Weekend in Paso Robles itinerary

Epic 3 day weekend in Paso Robles itinerary

Paso Robles is a hidden gem in the central coast of California that is gaining popularity as a world renowned wine country destination. Paso Robles is brimming with vineyards and wineries. There are more than 200 wineries here!

But what sets Paso Robles apart is that it is also home to plethora of other awesome attractions and things to do making it an incredible weekend getaway destination. I recently spent a 3 day long weekend in Paso Robles and was amazed at the vibrant scene of the charming town.

In addition to its hundreds of vineyards and wineries, Paso Robles is also famous for its olive groves, mineral hot springs, and agriculture. It is a laid back city and a great place to relax and unwind.

3 day Weekend in Paso Robles itinerary

Plan your ultimate weekend in Paso Robles by following my Paso Robles itinerary. You can easily spend 3 days or more in Paso Robles but if you have less time, my itinerary has the most popular things to do in the 1st and 2nd day.

This itinerary includes some of the best wineries and vineyards, but it is also perfect for anyone who is not planning to drink or is travelling with family.

After reading through my itinerary, if you are looking for more things to do check out my post about 27 things to do in Paso Robles besides wineries and wine tasting.

Day 1: Friday in Paso Robles itinerary

Paso Robles downtown
Paso Robles downtown

Your Day 1 in your weekend in Paso Robles itinerary starts in Paso Robles downtown where you will explore everything this charming and historic town has to offer. The day ends by visiting Sensorio Field of lights, which is a unique art and light experience that is becoming a very popular attraction in California.

If you have just one day in Paso Robles, I would recommend following this Day 1 itinerary to get the most out of your visit to Paso Robles.

Eat brunch at the Brunch or Thomas Hill Organics

Start your day by having a hearty and delicious brunch at one of the many amazing restaurants in Paso Robles downtown. Both the Brunch and Thomas Hill Organics are good brunch spots.

Brunch restaurant, as the name suggests, only serves brunch and is very popular in downtown Paso Robles. They have a great menu which also includes vegetarian options. Mimosas are great and they also have breakfast pizzas! Great food and friendly service.

Thomas Hills Organics is a farm to table restaurant in downtown Paso Robles that serves organic produce and grass fed meats. They have a changing menu depending on the availability of local ingredients. They also have a cool courtyard area to enjoy your meals outside.

Explore Paso Robles downtown

Paso Robles downtown has a lot of history and charm and is a great place to stroll and explore the shops, art galleries and restaurants. This downtown is very laid back and easy to walk around. The intersection of 12th Street and Park Street is the most photographed spot in Paso Robles downtown with the iconic clock tower.

Paso Robles downtown city park
Paso Robles downtown city park

Downtown City Park and Historic Carnegie library museum

The Downtown City park is in the center of the downtown scene with lots of mature trees, a gazebo, kids play area and restrooms. The historic Carnegie Public library is an icon in the city park, which is now a converted into a museum. Admission to the museum is free and is worth checking out to learn about Paso Robles history.

Studios on the Park art gallery

Studios on the park in Paso Robles
Studios on the park

There are some great art galleries in Paso Robles downtown to explore like Studios on the Park, which showcases work of many local artists. Studios on the park is a non profit open studios art center that has many studios and galleries filled with work of local artists.

They also host many events and workshops as well as have a children’s corner. You can spend hours admiring the art pieces and you can sometimes spot artists there and can talk to them about their work.

Popular restaurants in Downtown Paso Robles

There are a lot of restaurants in the downtown area ranging from local eateries to chain restaurants. Apart from the Brunch and Thomas Hills Organics, some other popular ones are The Hatch Rotisserie, La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant, Alchemist’s Garden, Basil Thai Restaurant and many more.

Shops to visit in Paso Robles downtown

We Olive shop is conveniently in downtown Paso Robles where you can just walk-in and sample many award winning olive oils before buying. You can also sample their many varieties of vinegars, tapenades, pesto, mustard and more. They also carry gift products like olive wood items, oil dispensers etc.

Yes, olive oil tasting is a thing and there are in fact many olive groves in Paso Robles where you can go olive oil tasting!

Olive farm in Paso Robles
Olive farm in Paso Robles

The General Store Paso Robles is such a cute store to browse. It is such an old town feel to see a store that is called ‘The General Store’. They have a great selection of locally made goodies and crafts and you can find great gifts and souvenirs to take back home!

Brown Butter Cookie Company is a nice stop if you are in the mood for some cookies!

