San Luis Obispo Spanish for St. Louis, the Bishop [of Toulouse]) is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census. The population of San Luis Obispo County was 269,637 in 2010. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities. Serra’s original mission was named for the 13th Century saint and bishop Louis of Toulouse. The city, locally referred to as San Luis, SLO, or SLO Town (as its county is also referred to as SLO) is the county seat of San Luis Obispo County and is adjacent to California Polytechnic State University.
Six of San Luis Obispo County’s top ten employers, as shown below, fall in the classification of Services, four fall in Public Administration. Downtown San Luis Obispo is centered around the carefully restored Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. The downtown area also has many eclectic shops and boutiques. New downtown shopping centers have been added in recent years. The Court Street Center and Downtown Center house stores that belong to nationwide chains. One of the primary draws of this area for students, visitors, and residents alike is the plethora of outdoor sports such as hiking, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, skimboarding, diving, sailing, and kite boarding. Southwest of the town center, several large shopping centers have developed since 2003. Takken’s Shoes is headquartered in San Luis Obispo. Ernie Ball’s Music Man factory is located in San Luis Obispo.
The Madonna Inn is a famous local landmark. Established by Alex Madonna in 1958, the inn is famously eccentric. The Fremont Theater, a historic Art Deco theater from the 1940s, still plays first-run movies on the huge screen. Murals adorn the walls of the main theater while neon swirls light the ceiling. The Palm Theatre boasts solar heating and is home to the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Another destination is Bubblegum Alley. Since about 1960, people have been sticking chewed gum on the walls of this alley. The doctor’s office on the corner of Santa Rosa and Pacific streets is one of very few commercial buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. San Luis also has a Carnegie Library which is now home to the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum.
During summer months, local residents and visitors congregate in the Mission Plaza for a free outdoor concert every Friday evening. The event is called Concerts in the Plaza. Other noteworthy events include the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Festival Mosaic, and the Plein Air Festival.
San Luis Obispo hosts a farmers’ market every Thursday night from 6–9 p.m. on Higuera Street, between Osos and Nipomo Streets. During this weekly event, the street is closed to vehicle traffic while vendors sell food and goods and various visual and music artists perform for the crowds.
Since June 2000, the first Thursday of every month is The Bike Happening (also known as Bike Nite) in San Luis Obispo. People gather after the farmers’ market at the Mission Plaza with their bikes. The bikers then go around on multiple circuits on the main streets of downtown adhering to the traffic laws (for the most part). The ride is considered a fun/social ride meant to encourage people to get back on their bikes and to have fun. Each Bike Happening has a theme and a large portion of the crowd is in some costume adherent to the theme.
One of the cultural focal centers of San Luis Obispo is the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center built on the Cal Poly campus, which was constructed utilizing the donations of local businesses and individuals. The Performing Arts Center consists of multiple venues, including the original Spanos Theatre. The largest venue, Harmon Hall, seats 1,300. Many high school and college programs are scheduled. Local artists perform plays, music and dance. The addition of the Performing Arts Center attracts many touring performances which are usually not found in communities of comparable size to San Luis Obispo. The summer of 2007 was the opening concert of the Forbes Pipe Organ, which was built elevated into a side wall of Harmon Hall and required the donation of a further $3 million for purchase and installation.
Content courtesy of Wikipedia.org