downtown San Luis Obispo at 7PM.. Nearly 90 decorated floats, marching bands, vehicles, dancers and more. Address for GPS: 811 Higuera St., San Luis Obispo Obispo, CA 93401
December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at 3:30PM in Morro Bay. Enjoy the lighting of the Morro Bay City Park tree for the holidays! Activities begin at 3:30PM. Lighting of the Tree will be at 5:00pm. Address: 734 Harbor St., Morro Bay, CA 93442
December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Santa's Coming to the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. Morro Bay, CA 93442Embarcadero & Front St.,
December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Holiday Harmony at Pismo Beach from 5:30PM - 7:30PM. Free entry event by the City of Pismo Beach. Lighting ceremony starts at 6PM. Snow, cookie decorating and bounce houses. Go towards the Pismo Beach Pier and you will see all of the festivities. We went to this event last year. See a picture of a holiday bounce house that my kids got to enjoy there (below). See the most recent pictures and videos that I've taken at Pismo Beach on my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanluisobispomom/reels/
Address for GPS: 100 Pomeroy Ave. Pismo Beach, CA 93449
December 1, 2023 (Fri) - Annual Light Up The Downtown Holiday Celebration from 5:30PM - 8PM at Sunken Gardens in Downtown Atascadero. Enjoy an evening of community entertainment, Santa, complimentary Model-A-Firetruck & Hay Rides, hot chocolate, and more! Address: 6505 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422
December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Breakfast with Santa in Morro Bay Vet's Hall from 9AM - 11AM. $10 per ticket and includes pancake breakfast with hot cocoa bar, entry in the Elf Workshop with crafts, gift making, cookie decorating, face painting, mini gingerbread house station and photos with Santa. Address: 209 Surf St., Morro Bay, CA 93442
December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Grover Beach Holiday Parade at 10AM. After the Parade, Santa's workshop activities for kids begin at Ramona Park in Grover Beach.
See a picture of Ramona Park that I took below while I was enjoying a concert.
December 2, 2023 (Sat) - 61st Annual Christmas Light Parade at 6PM in Downtown Paso Robles Theme is "All is Bright". Address for GPS: 12th and Spring Streets, Paso Robles, CA 93446
December 2, 2023 (Sat) - Lighted Boat Parade in Morro Bay from 6:00PM - 8PM. Free to watch. Be dazzled as our fishing, leisure and yachting community take to the water with decorated boats with dazzling lights and holiday cheer. Address for easy GPS: 1185 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Templeton Christmas Tree Lighting from 4PM - 7PM organized by Templeton Presbyterian Church at Templeton Park. Itinerary is 4PM: Cookies and Hot Cocoa, 5PM: Santa's Special Visit and 6PM: Tree Lighting and Community Blessing. Address: 550 Crocker St, Templeton, CA 93465
December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Santa Margarita Christmas Tree Lighting at 5PM at Santa Margarita Community Park. Join them in the Santa Margarita Community Park for caroling, cookies, coffee and cocoa as we light our community Christmas Tree. Soup Service, provided by the Santa Margarita Lions Club, starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Santa Margarita Community Hall. Address: 22210 H St, Santa Margarita, CA 93453
December 3, 2023 (Sun) - The Holiday Parade in the Village of Arroyo Grande at 5PM. Address for GPS: 307 E Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 (There's East Branch and West Branch. Make sure you input East.) You can park for free behind the buildings in the village and then walk through one of the alleys. I find that it's easier to find a parking spot behind the buildings than look for street parking there. See one of my alley walks from my free parking spot in the Village in Arroyo Grande.
