Not Your Average College Town

Do you like wine, history, culture and an abundance of outdoor activities? San Luis Obispo, also known as SLO, is a town to put at the top of your vacation list. Located on California’s Central Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, SLO is an easy trek for both SoCal and NorCal natives.

Accessible by plane, train or car, transportation to and from is a breeze. San Luis Obispo has a Mediterranean marine climate with almost perfect temperatures year-round.

San Luis Obispo is an eclectic town filled with activities for all. From shopping to beautiful beaches to amazing eateries, there is an activity for every vacationer’s itinerary. Known to locals as “SLO-town,” what better place to relax and recharge.

SLO is home to Edna Valley, one of the top wine destinations in California– a must visit for winos. Known for chardonnay and pinot noir, Edna Valley is home to numerous tasting rooms sure to quench your thirst. Each tasting room offers unique flavors that have produced many award-winning wines. Want to visit the spot that helped start the Edna Valley wine industry? Chamisal Vineyards was the first winery to plant grapevines in the area. The vineyard is the place to be if you enjoy intense flavors and gorgeous views. Biddle Ranch is another Edna Valley winery that can hold its own in looks and taste. Sit back and relax outside while sipping on amazing chardonnay. Not into wine? There are plenty of craft brews floating around. Pro tip: SLO Brew is a hot spot.

Need a place to stay? The Kinney San Luis Obispo is a fun and colorful boutique hotel located just one mile from Cal Poly. The whole property is decked out in college memorabilia, vintage games and retro college décor, playing with the aesthetic of the college-town.

For guests traveling from afar, the Kinney is only a 10-minute drive from San Luis Obispo Regional Airport. The property offers complimentary parking for those wishing to drive, and the Amtrak station is only four minutes away for those arriving by train.

The lobby is filled with fun sayings, a fireplace and a record player with a selection of records. The college flair doesn’t stop in there, head up to your room and find hoody bathrobes, fun wall collages with colorful California prints and plaid carpet … feel like you’re back in the dorms without the hassle of roommates. This coed property brings back memories while still catering to all generations.

Downstairs guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor communal spaces, a pool and The Quad. The vibrant outdoor lounge is filled with over-sized games, glimmering lights, beanbag chairs and fire pits. The Quad features life-sized Lite Brite and Scrabble boards, which reel in that teenage nostalgia.

The Kinney can host conferences and events with over 2,000 square feet of meeting space and plenty of indoor and outdoor room.

Leroy’s is the amazing eatery located on the property. This hot spot brings in locals and guests from all over the grid. Playing into the college vibe, guests can load a card (like the laundry or food card from freshman year) and swipe it to pour out beer and wine. From big sips to small, you are able to fully control your pour. Most of the adult beverages on tap are from local wineries and breweries, including specially made beverages for The Kinney. Continuing the college-theme, the menu is titled “Study Guide” and incorporates American cuisine in a fast-casual way. The breakfast menu includes fun fare with anything from the Hangover Steak & Eggs to a Strawberry Nutella Croissant. This unique menu can make any taste bud happy. For dinner the menu includes anything from the President’s Pretzel Board to 805 Fish & Chips to the Double Major Burger. Leroy’s is the textbook spot to enjoy signature cocktails like the Bubblegum Alley Fizz, a fruity vodka cocktail. Spirits not your thing? Head back to the tap and don’t forget dessert … you earned it!

Inside Leroy’s, visitors can enjoy Skee Ball, Connect Four, shuffleboard and other old school board games. Challenge your besties to a friendly game– loser buys next round.

Daytime can be spent lounging at the on-property pool and sundeck. The pool is equipped with floaties, and it’s heated year-round. Feeling up for adventure? Grab one of the complimentary Kinney-branded beach cruisers and pedal towards the heart of downtown. An abundance of shops, museums, galleries and eateries are all biking or walking distance from the hotel.

Downtown SLO is home to the Palm Theatre, Fremont Theater and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The San Luis Obispo community was founded by Father Junípero Serra, who also founded many other California missions, making it a must see spot for history buffs. The whole town is centered around the Mission, with Spanish colonial influence found in everything from the street signs to the architecture.

On Thursday nights, stop by Downtown SLO’s world-famous Farmer’s Market featuring over 120 vendors. The street fair takes over Higuera Street each week, drawing in locals, college students and health conscious shoppers. Indulge in sweets, fresh produce, crafts and more. While on Higuera Street head over to Bubble Gum Alley and be sure to leave your mark!

Some nearby landmarks to check out are Hearst Castle, Charles Paddock Zoo, SLO Botanical Garden, Morro Rock and Madonna Inn – famous for the pink aesthetic. Cal Poly is also a must see when in town. The SLO campus is one of two polytechnics universities in the CSU system, with Pomona being the SoCal campus.

San Luis Obispo is filled with many fabulous eateries. From BBQ to fine dining to craft beer and wine … visitors are sure to find something to fill their tummies.

Old SLO BBQ is the place to be for barbeque lovers. The menu offers a variety of southern favorites including cowboy corn pie and tri-tip. Like Leroy’s, Old SLO BBQ has a self-pour wall with 46 craft taps. Make sure to ask for extra barbecue sauce … delicious!

While in SLO stop by Luna Red for a bite to eat. The indoor/outdoor restaurant provides guests with globally inspired cuisine while using fresh and locally sourced products. From bacon wrapped dates to rockfish ceviche to smoked achiote brisket, Luna Red offers a diverse menu loaded with flavor.

Another restaurant that prides them selves on fresh and local cuisine is Big Sky Cafe. This health conscious restaurant includes menu items to satisfy meat eaters and vegans alike.

San Luis Obispo offers a great escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Start on land by hiking, biking or zip lining and then head to the sea for whale watching, surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking. There are many nearby beaches with Morro Bay being a popular destination.

Oprah dubbed San Luis Obispo the ‘happiest city in America’ … all the more reason to give SLO a try.

This one-of-a-kind boutique hotel offers guests a taste of college life while accommodating “adult” needs by offering both recreation and relaxation. From local brews to comfy accommodations, the Kinney SLO is the perfect spot to unpack, unwind and enjoy. The next time you want to “slow down,” don’t overlook SLO. This spot gets an A+ from us.


Not Your Average College Town

By Caitlin Elizabeth Pieh

The Kinney San Luis Obispo


P.O. Box 1435 | Thousand Oaks | CA | 91360


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