Paso Robles, officially El Paso de Robles, means Oak Pass. Not long ago, Paso Robles was a sleepy country town, but today it’s a trendy dining and wine destination on the central coast. More than 200 wineries grow dozens of grape varieties, and the center is home to many upscale restaurants.
Paso Robles has always been famous for its hot springs, and during your visit you can always enjoy a relaxing bath. It was once the home of the Salinas Indians. Spanish missionaries brought in the late 18th century. In the 19th century, vines were planted in the area, and the area became a center of quality wine production.
Paso Robles is not only a beautiful vacation destination in its own right, but it also has the advantage of being close to other quaint towns and the natural wonders of San Luis Obispo County, making it an ideal base for exploring the area.
If you’re considering a vacation to the wine country of Central California, read on to discover the best things to do in Paso Robles!
What to do in Paso Robles, CA
What to do near Paso Robles, CA
How to get to Paso Robles, CA
Where to stay in Paso Robles
Where to eat in Paso Robles, CA
Best time to travel to Paso Robles, CA
Walk through the center of Paso Robles
Paso Robles has a lively and walkable center. The streets are lined with tasting rooms, but you’ll also find excellent restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and art galleries. And the architecture is beautiful.
Some of our favorite browsers:
- The Paso Robles General Store offers unique gifts, many of which are locally sourced. They offer a little bit of everything from books to puzzles to food to home decor.
- Spice of Life offers all kinds of spices and herbal and tea blends. We have purchased several spice blends from them and use them regularly! Their dza’atar, fiesta taco and pumpkin spice mix are very tasty and aromatic.
- Brown Butter Biscuit Company is the place to be. The aroma will charm you as soon as you walk in, and the cookies will be delicious. We always take the original sea salt cookies for the sweet and salty effect, but the other flavors are delicious too.
- Dale Evers Studio offers beautiful works, many of which combine art and function: Tables, clocks, hallways and more. The colors are beautiful. His work is also on display in the basement of Sculpterra.
Downtown City Park is a fun place to walk around, and it also hosts events, so check to see if anything is planned when you go there. In summer, concerts are held in the park on Thursday evenings.
Enjoy a wine tasting in downtown Paso
Paso Robles isn’t all about wine, but wine is definitely a major reason to come here. You can not only visit the beautiful vineyards, but also taste the local wines in downtown Paso.
If you book accommodation in town, you can walk to the tasting rooms and then back to your hotel, without the need for a designated driver, attraction or taxi. In downtown Paso Robles, there are about two dozen tasting rooms from which you can choose several hundred wines.
These tasting rooms are some of our favorites, but we only tasted two, so we’re sure to find more!
- Herman Story Wines is a little close to downtown Paso, but it’s within walking distance. The wines are generally marketed twice a year and include a variety of grape varieties as well as blends.
- Alley Wine Bar in downtown Paso, where you can enjoy many varieties by the glass.
- Bodegas offers varieties from Spain and Portugal (but grown in California). Their red blends are excellent.
There are other tasting rooms in Tin City, south of Paso Robles, which we will discuss later in this article. But he’s not a hiker!
Olive oil tasting
If you’ve never done an olive oil tasting, Paso Robles is the place to be. There are many working olive farms in Paso Robles, and you can visit the local olive groves that offer tours and tastings, or you can go on a tasting in town.
But beware: Once you’ve tasted farm olive oil, you’ll probably never want to buy supermarket olive oil again.
Fresh olive oil contains different flavors and aromas, just like wine. Olive oil varies in fruitiness, spiciness and bitterness. Extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in beneficial polyphenols, generally has a stronger taste. You taste them right away in little cups.
We Olive, in downtown Paso Robles, offers tastings of California olive oils, including some from Paso Robles producers. They also have a variety of balsamic vinegar, mustard, tapenade and other fun products.
Producers offering tours and tastings include Pasolivo, where you can even visit the olive press, and Kiler Ridge Oilve Farm, where Italian varieties are grown. Try both infused olive oil and pure extra virgin olive oil.
Paso Farm and Ranch Tour
Paso Robles is a great place to visit ranches and farms. We mentioned the olive farms above, but you can also visit other working farms and ranches.
If you visit Paso Robles during the lavender bloom (usually in June) and the farm is open for tours, be sure to take a walk through the lavender fields at the Central Coast Lavender Farm near downtown Paso Robles. You can get the lavender products here.
Jack Creek Farms, near Templeton, is a family farm that is already in its fifth generation. You can stroll through the beautiful gardens, see old farming tools and even pick fresh fruit. They also offer entertainment for children.
