poly picks 2021

mustang musts

Best Living Complex


Mustang Village by Kaitlyn Shields


Developed in 1973, Mustang Village has served the Cal Poly community for many years. The complex features units ranging from 376 to 1,125 square feet. The starting price per month is $999. 


Mustang Village is located within walking distance to campus, right off of California Boulevard. These apartments are primarily leased by Cal Poly sophomores who want to live off campus but still be close by. 


Mustang Village offers many perks and amenities to its residents, including wood plank flooring, stainless steel appliances, updated AC units, large balconies throughout the community and creek views. Some of the most noted amenities that students enjoy include the heated pool, private park and laundry centers.


Cal Poly graduate Nick Gregor spent many years living in Mustang Village in the Theta Chi Fraternity house, which is located at the back of Mustang Village in Building 114. Gregor said he loved living at Mustang village because of the community aspect and how social the complex was.


“You would go to the pool and recognize someone immediately. Or be hanging out on a hammock and see a friend. It was awesome!”, Gregor said.


Mustang village is one of the largest apartment complexes in the area, with 534 total units. Students who choose to live in Mustang Village have the opportunity to choose between a variety of floor plans, levels and building locations.


Cal Poly junior Josh Amick said he has enjoyed his time at Mustang Village so far, and that all the staff and workers are very friendly.  


“The people who help out around the place are great, if you need something fixed they always got you,” Amick said. 


Mustang Village is currently taking new applicants for the 2021-2022 school year. Applications are available on their website at mustangvillage.com. You can also contact them directly by calling 805-783-2500.



Best Golf Course

Dairy Creek by Tessa Hughes


If you are in need of upping your golf-game, Dairy Creek in San Luis Obispo (SLO) was voted the best golf course in the county. According to their website, Dairy Creek is the best place to learn, practice and golf in all of SLO county.


Their practice areas all have grass driving range tees, practice greens, chipping and bunker greens. A new Cal Poly Practice Center, where the university’s men’s and women’s golf teams practice, is also available for public use. Once you have practiced enough and are ready to hit the green, Dairy Creek has a unique nine-hole, 36-par golf course. The course is great for beginners but can also be challenging for more experienced golfers. 


Each of their nine holes are filled with fun with three par threes, three par fours and three par fives! If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the abundant wildlife that lives among the natural surroundings. 


According to their website, Dairy Creek’s goal is to share the passion they have for this great game in the hopes that it will spark a flame inside of each person that explores their rolling terrain. They even offer Toptracer digital technology that the Professional Golfer’s Association uses to help golfers learn which aspects of their game need improvement. They invite everyone to join them for some fun, learning, practicing and playing at Dairy Creek Golf Course. 


They are located at 2990 Dairy Creek Rd. in San Luis Obispo and can be contacted by phone at 805-782-8060. Appointments can also be made online at dairycreekslo.com or foreupsoftware.com. They are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and the cost of games vary based on course, time of day and age. Clubs, carts and balls can all be rented on-site. 



Best Cal Poly Recreation Center Class

Yoga by Tessa Hughes


The Cal Poly community has spoken and the Recreation Center’s Best Classes are its yoga classes!


Yoga beats out the likes of barre, zumba and HIIT classes, and the Recreation Center offers three different types of yoga classes for students to choose from: Yin yoga, Hatha yoga and yoga flow. 


Yin yoga is a deeper workout, with passive and longer-held poses. Yin yoga targets the deepest tissues of your body and its connective tissues, which includes the joints, ligaments, bones and the deep fascia networks. This type of yoga improves your energy flow by enhancing the flow of chi, or flow of blood, in organs. It also has wonderful emotional and mental health benefits, according to the Recreation Center’s website. The class is available in person and via Zoom Wednesdays from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. 


Hatha yoga teaches the awareness of breath combined with flowing movement. Its postures create a feeling of balance, power and strength. These classes are offered in-person and via Zoom Wednesdays from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. 


The yoga flow class has a weekly rotation of yoga instructors and styles. Students can expand their yoga practice by learning different styles through various teaching methods. 


If you are trying to get that toned body just in time for summer and are looking for a new creative way to achieve it, Cal Poly’s Recreation Center is currently offering in-person and virtual fitness classes through the rest of spring quarter.


If you can’t attend a live class, the Cal Poly Recreation Center also posts videos of pre-recorded workout classes and personal training sessions on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. 


More information on the Recreation Center is available at asi.calpoly.edu



Best SLO
Hidden Gem

Prefumo Canyon by Lauren Boyer


Although it’s a bit of a drive from Cal Poly’s campus, seeing the sunset from the top of Prefumo Canyon is a beautiful and serene experience. 


Located off of Los Osos Valley Road is a trail to the top of Prefumo Canyon, which can be accessed by driving, hiking or biking. It is about 4 miles to get to the top (about a 15-minute drive), and you will pass by trees bathed in golden light, charming farmhouses and even grazing cattle towards the top in the spring. The road is steep and narrow, so drive with caution. 


Once you reach the top, there is a long stretch of road where you can pull off and park. The view is great from inside the car, but even better on top of the hilly grass. Once you reach the peak of this canyon, you will be surrounded by panoramic views of San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Bishop’s Peak and miles of lush, emerald hills. 


The abundant rocks along the grassy knolls make ideal seats for you and your loved ones. The lighting and breathtaking scenery at Prefumo Canyon, especially during golden-hour, also makes it a great place to take photos. 


Even on days when fog eclipses the sunset, stunning arrays of colors appear on this hilltop. It can get pretty windy and cold, even in the warmer months, so make sure to bring a warm jacket and wear closed-toed shoes. 


