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Rainy days in Paso Robles: what to do & see

You’re visiting Paso Robles on your dream vacation and wine country getaway. Everything lined up with the stars, but the weather just wasn’t planned for. It’s raining outside in Paso.

What to do?

Your hopes were set high as an oak tree: hotel, RV or vacation rental reservations planned months in advance, dinner arrangements made and logistical details hashed out. Drip, drip drip ­­– yes, that’s the pitter-patter of raindrops, but not to worry, the fun has just begun.

Paso Robles shines in more than just vitamin-D rich sunlight. The city shines in all weather – so if you’re in the middle of a cold front waiting by the windowsill wondering: What am I going to do in the rain? There are quick and easy adventures awaiting you.

Here are some prime picks for things to do when it’s raining in Paso Robles:

1. Matinee-it-up downtown
Grab a bucket-of-popcorn, take a break from the rain with a good flic. Park Cinemas – situated in the heart of downtown at 1100 Pine Street – is sure to have you reeling in cinematographic stares. Sure, Paso Robles may be highly regarded for its world-class cabernet sauvignon, Rhone varietals, oak hillsides and ailment-easing sulfur baths, but it’s also equally revered for its entertainment. Park Cinemas is the perfect jumping off spot for a matinee + dinner combo, as well as a highly entertaining respite from the rain.

2. Don an umbrella – go shopping
Shopping certainly doesn’t stop when it’s raining. If you bring an umbrella along, Paso Robles’ downtown core, for example, has numerous covered awning sections giving respite from the rain. Shop owners are likely to be very happy to see you, as visitor traffic may be less impacted during inclement weather. Picture it like this: It’s your chance to get those one-on-one moments in even greater focus when foot traffic is light. You’ll be glad you went shopping despite the rain.

3. Poise your paintbrush
Local artists, themes and vibes abound. Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine Street, can shelter you form the southerly wind-blowing rain with a spacious studio experience worthy of hours-long visits spent hypnotized by the amazing paintings, sculptures and everything in-between including inhabitants like the Paso Robles Art Association. This art destination in Paso Robles features exhibitions, events, artists, classes, workshops and even private parties. Hone your inner artist, or spark a new flame of artistic drive – opportunities with brushstrokes of inspiration are limitless. The nonprofit open studios art center in the heart of historic downtown Paso Robles lets you witness the process of artistic creation, develop your own skills and support the burgeoning Paso Robles art scene. While downtown sure to check out all of the wonderful eclectic arts on display at intimate studios such as at Deprise Brescia Art Gallery and the plethora of craftsperson shops located in the downtown core. It’s a rainy-day art occasion worthy of your highest consideration.

4. Photo the beauty
Rainbows bending over grenache blanc plantings in a verdant green field: now that’s photogenic. It’s also common in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) and amongst stunning backdrops like The Wineries of Highway 46 East. Rainy days are splendid lensmen and lenswomen opportunities to capture those spurts of wonderful winter light amidst the downpours. Rains offer all sorts of water-based photo-ops that wouldn’t otherwise be possible – reflecting, brilliant and shimmering. Check your local annual calendar: They’re bound to be chock-full of photographs taken twixt winter torrential rain showers. Popular places to photograph include Lake Nacimiento, downtown Paso Robles, as well as the seasonally-flowing Salinas River on the 800-acre Big Sandy Wildlife Recreation Area managed by the California Department of Fish & wildlife, a true sight to behold amongst the season’s yellows and oranges. Be sure to check local regulations.

5. Take the kids to the museum
Paso Robles’ pioneering spirit is on display at several area library/historical facilities including the Carnegie Library in Downtown City ParkPaso Robles LibraryEstrella Warbirds MuseumWoodland Auto Display, Paso Robles Pioneer Museum and Paso Robles Children’s Museum. What better time than a rainy day to take advantage of the wonderful interior educational spaces Paso has to offer? Learn more about the area’s history, aeronautical flair and children’s features at these popular museum attractions. Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, 2010 Riverside Avenue, is a wonderful starting place to take in the area’s rich heritage and roots in respite and agriculture. Paso Robles History Museum, located in the Carnegie Library in the heart of Downtown City Park, is a timeless resource with wonderful volunteers more than happy to guide you through Paso Robles’ historical resources.