December 3, 2023 (Sun) - Christmas in Cayucos Tree Lighting at 6PM. Activities include carolers, lighting of the tree, arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus accompanied by fire engines and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Address: Corner of Ocean Ave & D Street, Cayucos, CA 93430
December 6, 2023 (Wed) - Santa's Sleigh at Centennial Park in Paso Robles by Paso Robles Police Department from 6PM - 7:30PM. Come join your local police officers and firefighters for hot cocoa, candy canes, pictures with Santa, and goody bags! Address: 600 Nickerson Dr., Paso Robles, CA 93446
December 7, 2023 (Thurs) - Santa's Sleigh at Oak Park in Paso Robles by Paso Robles Police Department from 6PM - 7:30PM. Come join your local police officers and firefighters for hot cocoa, candy canes, pictures with Santa, and goody bags! Address: 901 30th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446
December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Tree Lighting Event in Grover Beach at 5PM at Ramona Garden Park. Enjoy hot chocolate, caroling and tree lighting ceremony. In their activity book, they said this event is on a Saturday but on the 2023 calendar, the 8th is on a Friday. Check back on this event as it gets closer to see if they meant to print it for Dec. 9th instead or contact City of Grover Beach. Address: 993 Ramona Ave, Grover Beach, CA 93433
December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Christmas Tree Lighting in Los Osos at 5PM. Dazzling lights, festive music, and the most epic holiday vibe. Address: 2180 Palisades Ave, Los Osos, CA 93402
December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Police Department Open House & Toy Drive at Grover Beach Police Department from 5PM - 8PM. Join them for cookies, cocoa and coffee and take a tour of Grover Beach Police Department! On this night, they will be hosting a special toy drive. All toys collected during the open house will go to the Boys and Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County! Come meet their staff, enjoy some cookies and cocoa, and check out their department and some of the vehicles! Address: 711 Rockaway Ave., Grover Beach, Ca 93433
December 8, 2023 (Fri) - Winter Wonderland in Atascadero from 5PM - 9PM. Atascadero’s Sunken Gardens and the entire downtown will be transformed into a magical snowy paradise! 75 Tons of snow will create a massive snow slide (brought to you by Kiwanis), and two large snow pile areas for the kids! This year’s snow-themed event includes Joe’s Little Train (operated by the Elks Club of Atascadero), bungee jumps, obstacle courses, community entertainment, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more! Address: 6505 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422
December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Breakfast with Santa at Tar Creek Ranch from 8:30AM - 11AM in Arroyo Grande.
Tickets are $15 a person and includes breakfast, photo with Santa, holiday activities, crafts, music and more. View a video reel of my past visit during the Halloween season at Tar Creek Ranch: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVJJwH7BIpq/ Address: 2514 Huasna Rd, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Santa Margarita Stroll from 5PM - 8PM. You can visit Santa at the Educated Gardener from 5PM - 7:30PM. 22210 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita, CA 93453
December 9, 2023 (Sat) - Annual Cayucos Christmas Open House from 5PM - 8PM. Enjoy free rides on a horse-drawn Calistoga wagon or tractor-pulled wagon. Craft tent and The Grinch will be there for photo opportunities. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Victorian home at "D" St. & Ocean Avenue. All activities are free sponsored by the Cayucos Chamber of Commerce. GPS Address: N Ocean Ave & D St, Cayucos, CA 93430
See a picture of the pier around the holidays during my walk along Cayucos Pier below.
December 10, 2023 (Sun) - Tree Lighting & Snow at Elm Street in Arroyo Grande from 5PM - 7PM. Free event. Santa tree lighting, food and toy drive, snow, s'mores table, food vendors, photos with Santa and more. Address: 1221 Ash St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
December 14, 2023 (Thurs)- Tin City Forklift Parade and Holiday Shopping in Paso Robles from 5PM - 8PM. Parade starts at 6:30PM. Bring the kids for your complimentary photos with Santa in the Parklet across from Etto and Field Recordings. Address for GPS: 3070 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446
December 16, 2023 (Sat) - Holiday Magic at Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero from 10AM - 1PM. General admission (fee, not free) to the zoo is required.
The zookeepers step in as Santa’s Elves to prepare gifts for the animals. Santa will be at the Zoo to help welcome visitors and deliver gifts to the animals. View pictures that I've taken at Charles Paddock Zoo: http://www.sanluisobispomom.com/blog/charles-paddock-zoo Address: 9100 Morro Road, Atascadero, CA 93422
December 25, 2023 (Mon) - Merry Christmas!
