We are in Paso Robles, California for the NRCHA Derby this week. Now that we have a daughter, I’m very picky about the shows I tag along for. Your checklist of what makes a great horse show town completely changes when kids enter the picture. So even though Chisolm’s used to make me long for OKC in my early 20s, not so much any more. No offense, Oklahoma City, you’re not my favorite place. Reno, you also make my list of “places I’d rather not spend a week with my 3 year old”. Las Vegas and the South Point, I like you a lot. But, Paso Robles…I love you.
Paso is my favorite horse show city for many reasons. One-the hotels are directly across the street form the show grounds. It makes it so much easier, especially with a child, when no one has to drive back to the hotel to pick you up. You can easily walk back to the room for nap time or pool time. There are also a few great quick places to eat, as well as a Starbucks, right next to the hotel. Two-the beach is a quick 40 minute drive away. In fact, I write this as my daughter is snoozing away next to me after an afternoon playing in the waves and sand in Cayucos. And three-the food and the wine. Paso Robles and the surrounding areas are known for their wineries and there are also some amazing restaurants. Wine tasting isn’t quite as frequent of an activity now that most of my friends have kids in tow, but it’s definitely our favorite activity if we can swing it.
Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite Paso Robles restaurants and activities.
Odyssey World Cafe, 1214 Pine Street: This is my favorite place to eat in Paso. It’s a little local cafe-type restaurant. There’s trivia card games on the tables to stir up some fun dining companion competition, and it’s super kid-friendly. I’ve never had a bad meal here. They have amazing salads and sandwiches for lunch, along with traditional favorites like rib eye, rotisserie chicken, and spaghetti and meatballs on their dinner menu.
Yanagi Sushi, 1221 Park Avenue: Sushi is one type of food my husband and I both enjoy, and this is my favorite place in town. I think I love place not necessarily for the menu, but mostly because I’ve had so many fun times there. There’s nothing like a little bit of saki to make some good memories. I’m pretty sure the sushi is good too…
Avila Beach: This is my favorite beach for a day in the sun. It’s about a 45 minute drive from the horse show. It’s not the closest beach, but in my experiences, it’s one of the easiest to navigate with the kids, and the weather is usually warmer and sunnier than closer beaches. Here’s a picture of my friend Kristen and her “light packing” for the beach. Always prepared, that girl.
Downtown City Park: The park is surrounded by a great downtown area with restaurants, shops, and galleries. The park itself has a playground and lots of space for kids to run around. I always check the local calendar when I’m in town to see what special events are scheduled. I’ve been lucky to be in town for several of these including the Olive Festival, Concerts in the Park, and Art After Dark.
Ravine Water Park: I’m not a huge water park person. Usually they kind of gross me out. But, when we are here in August, it is HOT. Plus, it’s often hard for the dads to get away from the show long enough to join us at the beach, so this is a nearby place to enjoy some water fun with the whole family. The kids LOVE it. They have a great kiddie area with smaller slides and play equipment. And having only Arizona water parks to compare it to, Ravine is small and relatively un-crowded.
Horse Show: Oh, yeah. I guess there’s also always a horse show going on when I’m here. And people enjoy watching them. Hopefully, I can fit in a bit of that while I’m here too. Good luck, everyone!
Bear “McKenzie P.”