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3.5
42 votes

Bubblegum Alley

5 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, California 93401 USA

Free
Free to Visit

“An alleyway plastered with bubblegum!”

Bubblegum Alley is a local tourist landmark in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, known for its accumulation of used bubble gum on the walls of an alley. It is a 15-foot (4.6 m) high and 70-foot (21 m) long alley lined with chewed gum left by passers-by. The locally created, "most-talked-about landmark" covers a stretch of 20 meters between 733 and 734 Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. According to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Improvement Association, the history of who actually started this gum fiesta is "a little sketchy". Some historians believe that the tradition of the Alley started after WWII as a San Luis Obispo High School graduating class event. Others believe it to have started in the late 1950s as rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and Cal Poly students. As soon as the Poly students suspected that the high school was trying to out-do them on the gum walls, the college students stepped up their game and immediately became more creative, thus launching Bubblegum Alley. In any case, by the 1970s Bubblegum Alley was well under way. When shop owners complained that it was "unsanitary and disgusting", the alley underwent a full cleaning. The gum graffiti survived two full cleanings in the '70s, but when, in 1996, the BIA attempted to have another full cleaning, it was not passed.

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Reviewed by
dinorajudith

  • 1 Review
  • 6 Helpful
December 20, 2015
Rated 1.0

NO LONGER EXISTS as of 12/20/15

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
SometimesLauren

  • 3 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 02, 2017
Rated 5.0

Does exist

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
elaine.c.almond

  • 5 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 08, 2017
Rated 5.0

Fun place to leave a piece of gum! Quick stop right off highway!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
patchouli

  • 4 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
May 28, 2014

It was disgusting and beautiful

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Leticia Corona

  • 6 Reviews
  • 13 Helpful
April 20, 2014

Don't forget the gum!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Liz

  • 4 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
December 28, 2015
Rated 4.0

It cool novalty. Disgusting. Funny

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Reviewed by
roadtrippersgary

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 18, 2015
Rated 3.0

Creative use of space. Pretty nasty if you think about it. Bucket list check. 3 because of health concerns. Would give it a 5 for creativity.

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Reviewed by
AJ Frustaci

  • Road Warrior
  • 16 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
June 15, 2015
Rated 5.0

Oddly enough, this was the highlight of the day. It's amazing how many forms art can take, and this is one of those creatively genius ways.

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Reviewed by
asalfred02

  • 7 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 23, 2015
Rated 3.0

It looks really cool, but disgusting at the same time. - Julz

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Reviewed by
Plvogel

  • 98 Reviews
  • 32 Helpful
May 09, 2015
Rated 3.0

If you visit downtown San Luis Obispo (which I highly recommend) you will most likely wind up in bubblegum alley either by choice or accidentally. When we were in SLO we unintentionally found the alley leaving a restaurant. It's kind of cool to look at, but smells like a strong mixture of bubblegum and urine. Within five seconds of entering the alley you begin worrying about stepping in both!

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Bubblegum Alley

5 Higuera St
San Luis Obispo, California
93401 USA

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  • Yes Parking

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