Wine tasting rooms in Paso Robles downtown

A lot of the famous vineyards and wineries in Paso Robles have their tasting rooms and shops in downtown Paso Robles. If you are staying in downtown Paso Robles, you can walk to many of these tasting rooms without having to drive, as the downtown is very walkable.

Some popular wine tasting rooms in downtown Paso Robles:

  • JUSTIN Downtown
  • Asuncion Ridge Vineyards  
  • Bushong Vintage Company
  • Hoyt Family Vineyards
  • CaliPaso Winery
  • Pianetta Winery
  • Copia Vineyards & Winery
  • Cloak and Dagger Tasting Room
  • LXV Wine Lounge

Visit Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles

Sensorio Field of Lights at dusk
Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles

Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles is a 15 acre walk through experience created by the internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. If you are in Paso Robles, you must visit Sensorio field of lights! It’s a very unique experience combining art, technology and nature.

The Field of Light artwork is created over the undulating landscape of Paso Robles with 58,800 stemmed spheres that are lit by fiber optics in morphing color. The result is an illuminating and colorful field of lights that is a very stunning and unique experience.

Sensorio Light Towers
Sensorio Light Towers

In 2021 the Light Tow­ers installation by Bruce Munro was added to the Sensorio experience. The Light Towers installation features 69 towers made of more than 17,000 wine bottles, lit by optic fibers in morphing color. The Light towers cel­e­brates Paso Rob­les as a wine coun­try destination.

There are food trucks at Sensorio and live music to make it a complete evening experience. This is the best way to end your Day 1 in Paso Robles.

You can read more details about Sensorio Field of lights in my post Sensorio Field of Lights in Paso Robles.

Day 2: Saturday in Paso Robles itinerary

Start your Saturday in your weekend in Paso Robles itinerary by having a delicious breakfast brunch at a castle like winery. Then explore Tin City which is Paso Robles upcoming brewers market. End your day by watching a concert at Vina Robles Amphitheatre.

Brunch at Tooth and Nail winery

Saturday morning drive to Tooth and Nail winery for a delicious brunch. This place has the most picturesque exterior. The winery is designed as a castle and it also has a huge moat! Its like dining in a fairytale setting with incredible views.

If its not too hot request an outside table with breathtaking views. They have brunch on Sundays with live music if you would like to visit this on Sunday instead. Reservations are highly recommended.

Niner Wine estates is nearby which is famous for the heard shaped grove of trees in the vineyard, that you have probably seen on Instagram pics. Also nearby is Castoro Cellars where you can enjoy a game of Disc Golf.

Explore Tin City

Tin City in Paso Robles
Tin City in Paso Robles

Tin City in Paso Robles is a great evolving industrial makers market to explore and try beverages from many local producers. Here apart from wine, you can try craft beverages like beer, spirits and cider. Parking lot is huge and free, and there is street parking as well.

Barrelhouse brewing company has a great selection of craft beers on tap. It also has food truck serving delicious burgers. Great family friendly outdoor space with relaxed vibe.

Tin City Cider is another place to check out if you like craft ciders. They have a lot of varieties to taste.

McPhee’s canteen is a great restaurant with farm to table eats. Their woodfire pizzas are delicious! They also have a patio garden with a waterfall feature to enjoy your meals outdoors.

The Italian shop ETTO Pastificio next door to McPhee’s canteen has some great Italian foods to go and was recommended to us by a local. It did not disappoint! They have a great selection of freshly made pasta, both dry and cooked. They also have sauces and olive oil collections to take home. Desserts like Tiramisu too!

Stop by at Negranti’s Creamery for some delicious ice-cream. They make ice-cream from pasture raised sheep’s milk and its delicious! Also great for people who are lactose intolerant. They have cow’s milk ice-cream and vegan ice-cream too. There is a nice patio to sit and enjoy the ice-cream.

Check Tin City’s official website for the list of current producers and their store hours before visiting. Many shops in Tin City close by 5 PM, although few are open till later like 8 PM.

Vina Robles Amphitheatre

End your day 2 in Paso Robles itinerary by watching a concert or show. The Vina Robles Amphitheatre is a beautiful theatre in the picturesque landscape of Paso Robles, featuring great music and entertainment. This is the most popular concert theatre in San Luis Obispo County.

The concert season at Vina Robles runs from April to November so there is a pretty high chance that there might be a concert going on if you are visiting Paso Robles in these months.

The venue offers standard seating, box premium seating and lawn seating with general admission, thus accommodating guests of all budgets. There are various kiosk stations where you can purchase food and beverages. Outside food is not allowed.

