Atascadero, CA Things to Do


Whether visiting or living in this California destination, there are many things to see and do. Here are attractions, activities and events of interest:


Atascadero City Parks and Skate Park are great for outdoor activities and picnics paired with wine.

Atascadero's Charles Paddock Zoo is a small, friendly zoo that loves support from the community. Among the fun-raisers (misspelling intended) are an ice cream social.



Atascadero Farmers Market Weekly Event

Atascadero Events Art & Wine Tour Main St., Children's Day in Park, Concerts, Colony Homes Tour





Atascadero on the Central California coast is slightly inland from the Pacific Ocean, providing additional sunshine to make the grape vines, olives, avocados and other farm fresh produce grow just right.

Atascadero and neighboring Paso Robles have, in fact, become the heartland of wine production in the fertile area known traditionally in San Luis Obispo County as the beach destination. Morro Bay, San Simeon, Cambria and Pismo Beach are some of the coastal retreats for travelers, while Atascadero has no beach. But it does have the grapes, and it has hotels that provide perfect stays for this other type of experience that has become increasingly popular.

Central Coast is known as the affordable wine tour region compared to Napa, Sonoma, and Temecula.

If you are on the road and looking for a great vacation check out Atascadero's affordable hotels, or the luxury Carlton Hotel with luxury linens in every room, and a downtown location next to dining and shops.

When visiting, don't forget to check out the farmer's market offering fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.

Atascadero means bog and "atascar" stuck or hindered, but it doesn't really describe today's vibrant and faster paced society and residents. Don't fear that you'll be stuck in a bog, because Atascadero is the opposite of that.

After the Spanish land grant era, Edward Gardner Lewis, a successful magazine publisher from back East founded Atascadero with hopes of building a utopian, planned colony. Lewis began developing the land in1914 with miles of orchards and a new road, Highway 41 west that carves a path through the Santa Lucia Mountains to Morro Bay and the coastal beaches considered the premier Central Coast destination.

His influence on the future of Atascadero was unforgettable as he built cottages, a beachfront hotel, the first civic building in Atascadero, and the first rotogravure presses west of Chicago. He published world class Atascadero News newspaper and the Illustrated Review, a photo/news magazine, groundbreaking publications for their time, and he paid to have the Italian Renaissance Atascadero City Hall and the Museum built. Because of earthquake damage and redevelopment, few of Lewis' buildings have survived, though when you see the Rotunda Building located near the Junior High School or drive upon the Sunken Gardens, you can't help but feel something special remains. City Hall is decorated with a 40 foot dome mounted on its third floor. Earthquake damage did not completely destroy the building in 2003, but did make it unsafe.

The Carlton Hotel is another example of the opulence of that era. It has been restored at great expense, and is open to guests who can stay at the hotel which was built in 1929.

Things to see & do:

Farmers Market held downtown includes locally grown cut flowers, produce, honey & wines, to name a few.

Concerts in the Park at Atascadero Lakeside park are held in the summer.

Atascadero Zoo is a cute, small zoo on the outskirts of town. Fundraising events to support the zoo are held annually.

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