Exploring Historic Downtown SLO

By: DogTrekker Staff

Hounds in search of culture and history will be right at home in the city of San Luis Obispo. The hub of the county, SLO town’s beginnings trace back to 1772, when Father Junípero Serra built Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth in the historical chain of 21 missions that create the El Camino Real.

2 dogs in a museum

The mission lies in the heart of town and is the perfect starting point for a walking tour of dog-friendly SLO. Duke is invited to explore the Mission Plaza, where hand-rung mission bells may be heard calling worshippers to services or marking special occasions. Dogs were most likely brought to the mission during the late 18th century in order to assist in the extensive bear hunting that occurred in the area. Today, the summer months bring concerts, informational expositions and cultural fairs to the inviting plaza. 

A stroll down the tree-lined pathway in front of the mission will bring DogTrekkers to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.  SLOMA is happy to host leashed dogs and their owners during regular business hours. Exhibits change on a regular basis and showcase talented California artists. Art lovers will appreciate the wide variety of media displayed in the museum and can take home a piece of local art from the museum gift shop.

Visitors to the museum are steps away from beautiful San Luis Obispo Creek. Walkways and overpasses make this a popular spot for SLOcals and visitors. Dogs are welcome to cool their paws in the trickling water, but be aware of the ducks that will raise a protest if your pooch gets too close. 

Are you in search of more downtown history?

Bring your furry friends to Dallidet Adobe, a 10-minute walk from the creek. The intricate history and alluring gardens of this California Historical Landmark reflect the county’s traditions of family, agriculture and community. Efforts to preserve the adobe make it a source of pride.

Shopping shepherds will be welcomed in numerous establishments in downtown SLO. While shops do not often advertise that they are dog-friendly, it is not unusual for employees to invite friendly canines inside and seal the deal with a dog treat. Tails Pet Boutique at 745 Higuera St. retails an assortment of treats, apparel and toys for your pampered pooch. Rescue events are held here throughout the year, and there is also a collection site for gently used toys and blankets for SLO County Animal Services. 

Bubblegum Alley, a local landmark, is a magnet for chewed gum and curious visitors. Gum artists from all over the world have left their mark on these hallowed walls and you can too if you are brave enough to venture into this sweetly scented alley.

Looping back to Mission Plaza, hungry DogTrekkers will find Luna Red, fine dining with outdoor seating available for dogs and their families. The menu changes seasonally based on supply from local farmers and fishermen. Outdoor dining is complemented with views of the mission, and of course your happy pooch at your feet.


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