Ryan Chartrand

We all know there is a plethora of things to do in San Luis Obispo, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. You can only hike Bishop Peak, go to Firestone, walk around Farmers’ Market and end your night at Downtown Brewing Co. so many times.

So here are a few local hot spots, outside our humble SLO abode, for times when you just want to switch things up a little bit.

Taco Temple: Oh my gosh, Taco Temple. Possibly the most delicious burrito you will ever enjoy, and unless you have a really impressive appetite, chances are you will be able to enjoy the leftovers for at least one more meal.

If burritos aren’t your cup of tea, they also have an array of seafood dishes (the calamari is great), tacos and salads. Whatever dish you go for, don’t forget the mango salsa.

The small, hole-in-the-wall style restaurant is located at 2680 Main Street in Morro Bay and easy to miss – so watch for it carefully.

They recently renovated and more than doubled their seating, but it is still tiny and you can expect to wait your turn for a table, especially on Sundays when they have live music.

Just enjoy the view of the ocean and the sweet tunes while you wait, and it will be worth it.

Mr. Rick’s Bar: This Avila Beach bar has a lot of cool things to offer, the coolest of which being that they provide free round-trip transportation.

(It’s not completely free because you should always tip your driver, but it’s still way cheaper than a taxi, and you don’t have to worry about finding a designated driver.)

The bar is located at 404 Front Street and has an awesome beachfront patio, complete with heaters. They have a dance floor, pool tables and happy hour 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Don’t forget to try Donkey Punch or a Marga-tini while you’re there!

The Monarch Grove: Clusters of Monarch butterflies at Pismo State Beach form in massive numbers. If you’re not impressed by the fact that the Central Coast is the only home to migratory Monarchs in the United States (the butterflies west of the Rockies come here, those east of the Rockies migrate to Mexico) or by the fact that some of them travel over 1,000 miles, you will certainly be impressed when you see the thousands of butterflies clustered in the trees.

It’s a cool thing to do – something a little different from your usual trip to the beach. Huell Howser agrees; the popular host of “California’s Gold” on PBS, did a show on the butterfly trees. The most popular time to see the butterflies is from late October to February.

The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville: OK, so I might have had my birthday party here when I was in fourth grade, but it’s still totally cool.

The cabaret tables seated on the sawdust-covered floor and the silly, easy-going vibe of the melodrama give classic performances a fun twist. Each show has a vaudeville review, many of them interactive with the audience.

The Great American Melodrama, located at 1863 Pacific Blvd. off of Highway 1 in Oceano, has an in-house pub that offers simple food like hot dogs and barbecue beef sandwiches, as well as domestic and premium beers and Central Coast wines.

The pub is surprisingly reasonably priced, as is the show itself. For just a little more than the cost of a movie these days ($14 after a student discount), you can enjoy a night of fun and feel like a kid again.

Uptight people should consider skipping out on this event.

Cambria: This quaint, beachfront town is located just 30 miles north of us, and only 6 miles south of Hearst Castle. It’s close enough to make the trip just to hang out for a few hours, but there’s enough to do there that you can certainly make a day or weekend trip out of it.

Whether you’re staying for an hour or day, you shouldn’t leave before checking out the elephant seals; they’re awesome. There are also hiking trails, bike rentals, kayaking and surfing if you’re the outdoorsy, active type; or boutique shopping, a variety of restaurants with a an ocean view and wine tasting if you’re not.

Hopefully one of these places will come in handy when you and your friends are looking for something to do and getting Bali’s is the only thing that comes to mind. San Luis Obispo is great, but sometimes you’ve just got to get away.

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