Travel Guide to Paso Robles Wine Country


Little did we know, when we were invited to visit the Paso Robles Wine Country, that we would completely fall in love with the area.  In fact, we loved the area so much, we called friends from Michigan and were back again visiting only two weeks later!

The official name for Paso Robles is “El Paso de Robles”, Spanish for “The Pass of Oaks.”  One of the early architects of Paso Robles was Drury James, the uncle of the outlaw Jesse James.

Paso Robles is very affordable.  You can still buy a fantastic bottle of wine for $25!

Paso Robles’ early notoriety began in the late 19th century with its healing hot springs and mud bath.  In the 1920s, Paso Robles became the home of the famous concert pianist Ignacy Paderewski and had become an entertainment destination for the likes of Jack Dempsey, President Theodore Roosevelt, Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Bob Hope, and Clark Gable.

Later, Paso Robles became famous for the world’s largest concentration of almond orchards, and with the advent of irrigation to the area, the town has morphed into California’s third largest and fastest growing wine region.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Paso Robles

Hotel Cheval

The Hotel Cheval is a  sophisticated 16-room, European style boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Paso Robles and offers well-traveled baby boomers an intimate and luxurious getaway.

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La Bellasera Hotel and Suites

La Bellasera Hotel and Suites is a AAA Four-Diamond property where you can enjoy deluxe suites with romantic whirlpool tubs.

Plus, with it being a full service hotel, you will enjoy the gourmet cuisine available in the Enoteca Restaurant and Bar from Executive Chef Brady Thompson.

In addition, you will enjoy the hotel’s pool and perhaps a nice massage from the on-site Paso Robles Spa

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Our Favorite Places to Eat in Paso Robles

Roberts Restaurant and Wine Bar

Robert’s is located near the central park square of Paso Robles, features classic American cuisine with the kitchen team led by Executive Chef Ryan Swarthout.

Chef Swarthout attended the renowned California Culinary Academy of San Francisco, and has worked with acclaimed chefs such as Mark Miller of Coyote Café, Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s and Shawn McClain of Green Zebra.

The Grilled Mahi-Mahi was out of this world!

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Thomas Hill Organics Market Bistro and Wine Bar

Owners, Joe and Debbie Thomas have an organic farm which feeds their restaurant with organically grown, unique, heirloom varieties of fruit, vegetables and nuts.  They also work with local providers for local, organic, grass and well fed livestock for beef, lamb, and free range organic poultry.

Chef Julie Simon hails from Paris, France where she grew up in her parents restaurant and learned that nothing can bring folks together to laugh, love, eat, and share stories like good food.  Her belief in nurturing strong relationships with local ranchers, winemakers, artisans and purveyors brings her back to the values she grew up with in France: good food builds good community.

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Top Ten Things to do in Paso Robles

  1. Wine Tasting - We spent four days scouring the Paso Robles Wine Country.  At the link below, we have provided you with videos, Google maps, and what we think might just be the most ultimate wine tasting guide for Paso Robles.
  2. Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting – Where there is wine, there is generally olive oil and balsamic vinegars to experience.  If you’re in town visit We Olive.  When you’re wine tasting in the western region of Paso Robles, then visit the olive mill at Pasolivo Olive Oil. Both places offer olive oil and balsamic tasting along with a host of other delectables.
  3. Wine and Cheese PairingVivant Fine Cheese is located in the heart of downtown Paso Robles.  Besides offering over 150 cheeses in their tasting room, they also offer a unique wine and cheese pairing.  We tried it and loved it!
  4. Shopping – To my wife’s great glee, downtown Paso Robles offers a bounty of unique boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops to find great treasures to bring home as a souvenir.
  5. Visit a Historic Mission – A short 10-miles from Paso Robles is the Mission San Miguel.  Founded in 1797, it is a National Historical Landmark that has been an important part of Central Coast history for over 200 years.
  6. Drive to Cambria – Thirty miles from Paso Robles, tucked away on the Pacific coastline, lies the quaint little town of Cambria.  The drive is absolutely stunning, you will enjoy a little boutique shopping, and you will absolutely want to have lunch at Robin’s Restaurant.  Their Salmon Bisque is a must!
  7. Hearst Castle – while driving to Cambria, you should also put the Hearst Castle on your agenda.  It’s 10-miles north of Cambria, and a definite must see!  Be certain to call ahead for tickets and tour times.
  8. Natural Mineral Hot Springs - The natural mineral hot springs are Paso Robles’ oldest tourist attraction, and to date visitors can still enjoy the rejuvenating power of natural hot springs at the Paso Robles Inn and River Oaks Hot Springs Spa.
  9. Central Coast BeachesMorro Bay is a short 30-minute drive from Paso Robles where you can play in the Pacific and see the iconic Morro Rock.
  10. Visit a Museum – The Paso Robles Pioneer Museum is filled with detailed displays, historical literature and educational tours showcasing the history of the area.

If you happen to be in Paso Robles on a Tuesday, you will also want to check out the local farmers’ market.  It is held in the town’s central park from 3-6 pm.

For even more information about your visit to Paso Robles Wine Country, download the official Paso Robles Visitors Guide.

Well, that’s our guide to exploring Paso Robles Wine Country, and the surrounding area.  We hope you find it informative and valuable in planning your own trip to Paso Robles.

And, when you do visit, please come back and tell us about your experience in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear from you.

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