Valentine’s Day

Because it is named the Happiest town in America, SLO is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway for the blossoming relationship or for those who want to rekindle that spark. To make it easy on you, Valentine’s Day has been broken down for you into three sections: the hotels, activities, and restaurants. All you need to do is chose and book.Untitled Infographic (1)

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Free Food, Wine, and Fun – Art After Dark

art and wine

Copyright free image courtesy of Jan Watt. Illustrated by Ilianna Salas

Every first Friday of the month more than 25 San Luis Obispo downtown businesses invite various artists to showcase and share their work with the public. More than a thousand visitors enjoy free wine, art, and food at Art After Dark in San Luis Obispo, CA. The artwork ranges from paintings and photography to performing artists.  All exhibits are free and the beverages and food that some businesses offer are also free to the public. Artwork and artisan crafts can be purchased at some locations.

The artists that are featured vary from month to month. To give a general idea of the type of artists featured; For the month of January, the Human Kind Fair Trade shop hosted Abbey Onikoyi, a descendant of Nigerian royalty whose abstract art depicts vibrant colors and movement inspired by the spirit of Africa. Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates had Nancy Koren, a multimedia artist and photographer, and did not disappoint with their signature Mama Ganache artisan chocolates and wine. The Art’s Obispo website has the full list and descriptions of featured artists and participating businesses.

Everyone from local college students from Cal Poly to the elderly attend this event.”It’s open to everyone. “That’s the fun part. There is something for everyone.”, said Lori Lerian, Art after Dark Program Director.

Copyright free image of the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission at Mission Plaza courtesy of Jeff Krause. Illustrated by Ilianna Salas

Copyright free image of the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Mission at Mission Plaza courtesy of Jeff Krause. Illustrated by Ilianna Salas

The majority of businesses open for Art After Dark are clustered around Mission Plaza which is on Monterey and Chorro Streets. All together the program spans about two and a half miles, about a 25 minute walk. The event is from 6 to 9 pm.

The full map of participating businesses is located on the Art after Dark website.

The San Luis Obispo Art Museum is a local favorite at this event. The venue serves wine and snacks to the public. San Luis Obispo Art Museum curator, Wendy Walter, says that the museum is one of the most popular venues and brings in more than 1,500 visitors a month.

Program director, Lerian, recommends also visiting the Hands Gallery, Steynberg Gallery, and Linnaea’s Cafe.

The program runs throughout the year except in the month of December or if the first Friday of the month is a holiday. The remaining dates for 2015 are as follows February 6, March 6, April 3, May 1, June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4, October 2, and November 7.

It is recommended to arrive at least 20 minutes ahead of time to find parking. The downtown area is extremely busy on Friday nights. Street parking is available but often difficult to find. There are two parking structures available for visitors to park in, one located at 881 Marsh St. and the other at 919 Palm St.

The program is sponsored by Arts Obispo, the San Luis Obispo Arts Council. For more information on the program, a printed listing, or a map, Arts Obispo is open Monday through Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and at 1123 Mill Street.