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City Guide
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA

Known locally as San Luis, or SLO, this old California treasure is known nationally as "the happiest city in America." Get ready to get happy, because this renting guide has everything you need to get your apartment hunt started in San Luis Obispo.

SLO is a city situated between two beacons of outdoor life: the mountains and the beach. Here, you will find a population of hiking, biking, surfing, kite-boarding, disc golfing and kayaking families, who value a day in the sun over a night on the town. That's not to say that this city is deprived of a downtown scene though. With multiple eclectic venues for art, live music, and social wining, dining, and costumed bicycle riding, SLO certainly has a nightlife that’s worth experiencing.

Although the rental rates are high, they’re much less expensive than other cities along the California coast. For students, there are shared-housing and roommate-wanted options that will cost a minimum of $600 a room, plus utilities. One-bedroom apartments begin at around $850, with most of the available options being around $900 and up. There are also luxury apartments and executive condominiums that can cost more than $2,000.

Other popular housing options include duplexes, single-family homes, and mobile homes, typically costing more than $1,800. However, these types of rentals are never available for long, so if you find one that you like, then you truly are a lucky person. On top of rent payments, you can also expect to fork out some big bucks to pay your deposit, which is usually at least 1.5 times the cost of first month’s rent. Also, be sure to begin your apartment search early for the best selection, as the academic calendar has a major effect on local availabilities.

Amenities typically include a fitness center, laundry room, pool, and parking. Even though some single-family homes, townhomes, and single-story condos come with private yards, you’ll have a hard time finding a dog-friendly rental around here. In fact, more often than not, complexes will refuse all pets. However, there are a couple of places that take pets in town, and for those in search of a dog park, just take your four-legged friend down to Laguna Lake for a beautiful, green, lakeside day of walking, fetching, and Frisbee-chasing.

So, as you see, finding the perfect rental in this city is completely doable, although a little difficult at times. With a little hard work and a lot of love for life in the great outdoors, you’re sure to see why this is truly among the happiest cities in America. Good luck out there, and happy hunting!

-By Katy Comal