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Top Things to Do this Fall

Posted September 2, 2016

Explore things to do in San Luis Obispo in fall 2017.

Ah, the sweet smell of pumpkin spice, the sound of crunching leaves and that feeling of sweater weather. As summer fades into fall, it’s time to switch gears and create your seasonal bucket list. Lucky for you, San Luis Obispo has endless festive fall activities to fulfill your autumn dreams.

Wine Time

This September, celebrate California Wine Month by spending an afternoon, or two, exploring the stunning fall colors of San Luis Obispo wine country and experiencing harvest along the Central Coast. From specialty sparkling selections to premium Pinots, we’ve got everything to meet your vino tastes.

Begin planning your trip to San Luis Obispo wine country by mapping out a SLO wine trail to explore today.


Best of Beer

It’s time to say “cheers” with some beer from the Central Coast! San Luis Obispo offers multiple beer events this fall including:

Transport yourself to Germany at the Madonna Inn Oktoberfest, featuring traditional German eats, Firestone Walker brews, live music, festive décor and dancing galore! Don’t forget to bring out your lederhosen if you’re looking to truly get into the Oktoberfest spirit.

The inaugural SLO Beer Week celebrates the Central Coast’s booming craft beer scene right here in San Luis Obispo. Enjoy endless beer-tastic events such as the CollaBEERation event, Somm vs. Cicerone Dinner and the culminating Best of the Fest day-long event.

Our favorite part? The celebration doesn’t have to stop there. Grab your friends and hit the SLO Beer Trail to experience the best of SLO’s craft beer scene. Don’t forget to stay safe and designate a driver during your beer tasting fun or book with Hop on Beer Tours.

Apple Appreciation

Are you an apple lover? You’re in luck because the Central Coast is known for its tasty, locally grown apples that start appearing at farmers’ markets in late August. Visit See Canyon Fruit Ranch and pick a variety of apples from their stand, including everything from Golden Delicious to Pippin apples.

If you’re more of a DIY type, San Luis Obispo has plenty of u-pick options, too. Pick apples straight off the trees at Avila Valley Barn or SLO Creek Farms. Round off your adventures and fulfill your appl-iest dreams at the Avila Beach Apple Festival, happening Sunday, September 18.

Holiday Happenings

Reason #482 why fall is the best: an abundance of events for the whole family!

  • U-Pick Pumpkins – All Season

Get your jack-o-lantern carving tools ready! Pick out your perfect pumpkin at Avila Valley Barn, SLO Creek Farms or Brookshire Farms to kick off the Halloween season.

Looking for a thrill? Visit the Mid-State Scare and experience Central Coast’s favorite haunted house. Be prepared to be spooked!

  • Giant Pumpkin and Scarecrow Contest – Thursday, October 20 in Mission Plaza

In preparation for Halloween festivities, head to Thursday night Farmers’ Market in Downtown SLO and be amazed by giant pumpkins galore! The event will feature a jack-o-lantern contest, pumpkin weigh in, scarecrow contest, agriculture educational activities and endless family fun.

  • Pumpkins on Parade – Thursday, October 27 at Farmers’ Market in Downtown SLO

To fulfill your greatest pumpkin dreams, head down to Farmers’ Market to see the best of the best jack-o-lanterns in San Luis Obispo.

Come out for the family-friendly, Boo Bash, featuring a costume party and haunted house in Meadow Park. Complete the night with a movie under the stars!

  • Cal Poly Corn Maze

Operated by the Cal Poly Crops Club, the corn maze is for families and thrill-seeking enthusiasts alike. In daylight, it’s be completely kid-friendly, but as the night settles in, it transforms into a haunted adventure.

  • Turkey Trot – Thursday, November 24

This free, family-friendly event takes place on Thanksgiving Day in both Avila and Pismo Beach. Not only will it be holiday fun to remember, the run also benefits the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo.

Arts & Culture Events

Experience the local art scene and maybe even find your new, favorite artist or musician at one of San Luis Obispo’s art events this fall.

Known as an internationally renowned exhibit, the CowParade has decided to make its home on the Central Coast this year. Local artists have painted life-sized, fiberglass cows, which will be placed all over the county through May 2017.

CowParade SLO is kicking off at Madonna Meadows, where all 101 cows will be on display. As an added bonus, watch Man One, a famous graffiti artist, paint our cow LIVE during the launch event at 1:00 p.m.

The Central Coast Railroad Festival promises to bring history, education and fun to San Luis Obispo. This year, the festival has incorporated Art After Dark, featuring Eric Smith’s railroad art, and a bike tour along the Pacific Coast Railroad from San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach.

Experience world-class music right here on the Central Coast! Festival Mozaic WinterMezzo includes an interactive musical performance and wine reception at the SLO Museum of Art, a music-filled dinner at Cass Winery and a classical concert featuring music from Vivaldi, Beethoven, Coleman and Grieg.

Outdoor Oasis

While other parts of the country are headed indoors as temperatures drop, the Central Coast is still sunny and 75 during the fall, making it the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities.

  • SLO Ultra – Thursday – Saturday, September 8 – 10

Positioned in Wild Cherry Canyon, SLO Ultra includes a 5k, half-marathon and marathon. For those long-distance fanatics, you can even take it to the next level with a 50-mile run. In addition to the races, you can also enjoy the Trails in Motion Film Festival and Blue Grass Festival.

This race takes runners from the adorable Downtown SLO, through gorgeous backroads and out to the bustling beach town of Pismo Beach. The course is flexible and includes a kid’s fun run, seaside 5k and a half-marathon, complete with breakfast and live music.

Beginning with a pro-panel reception on October 29, the SLO GranFondo promises to bring a special weekend for Central Coast cycling enthusiasts. The 25, 61 and 100-mile rides will take bikers through Downtown San Luis Obispo, wine country and along the coastline.

If you’re not in a racing mood, try one of the many gorgeous hiking trails around San Luis Obispo. Find your perfect trail by browsing our favorite hikes in SLO.


Aside from the wildly popular corn maze, Cal Poly offers a variety of events to fill your fall calendar – perfect for students, visitors and SLOcals alike.

Head over to campus and cheer on the Mustangs at a football game, soccer match, volleyball game and more!

Students and community members gear up as a flood of Cal Poly Freshman move to campus, giving San Luis Obispo a fun, fall energy boost.

As parents visit their students and alumni return SLOme, San Luis Obispo becomes filled with Cal Poly pride. Catch a glimpse of all the fun activities happening during Mustang Family Weekend.

Head over to the Cal Poly horticulture unit when you’re in need of farm fresh fruit. They have a plethora of u-pick options, all grown by students.

Now, ready, set, go! It’s time for you to enjoy these festive fall things to do throughout San Luis Obispo with your family and friends.