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 grew up 15 minutes south of here in Arroyo Grande. I later went to high school and lived briefly in San Luis Obispo proper. I voted for SLO (as it is called) to the friendliest town because of how the local business treat people from the surrounding areas. They actively try to engage surrounding communities in their Farmer's Market on Thursday nights, in Cal Poly events, and their Mardi Gras. The people are welcoming, the town has an Americana feel to it with it's architecture and the creek meandering through downtown, and the weather is second to none. What more could you ask for.
Reviewed by CraigFerrara
on May 2, 2012
Can't imagine a better town to take your kids shopping in or to walk to lunch with friends. It's safe, clean and always trying to better itself. It really is a hidden gem on the Central Coast.
Reviewed by
on May 2, 2012
Great place to live!
Reviewed by pholley
on May 2, 2012
SLO is amazing!!! As a transplant from the mid-west I was surprised to find such a hospitable climate out here on the west coast. Happy friendly people are absolutely everywhere and my neighborhood has the most friendly attitude I've ever seen. I love SLO.
Reviewed by
on May 2, 2012
I adore this great small town and vacation here every chance I get! From things to do as well as shopping and dining it has it all and everyone is welcome!
Reviewed by nanceenamo
on May 2, 2012
Showing 146 through 150 of 205 reviews



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