Day 3: Sunday in Paso Robles itinerary

Start your Day 3 Sunday in your weekend in Paso Robles itinerary by having brunch at Hunter Ranch. Later visit Sculpterra winery and sculpture garden for some live music, lunch and art. You can also add golfing, visiting an aviation museum and waterpark fun on this day. End your Day 3 by enjoying a rejuvenating soak in mineral rich hot springs.

Brunch at Hunter Ranch

Start your Day 3 Sunday by having breakfast or brunch at The Grill at Hunter Ranch with amazing views of the golf course, vineyards and rolling hills of Paso Robles. Nothing better than this to start your Sunday! This is also a great lunch place for later with delicious sandwiches and burgers.

You can later play a round of golf at Hunter Ranch, visit warplanes and classic cars at Estrella Warbirds museum or have a splash at Ravine Waterpark.

Golf at Hunter Ranch

Golf course Paso Robles

Spend your afternoon playing some world class golf! Hunter Ranch Golf Course is a very well groomed challenging course on the rolling hills of Paso Robles. This is one of the best golf course on the Central coast of California. They also have a 3 hole practice course for warm ups.

Splash at Ravine Waterpark

If golf is not your thing, Ravine Water park is a great family friendly attraction. There are numerous water slides, wave pool, lazy river, and plenty of water fun to keep people of all ages having a blast! They also offer cabana rentals and have a restaurant onsite. There is a mini golf too, included in the price.

Visit Estrella Warbirds Museum for history, aviation and/or cars

Estrella warbirds museum is an aviation museum in Paso Robles dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft and vehicles. If you have a couple of hours in the afternoon, try to stop by here.

This place has many exhibits that display military memorabilia. They have artifacts even from World War 1 and World War 2. They also have an indoor vintage car museum which is really cool!

Definitely worth a visit if you like military history, aviation, and/or cars. The museum is open Thursdays to Sundays. The entrance admission ticket is around $15 for adults and includes full day admission to both the  Estrella Warbirds Museum and Woodland Auto Display.

Sculpterra winery and sculpture garden

Stop by at the Sculpterra winery and sculpture garden for lunch and some great art. On weekends they have live music and local food trucks to enjoy lunch outdoors admiring the art sculptures. They also have games setup like ping pong and bocce ball, as well as a walking trail among the vineyards.

It is free to roam the gardens and admire the art, although the wine tasting is not free. They also have a a gift shop where you can buy miniature versions of the sculptures and other local art. Check the current hours of operation on their website.

Relax by taking a soak in Hot Springs

There are a couple of places in Paso Robles which provide a relaxing and invigorating experience to soak in mineral hot springs.

River Oaks Hot Springs Spa provides artesian mineral spas in a private setting. The prices are very reasonable too for an hour of private hot springs spa. Enjoy the mineral soak with views of hills and vineyards and feel invigorated! They have many add on packages like wine tasting, chocolates, spa treatments, etc. to enhance your experience. They are open till 9 PM, reservations are recommended.

If you are looking for a more natural experience and not private hot tub spas, Franklin Hot Springs is a public mineral hot springs pool that is run by the Franklin family. The prices are really low, like $10 per person and you can stay as long as your want. This also includes being able to do fishing all day there. No reservation needed here, open till 9 PM daily.

If you are planning to stay in Paso Robles Inn you can request rooms with a mineral hot tub on a private balcony.

Day trips from Paso Robles

Do you have some extra days in your trip and are looking to add more to your weekend in Paso Robles itinerary? The Central coast of California is full of amazing things to explore.

You will find charm and history in coastal towns, recreation and relaxation in great beaches, promising food and wine scene, and even castles!

Take a tour of Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is a historic museum and California State Park less than an hour’s drive from Paso Robles and Sensorio. Hearst Castle history began in 1865 by newspaper magnate George Hearst.

The magnificent castle has a main building and three guesthouses totaling around 165 rooms, and 127 acres of terraced gardens, fountains and pools. The museum offers several tours of the grand rooms and the grounds.

Day trip to Morro Rock beach

Morro Rock beach
Morro Rock beach

Morro Bay is around 45 minutes drive from Paso Robles and a great place to spend a day. Visit the iconic Morro Rock which is the crown jewel of Morro Bay. The Morro Rock beach is famous for surfing events and surfing lessons. The Embarcadero has a great view of the Morro Bay Marina is filled with great restaurants to enjoy.

Visit coastal town of San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is another coastal town which is just around 30 minutes drive from Paso Robles. San Luis Obispo has a downtown area spend a day browsing shops and restaurants, and the local farmer’s market.