♥Staycation Experiences Around San Luis Obispo County:
- Read about my staycation at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.
- Read about my staycation at Granada Hotel & Bistro in Downtown San Luis Obispo.
- Read about my staycation at The Carlton in Atascadero.
- Read about my mineral springs spa soaks at Sycamore Mineral Springs & Spa and my romantic lunches there.
- Read bout my staycation at La Quinta Inn in Downtown San Luis Obispo and my dining visit at the restaurant next-door called 1865 Craft House.
December 31, 2023 (Sun) - New Year's Eve Bonfire in Downtown City Park in Paso Robles from 7PM - 11PM. Free community-wide New Year's Eve celebration. The ball will drop at 9PM. Address for GPS: Spring St &, 12th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446
SUGGESTED SAN LUIS OBISPO (SLO) ATTRACTIONS:
- Charles Paddock Zoo -- Read my blog review
- Avila Valley Barn -- Read my blog review
- Hearst Castle -- Read my blog review
- San Luis Obispo Children's Museum -- Read my blog review
- Central Coast Aquarium -- Read my blog review
- San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum -- Learn more
- Paso Robles Children's Museum -- Read my blog review
- Exploration Discovery Center -- Read my blog review
- Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay -- Learn more
Free Things To Do in SLO
Monarch Butterfly Grove
Bubblegum AlleyBubble Gum Alley in Downtown San Luis Obispo is always free to explore! The walls are filled with bubble gum and you are welcome to add to the collection. Address: 733 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Avila-Pismo Beach Trolley
Elephant Seals in San Simeon
Playgrounds for Kids in SLO County
Sinsheimer Park in san Luis Obispo
Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo is huge with a large playground area and a green hill where kids use cardboards to slide down. They have a lot of sitting areas and a large parking lot. Address: 900 Southwood Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo
Located in downtown San Luis Obispo is Mitchell Park with a large playground, picnic tables and public restrooms. Parking is street parking. Address: 1400 Osos St, San Luis Obispo, CA 9340
Meadow Park in San Luis Obispo
Playground at SLO Botanical Garden in San Luis Obispo
During normal days, you'd have to pay to enter SLO Botanical Garden but every month, they host a free Family Day where everyone gets in for free. Once you enter the gates, next to the SLO Botanical Garden is a large playground with a parking area and benches. It's typically quiet when my kids and I come here. They have swings, slides, and it's very spacious. We would hang out at the Children's Garden at the SLO Botanical Garden first on Free Family Days and then end up at this playground. See my Instagram video reel of my SLO Botanical Garden adventure with my kids. Address: 3450 Dairy Creek Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Dinosaurs Caves Park in Pismo Beach
Chumash Park in Pismo Beach
Spyglass Park in Shell Beach
Avila Beach Park
16th Street Park in Grover Beach
16th Street Park is the largest park with a playground in Grover Beach. They only have one section as a playground, unlike other playgrounds that separate them for the little ones. It is meant to be in all-inclusive playground. I'd be wary about bringing little kids as my younger son has been buillied by older kids who were hanging around the area. One time, two older kids (maybe Middle School age) approached one of my sons and was encouraging him to try drugs if he wanted to "feel special". It was so sad that this happened. My son told me right away and I made sure I was right next to him. Those older boys were throwing around slurs and saying a lot of bad stuff that I know most parents do not want their little ones to hear. I'm not saying I would expect it to happen often but a couple of extremely bad experiences is enough to make me be a little hesitant to bring my little boys here. I have not encountered problems like this at any other park that I've visited. Address: 16th Street & Mentone Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433
Hero Park in Grover Beach
Elm Street Park/City of Arroyo Grande Parks & Recreation Park
Also known as Elm Street Dog Park, this has both a playground and dog park. There is also a Park & Recreation building there that has preschools and special programs for kids. Throughout the year, the City of Arroyo Grande would host special events here for the public. Address: 1221 Ash St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Rancho Grande Playground and Park in Arroyo Grande
Rancho Grande Park is one of the bigger parks in San Luis Obispo County that is very kid-friendly. It's a bit isolated and in a hilly part of a residential area in Arroyo Grande. It has two separate playgrounds with a small section for the little ones. Many families host birthday parties here. Address: 500 James Way, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Lopez Lake Playground in Arroyo Grande
