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 have lived all over the US and San Luis Obispo is by far the best place I have ever lived. People have a smile on their faces and wave or say hello when they pass you. The clerks in stores are all friendly and helpful. They treat you like family rather than strangers. I never want to move again.
Reviewed by bacup223
on August 13, 2013
It took us 9/years to finally move to the Central Coast. After living here 22/years… San Luis Obispo continues to be absolutely the friendliest place I've been to. Safe, comfortable, great weather, wonderful shops. This is an area where people laugh a lot. Where strangers say "Good Morning" or "Hi" when passing you by. What a blessing to be here!
Reviewed by cvdv
on August 12, 2013
Vote for San Luis Obispo as friendliest town in the USA!
Reviewed by sloparker
on August 12, 2013
San Luis Obispo is a beautiful, vibrant town with so many activities to do that don't cost a dime. The people who live here and visit here are what makes the town so much more than just a beautiful place to live, they are the ones that make it the friendliest town!
Reviewed by
on August 7, 2013
My daughter and son-in-law live in SLO. I LOVE IT HERE. Want to move when I retire. The skies are so blue and the weather is perfect. Great place to raise your children.
Reviewed by LindaDixie
on August 7, 2013
Showing 6 through 10 of 205 reviews



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