San Luis Obispo, California


2013 Best Small Towns in America

Contest ends:  September 3, 2013

270 Votes - "Friendliest"
37 Votes - "Most Beautiful"
5 Votes - "Most Fun"
3 Votes - "Most Patriotic"
2 Votes - "Best For Food"


Dubbed the happiest city in America in Dan Buettner’s book, Thrive, San Luis Obispo’s combination of beaches, mountains and wineries convinced Oprah the town was worthy of the title. Locals credit wide sidewalks and a town square, a ban on drive-thru’s and public smoking, and bike valets as contributors to the town’s unique happiness. An emphasis on small businesses and openness to bartering are part of the neighborly relationships between locals.

This small town offers something for every visitor from hiking, biking or golfing to spas, fine dining and wine tastings. In the Central Coast wine region, over two-dozen family-owned wineries throughout three valleys host tastings, tours and events. There’s no shortage of local events including Art After Dark, Concerts in the Park, Festival Mozaic, Open Studios Tour, and an International Film Festival. You can also browse the farmer’s market every day of the week here.

The historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is a must-see and within the two-block plaza you’ll find the History Center of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and the Children’s Museum. Additionally and Hearst Castle is just north of the town.

A trip to the Central Coast wouldn’t be complete without beach time where surfing, water sports, nature trails and state parks present a variety of options for recreation or relaxation. View photos of the breath-taking coast and read reviews here.

I LOVE San Luis Obispo! So cute and clean, everyone is so nice. Downtown is awesome, the countryside is beautiful, and the amazing central coast scenery is so close to it. Love it here!
Reviewed by KyliFrauen
on May 15, 2012
Such a friendly and warm place to live - clean and the weather is ALWAYS beautiful and temperate!
Reviewed by rreese2
on May 15, 2012
Great downtown, so friendly---and great chocolate!
Reviewed by eveneuhaus
on May 15, 2012
What makes SLO particularly amazing is the openness, courtesy and authenticity of the people who live there.
Reviewed by DougKSLO
on May 15, 2012
Great town with so many things to do. You can go from the downtown to the wineries to the beach all within a few miles! It's beautiful year round and there always great events or activies to engage in.
Reviewed by wcdesigns
on May 15, 2012
Showing 61 through 65 of 205 reviews



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