While currently not as famous as its Northern California cousins, Paso Robles is actually the state’s largest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in geographic size, with over 660,000 acres. Located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this beautiful town offers a convenient location for a weekend getaway, and delicious sipping to boot. On top of the over 300 wineries in Paso Robles to taste through, there are also hot springs, wonderful restaurants, and plenty of art to explore, making Paso Robles a great destination for a girls’ weekend. Read below for the best things to do in Paso Robles and start planning your getaway.
A Guide to the Perfect Girls’ Weekend in Paso Robles
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Spill the Wine
As California’s largest AVA in size, there is a wide variety in the wines that Paso Robles produces. Explore the terroir differences in the sub-AVAs with wine tastings around the region. The Adelaida district is known for Cabernet Sauvignons from wineries like DAOU that also offers panoramic views from its large estate on top of Daou Mountain. The family-run Fulldraw Vineyard in the Willow Creek District, on the other hand, focuses on growing Rhône varieties in its limestone soil and offers intimate tastings by appointment only inside their production facility (or on the crushpad when the weather is nice). Sculpterra Winery in the El Pomar district gets just the right climate to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah but also cooler climate grapes—this winery is also fun to visit because of its sculpture garden.
Walk Among the Field of Lights
Bruce Munro’s Sensorio is a walk-through outdoor exhibit that has become one of Paso Robles’ most popular attractions. Sensorio fills fields on the rolling hills of Paso Robles with flickering lights—over 100,000 of them that are all solar powered. It initially opened as a temporary installation but has since become permanent and even added two new exhibits (there are now four in total). On the grounds of Sensorio is a Mercado, a mobile bar and a taco truck, so you can spend all night enjoying the light show sipping on some local beer and wine, while filling up on tacos.
Ease Into Hot Springs
As if the clean air and free-flowing vino weren’t relaxing enough, Paso Robles also boasts some of California’s best hot springs. River Oaks Hot Springs Spa offers private indoor or outdoor mineral hot spring tubs you can rent by the hour, massages, facials and body wraps. For a more budget-friendly option, head to Franklin Hot Springs where $10 buys you entrance to their large mineral spring pool and access to boating and fishing at the lake.
Finally See Hearst Castle
Try to fit in a half-day trip to Hearst Castle, about 45 minutes from town. Newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst built this incredible home, villas and famed Roman pool, all influenced by his grand tour of Europe with his mother. Hearst also filled the castle with an impressive art collection worthy of a museum. At “the ranch,” as Hearst called it, you may even spot some zebras along with the elk, goats and deer that still roam the property. There are different tours offered, and advance reservations are recommended.
Where to Stay
Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a quick bike ride to downtown, but it’s surrounded by 20 acres of vineyards and boasts a large art collection, sound labyrinths, a beautiful abbey and meditation stations, making this a highly relaxing spot to stay. There is also a swimming pool and hot tub with cabanas for rent. For a stay closer to downtown, there is Farmhouse, a 1940s motel that was recently renovated and turned into a boutique hotel with vibrant colors and exclusive Fable Rune bath products. Farmhouse offers free bike rentals so you can easily head downtown to explore the many shops and wine tasting rooms there.
Where to Eat
The dining scene in Paso Robles has come a long way in the past few years. Chef Julien Asseo worked at renowned French restaurants in Las Vegas before opening the farm-to-table French Bistro Les Petites Canailles in downtown Paso Robles. You can hardly go wrong with any dish on their seasonal menu, but the five-course tasting is the best way to experience this restaurant.
In Bloom opened in 2022 and quickly became one of Paso’s best and most popular restaurants, sourcing seasonal ingredients from local farms. Locals and travelers come for dishes like fried baby artichoke with whipped beet feta, caviar cannoli and more. All washed down with some excellent local wine, of course. Cheers.