San Luis Obispo is one of the most beautiful places to live here in California. It’s home to great weather, friendly people, wine country nearby, awesome small businesses located downtown, which leads me to a strange attraction.
What’s this strange attraction?
An alley that’s about 70 feet long and walls that are about 15 feet high. What makes this alley unique is the walls being completely covered in old chewed up bubble gum that people have left stuck on the walls.
It is two walls completely covered in gum! Go ahead and type in bubble gum alley into Instagram and you will see literally thousands of pics of people posting up selfies with bubble gum alley in the background. It has become an increasingly popular spot for tourists to visit. Much of that growing popularity has a lot to do with people sharing on social media.
The history behind it is a bit sketchy that I’ve heard goes back all the way to World War 2. It’s also been said that is started up in the ’70s. Throughout the years, some people have seen it as very unhygienic and have been cleaned up during those times.
Obviously, the cleanups never lasted and time and time again, the walls get covered with gum. At this point, nobody really seems to care. It is a popular spot and it brings in a ton of people to the downtown area where many local businesses benefit from the added foot traffic.
When you walk down the alley it really does give a person a cool view. It’s very artistic looking and it has a gritty and rugged texture to the whole wall. As you walk through it, you can see some people even try to create symbols and patterns out of their used up bubble gum. People do try to get creative with the gum and every single person that walks through just adds more gum to the walls.
When one looks at it up close and personal it does tend to look a little on the gross side and one can see why some people would see it as unsanitary and might see the reason to clean it up.
Doing a little research, one can see that germs, viruses, and bacteria do not really live or last long on gum after it leaves the mouth of someone. It takes about 30 minutes for the leftover moisture or saliva that can harbor germs, viruses, and bacteria to dry up so we really don’t have much to worry about.
All in all, bubble gum alley in San Luis Obispo has really become quite the little touristy spot in beautiful downtown. The young and the old (and even animals!) have been drawn to the spot to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a narrow corridor covered with every single color of the rainbow that looks amazing to see especially in pictures.
Don’t get to close as you pose it up for a selfie, it is best appreciated from a distance.