Offbeat Attractions: Bubble Gum Alley

The city of San Luis Obispo is located along California’s picturesque central coast, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the heart of its downtown is an attraction that you have to see to believe—what locals have dubbed “Bubble Gum Alley.” For over sixty years people have been passing through the narrow 15-foot (4.6 m) high by 70-foot (21 m) long brick alleyway and sticking wads of chewed-up gum to the walls. This strange tradition was started back in the 1950s as part of a rivalry between the local high school and polytechnic university, and literally stuck. There are wads of chewing gum in every color of the rainbow adhering to the walls, some stretched into letters, some affixing paper love notes with bubble gum hearts. The result is a masticated mosaic of thousands upon thousands of glops of gum. The alley’s walls have been cleaned a couple of times over the past several decades, but passersby continued to add to the “art,” so the city decided to embrace the tradition. It’s estimated that somewhere between three- and four-hundred people walk through Bubble Gum Alley each day.

Even though it really is disgusting and unhygienic, Bubble Gum Alley is one of the only attractions I can think of that tourists can actually contribute to. So the next time you’re passing through San Luis Obispo, be sure to bring along your Bubblicious and you can leave your mark, too.

Where: Bubble Gum Alley is located between 733 and 734 Higuera Street, just north of Broad Street, in downtown San Luis Obispo.How Much: Free.


Have you been to Bubble Gum Alley before? What did you think? Feel free to comment in the section below!

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