Tucked between the Coast Range, the Pacific Ocean and right in the middle of Central Coast Wine Country, San Luis Obispo enjoys all the spoils of a life well lived on the California coast.

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on historic Highway 1, SLO enjoys year-round sun, a warm Mediterranean marine climate, a world-class wine region, thousands of acres of protected open space, an award winning downtown filled with charming shops, restaurants and hotels tucked into turn-of-the-century mercantile buildings, and a burgeoning night life and cultural scene. Among it all is the beautifully preserved Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

IMG_7406Consistently designated to a plethora best-of lists and most recently named one of the most romantic cities in America, along with best main street, best place to visit, best college town, friendliest and healthiest to name just a few, San Luis Obispo continues to garner attention for what locals are already well aware of.

A vibrant college town, SLO boasts one of the highest rates of college educated residents in the state. California Polytechnic State University and Cuesta College adds not only a youthful, creative and active vibe but also provides cultural excitement in the form of numerous musical and performing arts groups and venues that regularly host major touring shows. There has to be something said for the small coastal town that regularly attracts Willie Nelson, Snoop and some of the top classical music acts in the country.

Agriculture still plays a vital role in the local economy and this becomes very prevalent on Thursday night during the second largest farmers’ market in the western United States. For three hours every Thursday six blocks of Higuera Street are closed off for a street party featuring some of the freshest produce, hottest barbecue and engaging entertainers.

South of town, and throughout the county, a booming artisan wine country has been growing, unassumingly, for decades. Some two dozen wineries produce critically acclaimed vintages in the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley. Visitors can head out along the gorgeous country roads to sip their way through the vineyards, and then return to town to savor everything from Santa Maria barbeque to Italian fritti.

In and around SLO, extensive hiking and biking trails thread through the city’s open spaces. State parks, national forest and some of the most beautiful lakes in California open up endless outdoor adventure opportunities. Minutes from downtown SLO are miles of uncrowded beaches, pristine coastline, ragged sea cliffs and some of the best ocean vistas this side of Ireland. All this combined with 315 days of sunshine a year makes SLO a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast.

A children’s museum, an art center and a history museum add to SLO’s cultural appeal, as do its many art galleries. Festivals and special events of all kinds take place on the plaza in front of the Mission year-round. Forty-five minutes north, the incredible art, history and architecture of Hearst Castle awaits.

SLO’s location halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco make it a strategic stopover for drivers heading up or down California’s Central Coast. Once they check in at one of the city’s European-style B&Bs, tidy motels or full-service hotels, they can spend a few days enjoying the laid-back pace and scenic beauty of the city. Those lucky enough to discover San Luis Obispo have the great good fortune to experience the SLO Life.

Whether you’re drawn by the 300 days of sunshine, green hills and active outdoor lifestyle, or strong neighborhoods, excellent schools and a safe small-town community, San Luis Obispo is where people choose to live, raise a family and pursue their passions.
San Luis Obispo serves as the commercial, governmental and cultural hub of California’s Central Coast. People are drawn to SLO for many reasons –high quality of life, arts and culture, education, proximity to the beach and mountains

Over the past several years, San Luis Obispo’s technology and innovation clusters along with traditionally strong industries such as design and construction, agriculture, tourism and health services have seen tremendous growth.

Each year San Luis Obispo is named to numerous lists touting the outstanding natural resources; beaches, hills, vineyards and warm weather, and while these may entice vacations, it’s the human resources; culture, neighborhoods, relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, buzzing downtown, stellar wine and food scene, and sincerely happy people, that invite them to stay.

Welcome to San Luis Obispo.

town-by-town break down

From South to North of San Luis Obipo County

Nipomo – population of 16,714 at the 2010 census, this region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. Many residents commute to Santa Maria (SB County), Arroyo Grande or San Luis Obispo for work.

Oceano – population of 7,286 at the 2010 census, Oceano is part of the 5 Cities Metropolitan Area, Oceano’s beach is the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, a 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) coastal sand dune. As the only state park in California where visitors may drive vehicles on the beach, tourists are attracted from all over the United States.

Grover Beach – The population was 13,156 at the 2010 census, a part of the 5 Cities Metropolitan Area which also comprises Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, Oceano, and Shell Beach.

Arroyo Grande – The population was 17,716 at the 2013 census. Arroyo Grande is a small coastal town with historic, suburban, and rural elements boasts a Temperate-Medditeranean climate.