Located at the Lopez Lake Recreation Area that is run by San Luis Obispo County, this playground is convenient for those who are camping there or hanging out for the day. There is an entrance fee to enter this county park. During the summer, they open up their Mustang Waterpark, which is an additional fee. Read our review of Mustang Waterpark. If you drive an electric car, make sure you charge your vehicle ahead of time as you won't see much anything except for nature for a long bit before reaching this recreation area. Address: 6800 Lopez Drive Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Oceano Playground Park in oceano
Del Mar Park in Morro Bay
Tidelands Playground in Morro Bay
Tidelands Playground does not have the traditional playground with swings and slides but it has a ship structure for kids to climb! I love the phenomenal view here of the Morro Rock. It has a large parking lot, which makes it easy. I've chaperoned for a field trip in Morro Bay before and we'd stop here for lunch. It was ample room for three classes and it could fit a lot more, easily. Address: 301 EmbarcaderoMorro Bay, CA 93442
Atascadero Lake Park
Located in Atascadero and next to the Charles Paddock Zoo is a large green park with a playground and a nice lake. The playground makes it very convenient for the kids after the zoo. They don't sell food at the zoo so you can bring a picnic here at this park (right outside the zoo) and enjoy a little a break. Address for GPS: 9100 Morro Rd, Atascadero, CA 93422
Nipomo Regional Park in Nipomo
Located on the outer edge of San Luis Obispo County is Nipomo. Nipomo Regional Park is the largest park of the bunch as it's also a sport complex. Every year, local organizations host special events to the public here. I've been to an Easter egg hunt a few times with my kids and we'd always have a great time. Address: 904 W Tefft St, Nipomo, CA 93444
Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park in Paso Robles
Lawrence "Larry" Moore Park is located in a residential area that is near Wal Mart in Paso Robles. They have trails that you can walk on, a playground, basketball courts, and a soccer field. It doesn't have swings but it has a couple of small slides. There is street parking right by the park. Address: 155 Riverbank Ln, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Downtown City Park in Paso Robles
Every time that we are in the downtown area of Paso Robles, it's a mandatory visit to the playground the Downtown City Park. It has swings, slides, areas designated for little ones and also a seesaw that fits 4 kids. Close to a lot of restaurants, shops, wine tasting rooms and even a movie theater, this is very centralized playground. It is street parking and on very busy tourist seasons, it can be hard to find parking. Address: Spring St &, 12th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446
San Luis (SLO) Lighthouse
To see more pictures of Central Coast Aquarium taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com, click here.
Avila Beach PIER
This pier is my favorite of all the piers at Avila Beach. See pictures that I've taken at Harford Pier/Port San Luis Pier. Address for GPS: 3950 Avila Beach Drive, Avila Beach, CA
Pismo BeachThe most famous SLO beach is Pismo Beach and attracts the majority of the tourists who come to this area. Come to the Pismo Beach Pier to take in some beautiful ocean views.
With clean beaches, a lot of shops and restaurants, many tourists, local families and surfers come to Pismo Beach for a nice day out. The boardwalk is also a nice stroll along the beach in Pismo Beach.
Oceano Dunes, part of Pismo State Beach, is only 3 miles south of Pismo Beach. Read more about Oceano, California.
HotShots Billiards & Family Entertainment at Pismo BeachDon't let the word Billiards throw you off from coming here with your kids! They have a lot of arcade games in the back with some centered on little ones! You can buy food or draft beer while the kids have some fun.
It's very close to the Pismo Beach Pier. You can park in the beach parking lot there and walk here. We came here with the little ones around 8pm and it is still family-friendly.
There is never an admission fee to enter the game area. Bring your quarters. Otherwise, bring cash to dispense some quarters here. Address: 250 Pomeroy Ave, Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Grover Beach and Sand Dunes Beach Entry
If you are planning on spending a long time at the beach here, walk to this entry point by parking down the intersection where there is public parking available, behind Fin's Restaurant. See more beach pictures of Grover Beach taken by SanLuisObispoMom.com
Grover Beach Playground on 16th Street
Check out the weekly farmer's market here as well. Link to Morro Bay's SLO farmer's market info and other markets in SLO.