Visit to Tin City
Tin City is a trendy industrial market where you can discover the offerings of many local producers who are passionate about their products: Wine, craft beer and craft cider – all in one! Tin City is located a few miles south of Paso Robles.
The town of Tin, located on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, also has restaurants and a dairy. Tin Canteen has a beautiful waterfront patio and their pizza is excellent.
And don’t miss the Negranti creamery, where you can sample a scoop of sheep’s milk ice cream! They also offer ice cream made from cow’s milk if you prefer.
Immersion in relaxing thermal springs
Paso Robles has long been known for its hot springs. The ancient Salinians who lived in this area named Paso Robles Springs for its relaxing waters. Spanish missionaries built here in the early 19th century. Century the first baths.
In the early 20th century. In the 19th century, Polish pianist and composer Ignacy Paderewski spent several weeks at the El Paso de Robles Hotel and used the hotel’s mineral baths to relieve his arthritis. He then bought land in the area and grew Zinfandel grapes.
Today, you can enjoy a bath in a private outdoor hot tub if you book a room at Paso Robles Inn Spa or River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, where you can simply enjoy a bath or combine a relaxing soak with a spa treatment.
Visit to Paso Robles Winery
Paso Robles, one of Central California’s premier wine centers, is home to more than 200 wineries and more than forty grape varieties. The first vines were planted in 1797 by the missionaries of Mission San Miguel, and commercial viticulture began in 1882.
Sunset at Sculpterra Computer: Randy Koons.
Today you can visit wineries, many of which have tasting rooms and some of which also offer wine and food pairings. California Highway 46 runs east-west from Paso Robles, and you’ll find wineries on both sides. If you have to pick a side, we recommend you go west.
Some establishments offer beautiful views, others offer art, but all of the establishments we visited offer a charming, casual atmosphere and relaxed, informal wine tasting.
Here are some great wineries that can serve as a starting point for your Paso winery tour:
- The Sculpterra basement has a beautiful sculpture garden where you can see the works of different artists. In the gardens of the vineyard, sculptures in bronze, granite, steel and glass invite you to a charming walk. The winery offers tastings.
- Nine Wine Estates is home to the famous heart-shaped grove of cabins you may have seen on Instagram. The winery is available for gourmet picnics, lunches, dinners and tastings by reservation.
- DAOU Vineyards, located on the mountain, offers sensational views to accompany your wine. Choose the Adirondacks outdoors to enjoy the scenery with views of the surrounding vineyards. Reservation is recommended.
- Tobin James Cellars has a great Wild West atmosphere. The winery is located in a historic stagecoach stop and the tasting room is salon style. The antique mahogany bar has a polished brass rail.
If you don’t want to take the designated self-drive route, you can opt for one of the local wine tours!
This Paso Robles vineyard tour takes you to the region’s most popular wineries where you can taste Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandels and Bordeaux wines and blends. Full day tours include lunch. Book this visit now!
This fun and informative tour, which can take place over half a day or a whole day, is interesting for wine connoisseurs. The full-day tour includes visits to four wineries and a picnic lunch, while the half-day option takes you to three wineries. Book this visit now!
Watch the Sensorio light show
The Sensory Light Field and Light Towers in Paso Robles was designed by Bruce Munroe, known for his large-scale art installations with light. It’s a must see! The facility is located on Highway 46 East in Paso Robles.
Bruce Munroe’s Computer Lighting Towers : Chris Hardy
Equipped with 58,000 solar panels, spread across the rolling landscape, the field of flowers lights up in a beautiful palette of colors from red to pink and from orange to orange. The flowers change colour in successive waves before your eyes: it’s a fascinating sight!
Light Towers is a new exhibition with 2.5 meter high light towers. The towers are made of wine bottles lit by optical fibers that change color according to the music.
You can buy tickets online. Come while it’s still light to find your way to the exhibition: According to reports, the GPS is not working properly.
Enjoying the outdoors
The oak hills of Paso Robles are picturesque in spring and fall, cloaked in bright green. There are several ways to enjoy the scenery around Paso Robles:
- Ride your bike on back roads or trails. The most popular hiking trails are those from Paso Robles to San Miguel or Peachy Canyon or Hog Canyon. In downtown Paso Robles, you can rent bikes and go on a ride with a local cyclist.
- Let’s ride. Again, you can choose from a variety of guided walks and excursions, some of which include wine tasting. Hiking through the hills and forests surrounding Paso Robles is a fun and scenic adventure.
- For the more adventurous, a trip in a hot air balloon offers stunning aerial views of the vineyards and beautiful countryside.
