Quaint, historic and lively, the Village of Arroyo Grande charms visitors with its one-of-a-kind shops, dining and community events. This nostalgic downtown provides a change of pace from the beach towns and coastal views along Highway 1. Shop for antiques, celebrate the harvest, meet the town’s roaming roosters or walk the historic swinging bridge. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on flavor: Taste local wines and beer in downtown tasting rooms or belly up to a farm-fresh meal at one of the Village’s incredible restaurants.
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Discover the Village of Arroyo Grande
Downtown Arroyo Grande
Downtown Arroyo Grande, or “the Village,” as locals call it, is the beating heart of the community. Many visible reminders of yesteryear showcase the area’s early history: On the west end, find Harvest Church, built in 1887 or watch as butchers work at the Arroyo Grande Meat Co, open since 1897. Wherever you wander, this beautifully preserved Village stands as a lasting testament to the good old days.
Arroyo Grande Parks
Arroyo Grande Village boasts two generous public parks perfect for picnics, family outings or a moment in the sun. Heritage Square Park features lawns and a generous gazebo where dance troupes and live bands perform during festivals and events. Heritage Square Park also provides picnic facilities, restrooms and street parking.
Centennial Park hosts the weekly farmers market and live music in its gazebo while also providing access to the Arroyo Grande Creek. Aside from picnic facilities, restrooms and parking, this public space is also known for a famous group of roosters. Simply peer along the fence that parallels the creek and watch as the birds make their daily stroll.
Enjoy even more Arroyo Grande fun just outside of the Village. While downtown provides many attractions, visitors should note that this hub is surrounded by rural farmland and pristine wilderness just beyond. Family fun ensues daily at Lopez Lake, a scenic camping, hiking and outdoor recreation area. Located not far from Arroyo Grande’s charming downtown, you can go from shopping and dining to fishing and boating all in the matter of a few miles. With waterslides and ziplines courtesy of the on-site Vista Lago Adventure Park, soar high above rugged, oak-studded hills. Meanwhile, nature lovers will find plentiful wildlife sightings and even a pair of hidden waterfalls to discover.
Arts & Culture
Arroyo Grande offers up a rich tapestry of arts and culture that extends beyond the celebrated Clark Center of Performing Arts. Public Art Projects can be found all around the Village, coloring public spaces with murals and imaginative works. Arroyo Grande is also home to a community of diverse artists, including jewelry-maker and diver Drew Arnold. The local craftsman dives along the coast of Big Sur in search of jade stones that he and his wife later transform into wearable art. Fellow Arroyo Grande artist Laurel Sherrie of Laurel Sherrie studio is a celebrated painter credited with designing the handy Highway 1 Discovery Route Map. An impassioned landscape artist, Sherrie lends a helping hand to Mother Nature as a member of the San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment. By exploring and supporting Arroyo Grande’s home-grown arts community, you come away with a greater appreciation for the region.
Clark Center of Performing Arts
Arroyo Grande’s Clark Center of Performing Arts inspires laughter, tears and moments of pure awe. This two-theater performance space hosts national and international touring acts, as well as local performing arts organization productions. Whether you’re interested in music, dance, comedy or theater, this celebrated stage is ground zero for quality entertainment.
The Village of Arroyo Grande is home to two “urban” wine tasting rooms ready to pour. The Verdad-Lindquist Family Wines tasting room features several Spanish-variety wines (like Garnacha and Tempranillo) sourced from sustainably-grown vines in Santa Barbara County. At the Timbre tasting room, wines are crafted by a former sommelier, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fronting the lineup. Just outside the Village of Arroyo Grande, the Arroyo Grande Valley and Edna Valley offer 30+ tasting rooms rife for the tasting.
Eating in the Village of Arroyo Grande
Fresh flavors and friendly service come together to create a memorable dining experience in the Village of Arroyo Grande. A variety of delightful dining options are available here, including Mexican, Italian, American and more. Upscale entrees, juicy burgers and handcrafted desserts are all on the menu—with many restaurants located within walking distance of downtown attractions, boutiques and historic sights. Whether you’re looking for a cold craft beer, shareable appetizer or a hearty meal, you’ll savor a well-crafted culinary experience in the Village of Arroyo Grande.
Mason Kitchen & Bar
Farm-fresh cuisine and craft drinks are at the center of this popular Village of Arroyo Grande hangout. Choose from a wide selection of beers on tap in the bar, as well as local wines and signature cocktails. The restaurant serves fresh, creative lunch and dinner options as well as a popular weekend brunch.
South-of-the-border staples like burritos, nachos and tacos delight diners of all ages at Villa Cantina. Enjoy drink specials, flat-screen TVs and a friendly atmosphere at this Village of Arroyo Grande favorite.
