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8 Things to Know Before Moving to Arroyo Grande, CA

Written by Leigh Cooper

The prosperous city of Arroyo Grande sits in San Luis Obispo County, approximately three hours northwest of Los Angeles and four hours southeast of San Francisco. “Big Creek,” “Big Ditch,” and “Muddy Creek” are some translations of the Spanish name. The valley of Arroyo Grande was found by early Portuguese immigrants in the 1700s to have lush, fertile soil, which has maintained a plentiful supply of produce to this day. In July of 1911, the city became an established entity.

The city’s historic district is very charming, and it’s easy to stroll around and take in all the antique stores, specialized shops, Victorian architecture, and high-end boutiques that line the streets. Let’s talk about eight things to know before moving to Arroyo Grande, CA.

1. The cost of living is 46% higher than the national average

With an index of 146, living expenses in Arroyo Grande are much higher than the national average. The cost is especially high for home buyers. With a median household income of $80,833, purchasing a home at the median price of $973,000 would be difficult for many residents. 

Renting is also expensive, with average apartment prices ranging from $1500 to $2500 per month. Given the high real estate values that drive up overall costs, living comfortably in Arroyo Grande may require an above-average income. 

2. Arroyo Grande is a safe city to live in

With only 1,660 crimes per 100,000 residents, the city of Arroyo Grande, California has one of the lowest crime rates in the state. The chances of being a victim of violent crime in Arroyo Grande are extremely low, at just 1 in 674. This makes Arroyo Grande an exceptionally safe community compared to California as a whole, which has a much higher crime rate of 2,772 per 100,000 people. 

To maintain these low crime levels, the Arroyo Grande Police Department employs 29 full-time and 7 part-time staff, as well as 10 police volunteers. The diligent efforts of law enforcement help keep both citizens and visitors protected in this peaceful city. Overall, the very low crime rate contributes to Arroyo Grande’s reputation as a safe place to live.

3. Live in The Village, The Berry Gardens, or Fair Oaks

Any of the Arroyo Grande neighborhoods would be perfect for you. All of the areas are very safe, the local school districts are top-notch, there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and grocery stores in the vicinity, and the beaches are less than a 10-minute drive away.

The “Village” is a two-block area of Arroyo Grande’s downtown sector that residents frequent for its unique shops, restaurants, and antiques. Beautifully preserved with ancient structures like Harvest Church and the Arroyo Grande Meat Co, the neighborhood butcher since 1897, the area provides a pleasant change of pace from the beach resorts and coastal views along Highway 1. The village may be small, but it packs a big punch with its two parks—Heritage Square and Centennial.

The Berry Gardens are a collection of mansions spanning all sizes and architectural styles, situated between Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande Village. Kingo Park, on Courtland Street in the heart of the neighborhood, has a picnic space, and a playground, and is within walking distance.

Located just northeast of Berry Gardens is the Fair Oaks neighborhood, which offers easy access to the business district. As it runs horizontally through the neighborhood, East Grand Ave is home to a number of eateries, cafes, gas stations, and banks.

4. Winters are mild and summers are warm

The average number of sunshine days in the temperate-Mediterranean climate of Arroyo Grande is 286—much higher than the national average! The average annual rainfall is only 20 inches. From mild winters (lows in the 40s) to hot summers (highs in the 70s), Arroyo Grande has some of the best weather in the country. 

Between December and January, the lows are often about 40 degrees. In the winter, it rains about 25% of the time, so you might want to bring your raincoat and rubber boots out a bit more often during the cooler months.

The highest temperatures occur in July and August, although even then, the humidity is very low and the temperature is a pleasant 77 degrees. However, the lack of rain during the summer months is one drawback of the climate in California’s Central Coast, which can lead to water shortages and droughts.

5. Work in sectors like tourism, retail, agriculture, and technology

Living in Arroyo Grande has numerous advantages, one of which is the city’s strong economy, which is predicted to have future job growth that exceeds the national average. 

Tourism, retail, agriculture, and technology are the mainstays of Arroyo Grande’s economy, which is quite diverse considering its size. Earning an average of $65,000 a year, the typical household in Arroyo Grande rakes in $74,600.

6. Lucia Mar Unified School District serves the city

Arroyo Grande is part of the Lucia Mar Unified School District, which provides education to students from a range of average to exceptional institutions. Ocean View Elementary School in Arroyo Grande is well regarded, boasting an impressive 9 out of 10 GreatSchools rating and significantly higher test scores compared to the state average.

San Luis Obispo is home to the nearest university, but there are a few more in the area if you’re thinking about attending college. Puget Sound Community College and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo are two nearby colleges.

7. Eat at The Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill, Ember Restaurant, or Rooster Creek Tavern

There are numerous locally owned restaurants in Arroyo Grande that have won awards for their distinct food. Once you’ve settled into Arroyo Grande, here are some of the top-rated restaurants you shouldn’t miss. The selection ranges from fancy spots perfect for special occasions to cozy spots.

In search of a laid-back spot to take the family for some seafood and steak? In an island-themed atmosphere, The Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill offers excellent and entertaining beverages.

The food at Ember Restaurant is prepared using only natural ingredients and roasted over an open fire. Central Californian classics including wood-fired pizza, California halibut, Mediterranean platters, and Maine lobster salad are available. Reserve a table at Ember Restaurant for your next special event.

A traditional American watering hole where the food is the main attraction. Indoor and outdoor seats, as well as patio lighting to set the ambiance, are available at Rooster Creek Tavern, which also features live music and a welcoming atmosphere.

8. Play golf at Cypress Ridge Gold Course or catch a show at Clark Performing Arts Center

There are a ton of fun activities to enjoy in Arroyo Grande. Play golf on the stunning Cypress Ridge Gold Course, which has won multiple awards and features stunning coastal vistas.

Spend your free time in the sun at Rancho Grande Park—a huge park with a trail, fields for baseball and other sports, courts for basketball and volleyball, and two playgrounds. Plus, dogs are welcome!

Regularly, Clark Performing Arts Center hosts events that feature world-renowned artists and performers. The two theaters host different performances, including tribute bands, musicals, dramas, and comedians.

Final Thoughts

With its historic charm, low crime rate, sunny climate, and abundance of culture and recreation, Arroyo Grande offers an appealing California lifestyle. However, the high cost of living, especially housing, may make it unaffordable for some. While the area provides scenic beauty and community amenities, prospective residents should ensure they have the means to comfortably budget for real estate and day-to-day expenses before committing to a move.    

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