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Downtown San Luis Obispo announces upcoming holiday happenings 

– Downtown SLO, in partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo, has announced the 2023 Holiday Happenings in downtown San Luis Obispo. The event will feature the 47th Annual Holiday Parade, Santa’s House, Lights & Sights, and more.

47th annual holiday parade: ‘Out of This World!’

The 47th Annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at 7 p.m. The 2023 theme is “Out of This World!” with participants encouraged to incorporate space exploration and intergalactic elements into their entries. The parade has been a tradition since 1976, attracting thousands to downtown San Luis Obispo. It features nearly 90 decorated floats, marching bands, vehicles, and dancers. More details, including the parade route, accommodations, and RSVP information, are available at

Lights, sights, family fun in Mission Plaza

Starting on Friday, Nov. 24, Mission Plaza will host holiday activities. Santa’s house, the classic carousel, animated light displays, and a music-synced light show will be among the offerings.

Holiday plaza and Santa’s house opening day celebration

On the opening day at 12 p.m., Santa will arrive at Mission Plaza on a firetruck, accompanied by a live performance by the SLO County Band.

‘Light Up The Plaza!’

At 5 p.m., Downtown SLO, the City of SLO, and sponsors will illuminate the plaza, marking the start of the 2023 holiday season.

Santa’s house

Santa’s House will be open until December 24. Families can meet Santa, share wish lists, and pose for photos. Downtown SLO is recruiting volunteer photo elves. The schedule is as follows:

  • 11/24: 12 – 7 p.m.
  • 11/25 – 12/17: Wed – Sun, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • 12/18 – 12/23: Every day, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • 12/24: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Children can also take home a free family holiday guide activity booklet, which includes a calendar of kid-friendly events downtown, SLO-themed activities and games, and a chance to win a membership to the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum. Additionally, a mailbox outside of Santa’s House provides the opportunity to mail wish lists to the North Pole for a response from Santa by Friday, Dec. 15, 2023.

Classic carousel

The Classic Carousel will be open to children starting on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. The carousel’s operating hours will align with Santa’s House hours.

Photo opportunities, holiday tree

Visitors will find a range of photo opportunities, including animated light tunnels, a 20-foot holiday tree, a dazzling walk-through ornament, a lighted wreath, and more.

Musical light show

The plaza will come alive with stunning lights synchronized with music in the evening. A video of the 2022 light show can be found here.

Shop local all season long

Downtown SLO encourages locals to choose downtown businesses when shopping for gifts this holiday season. A list of locally-owned businesses in downtown San Luis Obispo can be found here.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday encourages visitors to explore downtown retailers or the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center on Nov. 25, 2023. Exclusive offers and free tote bags and buttons will be available, with deals and events listed here as the date approaches.

Buy local bonus 

Starting Nov. 24, shoppers can earn a $25 gift card to another local business by spending $100 or more at locally-owned retailers. Learn more on the official website. This program is a collaboration between the City of San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on Downtown SLO holiday happenings, visit


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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at