Visit to the San Miguel Arcangel Mission
Mission San Miguel, named after the archangel, is located in San Miguel, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Paso Robles. The Garden Building is a National Historic Landmark and this mission is worth a visit if you love local history.
The mission was founded in 1797, but the building was erected between 1816 and 1821 after the burning down of a temporary church. The frescoes inside were designed by Esteban Munras: they are his most famous works.
Fun fact: The interior of the church has never been repainted! The original frescoes are still preserved in the church. Visit the mission museum for a guided tour and browse the souvenir shop.
Stop at Rios Caledonia Adobe
The Rios-Caledonia Adobe, built in 1835, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This two-story adobe house is in San Miguel and was built by Indians under the leadership of Petronilo Rios, a member of the San Miguel Mission Guard.
When the mission property was sold, Rios bought the house (and the mission, in partnership with another person), and Rios and his family used the adobe house as a residence. Later it became a hotel along El Camino Real, then a school, and finally a place to do business and live!
In 1964, the Rio Caledonia Adobe was purchased by San Luis Obispo County and restored. Today it is a provincial park open to visitors. There is also a museum and a souvenir shop to browse around.
Pioneer Museum Tour
For a different perspective on local history, visit the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, which chronicles life in a small California town in the 19th and 20th centuries. The show of the century. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
There is a school building with one classroom and a prison with two classrooms with a door from the original prison of Paso Robles. You’ll see farm implements, exhibits about the town’s western heritage, and the El Camino Real clock, which can be seen elsewhere along Highway 101 and elsewhere in California.
Visit to the studios of the park
Art lovers should take the time to visit the park’s non-profit studios. They organize exhibitions and events, but also offer courses and workshops for adults and children.
Interior Art Center PC : Studios in the park
The park also has outdoor workshops where you can watch artists at work and maybe even learn a new artistic technique! Her shop offers unique gifts ranging from paintings and sculptures to jewelry, wooden objects, ceramics and handmade baskets.
On the first Saturday of each month there is Art After Dark Paso, an evening where art is paired with wine and live music. Visit the organization’s website in the coming hours for more information on the tour.
Guided tour of Paso Robles History Museum
The Paso Robles History Museum, located in the beautiful Carnegie Library building in Paso Robles City Park, is worth a visit if you’re eager to learn about local history.
There is a Salinan exhibit with artifacts from the Salinan people who once lived here, an exhibit about the events during Prohibition, and other exhibits with photos and documents about the history of the area.
The museum is normally open from Thursday to Monday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Travel east or west on California Highway 46
California Highway 46 runs east and west of Paso Robles. If you plan to visit a vineyard, you’ll probably head east or west along CA 46. But even if a wine tasting or vineyard tour isn’t on the agenda, consider Highway 46 CA.
The western part of CA 46, from Paso Robles to California Highway 1, is particularly scenic, with rolling hills, lush vineyards and, in the spring, a variety of wildflowers. There are also some beautiful views along the road just before it joins Highway 1, so watch for the turnoff.
The eastern part is particularly beautiful in spring, with meadows full of wildflowers, bright green hills and flowering orchards further away from Paso Robles. We love both tours, but if you only have time for one, choose CA 46, which runs west from Paso Robles.
Enjoy Lake Nascimento
A few miles from the town of Paso Robles is Lake Nascimento, where you can enjoy a variety of water sports, from fishing and swimming to boating and water games. The lake is large, with 165 miles of beautiful shoreline, and offers full marina services.
There are also hiking trails around the lake, which allow you to spot wildlife and birds. The lake offers overnight and camping facilities, but is also suitable for a half-day hike or day trip from Paso Robles.
Lake Nascimento is one of our favorite lakes in California for recreation on the central coast. From Paso Robles to Lake Nascimento, it’s just under 16 miles.
The cities on the California central coast of San Luis Obispo County are fairly close together. So from your base in Paso Robles, you can get up close and personal with this beautiful county, whether it’s the beautiful beaches you’re looking for, the charming towns and villages, or the parks for hiking and wildlife viewing.
Take scenic California Highway 46 west through vineyards and rolling hills to California Highway 1, which you can take north or south. Heading north, explore the charming coastal town of Cambria and beautiful Black Moon Beach.
Further north on Highway 1, you can visit historic Hearst Castle, the former estate of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. This is one of the best state parks in California to put on your Golden State Trail. The elephant seal colony and the light station of Piedras Blancas are also worth a visit.
