San Luis Obispo, California

SLO

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in San Luis Obispo

What is it like to live in San Luis Obispo, CA?

Absolutely stunning!

I really miss this town. It may seem boring to some because it's a far drive from the big cities like SJ, SF, SB, and LA. However, I love SLO for all that it has to offer.

Everybody is outdoorsy. If you're not outdoorsy, you'll become outdoorsy. Whether it's rock climbing, bouldering, mountain climbing, mountain biking, biking, surfing, skating, running, walking, or just strolling. Oh wait, like some other Quorans mentioned, there's golfing, archery, shooting, kayaking, and hiking. There's something there for you. And well, the beach is only 10 minutes away for the sunbathers. Everybody is fit here! I seldom saw overweight people. The obesity epidemic definitely does not apply to this town.

Farmers Market on Thursday nights kind of gets old. However, there are tons of good eats around town. I made it a goal to try as many of the eateries as possible, and my, there are so many! The cuisine I didn't find to my liking is Chinese. They have lots of Thai and Japanese, Mexican, Fusion, pizzerias, bars, delis, and coffee shops. And of course, the tri-tip!

Daily life is on the slow side, and it's definitely a town to relax in. There's no need to need to rush everywhere. Everyone says hello and is friendly. If they're mad at you, they're college kids not from the area or they're just not from the area.

Every first Friday of the month, places open up and showcase art. Art galleries open up and other small shops showcase art along with a nice serving of wine and snacks!

Job opportunities in terms of tech is low, though they're trying to change that. Lots of medical offices and service jobs.

Wineries are everywhere! Paso Robles is the main area and there are spots scattered all throughout SLO County.

Housing can be a love. There are some amazing neighborhoods. Most people think SLO is expensive to live in, so they live in surrounding towns and commute into SLO for work. Also, watch out for apartments and places that are close to campus. That's where the rowdiness usually is. Which leads me to a side note about the college scene. There are lots of young people here, lending itself to the bar scene and abundance of coffee shops that serve both as hipster stop and study spot.

Weather is very mild. Usually a little colder than LA, but nothing terrible. Practically sunny year-round.

I've since moved away, and there are so many benefits to living in SLO that I miss. Mostly because it's a small town and everything is within a 10 minute drive. I used to think 10 minutes was a long drive, now I commute 20-30 minutes just to get anywhere.

Transplants: How do you like living in SLO and the Central Coast?
Originally from Boston, moved out here 3 years ago to run my company's satellite office. It's beautiful, it's quiet, the weather is great, but I can't wait to leave. Personally I can't stand how far away from any major cities we are. It makes travel difficult and time consuming (unless you're willing to pay out the ass to fly from SLO) and if you ever want to see any major bands on tour, better plan a whole weekend in LA or SF to do so. Cost of living is high, but without many of the conveniences and amenities you get with a comparable cost of living in Boston or DC (where I'm headed next). Trying to make friends or meet people in the 25-34 crowd is tough. Career mobility seems very limited. It's been a nice experience though and I'm glad I got to live the more rural side of things to know it's not for me.

Transplants: How do you like living in SLO and the Central Coast?
I’m from LA area and moved here to go to Cal Poly. Originally, I was really excited to move to a place where the pace of life was slower than SoCal. But 4 years later, I’m realizing that being here has really prevented me from growing in the same way that I would in a larger metropolis area like LA or Bay Area. The truth is is that this population is one of the most homogeneous populations I’ve ever encountered, and for someone who doesn’t fit the mold of the typical person here (granola hippie, wine lover, college frat boy partier, retiree, or typical suburban family) I hit a ceiling in my search to find meaningful friendships since most of the people in slo live and act the same way. Also, since this is a college town, the whole city is designed around what the typical college student wants, which grows really boring after a while. I’m lucky that I found a group of friends, but it sometimes feels like I’m living in a simulation where I’m meeting the same person over and over again.

All in all, I think the average person is nicer than in other places, but the surface level friendliness gets really old after a while and you eventually wish you weren’t surrounded by the same well-off, white, liberal yuppie-in-training clone.

What is it like living in San Luis Obispo?

It has morphed from, as others have said, a small pleasant college town, into a small often unpleasant upscale bourgeois escape for Bay Area and LA people with money.

The police are draconian. It costs $250 if you run a stop sign on your bike. parking fines are about $30. I have personally have run-ins with them that I thought were unjustified.

There were new regulations passed before I left making it illegal to put living room furniture on your porch or let your trash cans show from the street.

All this in an attempt to make the place postcard pretty for the new people who moved there because it was “so pretty”.

But it is without the honest down-to-earth soul it used to have, there is a lot more traffic, more upscale shopping, and the people have joined the competition to be cool and look like they come out of magazines.

It’s another Santa Barbara, if you like that……

I found another SLO-1976 in Hawaii and I live there now.

What is it like to live in San Luis Obispo, CA?

I grew up near San Luis Obispo, and after 6 years in Long Beach, returned to SLO to start a family. Much of my extended family lives around the Central Coast -- whether as retirees; or folks approaching that age. From what I gather, my personal story isn't too dissimilar from many others in SLO.

There are many retired folk (and folk approaching retirement age) in SLO. The natural, mostly undeveloped landscape is awesome, the seascapes are awesome (and accessible), and the climate is fantastic. Most locals drive slowly, defer right of way, and follow traffic laws. I couldn't think of a better place to retire (except for, maybe, Puerto Rico, for $ reasons [it's expensive to live in SLO, and California in general!]).
There are many young families in SLO. Cultural activities in SLO are rarely child-unfriendly (perhaps only the occassional Pozo concert from Snoop or Nas might be considered child unfriendly… maybe some of the Mardi Gras events near Cal Poly, too). Tons of outdoor activities provide a rare, meaningful, natural environment. Low crime. I couldn't think of a better place to raise children.
Then there's also the College scene here per Cal Poly. I studied in Long Beach, but many of my friends attended Cal Poly. From what I gather, SLO doesn't offer as much "modern urban culture" -- there's really not much of a hip hop scene here at all, for instance -- but instead offers more of a "small town, rural culture" -- lots of local farmer's markets, local singer/songwriters, and events like chalk drawing by the riverbed.

My favorite things to do in SLO, and major causes for my return (besides raising a family here) include:

Being able to surf on seemingly untouched, clean, practically private, beautiful beaches; with great surf…
All the amazing wineries and breweries around here (it's much more fun to live here post-age-21 than pre-age-21)
Being able to eat local food I can see growing year round, raised and prepared by people I get to know. The steak here is better than anything you can get in the city… in fact, many cities buy their steak from around here, but serve it to their customers 1-4 days less fresh than you can get it around here….

Living the Best Life - Why She Loves San Luis Obispo | California Central Coast Living