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Downtown San Luis Obispo’s bustling Higuera Street is brimming with colorful flower, fruit and vegetable displays, strolling after-work residents, international tourists and tantalizing aromas of local restaurant barbecues. It’s Thursday night and San Luis Obispo’s world-famous farmers market is alive and well.

Heading down to nearby Mission Plaza, it’s an especially popular venue for summer Concerts in the Plaza, weddings and year-round community events. Founded in 1772, and still very active today, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa lies at the heart of it all. With San Luis Creek running through this welcoming pedestrian square, quaint shopping, dining and art galleries line the streets nearby.

Home to California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), its engineering, business and agricultural schools are especially well known on its pristine, energetic campus. It’s also home to San Luis Obispo’s magnificent Performing Arts Center.

Clearly visible from Highway 101, the world-famous Madonna Inn sign has welcomed visitors for over 50 years. With over 100 unique rooms to suite any taste, it also plays host to San Luis Mountain (often referred to as Madonna Mountain), a popular hike with incredibly panoramic views at the top. Across the valley lies Bishop Peak, another favorite mountain top vantage point.

Known especially well for its award-winning Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, picturesque Edna Valley extends into a rich agricultural zone located just beyond the San Luis Obispo Airport. Offering over a dozen wineries, and quickly gaining speed year after year, rolling hills of vineyards inspire your soul around each bend in this awe-inspiring country setting.