Most Walkable Neighborhoods in San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo sits snugly in California’s gorgeous Central Coast region. It’s the county seat of scenic San Luis Obispo County, which boasts one hundred miles of prime Pacific coastline, including California’s only drivable beach. San Luis Obispo — lovingly abbreviated to SLO — is a laid back, compact city that often serves as a weekend getaway for people from all over the state of California, and has been called “the happiest place in America.” Just short of fifty thousand people enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of San Luis Obispo year round.
With its Mediterranean climate, breathtaking landscape, historic sights like the three hundred year old San Luis Obispo Spanish mission, and vineyards placing it squarely in California’s famed wine country, San Luis Obispo has tons to offer families, young professionals, and students alike, with California Polytechnic State University located just outside the city limits.
Utopia Property Management proudly serves the entire San Luis Obispo area. If you’re thinking about buying in SLO — or if you’re considering renting here — take a look at our list of the five best neighborhoods in this cozy, beautiful city.
Japantown earned its name due to its large population of Japanese-Americans prior to World War II. Following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s issuing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, the neighborhood’s Japanese inhabitants were forced to relocate to internment camps. While it never quite reclaimed its Japanese population, Japantown maintains a sense of identity and community, and is home to Eto Park, a public space commemorating Japantown’s history. Japantown is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in San Luis Obispo, and has proven popular with young families. It features top-scoring schools with a lower than average teacher to student ratio.
This modern planned community is perfect for those looking to invest a little more in a recently constructed home. Architecturally distinct from the rest of San Luis Obispo, The Arbors features polished Boxwood Court, Olea Court, Sawleaf Court, and Ashmore Street, among other posh names. About 130 homes comprise The Arbors, many featuring tile roofs and stucco walls. Islay Park, which features nature trails, a dog park, and volleyball courts, can be found right nearby. The Arbors is popular with established families, and, unusually for San Luis Obispo, it’s governed by a homeowner’s association, but fret not — the fees are low compared to most HOAs.
As San Luis Obispo’s de facto college town, the Railroad District is decidedly hip. Urban and bustling with character, the Railroad District is home to fantastic restaurants and cafes, as well as the SLO Railroad Museum, and is connected directly to downtown San Luis Obispo and California Polytechnic State University. The demographics here are a mix, featuring students, working professionals, and families alike. Public transportation is trustworthy and thorough, and there’s even an Amtrak station located in the neighborhood, giving easy access to various California locales. Homes in the Railroad District are in demand, starting in the $400s and selling quickly.
This is San Luis Obispo’s premier destination for those who crave urban life. Bubblegum Alley, Downtown Centre Cinemas, the SLO Museum of Art, and the Fremont Theatre can all be found in Downtown San Luis Obispo, to name a few. Nightlife enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the Downtown District, with plenty of bars and music venues, especially down Higuera Street. The Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the city’s namesake, is located here, and so is the SLO Creek, a delightful little piece of nature. Structures here are on the older side, with many of them built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You’ll find both grandiose and modest homes here, and, as with any downtown district, all are priced at a premium.
For lovers of the outdoors, this is the place to be in San Luis Obispo. Infused with hiking trails and with immediate access to Madonna Mountain and Bishop’s Peak, Ferrini Heights is perfect for those who want to stay active and feel at home outside. A true pedestrian neighborhood, everything in Ferrini Heights feels like it’s in walking distance — because it is. The neighborhood feels truly close together, and is even a short walk from Downtown SLO. Property seekers will find some real variety here, too, with mid-range and affordable homes available as well as luxurious manors in close proximity to Bishop’s Peak.
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