12. San Luis Obispo became the first city to ban smoking in 1990
Pioneering San Luis Obispo was the first ever city in the U.S. to ban public smoking in 1990. The SLO ban-the-smokes ordinance started with a period of civic discussion and eventually passed as a motion, paving the way for other cities around the nation to follow suit.
13. Oprah declared San Luis Obispo as the “Happiest Town in the U.S.A.”
The Oprah Show declared S.L.O as America's Happiest City, citing urban planning decisions like making the town pedestrian-friendly with wide sidewalks and limiting fast food drive-throughs as reasons why. And hey, if Oprah says S.L.O. is the happiest city, then it must be a fact.
14. Paso Robles was Named after the Local Oak Trees
There are many fun facts about San Luis Obispo related to names, and Paso Robles is named after the local trees! The city's full name is “El Paso de Robles,” which is Spanish for “The Pass of the Oaks.” Frankly, considering how beautiful the local oaks are, having a town named after them is only fair.
15. The backstory behind Bubblegum Alley is unknown
If you’ve ever stepped foot in San Luis Obispo, then you’ve definitely visited the famous Bubblegum Alley. The hidden gem in the downtown area has sparked curiosity in many people. But, the truth of the matter is that while there are many theories, no one actually knows how the tradition of sticking gum on the alley’s goals started.
16. The concept of a motel was invented in S.L.O.
As auto-travel started to become more popular in the early 1900s, San Luis Obispo’s convenient location between Los Angeles and San Francisco prompted a rise in temporary accommodation for passers-through. These motor hotels served as a basis for the concept of a motel now present in almost every town all over the world.
17. The first solar-powered movie theater is in San Luis Obispo
The Palm Theater in San Luis Obispo became the first solar-powered movie theater in the nation in 2004 by installing 98 panels. Located in the city’s historic Chinatown District, this awesome locale is still a popular spot to catch a flick.