Explore Atascadero on a Holiday Road Trip

November 21, 2023
by Team SESLOC

If you’re planning on a holiday joy ride to Atascadero, then this Central Coast Holiday Day Trip Guide is for you! Enjoy some local adventures, holiday festivities, and local shopping. Bring along visiting friends and family and enjoy earning bonus points at each Local Rewards location mentioned.

Here are 9 ideas for your itinerary from our Atascadero Branch Manager, Tami Strait:

1. Start With Coffee & Donuts

“This is a great local place for donuts, everyone in the family will enjoy them!” — Tami

SloDoCo is the first stop for any trip to Atascadero. They serve up classic favorites like maple bars and chocolate old fashioned, along with experimental flavors like lavender and circus cookie as well as savory croissant options. But they’re perhaps most known for their monthly specials with festive holiday themed designs and flavors. With over 100 different options to choose from every day, they truly have something for everyone. And once you stop in, you’ll quickly understand the hype.

Plus, SloDoCo is a participating Local Rewards business, which means you earn bonus rewards points¹ when you use your HomeFREE Checking™ debit or Visa Signature Rewards® credit card. You can redeem your points for gift cards, cash back, and many more awesome rewards at seslocrewards.org², helping you stretch your holiday budget.

2. Hike the Trail at Three Bridges Oak Preserve

“A great way to start your morning!” — Tami

Now that you’re fueled up, take a quick drive over to the trailhead at the Three Bridges Oak Preserve to enjoy the great outdoors. Open sunrise to sunset, the 4-trail system is appropriate for all ages and always enjoyable. Highlights include a creekside meadow, oak savannah, chaparral, and breathtaking views for Insta worthy photos. You can even turn the visit into an educational game for kids — check out the preserve’s field guide of native plants and make it a competition to see who can identify the most plants.

3. Visit the Charles Paddock Zoo

“Always fun to spend time with the animals, enjoying the antics and personalities.” — Tami

On the way back into town, stop by the Charles Paddock Zoo to see over 100 types of animals, including meercats, red pandas, Malayan tiger, and more. The zoo is fun to visit year-round, but the holiday season is extra special. Plan your visit for Walk Around the Lake, an evening event with musical groups, carolers, Santa, community singing, holiday decorations and more. Or, visit during Elves for the Animals, where guests can help wrap presents and prepare seasonal enrichments for the animals, or at Holiday Magic, where guests can watch the animals receive their gifts (word on the street is that Santa will stop by).

4. Grab Lunch at The Country Touch Café

“A great local spot, quaint, great comfort food, favorites for everyone!” — Tami

Established in 1985, Country Touch Café is a favorite of  locals for their delicious, homemade family recipes. Enjoy classic breakfast and lunch diner favorites like omelets, eggs benedict, sandwiches, melts, burgers, salads, and more. And if you’re feeling extra festive, get a mimosa and cheers to a fun day out in Atascadero. Don’t forget to pay with your HomeFREE Checking™ debit or Visa Signature Rewards® credit card to earn bonus rewards points.

5. Shop at Atrium Mercantile

“Amazing finds, you will definitely find something special!” — Tami

Atrium Mercantile is a fun shop featuring a collection of new and one-of-a-kind vintage furniture and home décor brought to you by Atascadero locals. You can find items for almost any room of your house, starting from under $10, and you can earn bonus rewards points on your purchase when you use your eligible SESLOC debit or credit card.

6. Get a Pick-Me-Up at Joebella Coffee

“Amazing finds, you will definitely find something special!” — Tami

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Head over to Joebella Coffee Roasters to enjoy a festive drink like a gingerbread latte or hot cider. Joebella is a Local Rewards participating business and the premier source for organic specialty coffee on California’s Central Coast. They roast their beans on site at their Atascadero location and have a wide variety of beans for sale — just in case you’re looking for the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life.

7. Catch a Holiday Classic on the Big Screen

“Seeing a movie for the first time, or enjoying one like we do as a Holiday tradition, its great either way!” — Tami

The Colony Cinema downtown features “flashback” showings of classic movies on Sundays and Wednesdays. If you missed these movies the first time around, catching them on the big screen can be a fun and special way to view a holiday classic.

8. Celebrate at the Sunken Garden

“This is a fun way to experience what downtown has to offer! Bring the family or come with friends, or both — it’s always a great time in Downton Atascadero” — Tami

Check out two events in one in the Sunken Gardens on December 1, with Light Up Downtown and the Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Sip & Shop. Light Up Downtown is an all ages evening of community entertainment, Santa, Model-A Firetruck and Hay Rides, hot chocolate, and more in the Sunken Garden! Sip & Shop is a ticketed event (which sells out, so snag your tickets early) that gets you access to complimentary tastings of wine, beer, coffee, and cider tastings from 15+ downtown businesses. It’s a fun way to tackle your holiday shopping list and support local businesses.

9. Cap Off the Trip at Cielo Ristorante

“There’s no better way to enjoy the city than spending time on the rooftop for a drink and appetizers!” — Tami

Cielo Ristorante & Rooftop Bar is in the heart of downtown and you can enjoy delicious handcrafted cocktails or mocktails, a curated selection of beer and wine, and gourmet small bites. Enjoy the stunning rooftop deck and soak in the downtown atmosphere. Plus, Cielo is another one of our participating Local Rewards business.

If you’re looking for more holiday inspo this season, check out our tips for taking a joy ride to other Central Coast locations. Or, check out the complete Local Rewards Business Directory here.


1.The SESLOC Rewards program (“Program”) is a service provided by SESLOC Credit Union (“Sponsor”) and managed by ampliFI Loyalty Solutions, LLC (“Administrator”). Participation in the Program is exclusive to those who have a current HomeFREE CheckingTM debit card or a SESLOC Visa Signature® Rewards credit card issued by the Sponsor. There is no pre-registration required. By making eligible transactions with a HomeFREE Checking account debit card and the SESLOC Visa Signature Rewards credit card, the cardholder is accepting the terms and conditions of the Program. See for Program terms and conditions. You retain the option to utilize these services as long as you are a HomeFREE Checking or SESLOC Visa Signature Rewards cardholder. Subject to terms and conditions. Sponsor and Administrator reserves the right to modify, expand, discontinue, or retire any part of the program at any time.
2. Local Rewards bonus points are earned on purchases made at participating Local Businesses only. Participating Local Businesses (“merchants”) are subject to change at any time without notice. Participation in Local Rewards does not constitute an endorsement on the part of either the merchant or SESLOC Credit Union. Purchases made at participating merchants processed through third-party services (e.g. DoorDash, Grub Hub, Uber Eats ect.) may not qualify for bonus points under Local Rewards. Local Rewards is part of the SESLOC Rewards program; see for complete terms, conditions, restrictions and eligibility that apply. For any questions regarding Local Rewards, contact SESLOC Credit Union.

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