What you should do, eat, and drink in Paso Robles, CA
Updated: Jan 14
Step aside Napa and Sonoma! Wine country can also be found in charming Paso Robles located in Central California. With only a 3-hour drive from the Bay Area and Southern California, Paso Robles is a beautiful community that offers hundreds of exquisite wineries, emerging breweries, distilleries, and full of activities for your weekend getaway. If you have extra time, you’ll want to consider driving the epic Pacific Coast Highway to add San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, or Big Sur before you head inland to Paso Robles.
Note: Please check the local city Covid-19 guidelines for updates before traveling and adhere to social distancing.
Things to do in Paso Robles, CA:
The Field of Lights at Sensirio contains over 58,000 spheres powered by solar energy. As soon as sunsets, you can see each sphere light up the field where you can walk along the paved path or sit and enjoy the scenery. They also have a path for wheelchair access. It was originally set up to stick around until early 2020, but remained open by popular demand.
Olive oil tasting
Time to go beyond your kitchen’s olive oil and expand your palette. Olive oil tasting shares the same concept of wine tasting. Smell it. Taste it. And also mix up the flavors! Olivos de Oro offers drop-in olive oil tasting in Tin City and they are happy to make pairing recommendations. We loved it so much we bought Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Fig White Balsamic Vinegar to spruce up our home salads. Additional places for olive oil tastings include Kiler Ridge Olive Farm and Pasolivo for the full olive ranch experience.
Paso Robles is so charming that couples come here for their wedding destination. I confess I’ll be hosting my intimate wedding here in the future. We fell in love with Terra Mia Resort and Vineyards where it’s the perfect location made for an outdoor wedding with stunning water views, weeping willows flowing through the wind, and a duck that has found homage in their pond. Terra Mia has every ounce of romance the minute you step onto their venue.
Wine country in Paso Robles
Here is a list of some of our favorite wineries. Tastings can be waived with the purchase of wines.
DAOU Family Estates
My all-time favorite winery and you’ll understand why the minute you walk into the immaculate estate. Sit back and enjoy DAOU’s popular red wines and stellar hospitality with a breathtaking backdrop of the valley as they are situated on top of the hill. Parking is at the bottom of the hill, so they have an ongoing shuttle that pickup and drop-off upon request. DAOU Estates gets a point in my book for the top memorable wine tasting experiences. Plan in advance because reservations book up quickly on the weekends.
Tasting price: $$$$
Tucked deep in the Paso Robles valley, JUSTIN Winery specializes in red wines due to the hotter valley climates. We personally enjoyed the Justification (a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot) and Reserve Tempranillo (a Spanish variety wine).
Tasting price: $$$$
Calcareous Vineyards offer award-winning wines while overlooking the westside hills of the Paso Robles valley. They also offer lunch on their outdoor space ranging from $14-20 per item.
Tasting price: $$
Sip on wine and enjoy lunch on their outdoor patio situated between the grapevines of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and grenache. For wines, our favorites were the 2019 Viognier (white wine) and 2018 CDP (a red wine blend) that comes with the tasting menu. For lunch, get the Halter Burger!
Tasting price: $$$$
Craft wines, beer, and spirits in an industrial setting are the newest edition to Paso Robles. You can also find other specialties here like olive oil tasting from Olivos de Oro or sheep milk ice cream from Negranti Creamery that I’ll mention later in this guide.
Tasting prices: $ - $$
Pet-friendly: varies by property, but pets are fine to walk around on a leash in the area
Eberly was our first Paso Robles winery visit and recommend it! Add this to your bucket list to see a wine cave through their tours where you will learn more about Eberle’s history and winemaking.
Tasting price: $
Pet-friendly: Yes; keep in mind they have two friendly winery dogs that wander the property off-leash.
Tooth and Nail
Experience wine tasting in a castle surrounded by a moat! Their tasting rooms look stunning, containing cool unconventional artwork that you wouldn’t see at wineries. They offer tours through their vineyard and barrel rooms.
Tasting price: $$
We recommend the 2019 Rosé and 2016 Mourvèdre (a red wine grape variety) that comes with the tasting. Their venue is a two-story building with ample outdoor seating space. Check out our experience here.
Tasting price: $$-$$$
Breweries in Paso Robles:
Calling all beer lovers! I couldn’t beer to keep this from you any longer. Most known for the Firestone Walker 805 beer distributed worldwide, Firestone Brewery is homegrown in California with three locations based in Paso Robles, Buellton, and Venice. They have a large outdoor taproom with savory burgers, sandwiches, and brew bites for beer lovers.
You’ll find tons of outdoor space and farm tables to enjoy a cold beer. What other brewery do you know has a man-made arch waterfall? I recommend bringing your food or supporting the onsite food truck.
Twisted and Glaze Donuts
Stop by Twisted and Glaze Donuts and get the bacon and crème brulee donuts for breakfast! If that doesn’t fancy your pickle, they also have dozens of different specialty donuts to choose from. Be sure to come early before they sell out of their popular flavors.
Ideal spot to grab a coffee and spend the day working remotely with a few spots for outdoor seating. They feature beautiful artwork in their coffee shop and ample indoor seating space.
You can’t go wrong by getting lunch at Fish Gaucho for their delicious seafood and Mexican food combination.
Red Scooter Deli
Delicious sandwiches where you can grab and go enjoy at the Paso Robles Square.
The Hatch Rotisserie and Bar
Try The Hatch’s juicy rotisserie chicken and enjoy some cocktails for the perfect date night!
La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant
A tapas-style restaurant ideal for sharing and they also have a full bar for your spirits and libations.
Naturally flavored ice cream made from sheep’s milk! Blueberry lavender flavor is their specialty. Negranti Creamery also does events where they can bring a mini ice cream truck offering ice cream sandwiches and a large truck with scooped ice cream that is perfect for weddings and special events.
Where to stay
A touch of hotel-feel hospitality in every detail. Lonnie and Janice, the Airbnb owners, are so detailed from the minute you walk into their Airbnb. We had the pleasure of staying in their cozy Villa Verde guesthouse as they ensured we were comfortable and accommodated. The Airbnb has everything in mind with snacks, Covid-safe considerations, and their beautiful backyard for you to sit back and enjoy the views. They even have matching robes and sweaters branded with their guest house name: Villa Verde.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles: Get ready to be immersed in Tuscan-style architecture and rolling vineyards when you're at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort is surrounded by vineyards.
Hotel Cheval: With only 16 rooms, Hotel Cheval is a boutique hotel that prides itself on offering a unique experience with unexpected special touches throughout your stay.
Geneseo Inn: Stay in a boutique winery bed and breakfast where the rooms are built from industrial shipping containers.
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