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Cougars & Mustangs



WHAP! A little bundle of some cold substance assaults your face with a chill, blinding you. You hear children and/or columnists giggle mischievously in the distance. With sudden horror you cry, “BUT WHAT ABOUT WINE COUNTRY? WE CAN’T TAKE SNOW HERE!” but then you get a good whiff of the substance and realize it’s just Jamba Juice. Just one of many iconic memories to be had here on the Central Coast at Christmastime. So you’re raised by a horrible, ordinary aunt and uncle and their snotty bully of a nephew, and you decided to weather the storm here?

Here’s a few tips for how to make the most of your holidays in SLO.


Faithful readers of my column may have noticed by now that I have a rather unhealthy obsession with the hot chocolate at the Madonna Inn, as well as the zombies underneath Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. But if you’ve seriously not visited this Central Coast institution yet (that is, the Inn, not the zombies—stay away from those), there’s no better time for it than now.

You’re a starving college student, I get that. Money is hard to come by. But even if you don’t buy anything (and I’d argue the meals are pretty fairly priced, that’s quality you’re paying for) no one will begrudge you just taking a walking tour through the restaurant, downstairs, ballroom, and the like. The ornate decorations are beautiful and fascinating year-round, but there are specific Christmas ones that always get brought out and add a wonderful, festive layer to an already breathtaking experience. It’s not just the world-famous men’s room downstairs (yes, really). The food, the atmosphere, the history all add up to a marvelous place that contributes a great deal of local color—specifically, the color pink.

While traipsing through downtown SLO, on your way to ignore my advice and see the zombies anyway, you’ll probably find that an unfamiliar red house and a carousel of fancy horses have materialized out of the ground at the Mission. This is Santa’s house, and he’s here to listen to wishes and offer tiny candy canes. If your wizard family decides to pay you a visit, be sure to take a small sibling to this place for a nice photo. And while you’re at it, take a ride on the trolley, which cavorts about downtown happily covered in colored string lights!


Intern Chris White-Sanborn doesn’t want to build snowman. Stop asking, already. Send collegiate news to [email protected].

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