2 - 3 Hours
One Per Person
At Your Own Pace
Welcome to the San Luis Obispo Tour
Experience lush scenery, history, and laid-back vibes in this self-guided walking tour of San Luis Obispo. Visit the famed Repertory Theater. Hear the famed Bells of San Luis Obispo, and learn about the city’s origins as a Spanish mission! Hear stories about the city’s darker side, including murders and learn about the once-vibrant Chinatown. Plus discover how downtown served as the setting for some very well-known movies!
About the Tour
Your self-guided walking tour of San Luis Obispo begins next to the parking lot at 919 Palm Street. From there, you’ll pass the famed Repertory Theater, hear how it started with no budget and staff, and discover one of its most famous performers.
Next up, you’ll find out about the famed bells of San Luis Obispo and learn how they commemorated many events, including weddings, danger, and funerals.
As you keep walking, you’ll go back in time and hear about the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and get to know Father Junipo Serra. You’ll even hear how he got lost and ended up here unintentionally! Then you’ll hear more about the Spanish Period here. You’ll get stories about the broader mission system and El Camino Royal, as well as hearing how it all came to an end.
Your journey will take you over the Queenie Warden Bridge, where you’ll hear about its famed namesake, active in many civic causes. She was the first woman to run for mayor, back in 1917! As you keep strolling, uncork the secrets and maybe sample a glass of the city’s unique wine. The journey takes you next to bustling Mission Plaza with its statue of a grizzly bear. It’s a reminder that these mighty creatures once roamed free here! As you continue, you’ll come to the San Luis Obispo County Museum. Inside, you can find various photos highlighting the city’s growth. You can also trace the city’s history back with a timeline, going back to the Chumash.
Speaking of history, listen to accounts of the Mexican Rancho Period and how the Mexican government seized the resources the Spanish left behind. Then stroll into Bubblegum Alley, whose walls are covered in gum! Hear about the shenanigans that birthed this delightfully odd tradition. After that, you’ll get to visit the bustling Farmer’s Market. Here you’ll also uncover John Harford’s shrewd vision, which resulted in the growth of the railroad in San Luis Obispo!
More stories are up next, as you find out about the city’s dangerous past, complete with outlaws, hijackings, and murders! You’ll be spooked, hearing about one of the most infamous murders, led by the ruthless Jack Powers Gang. Then step back in time again and learn about the city’s old Chinatown, a once-thriving community that dwindled in the face of prejudice and pressure.
But that’s not all! You’ll also get to uncover the well-known movies that were shot in downtown and the surrounding areas, including Sandra Bullock’s Murder by Numbers and Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 classic, The Ten Commandments.
The journey concludes just after your visit to the historic Fremont Theater, an Art Deco masterpiece that embodies glamor.
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Where to start?
How does it work?
- Once you book a tour, you’ll get a text/email with instructions.
- Download the app (while in good wifi/signal) and use your unique password to access your tours.
- To begin touring, go to the starting point and launch the app.
- The audio starts automatically once you reach the starting point. Stick to the tour route & speed limit for the best experience.
- Please note that no one will meet you at the starting point.
What You'll See
The Bells of San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772
County Museum & the Chumash
The Spanish Period
County Museum & the Chumash
Who Built the Museum?
Life in a Mission
Tickets and Hours
The Spanish Period
The Bells of El Camino
The Mexican Rancho Period
Farmer’s Markets & Railroads
Rancho San Juan Capistrano Murders
Filmed in SLO
The Smoking Ban of 1990
Becoming “Slo Cal"
Preview The Tour
Yes, San Luis Obispo is considered a charming and picturesque area, known for its pleasant climate and friendly community.
Spend a day exploring the city’s historic downtown, visiting local shops, dining at restaurants, and enjoying outdoor activities in nearby parks and beaches.
Yes, San Luis Obispo is worth visiting for its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a vibrant community.
San Luis Obispo is famous for its beautiful scenery, historic architecture, and being home to California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). It’s also known for its laid-back, welcoming atmosphere.
San Luis Obispo can be moderately expensive, but prices can vary depending on where you choose to dine and stay.
Yes, San Luis Obispo is known for being a walkable city, with a pedestrian-friendly downtown area and numerous sidewalks.
San Luis Obispo has been recognized in the past as one of the happiest cities in America, thanks to its quality of life, climate, and community engagement.
San Luis Obispo has been home to some notable individuals, including actress Zac Efron and musician Madonna.
Yes, the self-guided tour in San Luis Obispo is suitable for families, as it allows you to explore the city’s attractions at your own pace.
Inclusions and Exclusions
- App on your phone: A link to download the Action Tour Guide App and Password for your tours.
- Flexible schedule: Use any day, any time. Travel over multiple days or on your next trip within 1 year of your purchase.
- Easy to use: Stories play automatically by GPS. Hands-free. Get HELP all day: Call, Chat, or Email.
- At your own pace: No group. Take breaks for photos/ snacks/hikes. Go at your own pace.
- Offline use: No cell signal or wifi required. Offline GPS Map & route. Stop-to-stop direction.
- Don’t miss a thing: Full itinerary, travel tips, professionally narrated videos, text, and hidden gems.
- Transportation, parking fees, food, and drinks.
- Entry tickets or reservations to any attractions along the route.
- Car Rental: Please arrange a rental car at the closest airport or train station.