Even though technically the drive from Los Angeles to San Fransisco is only six hours and easily done in one day, Jordan and I split the drive into two. San Luis Obispo is the perfect middle point which made it an ideal place to spend our one night on the road. Despite SLO sort of being in the middle of farmland, it’s a college town and has a lively and thriving local community.
(Fun fact: Jamba Juice began as a senior project from a graduate of California Polytechnic Institute!)
We had so many people reach out to offer suggestions of things to do and places to eat in San Luis Obispo, including Jordan’s cousin (who went to college here) and my friend Kelly. Everyone mentioned SLO’s famous weekly Thursday Night Farmers’ Market (one of the largest in the state of California), so I was thrilled with our timing as we just so happened to be staying on a Thursday!
After spending the earlier part of the day exploring Summerland and Malibu, Jordan and I pulled into town around 6 pm. Right before entering the heart of town we took a slight detour to photograph the famously kitschy Madonna Inn. They offer everything from horseback riding and pink tennis courts to a rooftop pool! Each room looks like a film set from a bad 70s movie or Edwardian boudoir. We weren’t in town long enough to justify the price but I would totally stay here for a few nights in the future!
Before checking into our hotel we went to find the farmers’ market to eat dinner. I’ve been to a lot of farmers’ markets of varying sizes, but this one was rather impressive considering it’s weekly and not in a permanent structure! The coordination involved was impressive.
We parked a couple blocks away and easily found the market. We just followed the sweet melody floating through the air. The music was from Mary Poppins and at first I thought maybe they were showing the movie, but it was a local dance company who was performing on a side street. After Mary Poppins, there were a few other productions and I thoroughly enjoyed the ballerina’s performance of Swan Lake.
The Farmers’ Market is situated on Higuera Street and covers more than 2 blocks. Besides all of the local vendors, Higuera Street has shopping and other restaurants if you needed to be inside for a bit (or find a bathroom!). We walked around, scouting where to eat, before landing on BBQ at Rib Line. The owner and chef is a Cal Poly Tech graduate and was featured on Man vs. Food Nation. The cornbread was my favorite.
The night was coming to a close just as we passed the local toy store, Tom’s Toys. Jordan and I were so impressed! They seemed to have everything, including the precious Calico Critters I haven’t seen in stores since I was little. We picked up a few pieces for some very special friends. 😉
Afterwards, I quickly booked a hotel online. We ended our night by eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in our hotel bed! It was just what this pregnant lady needed after a long day of adventures.