Paso Robles, meaning "Oak Pass" or "Pass of the Oaks," is a historical resort town, known for its hot springs, located on the California's Central Coast about 30 miles (46 km) north of San Luis Obispo. Nearby cities include Templeton, San Miguel, and Atascadero. The city is surrounded by mountains, beaches, and deserts. Paso Robles' major industry is wine production, with vineyards throughout the surrounding area. It had a population of about 32,000 (2016).
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Paso Robles is about halfway between the Los Angeles area and the Bay Area—about three to four hours of drive time from each—and cheaper flights may be available into airports in those areas. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC IATA) is the closest major airport (about two and a half hours by car) and is served by discount airlines (keeping prices fairly low). Other airports in the Bay Area are Oakland International Airport (OAK IATA) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA).
In the Los Angeles area, Bob Hope Airport (BUR IATA) in Burbank is the closest and most convenient for driving north. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains stop at a station adjacent to Burbank Airport, so you may be able to connect from plane to train there. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA) is larger and may feature lower fares and lower car rental prices. Other airports in the Los Angeles area are Long Beach Airport (LGB IATA), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA), and John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA) in Santa Ana; however, these are farther away from Paso (in other words, they involve driving through more Los Angeles traffic) and may be more expensive.
Other options are Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT IATA) which is about two hours driving from Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara Airport (SBA IATA) also about a two-hour drive from Paso Robles.
Paso Robles is served by Amtrak's Coast Starlight and by timed Amtrak Thruway bus connections to the Pacific Surfliner in San Luis Obispo. Thruway bus connections also lead to the San Joaquins via Hanford, which may be more convenient than the Coast Starlight for travelers from the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Paso Robles sits at the intersection of U.S. 101, which runs mostly along the coast between Los Angeles and Seattle, and CA 46, which runs from the coast west of Paso into the San Joaquin Valley. Although Paso Robles is reached more quickly from the Los Angeles area via Interstate 5 to Highway 46, the drive up the coast on Highway 101 is only marginally longer and passes through or near dozens of interesting towns (such as Santa Barbara, Solvang, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo) and gorgeous scenery. From the Bay Area, the main route is on Highway 101, which is less interesting than the approach from the south, although it is slightly shorter. Alternatively, the beautiful but slow Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) can be accessed just off of Highway 101 near Salinas. The drive follows the coast through Monterey, and Big Sur, and intersects Highway 46 near Cambria and San Simeon (near the famous Hearst Castle).
Highway 46 runs concurrently with Highway 101 for a few miles through the area. Highway 46 leaves Highway 101 to the east in the northern area of town at the 24th Street exit and leaves Highway 101 to the west at the southern edge of town.
Downtown Paso Robles is laid out in a grid to the west of Highway 101, which runs north/south along the Salinas River. Streets running east/west are numbered from south to north (e.g. First Street is the southernmost street). North/south streets are named in no particular fashion. Spring Street, the main street, runs north/south. The historic core of Paso Robles is centered around 12th and 13th streets near City Park.
The historic core features several locally-owned shops and restaurants. Outside of that area, the main commercial developments with chain stores are south of town at the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 46 West, at the intersection of Niblick Road and River Road, and at the intersection of 24th Street and Highway 101.
Most of the area's vineyards are strewn along Highway 46 on both sides of town. Connoisseurs differentiate the area's wines between those along Highway 46 to the west, which has a cooler and wetter coastal climate, and Highway 46 to the east, which is hotter and drier.
The large area to the east of Highway 101 along Creston and Niblick Roads is mostly residential development.
Paso Express covers some parts of the city. Buses run every hour.
Getting around Paso Robles on a bicycle is easy. The downtown area, with most of the sights and restaurants, is compact. Take a ride down Vine Street and see the restored Victorian homes. During Christmas, Vine Street is ablaze with decorations on the houses and amateur theater performances in the front yards.
During the spring and fall, you can ride to San Miguel, about seven miles up North River Road, and visit the historic Mission San Miguel Arcángel. The road meanders by the Salinas River and then crosses over to the mission in San Miguel.
During the summer, you can escape Paso heat by taking Santa Rita Creek Road over the coastal range to Morro Bay, starting at Templeton, about a 30-mile ride. This is a dirt road part of the way, and a mountain-type bike is best. Ride into Morro Bay and load up on fish and chips at the bay. Paso Robles is a bike mecca for many enthusiasts throughout the year. There are many hilly and deserted roads around the area with few cars or people.
- 1 Carnegie Historic Library, 800 12th St.
- Paso Robles Inn, 1103 Spring St, toll-free: . Known for its hot springs, this 115-year-old inn played host to notables like Ignace Paderewski, Jack Dempsey, President Theodore Roosevelt, Adela Rogers - St. John, Phoebe Apperson Hearst (the mother of William Randolph Hearst), actors Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Bob Hope, and Clark Gable, and Major League Baseball teams during spring training.
- Pioneer Museum.
- Vine Street Victorian Showcase. December: See restored Victorian houses spectacularly lit up with Christmas lights and decorations
- 1 Ravine Waterpark. - located in Paso Robles
- Harris Stage Lines, 5995 North River Rd, ☏ . A horse driving, training, and entertainment ranch.
- California Mid-State Fair. Late July through early August, featuring top-billed country and classic rock artists
- Lavender Festival. July
- Olive Festival. August
- Wine Festival. May
- Pioneer Day. October
- Paso Robles Events Calendar.
