The charming, but lively town of El Paso de Robles “The Pass of the Oaks” (Located 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo) is a rolling hill country surrounded by heritage oak trees, picturesque olive groves and an abundance of local wineries. Although Paso Robles features more than 200 total vintners, it is more than just a place for wine lovers. Experience a number of local shops, busy boutiques, and fine al fresco eateries surrounding a quaint downtown city park and cinema where most main events and concerts take place throughout the year.
WHY VISIT? WINE, CHEESE, OLIVE OIL, SPECIAL EVENTS, SHOPS, FUN OUTDOORS
The California Mid-State Fair runs from late July through early August and features performers like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Aerosmith. Experience livestock competitions, and a variety of entertainment and food vendors. The Paso Robles Event Center has a steady stream of activities. Obviously, wine and olive oil dominate the festivals, with a Zinfandel Festival in March and the Wine and Olive Festival in May. Individual wineries also host many fun and exciting events too.
WHERE TO STAY:
If you stay downtown, it’s an easy walk to restaurants and the local cinema. The Paso Robles Inn is one of the town’s oldest lodgings and is centrally located. The Hotel Cheval (also downtown) is a nice choice among Paso Robles high-end lodgings.
Paso is most notably known for its wineries and olive oil, but it is also widely known for its hot springs. Relax at the River Oaks Hot Springs and Spa and experience massages and outdoor hot tubs overlooking the hills. Some of the local hotels, including Hotel Cheval and Villa Toscana of CaliPaso Winery & Inn, also offer in-room spa treatments (book ahead).
THINGS TO DO:
There is no shortage of things to do and experience during your visit to Paso Robles. Here are just a few ideas to get you headed in the right direction. If there are coffee lovers in your clan be sure to stop off at Spearhead Coffee of 619 12th Street for an Aztec mocha (a creamy blend of cayenne and cinnamon).
Twisted & Glazed of 521 Spring Street is another local morning time favorite with their wide selection of donuts. Their menu also includes Coffee and Acai Bowls. Looking for a full breakfast or brunch? Check out Touch of Paso of 1414 Pine Street. The building was built back in 1888.
If you want to learn about how beer is made, the award-winning Firestone Walker Brewing Company offers tours of their expansive facility (and beer tasting) at 1400 Ramada Drive. The Firestone Walker Taproom Restaurant on-site offers a great tasting menu paired with their award-winning beers.
The City park off Spring and 12th is a great place to picnic with the family. The playground is loads of fun for the kids and the historic Carnegie Library is worth the look. It is located at the center of the park and houses the Paso Robles Historical Society museum.
Be sure to visit the Brown Butter Cookie Company for some great gift ideas. Look for the iconic clock tower building across from the Park. You can’t miss it.
You’ll also discover many interesting local shops downtown. Studios on the Park is worth a stop in to see the works of local artists. Reminisce of 1344 Pine Street, is a village of shops all in one with a creative yet inspiring mix of old and new antiques. Enjoy an afternoon or late-night movie at the Park Cinemas (1100 Pine Street) and then make your way across the street to SLO Sweets to satisfy that sweet tooth while you window shop downtown.
The unique gifts and local provisions found at the General Store Paso Robles of 841 12 Street is another shop worth your visit if you head downtown. You’ll discover a variety of local goods, cheeses, jams, sauces, nuts, ice cream, salamis, and wine to gift friends and stock your pantry and home.
PASO ROBLES OLIVE OIL:
Paso Robles is quickly becoming a center for olive oil production. Consider stopping off at Kiler Ridge of 1111 Kiler Canyon Road for some great olive oil tasting. Schedule a property tour and you might just convince yourself you’re in Tuscany. We Olive and Pasolivo of downtown Paso offers a great olive oil tasting experience if you happen to be to downtown shopping. And if you’re free on weekends you might consider a visit to Alta Cresta Olive Orchard and Pasolivo Olive Oil Orchards for an unforgettable olive grove touring experience.
PASO ROBLES WINE TASTING:
A trip to Paso Robles wouldn’t be complete without first experiencing a little Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot from at least a few wineries. For an enjoyable wine-tasting experience that goes beyond the ordinary, consider soaking in the expansive views of Daou Vineyards and Winery of 2777 Hidden Mountain Road (A cheese, charcuterie, and wine pairing led by a wine educator is a smart way to sample the winery’s varietals) or Justin Vineyards and Winery, one of Paso’s oldest and most respected wineries. The outdoor patios usually fill up quickly so be sure to arrive early or make a reservation in advance.
Nestled on a picturesque, oak-studded hillside rests an intimate 3,300-seat Vina Robles Amphitheatre featuring a variety of venue concerts and entertainment paired with great tasting wine from Vina Robles Vineyard & Winery. If you prefer you can kick back with blankets on the comfy lawn while you enjoy your wine and entertainment. Call or go online for event and ticket availability.
Request an art tour at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort of 2700 Buena Vista Drive. The Italian-style property features more than 300 works of art, antiques, and artifacts. If you enjoy play and relaxation you might consider lounging out by the pool and spa or dining at their fabulous on-site restaurant, Cello Ristorante & Bar. This fine Mediterranean restaurant also caters to vegetarians and vegans.
You can also go wine-tasting on foot in downtown Paso Robles. Many wineries have tasting rooms on the streets surrounding the park. If you’d prefer transportation for your wine-tasting adventures, try The Wine Line or Grapeline Wine Tours.