One of the strangest and most popular landmark attractions in San Luis Obispo, CA, Bubblegum Alley (free admission) is an anomaly amid a charming downtown environment known for its scenic babbling creek, tree-lined wide sidewalks, boutiques, cafes and family-friendly attractions like the weekly evening Farmers’ Market.
Watch the video to see SLO’s charming downtown area, where visitors can choose from a variety of restaurant and shopping establishments.
Yet there it stands.
Right off the main street of Higuera in downtown San Luis Obispo (between Broad and Garden streets), a narrow alleyway invites visitors to partake in an unusual rite of San Luis Obispo passage: Already-been-chewed bubblegum graffiti.
For the squeamish, the germophobic, and anyone haunted by the memory of finding gum under their desk at school, consider yourselves fairly warned: the extent of accrued bacteria and filth sticking to the 15-foot-high walls along with the millions of pieces of chewed, spit out, and slimy, grimy strands of multicolored gum, is unknown (and better kept out of mind).
Begun at least as early as the 1960s in what is thought to have been an unofficial graduating student ceremony or school rivalry, this is a grassroots prank that has really stuck. And since there is no stopping the organic growth of the bubble-blowing movement, you may as well join it. Grab a gum ball at local Powell’s Sweet Shoppe (and perhaps some hand sanitizer for afterward), head over to Bubblegum Alley, appreciate the communal art form for what it is, and stick your unique stamp on SLO.
We dare ya.