For 80 centuries, San Luis Obispo County was the heart of the Chumash Indian country. They must have lived a pleasant life - mild climate, abundant seafood, and natural hot springs to soak in. The Chumash had a rich culture and were excellent craftspeople and artists. By 1769 the Europeans had arrived under the command of Gaspar de Portola of Spain.
With Portola came the Franciscan friars to begin founding the California missions and by 1772, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was established. North of San Luis Obispo along the El Camino Real trail, the 16th of 21 missions, Mission San Miguel Arcangel was built in 1797. Following the independence of Mexico and the secularization of the missions, the central coast entered the period of the rancheros from which many names of towns and places are derived.
San Luis Obispo was claimed for the United States in 1846 by General Fremont. Four years later, California was admitted to the United States, and San Luis Obispo became one of the original counties.
San Luis Obispo County and its cities are a major tourist destination. Just a few of the attractions that draw visitors are: great beaches, growing wine industry (now the third largest wine producing region in California), and historical treasures, including Mission San Luis Obispo, Mission San Miguel, and the world-famous Hearst Castle. Outdoor pastimes are of course popular: ATV'ing, biking, boating, fishing, golf, hiking, surfing, and kayaking.
San Luis Obispo County is also a cultural mecca. With a major university and a large prosperous population base - and large numbers of visitors - the county is host to many theaters, plays, concerts, art galleries and other cultural amenities. The cities in the county host many art fairs - many of course also serving wine - and live theare perfomances.
Cal Poly's "Performing Arts Center" is the largest performance venue between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and hosts a year - round schedule of touring professional theater and musical companies. Most cities also host FREE weekly concerts during the summer, with top local rock, salsa, C&W bands performing. Bring a picnic, but a glass of wine put on your dancing shoes and kick-back with the locals.
Presently, over 238,974 residents enjoy our central coast location. Agriculture, state institutions, tourism and recreation make up the principal economic background. With the ocean and mountains, the Spanish and historical flavor, the friendly climate and the relative freedom from urban hassles, San Luis Obispo County is a good place to call home - AND to visit.
Major regional events in SLO County
- Farmers Markets - Held Year-round
- Winter Bird Festival - mid-January
- International Film Festival - early March
- Zinfandel Festival - mid-March
- Hospice du Rhone Wiine Festival - late April
- Roll out the Barrels Wine Festival - early May
- Paso Robles Wine Festival - mid-May
- Memorial Day Events - May
- Art Fairs - May through September
- Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival - Late June
- Free Summer Concerts - June through August
- 4th of July Fireworks
- Central Coast Wine Classic - mid-July
- Festival Mozaic - mid-July
- Renaissance Faire - mid-July
- California Mid-State Fair - Late July
- Labor Day Festivals - early September
- Sunset Savor the Central Coast - Late September
- Plein Art Painting Festival - Late September through early October
- Open Studios Art Festival - 3 weekends in October
- Harvest Wine Weekend - mid-October
- Oktoberfests - October
- Harvest Wine Celebration - Early November
- Holiday Craft Fairs - November through December
- Santa's Houses & Holiday Parades - December
For specific dates on these and over 1,000 other events, please go to: Upcoming San Luis Obispo Events & Activities
Fresh local flowers, and much more are available at Farm Stands and Farmers Markets throughout San Luis Obispo County!