Rooster Creek Tavern
Situated along the Arroyo Grande Creek and named for the roosters that strut through the area, Rooster Creek is a modern bar and dining room in the Village of Arroyo Grande. Menu items include traditional tavern food like wings and fries to wood-fired entrees like bacon-wrapped filet mignon and sea bass.
Shopping the Village
With a dynamic array of storefronts to choose from, shopping in the Village of Arroyo Grande is a special treat. Stroll along unique boutiques, antique stores and mom-and-pop shops you won’t find elsewhere on the Central Coast or Highway 1. Whether you spend your time window shopping or purchase a collection of treasures to take home, you’re sure to enjoy the hunt.
Purveyors of fine paper goods, including stationary, pens and notebooks, Village Papery is a prime stop for meaningful gifts. Distinctive letter-writing goods, thoughtful greeting cards and cheerful crafts are all on display at this one-of-a-kind Arroyo Grande boutique.
Posies in the Village
A whimsical world of home decor, jewelry and more greet customers of Posies on the Village, the largest shop of its kind on the Central Coast. Find beautiful women’s fashions, new and antique furniture, fine linens, frames, mirrors and artwork all under one colorful roof. Romantic treats, adorable baby shower items and charming home goods make Posies in the Village a wise stop for anyone looking for the ultimate house warming, birthday, wedding or baby shower gift.
Glance into the Past Antiques
Vintage ambiance comes alive at Glance into the Past Antiques, one of Arroyo Grande’s most popular antique malls. Known as one of the largest and most comprehensive antique purveyors in the area, this time-honored storefront is chock full of bygone relics, including furniture, home decor, jewelry, clothing and long lost collectibles. Staffed by professional antique dealers and collectors, you’ll find a welcoming environment in which to spend a few glorious hours strolling back in time. Truly, you could spend an entire afternoon exploring these stalls and still feel like you haven’t seen it all.
Arroyo Grande Village Events
Each year, a lineup of Arroyo Grande Village events bring together delicious food, lively music and exuberant community spirit. Enjoy vibrant Arroyo Grande festivals, concerts, farmers markets and more. If you’re looking for the best way to savor what makes this region so special, be sure to take part in the action—there’s an event to suit every interest. With sunny weather, friendly folks and rustic charm to spare, the Village is the perfect place to kick back, mingle and join in a festive gathering.
Named “The Place to be On Memorial Weekend” by Sunset Magazine, the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival is one of California’s largest festivals. This family-style event brings together thousands of visitors and residents to enjoy strawberry-centric foods, activities and entertainment.
Held on the last Friday and Saturday of September, the Annual Arroyo Grande Valley Harvest Festival is an old-timey celebration with modern appeal. The two-day event kicks off on Friday, starting with the annual Rotary Fish Fry, games, arts and crafts, entertainment and free movie night. The Festival resumes on Saturday morning with the Hometown Parade, followed by even more entertainment, games, contests, foods, crafts and displays.
The Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series is held at Rotary Bandstand in Heritage Square Park. Known for presenting the most eclectic and diverse musical offerings of all the regional summer music series, this event never wavers in popularity. During these anticipated shows, Historical Society volunteers serve famous all beef hot dogs, Doc Burnstein’s ice cream novelties, popcorn, drinks, and other treats. Special raffles benefitting the featured nonprofit and various displays further enliven the experience. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs, blankets and their friends and neighbors to enjoy an afternoon under the sun.
Held weekly at Centennial Park, the Arroyo Grande Farmers Market provides produce, live music and community connection for residents and visitors alike. The market opens every Saturday from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the Village’s Centennial Park.
In mid-October, Arroyo Grande’s Beer Fest offers diverse craft beers paired with local bites from dozens of purveyors. This annual event features local entertainment and serves over 500 guests. Needless to say, this celebration of cold beer and hot food remains one of the most popular gatherings in San Luis Obispo County.
4th of July Concert
Each 4th of July, enjoy a band concert in the gazebo of the historic Village of Arroyo Grande. Bring a picnic, sit on the lawn and enjoy the sights and sounds of summer on Independence Day. To round out the event, hot dogs, lemonade and ice cream are served by the South County Historical Society.
The Village of Arroyo Grande ushers in the holiday season with a beloved Christmas Parade each year. During the month of December, enjoy a nightly fairyland of lights illuminating the Village. Santa resides in the Village until Christmas, so be sure to pay him and his elves a visit while you’re in town.
Historical Arroyo Grande Sites
Known for its well-preserved downtown, the Village of Arroyo Grande offers many windows into early California history. Be sure to check out these time-honored haunts, which range from a swinging bridge to a school house and even an antique jail. The best part? Most of Arroyo Grande’s historical sites are free and open to the public.
