A First Timer’s Guide to Paso Robles

When to Visit

Being in California there really isn’t a bad time to visit Paso Robles. I will say that harvest weekends are so incredibly busy that we would probably not do a visit again during their big harvest weekend in October (it just makes getting reservations at wineries and restaurants a lot harder on a short notice trip). We went during this past harvest weekend and it was 100 degrees out the entire trip, so like any destination make sure you check the weather before going normally we’re getting a little more fall like weather at this point. I will say autumn is one of my favorite seasons to visit wineries in California in general because it’s absolutely beautiful seeing the vines all picked, pruned and looking manicured after harvest (then add the foliage change and it’s even more beautiful!).

Getting There

San Luis Obispo (SLO) airport is going to be your most convenient way of getting into Paso Robles and then renting a car and driving into town. We drove up from Temecula and hit very little traffic (thank you for being so good to us this time LA!) and it only took us about 4.5 hours to drive.

If you’re not wanting a connecting flight you can fly into LAX and drive up to Paso Robles but keep in mind depending on how traffic in LA is that drive could take 3.5-5 hours to drive. Your other option is to fly into SFO, OAK or SJC and drive down which will be about a 3 hour drive depending on the time of day.

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles and it was a wonderful stay. The hotel property is absolutely beautiful and well maintained. They did live music on the weekends in their courtyard, and the bar makes a mean espresso martini. Proximity to the wineries it’s about 15 minutes to most both east and west of the 46 and only about 5-10 minutes from downtown. Overall we would definitely recommend this hotel for your wine trip needs!

Getting Around

This is true wine country where the wineries are far apart and the downtown is not necessarily super close to your hotel or the wineries. We would definitely recommend having a car to drive around town or if you’re going to have a DD. Uber and Lyft are readily available for intown travel if you need it as well.

Now as far as wineries go – you either need to have a DD, hire a driver or use Uber Wine (not regular Uber as service at wineries can be super unreliable). If you are like us and haven’t heard of Uber Wine before it is really cool, essentially you can hire an uber driver to be your driver for the day and they charge you 70 cents a minute plus standard mileage fare, on average it works out to be $40-50/hour and you can split it between everyone in your ride. The Uber driver will wait at the winery for you while you taste and when you’re ready to go just hop back into the car and you’re on your way – no waiting. Something else to note is if you take a standard Uber just to the downtown and start talking to the drivers about Uber Wine a lot of them will do it as a side job outside of the app for you for a flat rate of $35/hour. Gauge your comfort level with the driver – personally I rather go through UberWine and feel more safe knowing they’ve been vetted and there is a trace of your trip somewhere.

Where to Eat and Grab a Drink

  1. BL Brassarie (aka Bistro Laurent) – So when we were getting dinner recommendations there was another French restaurant that came highly recommended but was already booked up. We went searching for somewhere else and landed on BL Brassarie and it was AMAZING. The service was fantastic and the food perfection. We started with the escargot and then I ordered their pumpkin special and the hubs their steak, everything was tender, juicy and delicious! We HIGHLY recommend giving them a try!
  2. JUSTIN – We ate here for lunch while wine tasting and got their burger and truffle fries – the best burger I’ve had in a while, and definitely do not skimp out on the truffle fries they’re 1000% worth it!
  3. DAOU – We ate here for lunch as well while wine tasting and ordered their smoked chicken salad, it was massive and so delicious. The views are unparalleled since their tasting room is the highest in Paso Robles so make sure you do a tasting with lunch and soak in that view a little longer!
  4. The Alchemist – Ask any local where to grab a drink and ten times out of ten this is where they’re telling you to go! Every single local that we asked for recommendations said to come here for their craft cocktails!

Where to Grab a Coffee

  1. Sasquatch – This is just a little coffee shack that you would probably drive by and think nothing of – but it’s a locals favorite 🙂
  2. Cello Ristorante & Bar – This is located inside our hotel Allegretto and they make a mean cup of cappuccino and definitely worth the visit

Wineries to Visit

Now comes the fun part of planning, picking the wineries to visit!

Check out our Paso Robles guides East of the 46 and Saved the Best for Last for a few winery suggestions 🙂

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