Make sure to check out the Bubblegum Alley on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo, which is a very unique alley that has chewed up bubble gum stuck to the walls, some of which are many years old! I had to see this one to believe it. Gross or not, the Bubblegum alley has become a landmark of downtown San Luis Obispo.

Madonna Inn
Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn is a great place to stay which has whimsical themed rooms. I stayed there once with my family in a Paris themed room! It was such a cool experience.

Visit Pismo Beach

Pismo beach is probably the most popular beach on the Central coast of California and is around 45 minutes from Paso Robles and Sensorio. It attracts much more crowds then the nearby Morro Rock beach and Avila beach. Pismo beach can easily be a weekend getaway destination. There are plenty of hotels and Inns at Pismo beach to stay for a night or the weekend.

Pismo Beach Pier
Pismo Beach Pier

The iconic pier at Pismo beach is a great place to stroll and get some ocean views. There is a boardwalk along the beach and great restaurants to try. The Monarch Butterfly Grove and Dinosaur Cave Park are some cool attractions to check out.

Pismo beach is a popular beach for surfing. Pismo beach Sand Dunes preserve is also popular for four wheel ATV rides and there are several companies offering ATV rentals in the area.

Visit Avila Beach

Avila beach is another great coastal town and family friendly beach just 45 minutes from Paso Robles. Avila beach has a very laid back vibe. We stopped here on an afternoon and enjoyed the ocean views and the pier.

Avila Beach
Avila Beach

The Front street at Avila beach is a great place to stroll and enjoy some local food and shopping, while looking at fantastic ocean views. The Bob Jones City to Sea trail is popular for biking and running. Visit Avila hot springs for a soak in the natural mineral water from the earth’s surface.

Explore Cayucos town

Just a little north of Morro Bay is the historic coastal town of Cayucos. The Cayucos State beach is the ideal spot for surfing, tide pooling, and swimming. The beach has a long pier to walk on and admire the views. Fishing is also permitted from the pier.

The town of Cayucos is charming and laid back and retains the old California style. Stroll down Ocean Ave which is the main street running through town.

There are many antique shops, art galleries and restaurants here. Make sure to stop by Remember When antique mall which is a 3 story store with many vendors selling their antiques. You might find something interesting!

Drive on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1

Highway 1 which hugs the Pacific Coast of California is only 30 minutes drive from Paso Robles via west highway 46. If you have an extra day or two in Central California, you can drive either north or south on Highway 1 and explore the many coastal towns and beaches, and of course, marvel at the fabulous ocean views.

Bixby bridge on California Highway 1

South of Highway 1 you will find charming coastal towns of Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Avila beach North or Highway 1 lies the town of Cayucos, San Simeon and Hearst Castle, and further up the magnificent Big Sur State Park.

Where is Paso Robles and how to get to it

Paso Robles is a city in the central coast of California known for its vineyards, wineries and olive gardens. Paso Robles is around 3 hours drive from San Francisco Bay area and similar 3 hours drive from Los Angeles making it perfect for a weekend getaway from either LA or San Francisco Bay area.

Paso Robles by car

If you are in Northern or Southern California you can reach Paso Robles by car in around 3 hours. Having a car is the best way to explore Paso Robles as there as so many beaches and towns to explore on the central coast. It also makes it easy to reach the various places in Paso Robles and around it.

Paso Robles by flight

If you are flying in from outside of California, the closest airport is San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport which is around 40 minutes drive from Paso Robles. The airport services only limited destinations so its better to check the airport website.

It is better to combine a trip to Paso Robles with a trip to Northern or Southern California by flying into either San Jose (for Northern California) or Los Angeles (for Southern California) and then driving to Paso Robles. There are so many interesting stops along the way from either side!

Airports near Paso Robles and driving distance:

  • San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport – 40 minutes
  • Santa Barbara Airport – 2 hours
  • San Jose International Airport – 3 hours
  • Los Angeles International Airport – 3.5 hours
  • San Francisco International Airport – 3 hours

Paso Robles by train

Did you know that you can also visit Paso Robles by train? The Amtrak Paso Robles train station is conveniently in downtown Paso Robles. The Coast Starlight route that connects Seattle to Los Angeles has a stop in Paso Robles making it very easy to arrive in Paso Robles by train from cities on this route.

The Pacific Surfliner route connects San Diego to the nearby town of San Luis Obispo, which is only 40 minutes away from Paso Robles.

