Seattle isn’t the only city with a huge bubble gum wall! The famous Bubble Gum Alley in San Luis Obispo is a must-see when you visit SLO.
I was so inspired by the wall and a particular outfit I packed, that I did a little retro photoshoot in the alley with my friend! In this post, I’m sharing that photoshoot inspiration along with the history of the Bubble Gum Alley and where to buy gum to stick on yourself!
The Bubblegum Alley is one of the top San Luis Obispo attractions. It has a history that dates back to the 1950’s and at the end of the day, it’s just really cool (and a tad gross.) Here’s what I know about the history of the bubblegum wall:
History of San Luis Obispo Gum Wall
The origins of the bubblegum alley are a little clouded. We do know it was first started around 1950’s. Some sources say the wall was created by a graduating high school class in celebration of of WWII. Others claim the Bubblegum Alley history actually comes from a rivalry between San Luis Obispo High School and California Polytechnic State University.
Personally, I don’t know why college kids would care about high schoolers. And, riveraly between my schools never were as whimsical as sticking a bunch of gum on a wall together. Regardless, the tradition of chewing gum and placing it on the wall has lasted over 70 years.
It has been totally cleaned off twice: once in the 1970’s and once in the 1990’s. But the alley wall came back in full force each time, and local businesses love it there (it brings foot traffic.)
And as a visitor, I found the bubblegum alley to be one of my favorite things to do in San Luis Obispo on an afternoon exploring the city. I loved adding my piece of gum to this piece of San Luis Obisposan history and culture.
My Retro Photoshoot At Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo
My friend and I were visiting Paso Robles and then spent a few nights in San Luis Obispo downtown, staying at Hotel Cerro which is just next to the bubblegum wall. While I was exploring the town by foot, I came across the alley. And then one block down, I pasted a vintage candy store that sold all the favorites I remember from childhood, including Bubble Yum gum (remember that stuff?!)
I love to support local shops. So I bought a pack, went back to my hotel, pulled on this pink glitter outfit blazer, and grabbed my friend. I wanted to do a retro photoshoot in this alley!
We took photos around 6pm, so the alley was in full shade. I forgot how much time it takes to chew gum before it’s ready to blow a bubble and get a giant gum bubble ready for a photo. But finally we both got picture-worthy bubbles blown and had a fun time being goofy in the alley. At the end, we each added our chewed gum to the historical wall.
What I’m Wearing
I rented a glitter jacket from Nuuly. (You can shop a similar one here.)It’s actually supposed to be a dress but it’s too small so I styled it like a blazer. Under I wore a sequin mini skirt with black polka dot tights, black bandeau bra, and black heels. I topped it all off with white retro sunglasses from Amazon.
Looking for more wacky and cool photoshoot spots around downtown SLO? Check out these places:
- Museum of Modern Arts: they have a huge mural on the side of the building!
- Cal Poly Architecture Graveyard: A 9-acre outdoor museum of art and structures made by Cal Poly students (it’s super cool). No guided tours, you do this on your own.
- Madonna Inn: Packed to the brim with color and whimsy. It’s one of the top San Luis Obispo attractions and top hotels.
- Sensorio Paso Robles: This enchanting light installation takes place at night and is one of my favorite events in California!
I had so much fun dressing up and taking bubble gum pictures. I love the Central Coast of California and will be planning more trips down here. I live in San Francisco so it’s only a few hours away down the Pacific Coast Highway. Next time, I’ll make sure to stop by that candy store again, and add another bit of Kara chewed gum to the wall. It is tradition, after all.
Have you stopped by Gum Alley San Luis Obispo? Did you add your own gum to the wall? I’d love to hear from you, drop a comment below!
First I want to preface this comment that I have NO affiliation with this company, and I found your blog as I was searching for hidden gems on SHEIN from other bloggers. I guess I found your strong, negativity a little shocking—considering how great you looked in the photos.
So… I actually JUST found SHEIN recently, and, honestly, I’ve have no problems at all. Sure, some of the items are duds. Poor fabric or just not as cute in person. But this is usually 1-2 out of 20 items ordered. Returns have been super easy and I usually get my items DAYS before they’re projected to arrive. It typically takes about 5-7 days. Not bad at all, considering Zulily can take months.
The earrings…. Is the quality of EVERY earring top notch? No. But what do you expect from 1-4 dollar jewelry. Here’s my big PLUS though, I’m EXTREMELY allergic to earrings and have to put clear nail polish on almost every kind I buy. I anticipated that I’d have to with these, I mean, they’re 1-4 dollars. My ears were BOUND to be an itchy, bloody, stinky mess—sorry for the graphic description. guess what, though? I didn’t!! My ears felt fine after wearing them all day—and I’ve tried multiple since. Plus, why buy expensive earrings if you’re a person like me that loses them lol
Here’s the thing… you have to first and foremost understand that you’re buying cheap clothing that won’t be timeless pieces for years to come. My take is this: clothes go in and out of style daily and most people aren’t saving things for the next season—example: bell bottoms that were cool 20 years or so ago and then 20 years before that. With that said, I typically DO save jeans haha which is why I probably won’t ever buy bottoms from SHEIN. I want denim that lasts … tops I could care less about. As a mom, my clothes get stained and ripped anyway so I’d rather pay 20 dollars for them than 100. Then I don’t care when my daughter gets chocolate on them or the dogs jump on me and red clay stains the fabric. And I fully anticipate they’re going to fall apart after a few wears. Oh well. At least they were cheap!
