Culture all around you!
Just walking in San Luis Obispo is worth while. You'll see a lot of nice old buildings like Fremont Theatre and Louis Store.
When we left the town we heared that the Thursday evening is the best evening to be in San Luis Obispo, because it's "Farmer's Market". All the inhabitants will go to Higuera Street to party and have a huge barbecue.
no drive thrus
If you're in SLO and you need a fast food fix, don't expect you can just drive up to any, because there aren't any drive thrus in SLO, AT ALL. Just another exhibit of the community's power. I believe they felt it would take away from slo's downtown character, so hence no drive thrus. that's fine, we need the exercise anyways. . . . a short walk to get that greasy food, and a short walk back to your car.
Climb Bishop's Peak
Bishop's Peak is a hill within blocks from the Cal Poly campus, so it's popular for the more nature oriented students who go rock climbing and hiking there. I wasn't prepared for how strenuous the climb would be. As a younger person, I was exhaused and quite sore the next day. This would be a great day activity for the moderate to active hiker. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the top, but it was worth the view (see picture). At first the trail goes through a cow pasture (with cows roaming free! A surprise for this city girl), then through a foresty area, to scrub and brush. Finally at the top there are numerous rock outcroppings which you can climb for a great view. Part rock climbing, part hiking, part nature watch, this is an excellent activity for visitors or college students as a study break. Just a warning--bring sunscreen and sunglasses if it's sunny!
For an extra treat, try climbing Bishop's at night (bring a flashlight). I climbed up in the summer and it was very warm and pleasant. BEAUTIFUL view from the top where you can look down at all the lights of the city. At the very top there is a flat rock you can lie on and when I went the weather was perfect for stargazing. Definitely worth it.
Thursday night farmer's market
Every Thursday night is Farmer's Market in downtown San Luis Obispo. Year round, most of the restaurants come out and set up their booths so you can sample everything if you want. On one side is the food and fresh produce, on the other side are jewelry booths, people selling newspapers, giving out almond samples, etc. There's also music. Great place for both college kids and locals. Higuera Street closes down just for this, and the stores stay open later that evening too.
Shin’s was opened in 2004 by the same people who own Yamato in Grover Beach. In addition to traditional nigiri and sashimi and cut rolls, Shin’s offers specialty rolls too. My favorites are the Crunch Roll (tempura shrimp, avocado, eel sauce) and the Yellowrin (spicy yellowtail topped with more yellowtail and avocado). It’s not the absolute best or most original sushi in the world, but for the price, Shin’s quality is very good. If one of your companions doesn’t like sushi or fish, let them know there are other Japanese foods (e.g. udon, oyako-don, tonkatsu) on the menu, though most patrons do order sushi.
The atmosphere is very casual and the dining area is often populated with college students and families alike. If it is your birthday, they will play this funky mostly unintelligible birthday song over the sound system, give you a free mochi (with a candle in it) and take a Polaroid of you. Your friends can then write on the photo and the staff will later hang it up on the wall alongside all the other past birthday people.
Nights and weekends sometimes get packed. If it is, just go in and one of the staff will come over and put your name on the list. The longest I’ve ever waited was 30 minutes. Even on busy nights, service is rather fast and, for the most part, friendly. Wait staff is comprised mostly of college students.
You can call in a to-go order, too, and go picnic somewhere else or eat in the comfort of your hotel room. Every time I go, I usually get
- 1 yellowtail cut roll,
- 1 nigiri of some kind (usually eel),
- 1 specialty roll from the menu (such as the Crunch or Yellowrin),
- 1 something from the specials board behind the sushi bar
I think I order a lot compared to other people. What can I say? I am a glutton. I also like to take some home with me for a midnight snack. If I also get sake, I usually end up paying around $30, so I'd say you can get a filling meal here for less than $20.