Atascadero is in San Luis Obispo County in the Central Coast region of California.
The town's name is derived from a Spanish word meaning "bog", and in the Chumash language it means "a place of much water". The town was founded in 1913 as a planned utopian colony by Edward Gardner Lewis, a magazine published who had founded the town of University City, Missouri. The centerpiece of the new town was an Italian Renaissance-style town hall, surrounded by the expansive Sunken Gardens.
By carCar is the easiest way to get to Atascadero.
Atascadero City Hallphone: +1 805-466-8341address: 6500 Palma AveConstruction of the city hall began in 1914 and was completed in 1918. The building sustained significant damage in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake in 2003, but reopened ten years later after extensive repairs and retrofitting. Today the building is again home to the local government, and to a museum maintained by the Atascadero Historical Society. Docent-led tours of this California Historical landmark are offered Wednesday noon-2PM & Friday 1-4PM, or by appointment.
phone: +1 805 461-5080address: 9305 Pismo AvenueCharles Paddock Zoo is a community zoo located on five park-like acres within Atascadero Lake Park. It has been accredited since 1991 and is one of the smallest accredited zoos in America. Exhibits include over 100 animals and 45 species including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Species of particular interest include a pair of red pandas, Malayan tiger, fossa, lemur, meerkat, wallaby, kinkajou, and sloth.
Sunken Gardensaddress: 6505 El Camino RealConceived by the city's founder, the Sunken Gardens were inspired by the "Grand Basin" at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Statues, an impressive fountain, and walkways fill this park. Farmers markets and other events are held here, and during the summer movies are sometimes shown on an inflatable screen. While it's a pleasant place to visit, many homeless people hang out in the park.
phone: +1 805 466-4449address: 3600 El Camino Real
phone: +1 805-461-5100address: 6005 El Camino RealThis historic hotel was built in 1929, closed in 1987, and reopened after a $15-million renovation in 2003. Today it is the most expensive hotel in town.
phone: +1 805 466-6701address: 9400 El Camino Real
- Morro Bay - 17 miles southwest of Atascadero, this coastal town is best known for the massive 581-foot (177-m) volcanic rock that dominates its harbor, but is also a great spot to see marine mammals and is home to one of California's oldest fine art and craft shows.
- Paso Robles - Paso Robles is a historical resort town known for its hot springs that is 14 miles north of Atascadero. This city's major industry is wine production, with vineyards located throughout the surrounding area.