Places To Retire- Karen, Marty, Mark and Joe- San Luis Obispo, California

Retirement in a charming California town of 43,000 like San Luis Obispo (SLO) can be a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of city life. San Luis Obispo has been named the “Happiest Town in America” due to a National Geographic book as well as the Oprah Winfrey Show.  The number one reason cited for this is that SLO is a “social” place where people enjoy the outdoors, hanging out with friends, spending time downtown and – of course – “happy” hours.

Another quality of SLO that makes foodies happy is its true farm to table lifestyle.  With four farmers markets every week, access to fresh foods is easy.  And true to California standards, SLO is home to some of the most amazing restaurants, world-class chefs and finest wines anywhere.

A large part of the appeal of SLO is its climate, where year round the weather is kept pretty consistently in the 70s.  The nights are cool due to the proximity to the beach and the cool coastal climate blowing in. This contributes to a very active population, with more than 6,500 acres of protected open space for hiking, biking and yearlong outdoor activities.

Home to over 1250 non-profits, SLO affords retirees many opportunities for volunteer activities in the areas of arts and culture, children and youth, education and technology, faith-based organizations, hunger, homelessness, and public safety and disaster preparedness.


Learning in retirement helps keep minds and bodies active, and SLO offers programs at its Senior Center Adult 55+ Enrichment Classes, Cal Poly State University Extended Education, Cuesta College Community Emeritus Program, San Luis Coastal Adult School and the UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo.

The only bad news is that all these retirement perks come with a rather expensive price tag. The current average home price in SLO City is $562,000, compared to the average in the state of California at $378,000, and the U.S. average at around $249,000. Property owners pay county property tax which is 1%, there is a state income tax, and a city sales tax of 8%.

Thanks to Lindsey Miller, Director of Marketing at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce for much of the above information.

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