- Golf. There are a few golf courses in Paso, but one of the better ones is the Links Course (also known as the Links at Vista Del Hombre) off Highway 46 East near the airport. It is amazingly refreshing. The sky is big, the fairways are wide, the view is stimulating and the air is refreshing. Surrounded by vineyards and with a sprinkling of oak trees, the course is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle. Given the relative lack of hilliness, walking is an easy way to get around the course. Other golf courses include the Hunter Ranch course off of Highway 46 East and the Paso Robles Golf Club off of Niblick Road.
- Wine Tasting. The Paso Robles appelation includes over 200 wineries, and is best known for its Zinfandels. The relatively flat land east of the city is home to many of the larger and better known wineries, including Eberle, Meridian, and Tobin James. The wineries in the scenic hills west of town tend to be smaller and relatively anonymous, with well-known Justin being a notable exception. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance provides updated information on most of the wineries. The Grapeline Paso Robles and Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours offers daily wine tasting tours from all area hotels.
- Eberle Winery, Hwy. 46 E, ☏ .
- Justin Vineyards and Winery, 11680 Chimney Rock Rd, ☏ .
- Vina Robles Winery, 3700 Mill Rd (Off Hwy. 46 E.), ☏ . Vina Robles is a family-owned winery with a Swiss-lineage and a vision for estate wines that express the excellence of their Paso Robles terroir. Free estate tastings.
- Wine. See wine tasting in the Do section.
- Bistro Laurent, 1202 Pine St, ☏ .
- Goshi, 722 Pine St, ☏ . A scion of the famed Tsurugi's in San Luis Obispo, this is traditional Japanese cuisine.
- Vinoteca Wine Bar, 835 12th St., Ste. A, ☏ .
- Basil. An excellent Thai restaurant.
- Good Ol' Burgers, 1145 24th St, ☏ . Excellent burgers and onion rings.
- The Crooked Kilt, 1122 Pine St, ☏ . Pub with decent Irish food; the shepherd's pie is awesome. Murphy's on tap.
- Lolo's, 305 Spring St, ☏ . Family Mexican restaurant; cheap and homey.
- Enoteca Restaurant & Lounge (at La Bellasera Hotel & Suites), 206 Alexa Ct (intersection of 101 & 46W), ☏ . 7AM-10PM. Upscale American cuisine. Music on Thursday nights. $12-$28.
- 1 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 1106 Pine St (right on the downtown park's east side), ☏ . 10AM-10PM. A fantastic variety of yummy made-in-the-store chocolates to satisfy cravings of even the most ardent chocoholic! Locally made ice cream and frozen treats. Watch goodies being made in the huge copper kettle.
- Señor Sancho's, 2927 Spring St, ☏ . lunch/dinner daily. Established 1992, serving Mexican food with attitude in a fun, colorful atmosphere. Cocktails, Sunday buffet brunch, award-winning margaritas.
- Adelaide Inn, 1215 Ysabel Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. A family owned and operated hotel that has been in business for over 45 years. Most rooms include a reclining armchair, makeup mirror, flat-screen television with premium cable channels, a working desk, refrigerator, coffeemaker, microwave, and free high speed Internet.
- Best Western Plus Black Oak Hotel, 1135 24th Street, Paso Robles, California, 93446-1309, ☏ . Family owned & operated, at US 101 / SR 46, high-speed internet, microwaves, refrigerators, premium cable, Simmons Westbury mattresses, and lush linens.
- 1 La Bellasera Hotel & Suites, 206 Alexa Ct (just off of Theatre Drive), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A luxury boutique hotel that is also the home of the popular Enoteca Restaurant & Lounge. The hotel offers well appointed/over-sized guest rooms and suites that are provided with every amenity expected of a fine hotel. Spa, concierge and evening turndown services are available along with an exercise room, outdoor pool, whirlpool and meeting facilities for up to 150.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites, 2615 Buena Vista Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. Boutique style hotel that includes complimentary full, hot buffet style breakfast every morning. Complimentary wine and gourmet cheese tasting each weekday evening. Business center, fitness center, heated pool and whirlpool, free wireless high-speed interent access, meeting and banquet facilities for up to 90 people, 100 rooms featuring 44 suites.
- Paso Robles Inn, 1103 Spring St, toll-free: . Although the hot springs no longer feed the spa - across the street is a sinkhole created by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake in 2003 that reactivated the dormant springs - and the hotel was rebuilt in 1942, the Paso Robles Inn nevertheless remains an icon of the city and looks to be a peaceful and pleasant stop. Note: the Inn's website indicates they do have a mineral spa.
- Villa Toscana. Bed & Breakfast with 8 suite rooms and a fully private 2 bedroom suite. Rooms include views of the vineyard, bistro for guest only, spa service at Pacere Spa, and a gift shop.
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- Cambria - Located 31 miles west via Highway 46, Cambria offers visitors Moonstone Beach, home to tide pools and the semi-precious stones that give the beach its name. The town also offers an abundance of inns and hotels for those seeking a quiet weekend away.
- Atascadero - 15 miles to the south of Paso Robles, this town was founded in 1913 as a planned utopian colony, complete with an Italian Renaissance-style town hall surrounded by an expansive Sunken Gardens. The town hall and gardens remain today, and have been joined by the tiny Charles Paddock Zoo, home to 45 species including a pair of red pandas, Malayan tiger, and lemurs.
|Routes through Paso Robles|
|Salinas ← San Miguel ←||N S||→ Atascadero → San Luis Obispo|
|Ends at ← Cambria ←||W E||→ Jct S N → Lost Hills|