San Luis Obispo, California audio tour: Essential Downtown SLO: Bubble Gum Alley to the World's Smallest Chinatown

Essential Downtown SLO: Bubble Gum Alley to the World's Smallest Chinatown

Walking Tour

35 mins

About the Tour

Join Rob Wickens founder of as he introduces you to what is often ranked the “Happiest City in America”. This Essentials tour will share tidbits that even locals rarely learn or stumble across.

So before you take your picture in the grossly-unique Bubblegum Alley grab your headphones and let’s step back in time by visiting the World’s Smallest Chinatown, and envision dirt roads lined by rough saloons in this last town of the Wild West.

Please be aware that some businesses on the tour may not be open at night or on weekends. The walking tour is intended to be enjoyable without the need to enter historic buildings or various points-of-interest. The tour is an overview of Downtown San Luis Obispo and gives you a great starting point to further explore our great city on the Central Coast of California.

Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic be aware that some businesses on this tour may not be open. Please follow all social distancing and face mask advisories that may currently be in place for everyone's safety.

Tour Producer


Love of the Central Coast

Hi, I'm Rob Wickens founder of After years traveling the world with ESPN as a videographer, photographer and storyteller we've returned to my college town of San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California. Looking forward to sharing stories about the vibrant area none to locals as SLO.

Major Landmarks

  • Bubblegum Alley

  • Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

  • Fremont Theatre

  • Museum of Art

  • History Center

  • Children's Museum

  • The Creamery

Directions to Starting Point

Parking available at Palm Street Parking Garage - 842 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. The tour begins near the parking garage exit facing the Palm Theatre across the street.

San Luis Obispo's downtown is very hard to find parking in, there are multiple parking garages and this one on Palm Street is the perfect spot to start our tour in as it's steps away from our first location.

This is an AUDIO TOUR, don't forget your headphones or ear buds so you can put away your phone and enjoy the walk with me.

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Places to stop along the way

Lots of opportunities for snacks and beverages. SLO Brew, Frog & Peach Pub, Novo Restaurant, The Creamery shops, McCarthy's Pub, Granda Hotel and more.

Best time of day

Daytime is ideal for this tour. There are museums, restaurants, and other retail locations that are open during daytime hours. 3 museums are passed by during the tour with history discussed but museum visits are not part of this tour. Some of the museums and other places of interest close early during the week and closed on Sundays. If you'd like to include them on your tour, then please check their opening times to avoid disappointment.


Beautiful San Luis Obispo has it's share of homeless people that tend to hangout near the mission and creek. If taking the tour into the evening or night the areas are well lit but please be aware of your surroundings.


This was a worthwhile brief introduction to the town. It was interesting, but not fascinating.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 1 year ago

Thank you for the review! So glad you felt it was worthwhile. We wanted this tour to give a short-term visitor a great dose of downtown SLO! Planning our next tour to be a more niche tour with more fascinating points.

Do you have any thoughts on history, points or other tidbits that you'd like to hear about?

Posted by Love of the Central Coast , over 1 year ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Essential Downtown SLO: Bubble Gum Alley to the World's Smallest Chinatown