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Downtown City Park, Paso Robles

The city center of this wine town has a colorful history

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    The History: The town of Paso Robles, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the Central Coast region, is known for its thermal baths, wineries, and almonds—having once been home to the world’s largest concentration of almond orchards. But there’s also some impressive architectural history in and around Downtown City Park, which was designed in approximately 1890 by the town founders (one of whom was the uncle of outlaw Jesse James). One example: the Carnegie Library, a Classical Revival building that opened in 1908 and today plays host to the Historical Society. Also check out the Paso Robles Inn, where the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Clark Gable have stayed. The original dates to 1891, but the current version was built in 1941, and the area’s famous thermal springs (a draw since the late 18th century) still run there. 

    Where to Play: Stay in the Spanish mission–style Paso Robles Inn, and book a room with an outdoor Jacuzzi fed by the Paso Robles hot springs. Or opt for the 16-room luxury Hotel Cheval. Need something to drink? You’ll find more than 15 tasting rooms here; the red-focused Pianetta Winery is close to the park. And don’t miss the food scene: Try Artisan, featuring wood-fired pizzas made with local ingredients.

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