So you’ve heard about the Mission, Hearst Castle, the beaches, Cal Poly, the quaint, charming, authentic California experience…Well, don’t think you’ve got San Luis Obispo pegged just yet.
There’s some strange stuff lurking behind all the historic downtown architecture and clean, green rolling hills.
Consider the fact that the little, conservative country town of San Luis Obispo endorses graffiti--at least a particular kind of public, communal, free-form expression made with a unique, sticky artistic medium, that is.
Or, ponder the idea of a small town embracing a monthly demonstration through the main streets of downtown SLO, where regular traffic flow is disrupted by masses of masked, bicycle-mobilized and costumed fanatics.
Just think: San Luis Obispo led the nation in such groundbreaking policies as banning public smoking, continues to outlaw drive-through restaurants, and was the home of the invention of the motor hotel, or “motel” as we know them today.
Beat writer Jack Kerouac lived in SLO. And a band of utopians once made their home among the sand dunes near Pismo Beach. In fact, if you hike a certain hillside in San Luis Obispo, you might stumble upon what looks like a utopian society, marked by odd miniature housing structures.
And remember (it almost goes without saying), Cal Poly is Weird Al’s alma mater.
If that’s not enough, you might also encounter such unorthodox traditions as community friendliness and the hospitality of strangers, public events and public transit that are practically free, and government regulations preserving valuable green spaces instead of destroying them.
Find these and more of San Luis Obispo’s paths less-traveled, quirky detours, and locals’ favorites in the things to do section.