San Luis Obispo is a jewel in the central coast area. Worth visiting if you are in the Los Angeles or San Francisco Area. Amtrak runs trains to SLO every day. For me, going to SLO from Los Angeles gives you an ocean view ride for most of the way. Stay overnight and you can get the afternoon train back to LA. A tip is that you sit on the left side going from LA to SLO and the right side back down to LA.
The Pacific Ocean never looked better. A great portion of the train ride is next to the ocean. Going up, I took the Pacific Surfliner. The real benefit to the Surfliner is the earlier start in the morning. The train itself to choose is the Coast Starlight that leaves a little later in the morning, as it has a dome lounge car and a dining car.
The SLO Trolley operates in downtown San Luis Obispo Thursdays through Sundays.
SLO Trolley Ride free on the Downtown San Luis Obispo Trolley which makes a complete loop of downtown every 15 minutes.
During the day, parking your car on the streets downtown will require you to feed the meters. If you’re going to be there for a long time, you might as well park at one of the two parking garages. Both parking garages give you one free hour and then charge a small hourly fee for any additional hours—something like 75 cents to maybe a dollar.
Parking Garage 1: On Palm Street, between Chorro and Morro.
Parking Garage 2: On Marsh Street, between Chorro and Morro.*
* Marsh is a one-way street, heading east, so drive from the Chorro side to get into the garage.
Another option is to park further away from downtown, in residential areas. It would only add 5 minutes to your walk if you were lucky enough to even find an open spot.
At night, after 6pm, street meters are free. Parking garages are still open, too, but they still cost money.
Avoid driving through downtown SLO on Thursday nights between 5 and 10pm. Higuera Street, which runs right through the downtown area, is closed down to vehicular traffic for Farmer’s Market.
Check out my homemade map. Don't drive anywhere within the orangey-tan border. Driving ON the orangey-tan line is okay. And I forgot to draw it in, but Marsh is a one-way east-bound street.
There will be signs anyway telling you you can't drive that way for the night, but sometimes even locals forget and have to detour around instead of driving straight through.