San Luis Obispo features a varied selection of restaurants that serve many different types of cuisine. Downtown serves as a hub for dining in the neighborhood.
Pepe Delgado, a Mexican restaurant, serves tender carne asada and other specialties from south of the border. This festive joint draws in locals appreciating a quick and affordable meal. Come on Friday evenings for the margarita special.
Indulge in a tri-tip sandwich smothered in barbecue sauce with a basket of fries at Firestone Grill. The restaurant features a wide selection of beers on tap, which are on sale during happy hour on weekdays. A comfortable patio area allows patrons to enjoy the outdoors while dining.
For fine dining, reserve a candlelit table at Koberl at Blue. Entrees like the grilled pork chops served atop a pile of fingerling potatoes are satisfying and elegant. Finish off the meal on a sweet note with the crème brûlee or chocolate lava cake. An extensive list of wine and cocktails also makes the restaurant an ideal spot to grab a drink.
The influx of college students from nearby Cal Poly State University has given rise to many bars and taverns. SLO Brew has nightlife options to suit every interest. The upstairs has pool tables and ample seating for a laid-back atmosphere, whereas the downstairs hosts concerts on weekends and features a louder crowd. Enjoy the craft beers produced by the company, and satisfy hunger with one of the menu options like buffalo wings or nachos.
As one of the oldest communities in California, the history of San Luis Obispo stretches back into the late 18th century when Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was established. The town grew when Cal Poly was established to the north, and it also became a popular stop along California State Route 1 with the rise of car culture.
The current downtown area was formed around the mission, which has been restored and offers tours. The town's historical society, located adjacent to the mission, also has artifacts and historical exhibitions. The organization ARTS Obispo sponsors art shows, poetry readings and concerts throughout the year. Locals frequent the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and several galleries throughout the town to view and appreciate artwork. The Madonna Inn draws in visitors from across the state for the annual California Festival of Beers, which serves over 200 craft brews.
San Luis Obispo offers residents many ways to easily get around the neighborhood. SLO Transit operates several bus lines that run through the area. Bicyclists find biking a breeze in the town since many streets have bike lanes, and some even offer bicycles their own phase in traffic flow. Ample bike racks provide secure locations to lock up bicycles. The many sidewalks and crosswalks facilitate walking as well. Those who drive to downtown can find parking in one of the multi-story parking structures or in metered spaces on the street. Uber services the area, and you can call a taxi company to arrange a cab ride.
To get out of town, residents can easily hop on U.S. Route 101, which runs through San Luis Obispo. Amtrak provides service to many major cities, such as San Diego, San Francisco and Oakland.
Residents pay for the many amenities in San Luis Obispo, as living costs are 48 percent higher than the national average and 11 percent higher than the California average. Expect to pay about $6 for a pint of beer in a local pub and 7 percent more than the national average for gas. A single ride on the bus costs $1.25, or pay only $3 for an all-day pass. The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom residence runs about $1,068.
San Luis Obispo favors small local shops over high-end stores, and downtown serves as the epicenter for shopping and entertainment. Locals shop for groceries at Albertsons and Vons, as well as a few ethnic supermarkets. Farmers' Market, held on Thursday nights, has become a social affair with live music, dances and an array of food vendors.
Pick out a new handbag or dress at Ambiance, an upscale women's boutique with a vintage California style. Complete the ensemble with a bracelet or necklace handmade by a local artist. A line of home decor, bath products and books also makes the store a good place to pick out a gift.
Before taking advantage of the beautiful wilderness surrounding the area, buy a new sleeping bag or kayak at The Mountain Air. The store rotates inventory seasonally, so in summer you'll find swimsuits and surfboards, whereas the store contains ski goggles and snowboards during the winter. What sets it apart from other sporting goods retailers is the ability to customize gear like ski boots, backpack frames and car racks. The store also repairs snowboards to ensure they have a maximum lifespan.
San Luis Obispo maintains many open spaces that permit recreational opportunities. Residents enjoy playing basketball on the courts and practicing stunts in the skate park of Santa Rosa Park. The park also remains popular with children because of the extensive playground. Picnic shelters and barbecue pits make the park an ideal spot for parties and gatherings. Feel free to bring along dogs, as there are special areas for pets.
South Hills Open Space contains 2 miles of trails that wind up to a 580-foot tall peak overlooking San Luis Obispo. This natural area makes an ideal place to hike or walk your dog.