On my recent trip up California’s central coast, I spent the afternoon in San Luis Obispo, a city I’d passed through a number of times before, but never took the time to stop and look around. What I discovered was a vibrant, eclectic, and naturally beautiful destination. Below are three local businesses that epitomize the laid-back, bohemian, organic way of living that I now associate with SLO.
Located beneath a canopy of trees and tucked between two overshadowing buildings is The Secret Garden Organic Herb Shop. Specializing in hand-blended herbal brews, tinctures, and organic loose-leaf teas, The Secret Garden offers over 200 bulk herbs, spices and unique culinary blends. I picked up a baggie of “Poppy Persuasion,” with ingredients that include poppy flowers, rooibos, licorice, basil, and lavender. It’s suggested that a tea made from this concoction may relieve pain and cramping, and is useful for anxiety and insomnia too. The quaint little shop is located creekside of Higuera Street and is accessible through Mission Mall or the creek path bridges between Broad and Chorro Streets.
740 Higuera Street (Creekside), San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805/544-4372 www.organicherbshop.com
Did you know that bamboo is a grass and is the fastest growing plant on earth? Some varieties can grow up to a foot a day! It’s also an amazing, sustainable resource that can be used as a building material, for furniture, kitchen-wares, scaffolding, musical instruments, baskets, home décor, among hundreds of other items. The fibers of bamboo can even be woven into a fabric that’s unbelievably soft, highly absorbent, and naturally anti-microbial and hypo-allergenic. Located in downtown San Luis Obispo is Bambu Batu, a boutique where you can pick up items crafted from bamboo, including bedding, clothing, towels, diapers, blankets, and more. They also sell items made from other renewable resources, including wild mango wood (I saw a gorgeous salad bowl that I wish I’d purchased.)
1023 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805/788-0806 Open Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. www.BambuBatu.com
Named after a free-thinking neighborhood in Berlin, Germany, Kreuzberg ★ CA is a book bar & coffee lounge that embodies the spirit of its namesake. They have an extensive menu, with each item named for a famous literary figure—everyone from Dostoevsky and Cervantes to Dr. Seuss. Kreuzberg prides itself on being a creative and cultural heart of the city; a place where everyone is welcome. In a world where there’s a Starbucks on practically every street corner, it’s nice to see places like Kreuzberg exist, places that still celebrate individuality.
685 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805/439-2060. Open daily, 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. http://kreuzbergcalifornia.com/
Have you ever been to San Luis Obispo? What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these establishments before? Feel free to add your comments to the section below!
* I received no compensation for my mentioning of these businesses. I was simply impressed by what I saw and felt compelled to share my thoughts.
Michael Figueiredo is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he’s not gallivanting around the world, he’s enjoying the laid-back lifestyle and perfect weather of Southern California. So far he’s visited forty countries and territories on five continents. His goal is to see at least one new country every year! . Read more from this author