Page 26 - SLO Visitors Guide Fall 2023
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San Luis Obispo
Pop over to Bubblegum Alley
 A unique tourist attraction is not to be missed
Bubblegum Alley is a tourist at- traction in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, known for its accumulation of used bubble gum on the walls of an alley. Located in the 700 block of Higuera Street, the 15-foot-high and 70-foot-long alley is lined with chewed gum left by passers-by.
It’s not completely clear how bubblegum alley got started Some historians believe that the tradition of putting gum in the alley started after WWII as a San Luis Obispo High School graduating class event. Others believe it started in the late 1950s, as a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Califor-
part of quaint downtown San Luis Obispo has not been reached since its founding. While some locals consider this alley to be an “eye- sore,” the Chamber of Commerce lists it as a “special attraction.” Store owners’ complaints concerning up- keep are countered by the argument that it increases foot traffic and business.
The Alley has inspired profes- sional artists such as Matthew Hoff- man. On the east end of the alley, up high on the north-facing wall, a giant self-portrait of Hoffman titled “Projectbubble Gum” is created entirely with bubble gum. The pic- ture of the artist blowing a bubble required a tremendous amount of gum, which he was able to get with the help of the community.
—Skye Pratt
 nia Polytechnic State University students. By the 1970s, Bubblegum
Alley was well-established and has survived two thorough cleanings.
Throughout the years, San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley has been featured on a number of televi- sion shows, news programs, and in newspapers around the world such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle and Ripley’s Believe
it or Not. “Weird Al” Yankovic mentioned Bubblegum Alley in
his 1978 song “Take Me Down,” an ode to San Luis Obispo. Our local Bubblegum Alley shares fame with its Seattle counterpart; the only two such landmarks on the West Coast.
Agreement on whether these gum-covered walls should remain a
 Convenient and affordable transportation to the best of SLO.
  For route and schedule information, please visit, download the SLO Transit app or call 805-541-2877. Thank you!
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