The reviews I agree are a little skewed, but not because they delete negative ones. People are trying to get points for free things. And I’ve seen some 1 stars on there btw—I’ve also seen some 5 stars with negative reviews. You can’t look at star ratings. You have to look AT THE PHOTOS. If a review is positive but the picture of them wearing the clothing isn’t nice—don’t buy it. Scour those photo reviews. You’ll learn about fit, fabric quality and find some honest reviews.
Sizing, yep it’s skewed. I’m usually a small in tops and I order mediums, almost always… actually always. They have a plus size section, btw, and you might just have to size up on that too.
Once you realize:
1) the clothes are cheap and most will be good for a season—you will find some gems that LAST and are well made! I found quite a few actually. 2) you know the sizing runs small and you learn to SIZE UP. 3) you also know you HAVE to read multiple reviews, with photos, before buying anything.
If you follow those three rules, I bet you find some good pieces to get you through a season or part of a season. Maybe longer as one commenter said!
I’d like to say that the photos you took in the clothing look amazing. They flatter your body and you look stunning. The bathing suit color running isn’t cool and I’d be mad as well but maybe as a key to other suit buyers: wash them in warm water before you wear them? I agree that suits probably shouldn’t be bought on there anyway. If you want a cheap but quality suit, look at Cupshe.
It sounds like you are a person that has money. You talk a lot in your blog about designer products and traveling all over. You also sound upset about dupes and honestly—I’d rather buy a 30 dollar bag that falls apart them spend 3k on a stupid Gucci bag. So SHEIN may be beneath you. Not sounding mean! Just seems like you want designer products that last… and you can afford them—probably from the ads on your blog. But for ladies on a budget—I think it’s worth it.
I can’t speak to their company ethics or if they use child labor, but unless there’s solid proof… then there’s no way of knowing. Believe it or not, A LOT of designers manufacture their products in China and we have no idea who’s working their factories or where the waste is going. They can also use money to cover all of that up. Why do you think diamond mines got away with, and still do, the horrible things they do.
I appreciate your review and opinion—it’s your blog and thus your personal experience, however, I’m leaving this comment for those who may stumble on your blog and think it’s the solid truth and then they don’t give the site a try. During this post pandemic time, a lot of us are hurting money wise and we need updated clothing after being home for almost two years. Some can’t afford to go to big department stores and buy several items. AND some don’t have access to consigned shops or goodwills that have quality clothing.
I wanted to even out your blog with a positive but truthful review. Please don’t take this as mean or argumentative. Just honest. 🙂
I literally never post about designer items so I’m sure where you are getting that? I own one Coach bag because I found it at a thrift store for $20. 🤪 And yes, I get upset around Shein “dupes” because they steal from small artists to help fuel their 10 BILLION Dollar profit in the last year alone.
Look, I’m not going to argue with you here because it’s easy to google their work practices yourself for “proof”, plus I’m not sure why you are so hell-bent on spinning Shein as a quality company with good ethic morals that deserve your hard-earned dollars. If you feel cool supporting brands that exploit workers, uses hazardous working practices, steal from small artists,and produces products even you admit fall apart right away (leading to even more polluted landfills), then that’s your choice. ✌️
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Hello Kara, and thanks very much for your Shein review.
I have myself only made 1 order from Shein Curve and it was mostly good items. I ordered 2 lingerie sets (bra + panties), and the bras fit comfortably, but they are a bit flimsy. The panties are a size too small; I ordered the XL, which is a UK 18, and these felt more like a 16. I also ordered 3 pairs of socks, which are all “one size”; 1 pair was far too tight and tiny, but the other 2 were fine and very comfy.
The last 2 items in that order were a skirt & a velvet pair of trousers. I’ve worn both of these countless times in the year since I made the order, and they’re still in one piece, no holes or loose stitching. The skirt fits perfectly, but the trousers are a little loose at the waist.
All in all, ordering from Shein Curve, I got a bit of a mixed bag, but was overall happy with the price I paid for it, as it came to just over £35 and was mostly Sale items. Due to their unethical trade practices I won’t order from them again, but I do feel that I got quite lucky with my order from them.
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I think Shein is gonna be great for the year 2022. They have changed things up and are making a valid comeback.
People should do their research about Shein though many get into it and turn out not liking it from what I’ve seen personally.
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