San Luis Obispo is a classic California town. Bordered by mountains a few miles from the ocean, it is centered in a broad valley that is further distinguished by several picturesque morros (small volcanic peaks). The locale also benefits from one of the nation’s mildest year-round climates. As a complement to the idyllic site, the town showcases a rich architectural heritage of dramatic structures amid vibrant subtropical landscapes.
Father Junipero Serra correctly sensed the site=s desirability and established a mission here in 1772. Over the years, Spaniards and American Indians were joined by hard-working immigrants from Europe and the Orient. American settlers from the East and Midwest began arriving before the turn of the century. They built substantial businesses and homes similar to the ones they had left. A surprising number of Victorian remnants still serve their original purpose, or a creative adaptation to contemporary use.
Diversity and economic vitality are apparent in a captivating downtown. Its centerpiece is still the adobe mission above a sunny plaza. The adjoining creek is now in a delightful park backed by inviting restaurants, galleries, and specialty shops. On the north side of town, one of the state=s best universities houses beautifully landscaped architectural gems recently capped by a superb post-modern performing arts center. In town are two of California's most celebrated motor hotels. Nearby are burgeoning wine districts, miles of hard sand beaches, vast sand dunes, sheltered ocean coves, large scenic reservoirs, secluded hot springs, and a mountain wilderness.