As a student in the quaint and cute small town of San Luis Obispo, I know first hand that there are many things you’ll regret not doing at Cal Poly SLO. From the scenic drives, to the beach days spent under the sun amongst friends, and even the hikes that will take your breath away; there are 15 VERY important things you must do while you attend Cal Poly SLO.
1. Go to the drive-in movies
This is imperative to do at some point throughout your college career because not only is a movie always more enjoyable in the outdoors underneath the stars, but it is a great way to spend time with your college friends. A lot of people have also never been to a drive-in movie, so just the thought of one can make the film that much more exciting.
2. Visit Montaño de Oro
The windy roads and pit-stops that overlook the sea should be enough to make one want to adventure to this one of kind spot off of Los Osos road in SLO. It is the perfect get away for a quick day of sight seeing and fun-filled memories. There are numerous places to park at and overlook the ocean as well as a sandy shoreline where you can dip your toes in the water at the end of the drive.
Montaño De Oro adventures. Photo by Megan Leece
3. Sight see at Pirates Cove
Whether or not you come with some friends or with a burrito in hand, Pirates Cove is a must. It is a hot-spot for people that are passing through the back roads to get to Avila Beach as well as a great lookout spot that sits high above the sea.
Sunset at Pirates Cove. Photo by Megan Leece
4. Eat out – specifically at these places
There are 4 food places that are arguably the best places in SLO to dine at. I have to admit that San Luis is known for its delicious cuisine, but these specific places that I am about to tell you about outshine your average grab and go place.
The first place known by many sits right downtown in the heart of downtown on Higuera Street. It is called Firestone Grill and is best known for its famous tri-tip sandwich. It is a great place to meet with a large group of people because it is fast and easy!
The second place that is infamous amongst the college crowd is High Street Deli and is of course located on High Street. What a coincidence! It is a tiny little shack perfect for an afternoon lunch, but make no mistake, you better save room for all of that food! Their large sandwiches are to die for.
The final place that always has a line out the door is Taqueria de Santa Cruz. This is popular because it is pretty authentic Mexican food and it is quite cheap! Perfect for the average college student who cannot afford a pricey meal out. I personally enjoy the steak tacos because they are delicious and only $2.50 per taco! It makes for a good and fun date night or a night out with friends.
The infamous High Street Deli sandwich stop. Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/v5kAx1
5. Take a road trip to Big Sur
I cannot say I have done this one yet myself, but I know many who have. Big Sur is supposed to be breath taking. It has waterfall views and scenic hiking as well as camping spots for those who want to make it last longer than a day trip. It is about 2 hours away from San Luis Obispo and is something most students make an effort to do while at Cal Poly.
Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California. Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/X8lDKx
6. SunRISE or SunSET hike at Bishops Peak
Speaking from personal experience, the sunrise hike has been one of my most fond memories at Cal Poly thus far. It is memorable because first of all, it is rare to get college students up that early in the morning to begin with therefore the people that are up there tend to be those who are experiencing it for the first time. Either time of the day works perfectly for this hike because it is true what they say… you are on top of the world! But be aware, this hike is difficult so bring lots of water and friends that will make it worth the while.
Sunrise hike at Bishop Peak. Photo by Megan Leece
7. Swing on at Serenity Swing
If you muster up the courage to do this long but beautiful hike, you may even come across a trampoline which is plotted on one of the nearby hills right underneath the peak of the swing. Once a year, students put a giant open trampoline on one of the peaks of the hills as a fun way to get students out and about. Serenity Swing is a steep hike but once you reach the top, there is a swing and it is one of the prettiest views of San Luis Obispo.
Find serenity at Serenity Swing. Photo by Megan Leece
8. Enjoy a cozy bonfire at Grover/Pismo Beach
The Pismo beach dunes are perfect for cuddling up on a warm night in SLO and setting up a bonfire. They are most fun to do with a big group of friends and the perfect campfire dessert, Smore’s, best accompanies them. It is here where I have some of my fondest story telling moments with my friends on the beach underneath the stars right along side the ocean.
Can’t beat sunsets at Pismo Beach. Photo by Megan Leece
9. Grab yourself a partner and get out there for some Line Dancing at the Grad
Thursday nights are quite lively in good old SLO town due to all of the festivities. One of the most unique things that the Grad offers is line dancing every Thursday night. It attracts people of all ages and people with all different kinds of dance skills. There are many people who go just for fun and then there are the people who know the steps to every single dance. Either way, you are guaranteed a night filled with loud country music, cowboy boots, and plenty of laughter.
Get off your feet and get dancing! Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/8av8On
10. The hidden gem, Prefumo Canyon
The opposite direction of Montaño De Oro, lies what I believe to be a hidden gem in San Luis Obispo. It is called Prefumo Canyon. After all of the rainfall that we have experienced, this spot is magical. It overlooks stretches of green hills and sits just above SLO making it a perfect destination for a good view.
11. Indulge in the pink cake at Madonna Inn
The Madonna Inn is full of life and history. It is an odd place because it makes you feel as though you are in another era. It is here that they serve a one of a kind vanilla-champagne flavored PINK cake. It is perfect for any kind of celebration but more importantly it is fun to cross off your bucket list for out of the ordinary places to see!
Madonna Inn famous pink cake. Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/WenxbM
12. Kayak at Morro Bay
Morro Bay is a fun place to sight see otters while kayaking out on the bay! It is an activity that everyone can participate in and you will end up getting some really cute pictures as well! I did this during my WOW week and we all had the best time bonding together trying to navigate through the waters. This activity is perfect on a sunny morning in SLO.
Morro Bay could not get any prettier. Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/KggPLu
13. Attend the one big sporting event of the year, the UCSB soccer game!
This soccer game is probably the most fun any Mustang will have at a sporting event throughout their college career here. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE attends. Tickets sell out like rapid fire and the games are always packed to the brim and filled with Mustang pride. This usually occurs in the middle of Fall quarter and is a great way to see Mustang spirit right before your eyes.
Mustang Pride. Photo credit: https://goo.gl/images/GvbNad
14. Giddy up for the annual Cal Poly Rodeo!
This annual event is during Spring quarter and people from all over attend it. It is a rowdy event in which people come out to compete as well as show their animal for scores. There are fun activities for the crowd to engage in and delicious food to munch on. Most importantly, you get to support your fellow Cal Poly students!
15. Thursday night Farmers Market
One of SLO’s claims to fame is its adorable farmers market that takes place in the heart of downtown on the main street. People of all ages in the town come out to enjoy good, fresh food as well as listen to live music on the streets as they are walking. The whole town shuts down for it and it is a great way to feel the entire community come together.
- Thursday nights in downtown SLO. Photo Credit: The Tribune
All 15 of these items listed are easy to do and even more importantly, they are 15 things you’ll regret not doing at Cal Poly SLO in your short time here as a college student. I have yet to complete all of them, but they are on my bucket list to complete before I finish my time here. Whether its hiking or beautiful views, SLO has it at all and it is right in our backyards. Get out there and adventure!