Winter Holiday Vacation Ideas
From beach-themed holiday festivities and one-of-a-kind Christmas gift shops and crafts fairs, to decked-out historic castles and cozy countryside wineries serving holiday delights, San Luis Obispo, CA is a winter wonder land sure to turn any Grinch into a jolly holiday elf.
Plan a warm, winter holiday vacation in time to catch the Christmas parades, decorated Victorian houses, festivals of lights, holiday gift shopping events, Santa visits, ice skating and more!
Dashing through Downtown SLO
- Come to town for the annual Holiday Parade featuring performing artists, floats, and live music in early December.
- Cross everyone off the list at the Christmas in the Plaza craft fair held right in the heart of downtown and featuring artists’ and artisans’ unique, handcrafted gifts. Shop the nearby boutiques and art galleries for any other last-minute holiday gifts.
- Take the tots to visit Santa Claus and ride the carousel in the Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo.
- Explore the area’s world-class wine country during the annual Holiday in the Vineyards event in Edna Valley where rosy ports, sweet late harvest wines, and other premium and boutique wines will warm the body and heart. Winery gift shops offer great ideas for the foodie on your list.
- Break into the holiday spirit by catching a performance of The Nutcracker at Cal Poly University’s grand Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo.
- A California must-do for any visitors from snowy climates: stop in Avila Beach and make sand angels on the shore (beware: sand-ball fights tend to get messier than snow-ball fights).
- Jump on our version of the Polar Express: take the Trolley Tour to the Lighthouse in Avila Beach on First & Third Saturdays, through early December.
- Stop by Avila Valley Barn for some hot apple cider and holiday gift shopping.
- Head north on Highway 1 to Morro Bay and enter a whimsical marine scene when the Annual Lighted Boat Parade lights up the harbor in early December.
- In San Simeon, find old-world elegance at Hearst Castle, which transforms during the month of December into a showcase of opulent holiday décor.
- Visit November through February to witness the mesmerizing scene of 25,000 butterflies—one of the largest Monarch colonies in the nation— among the Eucalyptus groves of Pismo Beach
O’er the Grade
- Grab your mittens and go ice-skating in Atascadero’s outdoor ice skating rink.
- Get inspired for your own Christmas decorating by touring Paso Robles’ annual Vine Street Victorian Holiday Showcase and watching the annual Holiday Tree Lighting event in Atascadero.
- Also in Paso Robles, light-up the kids eyes at the annual Christmas Light Parade.