Atascadero on the Central California coast is slightly inland from the Pacific Ocean, providing sunshine and slightly warmer temps than coastal counterparts to make the grape vines, olives, avocados and other farm fresh produce grow just right.
Atascadero Events feature Art & Wine Tour Main St., Children's Day in Park, Concerts and Colony Homes Tour. Be sure to check out the Atascadero City Parks, Skate Park and Zoo that make a visit to Atascadero one of the most memorable places along Central Coast road trips.
The center of town activities is the lovely Sunken Garden where community events are hosted such as Summer Movies and Summer Concerts sponsored by the City of Atascadero Parks and Recreation Department.
Atascadero has long been a popular Hollywood getaway spanning back to the days when William Randolph Hearst lured his friends away from Hollywood to visit his Hearst Castle in San Simeon, under an hour's drive from Atascadero. Carlton Hotel in Atascadero has hosted many such guests, and enjoys status as one of the region's finest accommodations with amenities such as fine linens, in all rooms, and a beautiful bar / restaurant on site. The Carlton Hotel was built in1929, just around the time that American travelers were taking to cars on road trips for vacations, and stopping at places such as the First Motel in nearby San Luis Obispo. Both destinations grew along I-101, the King's Highway or El Camino Real that was the original mission road in which Spaniards established mission settlements near the California coast. Atascadero is between the Missions San Luis Obispo and Mission San Miguel, two of the 21 mission settlements in California.
Things to do in Atascadero include visiting the weekly Farmers Market held downtown includes locally grown cut flowers, produce, , wine tasting along the Paso Robles wine trail, visiting several missions, the Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, and the Atascadero city-operated Charles Paddock Zoo. You might also want to see Hearst Castle and head to the beaches. The closest beach is Morro Bay where you can take boat tours.Atascadero got its name from a term "atascar" which means stuck, and bog. After the mission era, Spanish land grants were parceled and sold to investors such as Edward Gardner Lewis. Not quite William Randolph Hearst, this magazine publisher from back East founded Atascadero with his own vision along the lines of the Hearst empire. He wanted a utopian colony. Other such places on the Central Coast where similar visions of health and happiness were shared included Halcyon south in the Five Cities area near Pismo Beach. The p Dunites who lived among the sand dunes of the area were attracted to region, believing it offered health benefits.
In Atascadero Lewis launched his utopian plan around 1914, with acres of orchards, Highway 41 that carves a path through the Santa Lucia Mountains to Morro Bay and other such infrastructure. Lewis spent a fortune creating a resort like atmosphere with hotels, resort accommodations, and the first civic building in Atascadero. He also brought from Chicago the first rotogravure presses west of the Mississippi. Atascadero News and Illustrated Review, a photo/news magazine, both groundbreaking publications for their time, came from this nearly unheard of place, Atascadero.
The Italian Renaissance treatments seen today Atascadero City Hall with its rotunda, and the Sunken Gardens, have the visionary Edward Gardner Lewis to thank.