Unique to California, Arroyo Grande’s famous Swinging Bridge hovers 40 feet above the Arroyo Grande Creek. Visitors are invited to trek across the 171-foot-long bridge, a unique experience, indeed. First built in 1875 by Newton Short, the bridge connected his property, which was divided by the creek that still flows today. In 1911, the bridge was given to the City of Arroyo Grande and it fared well until a severe storm destroyed the original structure in 1995. With federal funding and donations from local businesses and residents, the bridge was reconstructed. These days, Arroyo Grande’s cherished Swinging Bridge remains free and open to the public.
Heritage House Garden & Museum
Built in the late 19th century, the Heritage House has served as a residence, a sanitorium and a daycare center. Today, the public is invited to explore the property’s museum and event space. The Historical Society acquired the house in 1997 and oversaw major restoration work to turn the structure into a visitor’s center and museum. A gazebo and garden were added to provide a beautiful setting for weddings and other social events. The museum boasts an interesting collection of period clothing, photographs and kitchen items. Knowledgeable docents are on-hand to answer any questions.
Santa Manuela Schoolhouse
The Santa Manuela Schoolhouse was originally built in 1901 and is now a free, public hands-on museum for historical exploration and learning. Restored to its original state, the historic site boasts period-accurate chairs, historical books, maps, blackboards and photographs. Used until 1957 in its original location, the school house was later moved to avoid possible flooding due to the construction of the Lopez Lake Reservoir. In 1999, the structure relocated to Short Street in Arroyo Grande near the Swinging Bridge. The public is invited to enjoy the school house and take a stroll through the rows of vintage desks.
Arroyo Grande’s “Hoosegow” is a time-honored source of local lore. The tiny one-room jailhouse overlooking downtown Arroyo Grande from Le Point Street was probably constructed around 1910 for use by the County Constable. The jail is made of concrete with walls measuring eight inches thick with high windows crisscrossed with metal bars. The single entrance features a heavy iron door secured by an oversized padlock. Fortunately, the jail has been preserved and is surrounded by a small park maintained by the City of Arroyo Grande known as “Hoosegow Park.” The public is welcome to visit the site.
Arroyo Grande’s “Barn,” also known as the South County Historical Society’s Museum Annex, houses a variety of antique vehicles and agricultural artifacts from the South County area. In addition, the museum boasts vintage printing presses and other interesting exhibits. The Barn is located just a few steps from the Santa Manuela Schoolhouse, immediately behind the Heritage House. Admission is free.
Paulding History House
Arroyo Grande’s Paulding History House was built in 1889 and has been inhabited by just two families since. One of these residents was Arroyo Grande’s first local medical doctor, Dr. Edward Paulding. As the story goes: Paulding traveled to Arroyo Grande, married Clara Edwards and together in 1891 they bought the house at 551 Crown Hill Road. The doctor’s missionary parents and daughter, Ruth, filled the house with artifacts from around the world. A talented woodworker, Paulding spent hours working on carvings that can be seen throughout the house, which is now a registered California Historic Resource. Countless relics are on display here, including the only authentic Chumash Indian basket in San Luis Obispo County. Visitors should note the grand centuries-old oak tree still presiding over the front yard today.
Sites to See Near the Village of AG
Old Edna Townsite
One of the oldest townsites in San Luis Obispo County, the town of Edna was established in the 19th century in what would become Edna Valley Wine Country. Today, the townsite is beautifully preserved with a wine tasting room, gourmet deli and vacation rentals on the property.
Oceano Dunes and Pismo State Beach
Located just four miles from the Village of Arroyo Grande, the Oceano Dunes offer heart-pounding adventure and coastal beauty. Hike the Oceano Dunes for vast views of the Pacific Ocean, or drive your vehicle right out onto the sand for a thrill. Better yet, hop on a horse and enjoy a sunset beach ride.
Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande promises outdoor fun for the whole family. This popular recreation area is known for great fishing, swimming, water sports, boating and more. Hike pristine trails, discover hidden waterfalls or camp out for the weekend with friends. Don’t miss the onsite Mustang Waterslides and Vista Lago Adventure Park, home of high-flying ziplines and action-packed fun.
Historic Huasna Townsite
Though little of its townsite remains viewable today, the Huasna Valley once supported a 22,000+ acre Mexican land grant known as Rancho Huasna. More than a century later, the land features rural fruit orchards, vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs. Huasna is located 20 minutes from the town of Arroyo Grande and the roads surrounding its valley offer stunning views enjoyed by car or bicycle.
A majestic Butterfly Grove nestled nearby provides natural wonderment for Arroyo Grande visitors. Every winter, thousands of monarch butterflies migrate to Pismo Beach and flutter in the eucalyptus branches outstretched along Pismo Beach State Beach. Observe an average of 25,000 monarch butterflies in the grove between late October and February each year—one of the largest showings in North America.