7 Examples of San Luis Obispo Lingo that Will Help You Blend In

November 26, 2020

Located in the heart of California about 190 miles north of Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo is a city that has much to offer. If you’re visiting here, you may not want to make it super obvious you’re not a local. One way to accomplish this goal is to consider the fun facts about San Luis Obispo lingo listed below.

1. “Over the Grade” Has Nothing to Do with Your GPA

If someone asks if you want to go “over the grade,” say yes! This is the way locals refer to Cuesta Pass. It’s given its nickname because it’s a steep, seven-percent grade nestled between San Luis Obispo and Atascadero. When you go “over the grade,” you’ll be rewarded with a truly gorgeous view of coastal mountain ranges.

2. The “Five Cities” Offer Perfect Day Trip Opportunities

If you’re looking for some great day trip opportunities while in San Luis Obispo, check out the “Five Cities.” This is the term the locals often use to refer to five popular, diverse, and inviting nearby destinations. The Five Cities are:

• Arroyo Grande – Head to this great lakeside city where you can splash your day away
• Grover Beach – Grab your ATV and drive through the sand here if you’re up for some adventure
• Oceano – Take in a show here at the Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville, a popular local theater that’s locally referred to as “The Melodrama”
• Pismo Beach – While not swimming or relaxing here, take some time to hunt for Monarch butterflies
• Shell Beach – Grab your surfboard and make your way to this popular local hotspot for a day of surfing

After a fun-filled day trip to any of these destinations, your family will be ready to head back for a relaxing evening at your hotel. SLO visitors will be delighted by the opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities and the eclectic mix of restaurants and unique shops they’ll find in the Five Cities.

3. Get Used to Saying “SLO CAL,” & Say Hi to the “SLOcals”

Referring to San Luis Obispo by its full name is a dead giveaway that you’re a first-time visitor. This is also true if you simply say San Luis. “SLO CAL” is the way people in this area refer to their hometown. But if you really want to impress the locals, use the term “SLOcals.” As you might have guessed, it’s a way of referring to the local residents. Also, never spell out “S-L-O” if you don’t want to blow your cover.

4. Spend Some Time in “The Village”

Instead of scratching your head and asking, “What village?” say “Sure!” when someone asks if you want to head out to “The Village.” This is the way locals refer to the quaint village of nearby Arroyo Grande. It’s earned this nickname because of its small shops and charming Main Street USA feel. It’s a bit old-timey, but that’s a big part of its charm.

5. Discover Some Tasty Craft Beers in “A-Town”

“A-Town” is the common way locals refer to Atascadero. While the name for this nearby community translates to “mud hole,” it’s much more appealing than what the literal translation suggests. It has become a popular spot for craft beer lovers and outdoor enthusiasts over the years, so it’s definitely a place worth putting on your must-visit list while in SLO CAL.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Some “Olallieberries”

Pronounced “oh-la-lee,” olallieberries are the main fruit grown by the local Linn family on their farm in nearby Cambria. First developed in the 1940s, this tasty berry is the centerpiece of the annual Cambria Olallieberry Festival.

7. “The Rock” Has Nothing to Do with the Actor

“The Rock” in terms of SLO CAL lingo refers to Morro Bay. This nearby community is considered to be one of the region’s true natural wonders. Take a stroll along the beach and take in the amazing rock formations and other scenic delights found here. And don’t forget to check out “the stacks,” a reference to the smokestacks that remain from a former power plant. 

Visiting all these destinations that are so popular among SLOcals will take more than a day or two, so reserve your room today at Sands Inn & Suites, a premier San Luis Obispo boutique hotel. Bring the whole family to our pet-friendly inn and enjoy our comfortable accommodations, friendly atmosphere, and idyllic location. You’ll love our amenities, including an on-site gym, a heated outdoor pool and spa, and free WiFi. Our staff is dedicated to making your stay a memorable one, so call us to reserve your room today at (800) 441-4657.


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