One of the best road trips in California is to Paso Robles, tucked away in the rolling hills of the Central Coast. We arrived in time for Spring and explored the backroads, sights, wineries and more in this budding town.
A local winemaker told us that Paso Robles means “passage of the oaks” and we were enchanted by the lush green countryside, tree lined roads, wildflowers, and kind people we met at every turn. There were also some surprises along the way, like discovering this enchanting Tuscan Estate.
Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this cow town that once had a population of 5,000, has grown to over 40,000 in the past 20 years.
Find out our favorites below – where to go, stay & dine!
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- Go Olive Tasting! Visit the beautiful Pasolivo 140 acres Willow Creek Ranch, towering Oaks and orchards for a tour of the olive mill and an award-winning California olive oil tasting. The Dirk family is ready to welcome you!
- Get on a bike and go cycling! Cyclists love the rolling hills and scenery along the trails in Paso Robles. Click here to find guided rides and tours, trails, routes, rentals, cycling events and weekly rides. Rides can vary from 1 to 100 miles, easy or hard, your choice. Year-Round Bike Trails – Full and Half Day Bike Tours – Guided Tours – Bike Rentals
- Experience Sensorio! Book tickets for the Field of Light experience in Paso Robles. Walk through a 15-acre wonderland of solar powered light installations by international artist Bruce Munro.
As dusk falls, the 58,800 stemmed spheres illuminate the rolling hills with changing colors. A new installation, the Light Towers celebrates the area’s wine country with 69 7-foot towers decorated with 17,000 wine bottles that glow with changing colors while a musical score plays in the background. The New York Times as #6 in “50 Places to Visit in 2020” – extended through September 2021.
- Tin City is an evolving industrial makers market nestled amongst the oaks and explore the craft wine, beer and spirits served up by Paso’s most passionate artisans.
Paso Market Walk Enter the Gateway of Paso Robles. A perfect stopping point along the 101 for the Central Coast traveler where you’ll find a mixed-use development that celebrates the people of PR – from the small scale, family-owned operations to a new generation of standouts making names for themselves in food and wine. and a walkable, family-friendly neighborhood …butcher, baker, candle shop, click here to see other purveyors.
- Visit Studios on the Park! Studios on the Park is a nonprofit open studios art center with five art studios, 13 working artists, four galleries and a fine craft and fine art gift shop. Watch the creative process in action and view exceptional exhibits.
- Antique Shopping: Check out the fabulous collection of over 30 antique dealers, each with their own unique style, showcasing their finds and creations.
- Farmer’s Market: Three weekly markets in Paso Robles! Tuesday 3pm – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 1:00pm Every Tuesday and Saturday local farmers and producers bring their goods to the Paso Robles City Park for the City of Paso Farmers’ Market. Friday 9am – 12pm Be sure to check out the Friday market in the Walmart parking lot on Niblick and River Road
- Spa: Check into the Allegretto Spa and get pampered.
- Wine Tasting – click here to find out our recommendations – The Top Wineries in Paso Robles
- Visit San Miguel Mission – only 10 minutes north on Highway 101.
Hotel Cheval: This hotel is one of the area’s finest boutique luxury hotels with 16-rooms. Just a block from the historic town square, guests can easily stroll to town for dinner or visit art studios, antique shops around the corner. Service is exceptional and the rooms are elegantly designed and luxurious accommodations.
Don’t Miss! Sit by the outdoor wood- burning fireplaces in the evening and the S’Mores Butler will present a menu with specialty s’mores like Mister Ed – a traditional s’more, or Trigger – dove dark chocolate, caramel swirl marshmallow, honey maid graham cracker, or Diablo – with a coconut twist or the Cheval du Jour S’More. Be sure to visit the hotel Library where you can read a book, play a game, grab a handful of candies from the complimentary candy jars.
Hotel Piccolo: Situated in the heart of downtown, The Piccolo is a luxurious boutique hotel retreat with 24 rooms and suites.. Accommodations are comfortable with modern décor.
Don’t Miss! The Champagne vending machine in the lobby or enjoy a glass of wine at the rooftop bar.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort: One step into Ayres 20-acre Allegretto Vineyard Resort, and guests feel as though they’ve arrived to Tuscany. There are 171 rooms and suites with European-inspired accommodations featuring palettes of soft golds and jewel tones, warm woods and luxurious bedding. Our terrace looked out to the central courtyard and gardens. Some rooms offer views of the vineyard, sparkling pool and Piazza Magica, with its Moroccan-inspired cupola and bell tower.
Many visitors come to Allegretto Wines, located within the resort, for a tasting, and don’t want to leave!
Founder Douglas Ayres shared, “My great-grandfather arrived in California in 1905, pioneering what became Ayres Hotels. I arrived in Paso Robles a century later, enchanted by its terroir. It was my dream to extend our family’s hospitality by sharing these artfully made wines with visitors … inspired and crafted with joy.“
Don’t Miss! The Sonic Sound Circle – first of its kind in the world, where guests find tranquility as they walk through the labyrinth listening to a series of sounds created by wind instruments. Another activity not to miss is the Art Tour! Confirm with the concierge for dates and times. Join in with an art curator who takes you on a tour of the estate’s collection of art from around the world. Visit the Abbey, resembling a rustic chapel in Europe.
Stables Inn: Located just blocks from historic downtown is Stables Inn with 19-rooms. The décor theme is a Western chic blended with modern elements.
A more casual version to its sister property Hotel Cheval, this inn offers two room styles plus a bunkhouse – California King Room – for one or two guests, Double Room – for two to four guests and Bunk House – for two to six guests. Don’t Miss! The communal outdoor fire where guests hang out and relax.
Recommendations provided by Hotel Cheval & Stables Inn
Coffee & Light Breakfast
- Brunch – Offering a variety of delicious, healthy and traditional breakfast options
- Cowgirl Café – A western themed greasy spoon
- Joe’s Place – Casual diner serving fresh, delicious, traditional American breakfast
- TASTE! – American brunch and breakfast
- Springside Café – Casual breakfast spot
- Hunter Ranch – Traditional American breakfast and brunch spot, dog friendly as well
- Kitchenette – We had brunch here and it’s worth the 5 mile drive outside of Paso Robles to get to Templeton. Healthy options as well as vegetarian friendly breakfast and brunch spot.
Lunch & Dinner – check opening days and times:
- The Hatch – Rotisserie & Bar
- Il Cortile – Fine Dining Italian
- Les Petites Canailles – French Farm-to-Table Bistro
- BL Brasserie – Fine French Cuisine
- Buona Tavola – Northern Italian Cuisine
- Catch Seafood Bar & Grill – Fine Dining Seafood
- Fish Gaucho – Cali-Mex Restaurant & Tequila Bar
- Paso Terra – Gourmet Seafood
- Six Test Kitchen – Gourmet Dining Experience
- Somm’s Kitchen – Expertly paired Food & Wine Bar
- The Restaurant at Justin Winery – Fine American Contemporary Cuisine
- Thomas Hill Organics – Organic Bistro & Wine Bar
- La Cosecha – Spanish & South American Cuisine
- Cello Ristorante (at the Allegretto Resort) – Dine indoors or alfresco at this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant where you can order fresh produce and dishes that have been locally sourced.
Global Adventuress thanks all those mentioned in this article for hosting us during our visit.