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Overview

Introduction to San Luis Obispo, California

The city of San Luis Obispo lies on the Central Coast of California, roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles (each a little more than 200 miles away). Founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1772 and incorporated in 1856, the city was named after Saint Louis, a 13th Century Bishop of Toulouse, France (the city's name is the Spanish translation of "St. Louis, the Bishop"). Situated at the junction of U.S. Highway 101 and California State Highway 1 (the scenic Pacific Coast Highway), the city is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County.

Very much a college town, San Luis Obispo is home to California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University and also to Cuesta Community College. The City Council has had a college professor elected to it four times, and approximately one third of the city's population is of college age or attending college. Noted satirist and recording artist Weird Al Yankovic made his start by working as a DJ at the Cal Poly campus radio station while studying architecture at the university. His debut song, "My Bologna," was recorded in a bathroom stall on campus.

San Luis Obispo Arts & Entertainment

One of San Luis Obispo's main draws is Farmers' Market, a large outdoor festival held downtown every Thursday evening throughout the year. Created in 1983 as an outlet for the city's large collegiate population, the event features live entertainment and produce sold by local farmers and vendors. Other city events include Cinco de Mayo celebrations and a standard Christmas Parade. The city has also been a stop on the route of the Olympic Torch and the Tour of California bicycle race. Focal point of the city's downtown area is the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, originally built in the late 18th century and later carefully restored. Those attracted to the offbeat may appreciate San Luis Obispo's Bubble Gum Alley, on whose walls people have been sticking their chewed gum since 1960.

Several nearby attractions are within easy driving distance of San Luis Obispo. Just south of the city is Edna Valley, an area which has developed into a well-known wine region. Some of its wineries have won awards and acclaim for their vintages. Even more wineries can be found in the Paso Robles area, located about 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo. Located 43 miles to the north of San Luis Obispo is the very popular Hearst Castle, the spacious estate of famed publisher William Randolph Hearst. The city of Santa Maria, located 33 miles to the south, offers its own variety of local attractions, including the Museum of Flight, the Discovery Museum and the Railway Historical Museum.

Sports enthusiasts can take a two-hour drive eastward along highway 58 to the city of Bakersfield where the Bakersfield Condors (East Coast Hockey League) play their games. Another pro team in this city is the Bakersfield Blaze (a Minor League baseball team and the Single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers).

People

Total Population 46,337
Male Share of the Population 53.1%
Female Share of the Population 46.9%
Senior Citizens 11.5%
Employed Population 16+ 22,985
Age of the Population 25

Families

% of people married 29.5%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 51%
Median Earnings25+ $38,479
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,674
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,603

Wealth

Median Family Income $83,908
% Above Poverty Level 66.6%
% Below Poverty Level 33.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 5.1%
% Walking and Biking to Work 16.5%
% Using Public Transportation 3%

Housing

People Living Alone 30.9%
Median Gross Rent $1,284
Median House Value $546,200

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 32.7%
US/American 0.8%
English 11%
Irish 12.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

San Luis Obispo Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 26 miles NW of Santa Maria, California (center to center)
Nearest Large City 112 miles SW of Fresno, California
County San Luis Obispo
Metro Area San Luis Obispo - Atascadero - Paso Robles
Standard Zip Codes 93401, 93402, 93405, 93407, 93408, 93409, 93410
P.O. Box Zip Codes 93403, 93406, 93412
Phone Area Codes 805
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 35.282
Longitude -120.658

San Luis Obispo Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station SAN LUIS OBISPO POLYTECH
Distance 1.3 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 65 F
Apr Temp 45 to 71 F
Jul Temp 53 to 80 F
Oct Temp 50 to 79 F
Annual Precip 24.3 inches
Station PISMO BEACH
Distance 8.2 miles
Jan Temp 43 to 65 F
Apr Temp 46 to 69 F
Jul Temp 53 to 71 F
Oct Temp 51 to 73 F
Annual Precip 17.7 inches
Station PASO ROBLES
Distance 23.1 miles
Jan Temp 33 to 61 F
Apr Temp 40 to 73 F
Jul Temp 52 to 91 F
Oct Temp 42 to 81 F
Annual Precip 14.7 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, San Luis Obispo, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Baywood Park (93402)

Cal Poly University (93407)

Los Osos (93402, 93412)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Arroyo Grande 17,720 $85,144
Atascadero 29,084 $79,275
Grover Beach 13,409 $59,155
Guadalupe 7,218 $44,504
Morro Bay 10,471 $67,869
Pismo Beach 7,890 $85,000

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

San Luis Obispo Public Libraries

Library
San Luis Obispo City-county Library
995 PALM ST.
San Luis Obispo, California
(805) 781-5784
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

San Luis Obispo Hospitals

FRENCH HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER
(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
1911 JOHNSON AVE
(805) 543-5353
Emergency Service: Yes

SIERRA VISTA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
(Proprietary)
1010 MURRAY ST
(850) 546-7600
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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San Luis Obispo High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

SAN LUIS OBISPO HIGH
1350 CALIFORNIA BLVD.
805-596-4040
Serves 1,544 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.4

SPECIAL EDUCATION
RANCHO EL CHORRO HWY. 1
805-782-7300
A Special Education School
Serves 291 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 7.1

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY COMMUNITY
1981 VICENTE DR.
A Non-traditional School
Serves 270 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.9

GRIZZLY CHALLENGE CHARTER SCHOOL
HIGHWAY ONE CAMP SAN LUIS OBIS
805-782-6882
A Charter School.
Serves 126 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21

PACIFIC BEACH CONT. HIGH
11950 LOS OSOS VALLEY ROAD
805-596-4023
A Non-traditional School
Serves 59 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY JUVENILE COURT
JUVENILE SERVCES CENTER 1065 K
805-542-0106
A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 37 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.5

Additional Details
San Luis Obispo Careers
San Luis Obispo career and employment information.
San Luis Obispo Colleges
San Luis Obispo colleges and trade schools.
Study Online in San Luis Obispo

Career and College Resources

Real-World Career Reports
Career References and Original Articles
College Directories and Lists
Additional Resources
Info for San Luis Obispo Government Officials


Are you an official in the San Luis Obispo government or quasi-government agency such as the chamber of commerce, visitors bureau or economic development council? If so, visit our information page for government officials to see how CityTownInfo can support you.

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