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San Luis Obispo

If you delight in a little adventure wrapped in romance then we have the perfect destination for you!
From picture-perfect weather to tasty cuisine, award-winning wines, breathtakingly beautiful hiking and soft sandy beaches- there is something for everyone here in San Luis Obispo!

Family Friendly Fun...for Fido too

Dreaming of the weekend and what to do with the family?

Wishing you could return to simpler times and thinking back about those activities you did on vacation as a child?

The rocks down at the creek definitely deserved their due diligence. They're not going to skip themselves.

Maybe even switch it up and go with chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream.

Share that childish enthusiasm with a family-friendly escape in SLO.

Whether it's fishing, the zoo, the waterpark, the beach or the children's museum, San Luis Obispo has so many ways to create memories with your kids both classic and modern. SLO also has a very pet-friendly atmosphere so make sure no family member gets left behind.

There is a very specific reason nearly one-third of visitors who come to San Luis Obispo bring their children and families: the region is one of the most family-friendly destinations in the nation.

In San Luis Obispo you can create your own “playcation,” the family-friendly possibilities in are endless. With a perfect combination of year-round temperate weather and a myriad of outdoor activities that attract every kind of adventurer.

All are Chamber members offering goods and services.

Fairs, Festivals & Special Events
Music Lessons

Farmer's Market

Ingredients for a Good Time! San Luis Obispo's Thursday night farmers' market & markets everyday of the week throughout the county

Loosen up with the locals, party with family and friends, and taste the best produce California has to offer at this weekly street fair. For more than 30 years, Thursday night's Farmers' Market has been the city's signature event.
A large section of the downtown is blocked off for three hours of festival-like fun, and there is something here for everyone. One end of the market is dedicated to produce, and the other showcases local merchants and restaurants. San Luis Obispo's legendary Thursday night Farmers' Market kick starts each weekend throughout the year. From 6-9 p.m. local farmers set up stands along the four blocks of Higuera Street downtown to sell seasonal fruits, specialty herbs, organic vegetables, fresh flowers and the legendary Central Coast barbeque tri-tip sandwiches.

Local musicians provide much of the entertainment, setting up concerts on adjoining streets allowing visitors and locals to drift to the tune of a myriad of sounds at their own pace. Most downtown merchants also enjoy the festivities by extending their hours for evening visitors. You will delight in the sights, sounds and smells that make farmers market one of the flagship experiences of the SLO life.

Elsewhere on the street, the aroma of flavorful foods from restaurant booths permeates the air. In select spots, BBQ smoke drifts above the crowd, drawing in people for tri-tip steak sandwiches, smoked salmon, ribs, and chicken.

If you miss Thursday night's activities, don't worry we have a market everyday of the week just for you!

Sunday - SLO Market on Tank Farm Road
Kennedy Club Fitness Parking Lot
Monday - Baywood/Los Osos Market
2nd & Santa Maria Streets by the Bay
Tuesday - SLO Market on Broad Street
Grange Hall Parking Lot

Paso Robles Market
City Park
Wednesday -

Arroyo Grande Market
Spencer's Fresh Market Parking Lot

Atascadero Market
Sunken Gardens

Thursday - Morro Bay Market
Spencer's Fresh Market Parking Lot
Friday - Avila Beach Market
On the Promenade
Saturday -

SLO Market on Madonna Road
Cost Plus World Market/ Embassy Suites Parking Lot
8 to 10:30am

Arroyo Grande Market
City Hall Parking Lot

Templeton Market
Town Park

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Walk around the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa – the fifth founded by Junipero Serra in California – and Mission Plaza then wander the paths around San Luis Creek.

Facts in brief:The fifth California mission founded by Father Junipero Serra, Sept. 1, 1772.Named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France.
Present building built 1793-1794.

Front portico added: 1794, torn down in 1877, restored in 1933.

Wooden siding added in the late 1870's; removed between 1920 to 1934.
In 1769, Fr Serra, a member of the Order of Franciscan Minors (O.F.M.), received orders from Spain to bring the Catholic faith to the Natives of Alta California. Mission San Diego was the first mission founded in Alta California that same year.

On September 7 – 8, 1769 Gaspar de Portola traveled through the San Luis Obispo area on his way to rediscover the Bay of Monterey. The expedition's diarist, Padre Juan Crespi, O.F.M., recorded the name given to this area by the soldiers as llano de los Osos, or the level of the bears (Bear Plain) as this was an area with an abundance of bears. Since then, various translations of the Crespi Diary have called this area La Canada de Los Osos (The Canyon of the Bears) which has been further mistranslated as the Valley of the Bears.