6. Cozy up to the fireplace
Fireplaces are commonplace in many Paso Robles winery tasting rooms. Take your pick from amongst the area’s burgeoning wineries and snuggle up to a hearty glass of cabernet sauvignon. There’s no cozier place to learn about the area’s terroir than beside the fireplace. Fireplaces abound: Try Sextant WinesPear Valley Vineyard & WineryVina Robles WineryEberle WineryCastoro CellarsSummerWood Winery & InnTablas Creek VineyardNiner Wine Estates, Tooth & Nail Wine Company ­– and a burning bevy more including Tin City. Restaurants in Paso Robles, hotel lobbies and others offer up a similar ambiance like at Thomas Hill Organics, or even try dining by heater/artificial flame at locations like Il Cortile Ristorante.

7. Go to the opera
Opera San Luis Obispo is a wonderful place to relish in the ambiance of a high-end opera performance – the perfect location for a post-wine tasting experience by the fire or pre/post dinner affair. Since 1985, Opera San Luis Obispo has stood as the region’s only professional opera company and one of four Grand Opera companies in California. Boasting full orchestras, choruses, ballet with a penchant for originality, seasonal programs offer diverse events from elegant recitals to learning experiences, grand opera to musical theater.

8. Soak in the spa
Imagine lulling yourself into relaxation to the chorus of raindrops on the roof. It’s cool outside, but it’s perfectly cozy inside the sanctuary of the region’s healing waters. Raining? Treat yourself to a spa experience in Paso Robles ­ – it’s a match made in a cloud. Spa at Allegretto, Paso Robles Inn and River Oaks Hot Springs Spa offer sanctuary indoors with high-end accents and spa experiences sure to put the relaxation factor back into your vacation. Sip, swirl, swish the sulfur water and its amazing healing powers that beckoned greats like Ignacy Jan Paderewski to town.

9. Olive oil tasting
Olive oil can be used for all sorts of things: your rainy-day excursion is just one of them. Paso Robles is home to world-class Mediterranean climate. With that comes distinguished olive oil producers who hold steadfast in artisan approaches. On you way out to Lake Nacimiento, be sure to check out Mt. Olive Organic Farm, 3445 Adelaida Road in the westside country. Downtown? Pasolivo, 1229 Park Street and We Olive at 1311 Park Street are just a warm-toned flagstone’s throw away from superb downtown dining, Park Cinemas, art galleries and more. There’s something uniquely warming about olive oil tasting. Perhaps it’s the restorative qualities beckoning for tasting, snacking and cooking a wide variety of foods in your home or vacation rental with Paso Robles olive oil. Either way, it’s something to tell friends and family ol-i-bout.

10. Visit the missions
Paso Robles history is profound and deep. It tells the history of the area, settlers and qualities that set it apart as a truly authentic respite in California. Fun fact: It’s also home to stunning missions. Take Mission San Antonio de Padua at the end of Mission Road in Jolon, flanking Fort Hunter-Liggett. In San Miguel, Mission San Miguel Archangel on Mission Street in San Miguel invites visitors to travel back in time. Good news: Indoors experiences exist to get out of the rain and into the covered marvels. From historic paintings to awe-inspiring architecture and wonderful people, there’s always something to see and do indoors at these unique California missions.

It’s with hope that rain won’t in any way hinder your experience in Paso Robles. It’s that time of the year: and with it comes plenty of rain. Next time you’re in Paso Robles and wondering what to do in the rain, these activities are sure to please!

Big Sandy 1
Mission San Antonio
Mission San Miguel
Olive oil tasting
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