Ryan Chartrand

Watch a movie at the Sunset Drive-In.

Not many are fortunate enough to grow up in a place where there is still a drive-in movie theater. Here in San Luis Obispo the Sunset Drive -In, located at 255 Elks Lane, offers two movies nightly for a small fee of $6. Whether you’re cozy in a car or make your own bed in the back of a truck, the drive-in is a must-do group date.

Have a 60-ounce margarita at Vallarta’s Restaurant.

Let’s face it: Once you turn 21, a 60-ouncer is a must! If you’re in town during your 21st birthday, head over to Vallarta’s, located at 1761 Monterey St., and they’ll give you a free 60-ouncer all for yourself. Good luck attempting to finish this alone, and make sure you have a designated driver set up because you are sure to leave the restaurant with a nice, memorable buzz.

Go to Farmers’ Market.

This could – and should – be accomplished during your first week here in San Luis Obispo. Every Thursday night, the community gathers to buy locally grown foods, dine outside at their favorite restaurants, listen to good music and have a good time. Farmers’ Market is a great way to mingle with friends and experience what this town has to offer. While you’re downtown, make sure you check out Bubblegum Alley, located between Garden and Broad streets between Higuera and Marsh streets. Although this may not be the most hygienic place to visit, it is certainly unique to the area and a must-see for all newcomers.

Go on some local hikes.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a casual afternoon walk, some of the most popular hikes in town are only around the corner, such as the Cal Poly “P,” located just behind the dorms. Also make sure to hike up Bishop Peak, which is located off of Highland Drive. You will be sure to see remarkable sights of the town and get a good workout in the process. Madonna Mountain is another hike where you can expect spectacular views of the area. This mountain may be a fun bike ride for those adventurous enough to try it.

Enjoy a romantic night at the Sycamore Inn Hot Springs.

Located at 1215 Avila Beach Dr. in Avila Beach, the mineral springs will leave you feeling very relaxed after an hour’s soak in their tubs. Whether you go with a special someone or just with the company of some good friends, for around $15 per person, you will certainly enjoy the time spent gazing into the stars amid a forest while kicking back in a hot spring.

Visit the men’s bathroom at the Madonna Inn.

Don’t ask why, just do it. Everyone does it just to say, “Oh yeah I’ve seen that thing.” I won’t ruin the big surprise for you, but let’s just think “waterfalls”here.

Pumpkin picking at Avila Valley Barn.

Located off U.S. Highway 101 at 560 Avila Valley Dr., this place has it all for a fun afternoon with food. Opened seasonally from May to December, the Avila Valley Barn lets partakers pick their own fruits and vegetables. But it is perhaps busiest in October when everyone gathers to choose the best pumpkin right out of the patch and take it home to carve or make a fresh pumpkin pie. Mmm. The barn has expanded in recent years to also include a candy shop, gift shop and fresh roasted corn stand.

Have a green beer at McCarthy’s Pub on St. Patrick’s Day.

Every year Irish-lovers gather in the wee morning hours to celebrate a holiday that has lost its original meaning, and is now considered to be the beer drinker’s holiday. McCarthy’s, located at 1019 Court St. right off of Higuera Street, opens at 6 a.m. for the beer-guzzling participation to begin. Complete with green beer and an abundance of Irish Car Bombs, standing in line is worth the wait to be among the first to say you had a green beer and danced to Irish music that early in the morning. With more people attending every year, soon people will most likely camp out overnight to ensure their spots. So be prepared for a cold, but well worth it, night downtown.

Be a tourist, go wine tasting!

San Luis Obispo County is known for its wine country and attracts many visitors every year for this reason. So why not be one of those tourists and go out and try the wine? This 21-and-over activity is a fun way to spend the day with friends, maintaining a nice buzz while you do. Be sure to have a designated driver and then head north on U.S. Highway 101 to Paso Robles and choose where you’d like to go. With over 100 wineries, you won’t find yourself disappointed.

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