You can't miss it and this volcanic plug attracts many tourists. There is a beachside right by the rock too and a trail that you can walk around alongside.
Always free. See more photos of Morro Rock. GPS Address: 1300 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA, 93442
Morro Bay Trolley
Paso Robles Children's Museum
The Paso Robles Children's Museum is a two story museum located in the downtown area of Paso Robles. It may be a bit intimidating for the smaller toddlers but it's still a great place for the kids if you're nearby. See more pictures of our visits at Paso Robles Children's Museum in this blog post. It is much smaller than the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum only open a few days out of the week, depending on their staff coverage for the season. Address: 623 13th St,Paso Robles, California 9344
The Ravine Waterpark (only open during summer season)
They offer active-duty military discount with valid military ID. Address: 2301 Airport Rd., Paso Robles, California 93446
California Mid-State Fair
With carnival rides, hundreds of vendors and great eats, it's fun for the whole family. Address: 2198 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446
Sensorio Field of Lights
Free Story Time
San Luis Obispo County Library Story Times
Barnes & Noble Bookstore Story Times
SLO Farmers Markets (ongoing weekly as weather permits)
San Luis Obispo Farmers Market in downtownSan Luis Obispo Farmers Market in Downtown is iconic to the Central Coast and takes place every Thursday from 6PM - 8:30PM from November - February and 6PM - 9PM from March - October on Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 between Nipomo and Osos. Seasonally, Chorro Street and Broad Street may also be in use.
San Luis Obispo Market on madonna RoadThe San Luis Obispo Market near Madonna Inn is at address: 325 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 (World Market/Embassy Suites parking lot) in the middle of a large shopping center and take place on Saturday mornings from 8AM - 10:45AM.
Morro Bay Farmers MarketMorro Bay Farmers Market is located at Spencer’s Fresh Markets parking lot at address: 2650 Main St., Morro Bay, CA 93442 takes place on Thursday afternoons takes place from 2PM - 4:30PM.
Pismo Beach Farmers MarketPismo Beach Farmers Market takes place right by the beach at Pismo Beach Pier at Pomeroy and Hinds Ave., Pismo Beach, CA 93440 every Wednesday from 4PM - 7PM between April - September only.
Arroyo Grande Village Farmers MarketThe Arroyo Grande Village Farmers Market takes place in old downtown Arroyo Grande at address: 193 Olohan Alley, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 takes place on Saturday Afternoons from noon - 2:30PM.
Arroyo Grande Smart & Final Parking Lot Farmers MarketThe Arroyo Grande Smart & Final Farmers Market is conveniently located at Smart & Final parking lot at address: 1464 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420 and takes place on Wednesday mornings from 8:30AM - 11AM.
Nipomo Swap Meet & Flea MarketNipomo Swap Meet & Flea Market is fun and takes place every Sunday from 6AM - 6PM, weather permitting. They also have train rides called Choo Choo Safari inside the vicinity! It's great for kids! You pay a car entry fee of $4 to enter the Swap Meet & Flea Market to park. They have fresh produce, awesome Mexican food options all around the area and good yard sale type finds. Address: 263 N Frontage Rd, Nipomo, CA 93444
Paso Robles Children's Museum
Charles Paddock Zoo
San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum
The Ravine Waterpark
Museum of Natural History - Morro Bay
Morro Bay's Morro Rock is one of the more famous landmarks of San Luis Obispo County. Read my blog entry about Morro Bay. Address of Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay: 20 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA 93442
Birthday Party Ideas
Pacific Flips Gymnastics Birthday Party
They set up 2 tables ahead of time per your reservation and you just bring your decoraton. For more pictures and details, read about our detailed experience in this Pacific Flips Birthday blog entry.
Central Coast Aquarium Birthday
To see more pictures of the aquarium, read our review blog entry of Central Coast Aquarium.