In 1770, Fr. Serra founded the second mission, San Carlos Borremeo, in Monterey which was moved to Carmel the following year. As supplies dwindled in 1772 at the then four missions, the people faced starvation. Remembering the Valley of the Bears, a hunting expedition was sent to bring back food in the summer of 1772. Over 25 mule loads of dried bear meat and seed was sent north to relieve the missionaries, soldiers, and neophytes (baptized Natives). The Natives were impressed at the ease by which the Spaniards could take down the huge grizzles with their weapons. Some of the meat was traded with the local people in exchange for edible seed. It was after this that Fr. Serra decided that La Canada de Los Osos would be an ideal place for the fifth mission. The area had abundant supplies of food and water, the climate was also very mild, and the local Chumash were very friendly. With soldiers, muleteers, and pack animals carrying mission supplies, Fr. Serra set out on a journey to reach the Valley of the Bears. On September 1, 1772, Fr. Serra celebrated the first Mass with a cross erected near San Luis Creek. The very next day, he departed for San Diego leaving Fr. Jose Cavaller, O.F.M., with the difficult task of building the mission. Fr. Cavaller, five solders and two neophytes began building what is today called Mission San Luis, Obispo de Tolosa.

Foundation Years: California as a Spanish Territory

After Fr. Serra left, the difficult task of actually building the mission remained. This was accomplished with the aid of the local Chumash Natives. Palisades were set up as temporary buildings, which were made simply from poles and tree boughs. However, due to fires in the first few years, adobe and tile structures were erected. The Church and Priest's residence, the convento wing, were built by 1794. Many other structures made up the Mission in the early days: storerooms, residences for single women, soldiers barracks, and mills. The mission also had land for farming and raising livestock. The whole community of priests, Natives and soldiers needed to produce goods for their own livelihood.

Development and Troubles

When the Mexican War for Independence broke out in 1810, all California Missions were virtually self-sufficient. Receiving few funds from Spain, building proceeded for a few years due to the prosperity of the Mission. Between 1810-1820 Native cabins, mill wheels, and a granary were built, the quadrangle was finished, and the pillars on the priest's residence were changed from the original square adobe columns to the round shape.

After 1818, the Mission's prosperity began to decline and by the 1840′s there was little left of the thriving community of earlier times. The buildings were crumbling and there were not sufficient funds to rebuild. In an “informe” (report to the Government written in 1830) Fr. Gil stated: “The hospital and portions of neophyte villages are in ruins and the rest of the village threatens to fall into ruins… the front of the Mission Church has to be taken down, because it threatened to tumble over”. In his 1832 “informe” he was even more dismal: “Every day the Mission structures are decaying more and more for want of sufficient hands to renovate them… the belfry mentioned last year has been demolished by rains therefore we built another of masonry.”

Soon after Mexico won her independence from Spain (1821), the Missions were secularized by the Mexican Government. This meant that the priests no longer managed the Missions. Often Mission lands were sold off. Governor Pio Pico sold the San Luis Obispo Mission to Capt. John Wilson for $510 in 1845. During this time, buildings were appropriated for any use deemed necessary by the civil authorities. The Mission convento wing housed a school as well as a jail and first county courthouse.

Recent Changes

After California became a part of the United States (1850), the first California bishop, Joseph Alemany, petitioned the Government to return some of the Mission lands back to the Church. Since that time, there have been considerable civic and political changes and the Mission has undergone dramatic structural changes. In the 1880's the front portico/bell loft had to be removed as it was so weakened by an earthquake. At this time an effort was made to “modernize” the structures. The colonnades along the front of the convento wing were razed and both the Church and the residence were covered with wooden clapboard. A New England style belfry was added as well. These changes did work to protect the structure from further decay, and in the 1930s during the pastorship of Fr John Harnett the buildings underwent extensive restoration to transform them back to early-mission style. In 1893, an annex had been added to the right of the sanctuary and was extended in 1948.

The Name behind the Mission “San Luis Obispo de Tolosa”

The patron saint of this mission is Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, France. Louis, born in 1274, the second son of King Charles of Naples. After being defeated in a war with Spain, Louis and his brother were sent, as hostages, to Spain for the release of their father. The brothers spent seven years in Spain, being instructed by Franciscan friars. Having absorbed the training, Louis decided to join the Order. After his release, he renounced his claim to the crown of Naples, joined the Order of Friars Minor, and was consecrated Bishop of Toulouse. Due to poverty and disease in the city, he fell ill and passed away at the young age of 23. He has always been very dear to the Franciscan Friars.

Translation of Website

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