Pismo Beach – The estimate population was 7,931 at 2014, the name Pismo comes from the Chumash language word for tar, Pismu. It is part of the Five Cities Area, a cluster of cities in that area of San Luis Obispo County. Its motto is “Clam Capital of the World.” The desirable residential and beach community of “Shell Beach” is within Pismo Beach. Some of SLO’s best hotels, restaurants and beaches are in the Pismo Beach area.

Avila Beach – The population was 1,627 at the 2010 census.The town was established in the latter half of the 19th century, when it served as the main shipping port for San Luis Obispo. Average temperatures vary little during the year, ranging from the upper 40s to low 70’s Fahrenheit from November through April, and from the 60’s to low 80’s from May through October. Average annual rainfall is 15 inches. Along with much of the California coast, winter is the wet season, with more than 70% of the yearly rain falling from December through March, while summer brings drought conditions.

San Luis Obispo – Located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities. Serra’s original mission was named for the 13th Century saint and bishop Louis of Toulouse. The city, locally referred to as San Luis, SLO, or SLO Town (as its county is also referred to as SLO) is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University. San Luis Obispo experiences a cool Mediterranean climate. On average it has 50 days with measurable rain per year – mostly during winter months. Summers are generally warm and sunny, often with morning fog from the Pacific coast. Winters are generally mild, though below freezing lows may be expected 4 nights per year. Temperatures do, however, vary widely at any time of the year, with 80 °F (27 °C) readings in January and February not uncommon.

Los Osos – The population was 14,276 at the 2010 census. Los Osos is largely a bedroom community for San Luis Obispo, which is 10.6 miles east, and to a lesser extent, Morro Bay, which is 2.3 miles to the north. Los Osos serves as the entrance to Montaña de Oro State Park. Los Osos’ proximity to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant means that warning sirens are located throughout the town so that the residents will be warned if the power plant should suffer a meltdown or other adverse event.

Morro Bay – the city population was 10,234. Morro Bay is also the name of the large estuary that is situated along the northern shores of the bay itself. The larger bay on which the local area lies is Estero Bay, which also encompasses the communities of Cayucos and Los Osos. The city of Morro Bay is 12 miles northwest of San Luis Obispo and is located on Highway 1. Los Osos Creek discharges into Morro Bay. Morro Bay experiences a cool-summer Mediterranean climate that is characterized by warm (but not hot) dry summers, and mild to chilly rainy winters. The city, being located next to the Pacific Ocean, helps moderate temperatures from becoming too hot or too cold creating a somewhat pleasant climate year-round. Morro Bay experiences a lot of fog, making a cooler beach town in the county.

Cayucos –  a small, charming beach town between Morro Bay and Cambria, off of Highway 1. The 4th of July parade is a big celebration in Cayucos, running down their one main street and bringing out many spectators. The population was 2,592 at the 2010 census.

Santa Margarita –  It was founded in 1889 near Cuesta Peak and San Luis Obispo along State Route 58. The population was 1,259 at the 2010 census.

Atascadero – part of the San Luis Obispo – Atascadero – Paso Robles metropolitan area. Atascadero is farther inland than most other cities in the county, and as a result, usually experiences warmer, drier summers, and cooler winters than other nearby cities such as San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The main freeway through town is the US 101. The nearby State Routes 41and 46 provide access to the Pacific Coast and the California Central Valley. Founded by E.G. Lewis in 1913, the city grew to 29,096 people as of 2013.

Cambria – seaside village north of Cayucos, with a population of 6,032 at the 2010 census. The vegetation and climate draws close similarities to Monterey County’s Carmel and Pebble Beach areas.

Templeton –  The population was 7,674 at the 2010 census. empleton has a Mediterranean climate that is characterized by mild winters and dry summers. The area usually has low humidity. Rain generally falls only between November and March, with the rainy season tapering off almost completely by the end of April.  Templeton is emerging as a world class wine producer; with many of the wineries carrying the “Paso Robles” appellation actually located in the unincorporated Templeton area – including Castoro CellarsPeachy CanyonYork Mountain, and Wild Horse.

Paso Robles – Located on the Salinas River north of San Luis Obispo, California, the city is known for its hot springs, its abundance of wineries, production of olive oil, almond orchards, and for playing host to the California Mid-State Fair. The Paso Robles area actually consists of two different climate types and classifications, as based on the Köppen climate classification (KCC) system, which are KCC type BSk, a semi-arid, dry, steppe-type climate, and KCC type Csb, which is the typical, coastal Californian & ‘Mediterranean’ type. Paso Robles’ growth industry—wine—has a long history with the area, with currently over 300 wineries and grabbing comparisons to Napa Valley wineries.

San Miguel – As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,336 and San Miguel is home to the Mission San Miguel Arcángel, founded on 25 July 1797.