From intimate galleries to colorful cultural events, San Luis Obispo (SLO) County offers countless arts experiences sure to spark wonder in visitors of all ages. Located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, scenic San Luis Obispo County is a convenient destination marked by rolling hills, mission-style architecture, and a vibrant arts scene you can truly see, hear, taste and touch.
From the fabulous art collections at Hearst Castle in San Simeon to the wealth of community-wide events where local artists share their works, San Luis Obispo County is a creative wonderland. Whether you’re looking for an intimate afternoon watching the glass-blowers create their glittering wares in Harmony, or in search of laugh-out-loud family fun at the Great American Melodrama, there’s a flavor of art and history that is bound to excite all tastes.
Get in tune with local music concerts & festivals.
Festival Mozaic, which runs July 13-24, brings high-end chamber, classical, jazz, and world music to unique venues across the county, including Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, an ancient hilltop chapel in Shandon and a working fruit ranch in See Canyon. Groove like a local and shake it up with acts at the popular Concerts in the Plaza, a summer-long music series held near Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Community summer concerts series are also held in Templeton Community Park, Atascadero Lake Park, Paso Robles Downtown City Park, Pismo Beach‘s Dinosaur Caves Park, Arroyo Grande’s Heritage Square Park, and Grover Beach‘s Ramona Garden Park, many of which offer food, wine and beer vendors.
Community Events & Street Fairs
Experience local color with community events and street fairs.
On August 27-28, Grover Beach comes alive with eclectic music, food, and vendors for the city’s annual Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire, one of many vibrant community events held across the region. Visitors looking for a truly local experience are encouraged to stroll downtown Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo on the first Friday of every month, when the community comes alive with creativity and character. During Art After Dark, businesses host open houses, showcase local works, and offer warm hospitality to neighbors near and far. This Labor Day, art enthusiasts can enjoy Art in the Park in Morro Bay, featuring local and regional fine art and craft exhibitors. In fall, Open Studio Art Tours offer the opportunity for art enthusiasts to visit approximately 200 artists throughout San Luis Obispo County at their personal studios. The tours take place October 8/9 and 15/16, 10am-5pm each day.
Prepare to be dazzled until the last curtain call.
There’s nothing like an evening of good old fashioned vaudeville style theatre at a place with peanut shells scattered across the floor. At The Great American Melodrama in Oceano, actors perform live and even serve hot dogs and drinks in character during intermission. Travel back in time to the Dark Ages for the 2016 Central Coast Renaissance Faire, which unfolds with musical, theatrical, and artisanal offerings at Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo this July 16-17. Fans of classical theatre should take note of the area’s popular Central Coast Shakespeare Festival, which will offer up a picnic and show under the stars this July 14-Aug. 6 at scenic Filipponi Ranch. SLO Little Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo will showcase the campy 1950s musical Bye Bye Birdie through July 2.
History and Landmarks
All year long visitors can enjoy the beauty and architectural art of San Luis Obispo County while visiting some of the historical landmarks in the County. The Atascadero City Hall, completed in 1918 and re-opened in 2013, offers docent-led tours, giving guests a fascinating history of the incredible building. Families can explore the Point San Luis Lighthouse in Avila Beach or the Piedras Blancas Light Station in San Simeon. Travel back in time on the California Mission Trail at one of the historical missions in San Luis Obispo or San Miguel. A trip to San Simeon‘s world-famous Hearst Castle is always a great idea for visitors of all ages. Add to the excitement by stopping by during Cambria‘s Scarecrow Festival, which sees hundreds of unique scarecrows perched in windows and on street corners each October.
Save the date
Even as the temps cool down, San Luis Obispo County’s art scene heats up. Fireworks and music abound at the Paso Robles Horse Park on July 2nd, during the new patriotic-themed “Pops” concert with the San Luis Obispo Symphony/Youth Symphony. A combination of operatic singing, theatrical costumes, and symphonic delights will collide during OperaSLO’s production of the classic La Bohème at the Performing Arts Center of SLO this October. A family favorite, Pismo Beach plays host to an annual Jubilee by the Sea concert filled with hot jazz sounds October 27-30. Paying homage to world renowned late Polish composer and famed Paso Robles resident Ignacy Paderewski, the Paderewski Festival, held each November across Paso Robles Wine Country, is a celebration of classical music and Polish culture.
For more information on upcoming events and to book your lodging or plan your itinerary, visit www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com.
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