Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – San Luis Obispo, CA

The first major pit stop for my 8 day roadtrip was San Luis Obispo (roughly 4 hours away from Orange County) and I was famished. Ready for the first foodie stop!

Click here if you missed the original post documenting my journey.


img_5547Bookmarked on my list was Splash Cafe, a little hole-in-the-wall mom n’ pop shop that’s known for their clam chowder. My friend and I split a bowl ($5.50), which was essentially twice the amount but only a dollar more. A cup was $4.50 and they didn’t mind giving us an extra cup to share.

The soup was on the more salty side, but it was very flavorful and creamy. The seafood was ample and I can see why this restaurant is a local favorite. I saw a lot of delicious looking pastries in the display case, but wanted to pace myself for all the yummy munchies I’ve planned for this trip. img_5595

As a small college town San Luis Obispo is home to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (aka, SLO), one of two Cal Polytechnic schools in California (the other being Cal Poly Pomona) that emphasizes a “learn by doing” educational philosophy. The university is known for their robust engineering program, but also their flourishing agriculture and img_5612horticulture department.

A cool and FREE thing to do is visiting the Leaning Pine Arboretum, a 5 acre garden with breathtaking mountain views. The garden features plants from all over the world including New Zealand, South Africa and other Mediterranean climates.

Pro Tip: Park in the student lot before you hit the horse ranch and pay the blue automated ticket box. Parking is $2 for an hour.

Hours of operation is 8am -5pm, Monday – Saturday; however, I recommend travelers to come early in the morning to beat the heat. 45 minutes to an hour is also adequate time to spend walking through the different gardens, but they do have benches scattered throughout the park so you can definitely slow down and enjoy the scenic views.

After a brisk walk around the garden it was time for lunch and let me tell you if you’re hungry you definitely want to hit up Firestone Grill – it’s where all the hunky firemen eat *wink*

Unfortunately on my visit there were no men in uniform on break; however, my eyes were all on the tri-tip sandwich ($9.25) – yum! The meat was super tender, BBQ sauce was tangy , and the bread was lightly toasted making it a really hearty meal. Two thumbs up! The restaurant set-up is also really conducive for any sports gathering. I can only imagine what this place would be like for the Superbowl or the World Cup. With great food and ample big screen tv’s I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s a happenin’ place!

Tri-Tip Sandwich *drool*

But if you’re looking for a more intimate location to enjoy a conversation with a friend or just seeking a great local coffee shop, Scout Coffee Company, is an up and coming cafe simple rustic decor. The environment has a type of zen feel and patrons can enjoy everything from their cold brew to homemade almond milk.

The SLO downtown area has a lot of great cute restaurants and shops and one that caught my eye was the Hep Kat Clothing, a shop that sells new vintage style clothes, which is timeless and very figure flattering. I only quickly browsed through their sales racks, but they had some really adorable items.

Are there places I missed in SLO, comment below!




3 thoughts on “Frugal Finds, West Coast Roadtrip – San Luis Obispo, CA

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