8 Things to See & Do in Paso Robles
See & Do in Paso Robles
Paso Robles is now one of the most exciting winegrowing areas in California.
If you’re a fan of rich, full-bodied reds and unusual Rhône varietal whites, Paso is your place.
Paso Robles, about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the South Central Coast of California, is often referred to as “Cowboy Wine Country.” The region, historically known for ranching, is now one of the most exciting winegrowing areas in California. Hotter on the east side and cooler on the west, the entire region enjoys moderating fog and breezes from the Pacific Ocean, just west of the Santa Lucia coastal mountain range.
Clayhouse wines are sourced from the famous Red Cedar Vineyard on the east side, where misty mornings move into hot days. Fingers of fog and breezes come up from the west in the evening, providing the ideal climate for full-bodied red wines.
Paso has great wines, but there are plenty of other ways to experience the region. We recently visited Paso Robles and the Red Cedar Vineyard, guided by Clayhouse winemaker Blake Kuhn, and were inspired to share eight things to see and do in Paso Robles. We hope you can visit sometime soon!
If you’re a fan of rich, full-bodied reds and unusual Rhône varietal whites, Paso is your place. Check out the Paso Robles Wine Alliance for a complete listing of wineries who offer tours and tastings as well as helpful info for planning your trip.
Paso Robles has an exciting emerging craft distiller community. Check out the Paso Robles Distillery Trail for purveyors who offer tastings of their small batch spirits.
Arguably Paso’s most famous craft brewing company is Firestone Walker Brewing Company where you can tour, dine and taste one or several of their extensive beer offerings, many which change seasonally and are available only at the brewery. Don’t miss the 805, named after the local area code. Be sure to make rezzies if you want to tour—they fill up fast in the peak season.
Walk the Square
The historic Paso Robles town square is a throwback to old California days. A large park square with old-timey bandstand and historic public library is bordered by a Main Street of boutiques, restaurants and galleries. Don’t miss a chance to “shake the hand that feeds you” at the Farmers’ Market every Tuesday and Saturday where local purveyors offer local produce, meats, eggs and other treats.
Go on a Mission
Paso Robles is situated on the historic El Camino Real, a 600-mile road connecting 21 Spanish missions established by friars who sought to bring faith to the uncharted territory. The closest mission is San Miguel Arcángel founded in 1797. Located about eight miles north of Paso in the tiny town of San Miguel, the mission was damaged in the San Simeon earthquake of 2003. It has been extensively restored and is open daily for tours and scheduled Catholic Mass services.
Outdoor opportunities for recreation abound in the Paso Robles area. We had a blast ziplining over the vineyards at Santa Margarita Ranch (check out the highlights here). This 1800-acre estate, originally a Spanish land grant, also offer other eco-adventures such as a wildlife Hummer tour and guided kayaking on Santa Margarita Lake.
If Paso isn’t quaint enough for you, be sure to check out the old cowboy town of Templeton just south. Saloons, vintage shops, a heckuva breakfast spot and old school cowboy restaurants line the short but sweet main street which looks like a set from a Hollywood western.
California Mid-State Fair
This major fair fest takes place over 12 days at the end of July. Aside from the usual food, fun and livestock, the fair is particularly known for attracting major music acts. The permanent fairground and event facility is also home to the Central Coast Wine Competition.
If you can’t make it to Paso Robles, you can bring a taste home with Clayhouse, Horseplay and Purple Cowboy wines. Use the links below to find them near you or shop online.