The Central Coast is a beautiful place to be year-round, but there’s a certain magic in the air during the holiday season that has us falling in love with the area all over again. Across San Luis Obispo County, you’ll encounter festive fun around almost every corner—whether you’re shopping around downtown, hiking one of the Nine Sisters, or relaxing on the beach. With so much to see and do, we’ve narrowed it down for you, creating a list of the Central Coast’s best decoration destinations that will have you feeling as cheery and bright as the towering Christmas trees you’ll see.
These spots double as the perfect holiday photo-op, so be sure to share your snaps on Instagram using #CentralCoasting to be entered for the chance to win a FREE 1-night stay at the Martin Resorts property of your choosing!
Madonna Mountain/Cerro San Luis
A beloved local tradition, strings of lights forming the shape of a giant Christmas tree light up the peak of Madonna Mountain (otherwise known as Cerro San Luis) beginning at sunset every night every year during the holiday season. This makes for the perfect excuse to grab your friends and family and enjoy a sunset hike in beautiful San Luis Obispo. The trail is about a 1.5 mile trek upwards, leading to 360-degree views of the hustle and bustle of the city of SLO below the towering Christmas tree-shaped lights. Be sure to dress warmly and bring flashlights and headlamps, as you’ll be hiking down after the sun sets.
The Paso Robles Inn
The Paso Robles Inn has been around as long as the town itself, spanning over a century of rich and colorful history. Beautiful year-round, the hotel’s turn-of-the-century grandeur comes to life during the Christmas season when decked out in holiday splendor. Every year, the Paso Robles Inn spruces up for the holidays by getting four towering trees—one for the Ballroom, Ballroom lobby, Matador room, and hotel lobby. The hotel staff comes together to decorate the trees in each area, covering every inch in twinkling lights and gleaming ornaments, creating some of the town’s grandest decorations. Locals and visitors alike frequently stop by the Inn to take their family photos in front of these trees, and you should too!
Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight Tours
Discover what the holiday season was like for Mr. Hearst and his guests back in the day by visiting the famous Hearst Castle for a Holiday Twilight Tour, a special seasonal tour showcasing the castle’s abundant holiday decorations. Available December 1-3, 7-10, 14-23, and 26-30, the tour is 75 minutes long, highlighting Casa del-Sol, the grand social rooms of Casa Grande, the Kitchen, Theater, Neptune pool, Roman pool, and the gardens. As you make your way through the castle, admire two towering trees among many other Christmas trees, the warm glow of thousands of holiday lights illuminating Mr. Hearst’s celebrated art collection, and listen to your tour guide tell of holiday festivities that happened during the castle’s glory days. Ticket prices start at $30 per adult, and $15 per child—reservations are highly encouraged.