San Luis Obispo is a small beach town on the coast of California. People are generally extremely easygoing and relaxed, and the pace of life is much slower than in San Francisco or Los Angeles. There are lots of small businesses around, and it's definitely easy to feel like a part of the community. San Luis Obispo does have a permanent population of adults and families, and the two aren't always respectful of each other's desires, though everyone seems to get along, for the most part. The only other college in the area is a community college—Cuesta College.
There are increasing numbers of homeless people in the downtown area, but they are mostly friendly. Otherwise, San Luis Obispo is an extremely safe community. Neighbors generally watch out for each other. Whether or not students were athletic before coming to Cal Poly, they will inadvertently become more outdoorsy. It's nearly impossible not to. Nearly everyone tries kayaking, rock climbing, or surfing during their time at Cal Poly. There are always opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and great weather, either alone or with friends.