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Weekender: Eat, Play, Stay in San Luis Obispo

Lani Conway | May 23, 2013 | Story

In recent days, “SLO Life” in San Luis Obispo is about more than outdoor adventures and chilled-out, flip-flop strolls through town. With the recent arrival of downtown’s first vintage-inspired boutique hotel, it looks like the relaxed Central Coast city is tossing in a bit more trend. But if the outdoors are still your thing, there’s still plenty of that to go around.

STAY: Unpack at the new Granada Hotel & Bistro, which just added 17 Gatsby-era boutique rooms complete with exposed brick and plush velvet chairs just a stroll from downtown. In the morning, wither away lingering tension with a soothing Ayurveda massage from the comforts of their small candlelit room.

EAT: Once you’re refreshed, pop into Bliss CafĂ© for an energizing coconut milk smoothie infused with chia seeds, hemp, cinnamon, and almond butter—fuel for the hike ahead. For more power, pack a local cheese and charcuterie picnic from Meze Market or dine on farm-to-table delights like the fresh Tuscan kale salad at Big Sky Cafe. For dinner, share global-inspired tapas at the Luna Red while tapping your toes to everything from Rock and Roll to Jazz.

SIP: Before nightfall, glam up at the Granada Hotel’s intimate yet trendy restaurant patio. Life is good when sipping on a watermelon vodka cocktail infused with fresh lemon and basil. From there, pub crawl or wine imbibe down Higuera Street, or go for dive at McCarthy’s Irish Pub. The drinks are stiff and the juke box always blasting.

PLAY: Head to the fringe of town and conquer the insanely steep, but short, trek up Bishop Peak’s two-mile switchbacks. Your reward is incomparable views of the city’s rocky peaks and the ocean beyond, and not a skyscraper in site. If hiking isn’t your thing, cruise the Madonna Inn’s short but scenic trail, or pedal past the dozens of local wineries (and maybe stop for a glass of Chardonnay, or two) along the 15-mile Edna Valley loop. When your tired muscles need a rest, grab an ice cream cone and lounge the day away on the sun soaked shores of nearby Avila Beach.

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