A whole day in San Luis Obispo for less than $10

You read that correctly.

A day already planned out for you from start to finish for $10. Start your day off in downtown SLO and end up in Avila Beach while only spending as much as $10 per person. All of the eight places pictured below are free for anyone to visit except for the two restaurants where meals cost about $10 and open to all ages.  Meals can cost more or less.

Below is your plan for the day in pictures. Start the gallery by clicking on the first photo.


SLO Good Desserts

To accompany the glorious weather and stroll through downtown San Luis Obispo, you need a sweet treat. Here are a few places to enjoy unique desserts.


How do fresh cookies and ice cream sound? The downtown San Luis Obispo “hole in the wall” business, Batch, sells make-your-own old fashioned ice cream sandwiches.

The smell of cookies takes over your taste buds as soon as you walk in and the small layout gives a homemade feel.

Start by choosing a cookie and a flavor of ice cream. The batch of cookies made varies from week to week. This week’s were:

  • chocolate chip
  • oatmeal
  • peanut butter,
  • gluten free fudge
  • fudge

As for ice cream, they offer

  • chocolate
  • strawberry
  • vanilla
  • chocolate chip
  • Irish cream
  • butterfinger
  • coconut
  • pomegranate & lemon sorbet

To top of your sandwich you can add mini chocolate chips, crushed malt balls, rainbow sprinkles, mini marshmallows, nuts, potato chips, pretzels, or toffee.

If you’re overwhelmed by the choices, Batch employee, Amber, recommends having chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream or oatmeal with strawberry ice cream.

Ice cream sandwiches are $4.00, cookies and milk is $3.50, a root beer float is $3.50, a dozen cookies is $6, and a single cookie is 75¢. They are open everyday at 12 pm and close from Thurs. to Sat. at 10 pm, the rest of the days at 9 pm.

They are located at 1108 Broad St. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sandwich from Batch. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas.

Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sandwich from Batch. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas.

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

For a more traditional but edgy ice cream shop, Doc Burnstein’s is the place to be.

Also located in downtown SLO, Burnstein’s makes more than 20 interesting flavors. Ranging from the classic vanilla and chocolate to original flavors from the lab such as Cookie D’oh, Coffee Toffee, and lemon meringue pie.

For the adults, Burnstein’s has flavors like Motor Oil which is a combination of dark chocolate, fudge, and Kahlua. Their Jack Daniel’s flavor tastes just like the liquor and has about a shot per tub.

For St. Patty’s Day, Burnstein’s makes their original Guinness Beer ice cream, for the Christmas season, Reindeer Droppings, and for the 4th of July, Red, White, and Blueberry

Some of their most popular flavors are birthday cake and sea salt caramel, highly recommended by Burnstein’s worker, Kristen, for the first time visitor.

You can order, shakes, malts, root beer floats, and sundaes.

Scoops start at $3 for a mini, $4 for a single, and $5 for a double.

They are open every day at 12 pm and close at 10 pm except for Friday and Saturday, 11 pm.

860 Higuera Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

SloCo Pasty CO.

This downtown SLO restaurant is famous for its pasties. What exactly is a pasty? Simply put by the company, “A pasty (pronounced PASS-tee) is a full meal of your favorite foods wrapped and baked in a delicious pastry crust.”

The pasties are in the shape of a semi-circle and look like a miniature Italian Calzone. They are freshly baked and served hot out of the oven.

Their traditional pasties are filled with steak, ground beef, pork sausage, pork loin, or chicken. The SloCo original pasties have pork loin, chciken curry, tri tip, or marinated chicken. Pasties for the veggie lover are also available.

This post is going to focus on the dessert pasties.

SloCo has four delicious options: Apple Pie, Caramel Apple Cheesake, Cookie Dough & Nutella, and a combination of Nutella, strawberries, & bananas.

The Apple Pie pasty is filled to the brim with large chunks of apples and cinnamon. It is the most popular and recommended for the first time visitor.

The dessert pasties are about $5 and you can add a scoop of ice cream for $1.50.

SloCo is located at 1032 Chorro St. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

They are open everyday at 11 am and close at 9 pm except for Friday and Saturday, 11 pm.

SloCo Apple Pie pasty. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas

SloCo Apple Pie pasty. Picture taken by Ilianna Salas

SLO’s Finest Beach, Budget, and Local Hotels

Visiting a new town can be overwhelming, so the best hotels, inns, and motels have been sorted out for you with the help of Jeanne Cooper from the SF Gate.

Here’s the breakdown:

Best Beach Hotel

The beach city of Cayucos, a 20 minute drive from downtown San Luis Obispo, has generous, sandy beaches and mellow weather. There are a multitude of attractions for the food lover. On the Beach Bed and Breakfast is within a short distance from this town’s attractions including the ocean.

The inn has 14 bedrooms and is only two floors but offers a comfortable stay. It is suggested to book a town-view room to get the most “bang for your buck.” The hotel offers free breakfast and desserts and wine in the afternoon to accompany the sunset.

Rooms start at $149 per night.

The Inn at Avila Beach offers beach view rooms and a large sundeck. Prices start at $149 per night.

Economic Hotels

The Cambria Inns Collection in Cambria (35 minute drive from SLO) offers a variety of options depending on the guest:

For families, the Sand Pebbles Inn is recommended, The Blue Dolphin Inn and Moonstone Cottages are a favorite among couples, and The Castle Inn is for anyone looking for a low-cost stay. Rooms start at about $100 per night.

The Hotel Obispo, a short walk from the SLO train station, offers rooms for as low as $27 a night.

Hotels in San Luis Obispo

The Apple Farm Inn is a hotel and family restaurant offering homemade food with fresh ingredients, a local favorite. The Inn was constructed in 1988 and offers 69 uniquely adorned rooms. Prices start at $99 per night.

The world famous Madonna Inn is popular among travelers with its individually decorated rooms. The hotel offers various excursions such as horseback riding. Rooms start at $189 per night.

For those on a budget, the Trellis Court motel has recently renovated rooms, free rides to the Amtrak, and free hot apple cider in the lobby for guests all day long.

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.

San Luis Obispo- Cheap, Unique, Local Attractions

Photo of Montana de Oro State Park Courtesy of Flickr

Photo of Montana de Oro State Park Courtesy of Flickr

Named the “Happiest City in America” by Oprah Winfrey, San Luis Obispo, CA is filled with natural and picturesque beauty.  San Luis Obispo is surrounded by untouched beaches, local museums, art festivals, intimate music venues, and events unique to San Luis Obispo. This blog is dedicated to finding the inexpensive and fun attractions in San Luis Obispo and the surrounding area like student blog How to Travel on A Budget. This blog will be similar to On the Luce in that it will give the best spots in the area to make the most of your time here in SLO. As the primary and only author of this blog, I will be visiting all places that I present here giving a personal narrative of each attraction like Road Essays. Because I am a resident, this blog will have local perspectives and share the secrets of San Luis Obispo like the student blogs Locally Devine and Cal Poly Bucket List but will have attractions for all ages. This blog will have reviews, recommendations, and visitor            information for various restaurants, activities, and sites in the area.