Before heading downtown, make a pit stop at the perpetually pink Madonna Inn, 100 Madonna Rd., off U.S. 101 (tel. 805/543-3000), if for no other reason than to use its unique public restrooms (the men's has a waterfall urinal; the women's is a barrage of crimson and pink). Every inch of this place is an exercise in excess, from the dining room, complete with pink leather booths, pink table linens, and colored sugar that's -- you guessed it -- piquantly pink, to the rock-walled, cavelike guest rooms. And if you think it's as gaudy as it gets, you should see it around Christmastime.
Once downtown, you can ride the free trolley that repeats a loop through downtown every 15 minutes daily from noon to 5pm. (Stops are well marked.)
Chew on This -- Follow the alley fronting Higuera between Garden and Broad streets for a local curiosity called Gum Alley. What is it? The name says it all -- it's basically an alley covered with gum.
Attractions Outside Town
Dozens of wineries offer tastings and tours daily and make for a fun diversion. If you don't have time to tour the wineries or would like more information before heading out to taste, you can visit Central Coast Wines, 712 Higuera St. in downtown SLO (tel. 805/784-9463; www.ccwines.com), a wine shop specializing in Central Coast wines, and offering daily wine tastings and weekly winemaker pourings.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.