Let me preface this article by saying I am not a huge wine drinker. When I told my friends I was visiting Paso Robles, CA (and that I was convinced to go because of a TikTok I saw), they immediately asked me what is there to do besides go wine tasting? And so after spending a weekend in the city (without a single second spent in a winery), I can now present to you my brief guide to visiting Paso Robles, from a non-wine lover’s perspective.
Paso Robles, CA is a small but charming wine town located along California’s Central Coast. Though the city is known for its fancy wineries, there is still plenty to do and check out if wine just isn’t your thing. From cute boutiques to affordable breweries and even a unique outdoor art experience, Paso Robles, CA is definitely worth visiting for a weekend trip.
Visit fun stops near Paso Robles
Coming from San Francisco, we used the app Roadtrippers to map out our drive and plan our route to Paso Robles. In total, the drive was about 4 hours and super scenic! We added fun stops in downtown Carmel, Big Sur, and downtown San Luis Obispo to make the most of our trip.
One of our favorite stops was visiting the Bixby Bridge and then grabbing sandwiches from a deli along the road in Big Sur.
We also checked out downtown San Luis Obispo, which was the perfect mix of popular stores (like Barnes & Nobles and Urban Outtfiters) and local small businesses like Booboo Records. We found the most adorable stationary shop called Popsticks (the windows were lined with huge sticker rolls and the exterior was painted like a rainbow!), but unfortunately due to COVID, the brick and mortar store was temporarily closed. However, you can still check out their website and shop for cute washi tapes, sticker packs, planners and other fun stationary items.
Stay at Stables Inn
Starts at $155 a night
For me, an important part of going on a trip is staying somewhere cute and unique. Stables Inn was originally a vintage roadside motel, but it was newly upgraded and remodeled this year into a chic, farmhouse style inn.
The rooms are small, but spacious and every detail follows the cowboy-chic theme perfectly! From a vintage fridge to a cow rug, every decor piece is well thought out and flows with the overall vibe. Lawn chairs and fire pits are set up in an island in the middle of the property and there’s also a tack room you can visit throughout the day to grab complimentary coffee, tea and bottled water.
The rooms and shared spaces (like the tack room and courtyard) were super clean and sanitized, and the remotes in the room were even individually wrapped. The only issue we had during our stay was getting a close parking spot at night, since the onsite parking spots were limited.
Still, staying at Stables Inn was definitely worth it! It’s also conveniently located a few blocks from downtown Paso Robles, making it close to plenty of restaurants, bars and breweries, and shops.
Grab lattes from Spearhead Coffee
Spearhead Coffee is a rustic but cozy Paso Robles gem. I ordered the miel with oat milk and it literally tasted like Autumn in a cup! I definitely recommend stopping by and getting your coffee fix.
Hang out at Tin City
If day drinking in a warehouse-style plaza dedicated to wine, beer and food sounds like a dream to you, then you need to check out Tin City. The casual, laid-back environment was the perfect place for my boyfriend and I to just chill and talk over drinks and food.
At Tin City Cider, my boyfriend bought a flight ($16!) and I drank the most refreshing frozen cider slushie. I recommend the slushie if you’re in the mood for something sweet and not too strong!
Eat, drink and shop at Downtown Paso Robles
Downtown Paso Robles has a bunch of cute boutiques and gift stores worth checking out. Even if you don’t want to spend money, the area is a great place to simply walk around and window browse. You also can’t visit Paso Robles without eating at Brunch and ending the night with cocktails and dessert at The Alchemists Garden!
End the night at the Sensorio Field of Light by Bruce Munro
This installation is a MUST if you’re visiting Paso Robles! I saw so much about it on Tiktok and honestly, pictures don’t do this massive field justice! I was nervous about people not social distancing, but luckily for us it wasn’t an issue! Everyone walked at their own pace and the paths were wide enough that we didn’t have to sit or stand too close to anyone. They also took our temperatures when we went through security and screened everyone for COVID symptoms.
Our ticket was for 6PM, but you can walk through the field as many times as you want and stay for however long. There was also an area with food stands and a sanitized, outdoor dining area with heaters, so we were able to take a break and eat dinner before taking another lap around the field. It’s the perfect date spot! If you’re gonna go, buy your tickets online (at least a few days before) because it always sells out.