Best season to visit Paso Robles and Paso Robles weather

Paso Robles has comfortable weather year round and can easily be a winter destination with day time temperatures in the winter averaging around 60 degree Fahrenheit. In summer you can explore the nearby coastal towns and enjoy the beaches. The most ideal seasons to visit Paso Robles though are spring and fall.

In spring the rolling hills landscape of Paso Robles is lush green and alive. Its a beautiful experience to drive through the back country roads with all the breath taking scenery around you.

Paso Robles vineyards
Paso Robles vineyards

Fall season is the when the grapes are harvested and there are lots of events and festivals celebrating harvest season. If you visit Paso Robles during October month you can attend lots of special events hosted by the many wineries in Paso Robles.

To check out the Paso Robles events offered during your visit, check out the Paso Robles tourism website at https://www.travelpaso.com/events/

How many days do you need to visit Paso Robles

Paso Robles is an ideal long weekend destination for California locals. 2 to 3 nights are ideal to explore all that the town has to offer. It is just a convenient 3 hours drive from either northern or southern California cities.

If you are visiting Paso Robles from outside of California, you can make a road trip out of it by combining many nearby places in Central California like beaches and coastal towns.

Central California has so much to offer that it can demand a trip of its own and not just a quick stop in a Southern and Northern California itinerary.

Where to stay in Paso Robles

Paso Robles has plenty of vacation rentals all over the surrounding hills with amazing views of vineyards and the undulating landscape. Another great option is to stay within walking distance of downtown Paso Robles and walk to restaurants, bars, art galleries and events.

We rented a vacation rental from VRBO and it was a huge ranch style house on a hilltop with a swimming pool and 360 degree views of vineyards around us. We went in fall season so the hills were tan brown which looked spectacular with the sunset hues. In the spring these hills would be all green and have a very different view altogether, lush greenery would make the hills look alive.

View from our Paso Robles vacation rental
View from Paso Robles vacation rental

Paso Robles Inn is a very popular hotel due to its great location right across from the Downtown city park, and within walking distance to all the downtown restaurants, bars and events. Hotel Cheval and The Piccolo are also within a block from the Paso Robles downtown scene.

Adelaide Inn and Best Western Plus Black Oak are at a great location close to the freeway to access the wineries on the east and west side of the town. It is also just a 5 minute drive to the downtown city park.

La Bellasera Hotel and Suites is a little further from Paso Robles downtown but near Tin City. It is still just a 7 minute drive to downtown Paso Robles.

Where to eat in Paso Robles

Paso Robles has a great food and wine scene with world class restaurants. Lot of restaurants provide the farm to table experience by using the freshest of ingredients, which are plentiful in this agricultural area.

Paso Robles Downtown is the main restaurant hub. Some restaurants to try here are:

The Hatch Rotisserie and Bar is a very popular restaurant serving American fare. Reservations are highly recommended.

La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant is another popular restaurant serving Latin Spanish dishes, craft cocktails and great deserts.

Il Cortile Ristorante serves fine Italian cuisine and has some great pasta dishes and deserts.

Alchemist’s garden has a great interior with lots of plants all around! The cocktails here are popular and their hearty plates.

A little further away from Paso Robles downtown is Tin City. McPhee’s canteen in Tin City is a great restaurant with farm to table eats. Their wood fired pizza is great. They also have a patio garden with a waterfall feature to enjoy your meals outdoors.

Tooth and Nail winery has a great restaurant, but is more famous for its castle like exterior and even has a moat! Make sure you get an outdoor table if the weather agrees, to enjoy the beautiful views surrounding you.

Brown Butter Cookie Company in downtown Paso Robles is great if you are in the mood for some cookies!

Getting around Paso Robles

It is ideal to have a car to visit the many attractions and vineyards in and near Paso Robles. If you are planning to stay in the downtown area and just walk to the local shops, restaurants, and tasting rooms, then you might be able to still manage without a car.

There are many great wine tours that you can book if you are planning to not rent a car.

What to wear in Paso Robles

Dress in Layers! In Paso Robles day time temperatures are very hot, while early mornings and nights are chilly. So dresses, sun hats, t-shirts and shorts during the day are great options. And you need sunscreen! Lots of it!! For night time make sure to carry a sweater or jacket around.

In Conclusion: 3 day epic weekend in Paso Robles itinerary

Paso Robles is an awesome destination in the Central coast of California. If you are local to California, it is a great weekend getaway. If you are visiting from outside of California, combine it with other nearby towns and have a week long Central California road trip!

I am sure you will have an awesome weekend in Paso Robles by following my Paso Robles itinerary!

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