San Luis Obispo gets more “happy” press

April 8, 2011

The view of San Luis Obispo from Bishop’s Peak


San Luis Obispo gets another plug as the nation’s happiest city–this time from one of the country’s leading newspapers, USA Today.

The Central Coast city was featured in the life and travel section of Friday’s USA Today newspaper and can also be seen on the publication’s website which includes colorful photos and video.

“The Happiest Town in the Whole USA is surrounded by lush hills that at this time of year are so intensely green, they practically sparkle. A refreshing breeze wafts in from the Pacific, just 10 miles away,” writes Jayne Clark, USA Today reporter in her article “San Luis Obispo: The happiest place in the USA.”

Among the highlights, downtown restaurant Novo gets a flattering plug along with Apple Farm Inn, Smiling Dog Yoga, the EcoBambino store, Sweet Earth Chocolate, and Wolff Vineyards Winery.

San Luis Obispo has drawn national attention more recently since talk-show diva Oprah aired a segment in January featuring the city as the happiest town in the whole U.S. The designation followed Dan Buettner’s book, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way.

“The place is a landmine of social opportunities. Even introverts are happier when they’re around other people,” the author said.

Buettner used databases that measure quality of life and personal well-being to discover the happiest spots on Earth. Copenhagen came in first in the world.

The writers attribute all the happiness to the people and their environment—the characteristics: broad sidewalks, outdoor cafes, plazas and green spaces, opportunities to be active and eat fresh, healthy food.

San Luis Obispo is a designated bike friendly city and has a wealth of trails and peaks for outdoor hiking and enjoyment. Its Thursday night Farmers Market and Bubblegum Alley were also highlighted as contributions to the city’s delight.


  1. srichison says:

    Happy. Happy. Happy. As long as you don’t ask the ones who don’t want Poly there. As long as you don’t ask the ones who don’t want Diablo Canyon there. Until the marvelous green, which is an anomaly of lots of rain, turns brown and the fires start. If Poly and/or Diablo go, the whole town will wither and die. I know it existed before either of them, but it is not dependent upon them.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  2. R.Hodin says:

    Just ask the homeless, they are happy to be here. PG&E workers are happy that there is a nuclear plant here. CMC prisoners and guards, couldn’t be happier. The few Cuesta students who will be able to get classes, they are thrilled as well. That GMO alfalfa and corn (and RoundUp-resistent weeds) growing so robustly at CalPoly, that is perfectly-cloned genetic happiness! I can almost imagine that SLO public workers will be happy to give up some of their pensions. Almost. But no. They won’t be happy.

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
  3. standup says:

    Too bad they forgot to mention we have a bunch of ill-trained police that can’t do a proper investigation if their life depended on it.

    (15) 23 Total Votes - 19 up - 4 down
  4. Jack L says:

    No place is perfect with so many humans on earth these days but SLOC is a great base station for now. Enjoy it while it lasts. I may offend some with my statement but I think the down economy saved SLOC. The building was getting out of hand for the water tables and other areas of the resource environment. If everyone who wanted to live here could, SLOC would become something other than what we all enjoy about the area.

    The wildflowers will soon be in full bloom.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  5. SLOChildrenAtPlay says:

    SLO, “Happiest Place In The USA.” Apparently so happy, that our City Manager (who makes more annually than the Governor) refuses to live here.

    (27) 27 Total Votes - 27 up - 0 down
    • RU4Real says:

      SLOChildrenAtPlay, Perhaps she knows her days on the job are “numbered”…She can see the handwriting on the wall.

      (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
      • SLOChildrenAtPlay says:

        Thanks RU4Real. Katie Lichtig leaving, now there is a happy thought. Now if we could only get Jan Marx and John Ashbaug to leave – I might just start believing in this whole “Happy Town USA” thing. But for now you can’t have a true “Happy Town USA” with people like Mayor Jan Crooked-Sneaky, City Councilman John Disappointment, and City Manager “Malibu” Katie Severance-Package in city government. Police chief Deb Vader and her department of “Community Storm Troopers” doesn’t help either.

        (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
        • SLOChildrenAtPlay says:

          Ooops!! I got our Mayor’s name all wrong…I meant to write Jan Howell-Copeland.

          (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
        • SLOBIRD says:

          Now, that’s change you want to believe in…

          (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  6. Typoqueen says:

    Well, say what you want, yes bad cops, not much money etc.. I love it here. There’s only one other place that I’d rather be and that’s Maui but because it’s so far from my family this is where I want to be.
    Why would anyone live in a place that they don’t like? I lived in the snow,,I didn’t like it so I moved. I lived in the desert, I didn’t like so I moved. I lived in LA,,,I grew not to like it so I moved. Life’s too short, I would never ever live someplace that I didn’t love. I’ve lived in many many places, I love the central coast, for me it’s the best place to live!

    (13) 21 Total Votes - 17 up - 4 down
    • SLOChildrenAtPlay says:

      The snow, the desert, L.A., and now San Luis Obispo. I guess you should enjoy it here while you can, because you’re wanderlust (more like ADD) will likely send you packing for some other “best place to live” that you will grow tired of too.

      (-13) 21 Total Votes - 4 up - 17 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        No no,,ADD perhaps actually most likely but I’m not going anywhere. I’ve lived here a long time now, much longer than anywhere else, this is where I’m staying. Due to moving a lot as a child in the military I did used to have a bit of that wanderlust in me but not now. I’ve lived here for 27 years so I’m content right here on the beautiful central coast. If I do move it would be somewhere between Pismo and San Simeon, no further.

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  7. hotdog says:

    What a load of crap. If they only know about our cops, our over paid head of staff and other issues. How about our C Council and keystone kops killing Mardi Gras here? How about the purpose of Farmers Market-to wipe out what little fun our teens could glean on Thursday night years ago by cruising and hanging out (can’t have that)? Our town is OK, but slip down the road to Santa Barbara or up to Santa Cruz and you will find our burg way short of life, freedom and grooviness.

    (5) 21 Total Votes - 13 up - 8 down
  8. scoopone says:

    Before we go any further with this nonsense, someone should get the word out that SLO is happily going broke!! We may at some point in the future have to consider laying off all police and fire department employees and contract outside sources for these services. We must support the decision to eliminate binding arbitration and pension reform in the upcoming mail-in ballot election.

    (16) 20 Total Votes - 18 up - 2 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Maybe getting rid of the SLO Board of Supervisors would help…sure couldn’t hurt. Can anyone spell BRUCE GIBSON?

      (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
      • jev5010 says:

        Apples and Oranges… The subject here is the city, not the county.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  9. calvertworthington says:

    USA Today. Quality stuff. I always stumble over it when checking out of motels. BUT IT”S FREE. Must be good.

    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down

Comments are closed.