Heading south on California Highway 1, you can enjoy the beaches of Cayucos, a small beach town with a fun and lively atmosphere. Further south are the many parks of Morro Bay, which also have a nice waterfront and some of the best birding and marine life on the California coast.
San Luis Obispo has a phenomenal food scene with great barbecues, craft beers, spirits and wine tastings. The lively city centre is a must for a stroll. Just south of Los Osos, on the coast, be sure to take the easy and sensational cliff path at Montana de Oro State Park.
If you’re visiting Paso Robles in the spring, plan a day trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument, just over an hour’s drive from town. In spring, in years of good bloom, the plain comes alive with carpets of colorful wildflowers.
The Slough County Regional Airport is located about 27 miles from Paso Robles and is served by flights from several major U.S. cities, but most visitors come to the city by car. Paso Robles is a nice stop on the California route!
Paso Robles is a great place to stay, whether it’s for a day, a weekend or longer. This is one of the best day trips from Santa Barbara: only a two-hour drive in either direction. Paso Robles is relatively easy to reach from San Francisco, Los Angeles and also San Diego. It’s only a three-hour drive from Los Angeles to Paso Robles, which is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Paso Robles is a three-hour highway drive away and is one of many pleasant weekend getaways from San Francisco (or the San Francisco Bay Area). The trip is a little longer (5 hours and 15 minutes), but it’s still very convenient if you want a weekend getaway from San Diego.
Looking for a rental car for your trip to Paso Robles? Discover cars! You search through different sellers to find the best price for you.
Hotels in Paso Robles, CA
Hotel Cheval is a beautiful 16-room boutique hotel located one block from the historic town square. The rooms are luxuriously furnished. There are open lounges with wood-burning fireplaces, a wine bar and a library. Breakfast is included.
Book with hotels.com
The Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a relaxed Mediterranean-style resort, close to the city. Set amid vineyards, the resort offers an outdoor pool, hot tub and on-site spa. The rooms are perfectly equipped. The restaurant is great.
Book with booking.com | Book with hotels.com
The Manucci Winery-Wild Coyote B&B is located on a hilltop about 5 miles from town. If you don’t mind moving, you’ll find a beautiful, serene vineyard and rooms with adobe-style furnishings and an outdoor hot tub. Book with booking.com | Book with hotels.com
vacation rentals and holiday homes in Paso Robles, CA
Dunning Ranch Guest Apartments offers two separate cottages, one is a queen studio and the other is a 2 bedroom. Both appliances come with cooking utensils. Set among oak trees, next to a vineyard, a short drive from downtown Paso Robles, the apartments offer a quiet stay. Book your stay here!
This beautiful VRBO home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. Located on a hill, just 1.2 km from the center of Paso Robles. It is well furnished and has a large garden with mature trees, a gas barbecue and an outdoor seating area with an open fire. Ideal for families! Book your stay here!
This beautiful Airbnb home offers spectacular views of the surrounding hills, vineyards and olive groves. It offers 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The courtyard has a tiled fountain and terraces for coffee with a view. Book your stay here!
Our favorite restaurant in Paso Robles is Thomas Hill Organic. I don’t think we visited or even passed Paso Robles without stopping here to eat. We love their black lentil tacos. The cubano sandwich was the winner, as was the grilled aged cheddar and apple sandwich.
For Hatch Rotisserie and Bar, you should make a reservation if you don’t want to wait too long, but the grilled chicken is (rightly!) famous. We also love their cornbread. It has honey and brown butter in it!
For excellent Italian, go to Il Cortile. The menu varies, but we’ve never had a pasta dish here that we didn’t like. We haven’t tried many of the second courses yet, but their salmon is also very good.
We ate at Cello Ristorante & Bar at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort the last time we were in Paso Robles and loved it. The menu is short, but everything we ordered was prepared with fresh and tasty ingredients.
Paso Robles is open year-round, but spring and fall are particularly pleasant times to visit. Spring brings pleasant daytime temperatures, perfect for outdoor activities. The hills are green, the vines are just starting to sprout and there are wildflowers everywhere.
Paso Robles can be hot in the summer, with maximum temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees. However, the days are bright and sunny and the vineyards are lush, so it’s always a good time to visit. It’s always nice to take a walk in the morning and evening.
In autumn, the days are still warm and the hills have a nice brown color. It’s also a time of harvest, with festivals and events celebrating the fall harvest. This is the perfect time to visit Paso Robles!
Winters in Paso Robles are generally mild, but pack layers to stay warm early and late. There may be a little rain here and there, so check the weather forecast and bring rain gear if necessary.
Want to know more about Central California? Check out some of our articles on fun things to do in Central California!
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