Tuesday, January 24, 2012

San Luis Obispo: Bubble Gum Alley – Sticky Attraction

A business card among layers of chewed gum at Bubble Gum Alley

When it comes to attractions in San Luis Obispo, Bubble Gum Alley is one site where you’ll want to look, but not touch. Stuck to the walls of this downtown passageway, you’ll find layers upon layers of chewed bubble gum deposited by passers-by over the years. It’s both unique and fascinating - albeit gross and disgusting.

You'll want to look....but not touch!

Nobody knows exactly how this gum graffiti began. Some attribute it to a high school graduating class event after World War II. Others claim it started as a rivalry between high school and college students in the 1950s. Oh, those crazy kids!

Chewed gum in a variety of shapes decorate the alley walls

You’ll notice a lot of creative uses for gum along the alley’s 70-foot long, 15-foot high walls. The chewed glop is used to attach coins, bottle caps, business cards and notes to the brick walls. You’ll also see gum artistically stretched to draw letters, shapes, and pictures (lots of smiley faces). And let’s not forget to mention the aroma of the outdated Bazooka chewy stuff, which grows more intense during the summer months when the temperatures rise. Just giving you fair warning.

Bubble Gum Alley in San Luis Obispo

Over the years the alley walls have been hosed down, scraped, and steam cleaned, but the gum keeps returning. For every person who thinks it’s an unsanitary eyesore, there are an equal number of people who see the attraction as a moneymaker to the surrounding businesses. What do you think?

Bubble Gum Alley is located in downtown San Luis Obispo on Higuera Street, between Broad and Garden streets. Look for it between 733 and 734 Higuera Street.


  1. Definitely UNIQUE! (At least I hope it is) :)) But I do admit that I would probably visit it if I',m ever in the area.

  2. Does your chewing gum lose its flavor...? I suspect so.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. If I was near there I would definitely want to stop and take a picture or two. I love crazy out of the box things. Terrific post.

  4. Yuk, I was thinking there would be decades of DNA stuck to that wall until you said they steam it off.
    ABC Team

  5. I'm glad I don't chew gum because if I ever visited, it would definitely put me off. LOL

    abcw team

  6. I am with you Leslie lol. Quite unique though.

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  7. I have seen the wall of Romeo et Julia's house coverd with little love designs and poems etc so full that you hardly could read or see something, but still it is a tourist attraction, but bubble gums I find rather disgusting !

  8. That's a sticky subject, and you really stuck to your guns in this one. I'll chew on this for a while. HaHa

  9. I was there many, many years ago, so many that I could not remember the city, would not have guessed it was SLO. I have told people about it and no one believed me!