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46th Annual Holiday Parade & More Family-Friendly Fun in Downtown SLO!


November 21, 2022


FROM: Rachel Lackmann
Marketing & Communications Coordinator


Rock ‘n’ Retro holiday happenings include Santa’s House, Classic Carousel, and dazzling light shows.

San Luis Obispo, CA — Classic cars, shining stars, and electric guitars — cruise on over to downtown San Luis Obispo this holiday season for a nostalgic, rockin’ good time!

Downtown SLO, in partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo, is delighted to announce that the theme of the 2022 Holiday Happenings is “Rock ‘n’ Retro!” This year, treasured community traditions will continue, and brand-new activations will make the holiday experience bigger and brighter!

46TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARADE presented by American Riviera Bank
Friday, December 2, 2022, from 7–9 PM

The Annual Downtown SLO Holiday Parade returns for its 46th year! This beloved Central Coast holiday tradition will feature 88 decorated floats, marching bands, vehicles, dancers, and more, representing all kinds of organizations. The Downtown SLO Holiday Parade is one of the largest parades on the Central Coast, attracting thousands of spectators.

Leading the 2022 Holiday Parade will be Grand Marshal Carl Dudley. Recently retired from Pacific Western Bank, Carl has served on the Board of Directors of Downtown SLO, KCBX, the SLO Symphony, and United Way, and is a longtime member of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

Twelve announcer booths will be stationed along the parade route, including an English/Spanish booth. A map of the parade route, announcers, restrooms, and parking can be found at

Downtown SLO encourages guests to carpool, walk, or ride their bikes to the parade, as parking is limited. Free bike valet will be available at Mission Plaza.

Parade watchers can expect street-side viewing, first-come-first-served. Those who plan to save spots should not leave chairs/blankets/ or items unattended.

Please note that roads will close at 4 PM on December 2, 2022. A map of road closures with more information can be found here; only downtown residents with barricade passes may enter the route.

The 46th Annual Holiday Parade is sponsored by: Astound Broadband, SLO Credit Union, Coastal Pediatric Dentistry, Guaranteed Rate, Injectors Direct, Wilde Wealth Management, Friday Night Lights Flag Football, Sunset Honda, Hotel Cerro, ASAP Movers, and San Luis Garbage

THE HOLIDAY PLAZA presented by The San Luis Obispo Collection
In partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo
Opens Friday, November 25, 2022, at 12:00 PM

Join Downtown SLO on Friday, November 25, 2022, at noon to watch Santa ride into Mission Plaza on an antique firetruck, enjoy a live performance from the SLO County Band, and celebrate the opening of all the fun in the Holiday Plaza.

Mission Plaza is the centerpiece of downtown San Luis Obispo — it all happens here! This year, the Plaza will feature show-stopping photo opportunities, including animated light tunnels, a dazzling walk-through ornament, retro-themed neon signs, 6-foot-tall sparkly SLO letters, a 20-foot Holiday Tree (sponsored by Dignity Health), and a larger-than-life photo wreath (sponsored by Meathead Movers). Stunning lights will synchronize with music as part of the brand-new Musical Light Show (sponsored by PG&E, Lola & Ivy, Thoma Electric, RRM Design, and Wallace Group)

SANTA’S HOUSE sponsored by American Riviera Bank
Friday, November 25, 2022 – Saturday, December 24, 2022
Open Thursday – Sunday, 12 PM – 7 PM

Bring the kiddos to meet Santa in Mission Plaza! Young visitors can recite their holiday wish list and pose for photos with Santa out on his front lawn before entering the house to purchase their souvenir photo package and receive free goodies!

Guests can purchase one of three photo packages: take-your-own photos ($8), printed souvenir photo ($12), or a combination of both ($19). For more information, visit

Downtown SLO is actively recruiting volunteer photo elves! Learn more and sign up here.

CLASSIC CAROUSEL sponsored by Lamplighter Inn & Suites

Children of all ages can ride the Classic Carousel in Mission Plaza! Pricing and hours will be available on the Downtown SLO website.

LETTERS TO SANTA sponsored by Tenet Health Central Coast

Children can send their letters to Santa using the mailbox in front of Santa’s House and receive a free hand-written response! Drop off letters before Friday, December 16, 2022, to receive a response by Christmas Day!

In partnership with the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum
Launches Friday, November 25, 2022

Santa’s Mouse is out and about delivering presents to downtown businesses! Children can grab a free booklet and follow clever clues to different storefront locations, each containing a miniature scene with clues about the mouse’s whereabouts. Upon completion, families can enter to win a membership to the Children’s Museum. In addition to in-person locations, booklets will be available online at

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Downtown SLO invites the community to keep their dollars local this holiday season and support local businesses when shopping for gifts. Downtown SLO offers holiday shopping opportunities unlike any other, with a diverse line-up of small merchants. Shoppers can find a directory of small businesses downtown and Saturday happenings at Those who shop at participating locally-owned downtown businesses will receive a free Shop Small tote (while supplies last).

As an incentive to shop locally, the City of SLO is offering free parking in all three downtown structures on Saturday, November 26, 2022. For a complete list of free parking days this holiday season, visit

The City of SLO’s Buy Local Bonus program lasts from November 24 – December 24, 2022; spend $100 at local retail shops and get a $25 gift card while supplies last. Learn more here.

Launches Monday, November 28, 2022

This December, downtown businesses will enliven the streets with their creative Rock ‘n’ Retro-inspired window displays. An online map will be published with a list of participating businesses at Visitors will be able to scan the QR code in their favorite window to cast their vote for People’s Choice.



For more information on Downtown SLO Holiday Happenings, please visit, follow @DowntownSLO on Instagram, and like @ExperienceDowntownSLO on Facebook.

Thank you to media sponsors KSBY, New Times, and American General Media.

A media kit for the 2022 Holiday Happenings is available here. Please contact Rachel Lackmann, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, for additional materials and information:

About Downtown SLO: Downtown SLO is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit founded in 1975 whose mission is to foster an economically vibrant Downtown. Downtown SLO serves the community by working on initiatives like parking and beautification efforts, coordinating special events and the weekly Farmers’ Market, supporting economic activities, and examining Downtown issues.