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.

By far the friendliest, and most wonderful town in America.
Reviewed by tatumbarnes
on May 15, 2012
The most welcoming people who love to share their incredible location!
Reviewed by aed
on May 15, 2012
San Luis is a fun little college town, a few miles from the beach, and full of charm. I love the SLO life.
Reviewed by KMacias
on May 14, 2012
San Luis Obispo is the most friendly small town I have ever lived and/or visited!
Reviewed by Ashlee
on May 11, 2012
While on a cross-country trip with a friend after graduating college, we made an overnight stop in San Luis Obispo. Being two New England girls who hadn't been out much, we had never even heard of this place. To say the least, we were floored. The people here were amazing, the downtown here is awesome, the food was delicious, and there are beautiful homes everywhere. What's not to love?
Reviewed by JulieG
on May 11, 2012
Showing 66 through 70 of 205 reviews



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