During springtime, you can also watch the cattle tend to their calves on this grassy knoll.


Prefumo Canyon is a quick getaway for those craving adventure and a break from the stresses of everyday life. 



Best Tatoo Parlor

Taditional Tatoo by Sheri Donahue


Traditional Tattoo, located on Higuera Street just outside of Downtown San Luis Obispo, has been providing the community with quality tattoos and piercings for the past 20 years. 


They offer custom tattoos, piercings, body jewelry and permanent makeup. Traditional Tattoo’s services are available to walk-ins and by appointment. Tattoo appointments may be scheduled online at tattooslo.com and piercings may be booked by texting 805-541-8282.


Traditional Tattoo focuses on providing customers with expert attention and a comfortable experience, using clean and modern equipment. 


“You can relax when you get your tattoo with us,” Traditional Tattoo’s website reads. “We've done hundreds of thousands of piercings, love what we do, and treat every customer as a new and meaningful challenge.” 


It’s all in the name, as Traditional Tattoo values commitment and tradition in everything it does. The shop’s tattoo artists are committed to making each tattoo personal and customized.


“We combine old-school tattoo ideals with modern equipment and the highest safety standards,” the Traditional Tattoo website reads. “Our artists are fully licensed, highly experienced and dedicated.”


In addition to having a minimum of 10 years of experience, all Traditional Tattoo artists and piercers are professionally licensed and certified. 


Tattoo pricing starts at $100, according to the shop’s website. Traditional Tattoo can also provide accurate price estimates for tattoos with the help of an analog image, which can be texted, emailed or brought into the shop at their Higuera Street location. 


Traditional Tattoo’s website also features a gallery with examples of work done by its tattoo artists, helping customers to choose the best artist for them. A free consultation appointment can be made, allowing customers to meet their chosen tattoo artist and to discuss ideas and design suggestions. 



Best Yoga Studio


Spark Yoga/Cal Poly Recreation Center by Chloe Peng


Spark Yoga is a trendy, fun studio that offers heated yoga, Pilates and sculpt and barre classes.


Co-founders of Spark Yoga and high school sweethearts Steph and Nick Young grew up on the Central Coast. After graduation, Steph took her passion for dance to Disneyland, where she performed in parades and live shows. After leaving Disney, she focused her energy on teaching and became a certified barre fitness and Pilates instructor.


The real change came when she took her first yoga class, where she fell in love with the way that the classes transformed her mind, body and lifestyle. This is what led her and her husband to create Spark Yoga: a supportive space filled with good vibes and laid-back energy that combined her passions of yoga, barre and Pilates.


With a large, spacious studio, kombucha on tap and fun, themed classes like glow in the dark night, Spark Yoga has become a popular location for San Luis Obispo locals to practice in a non-competitive environment. The yoga studio also offers classes by reservation through their app, as well as asynchronous online classes.


Spark Yoga studio is located at 977 Foothill Blvd., and is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday. 


Located on Longview Lane on campus, Cal Poly’s Recreation Center is known for its impressive array of equipment and weights. They also offer a wide selection of group fitness classes.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Recreation Center has made a seamless transition to a completely online format, utilizing Instagram’s live video feature and Zoom. They offer weekly classes with specialty instructors. Some of their classes include barre classes, HIIT workouts and various yoga classes. To keep participants engaged, some classes incorporate fun themes such as costume parties or specific decades.


The Recreation Center’s instructors are just as engaging over a virtual setting, and their passion for what they do shines through. 


“I love yoga because of how it makes me feel,” yoga instructor Morgan said. “I am so fortunate that it has become an anchor for me, and I want to share my passion with others.”


Cal Poly’s Recreation Center is open by appointment from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 



Best Barber Shop

Mike's Barber Shop by Tessa Hughes


Need a fresh haircut just in time for summer? Well, Mike’s Barber Shop has you covered! They were just voted the Best Barbershop in San Luis Obispo and are located in the heart of the city. The barbers there work independently to provide traditional haircuts and barbering. 


The shop’s two locations are in Morro Bay: one on Morro Bay Boulevard in Downtown Morro Bay and one on Main Street in North Morro Bay. There was previously a third location on Chorro Street in San Luis Obispo, but unfortunately, it has closed. 


Mike’s Barber Shop provides a charming, old-timey experience with restored vintage barber chairs from the 1960s and other antiques inside the shop. According to the Downtown Morro Bay shop’s website, these chairs were once used by old movie stars from Hollywood who would stop in for a haircut on their way to Hearst Castle. Clients can also chat with the locals that frequent the space while getting their haircuts. 


Mike’s Barber Shop caters to all ages and can do a variety of styles. They offer everything from gentleman haircuts, buzz cuts and flat tops, to fohawks, medium haircuts, military fades and hot towel shaves. They can even trim and style your beard, goatee or mustache! Mike’s is as authentic as it gets. 


They are currently enforcing special safety guidelines given the current COVID-19 pandemic. Customers receive a survey to confirm their health before they arrive and are required to wear a face mask with ear loops for the duration of their appointment. The shop is currently operating by appointment only. Customers are also asked to arrive on time, not early.


Mike’s is open every day, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be booked through their website mikesbarbershopslo.com or by calling 805-772-9262 (Morro Bay Boulevard location) or 805-772-9316 (Northside location)




Best Auto Shop

Certified Auto Repair by Lindsey Zang


Certified Auto Repair was once again picked by the Cal Poly community as the best auto shop in town. The shop is known for their quick, affordable and reliable services – a reputation earned by their friendly and knowledgeable staff.


"Our technicians are honest and have strong relationships with the students,” owner Isaac Feldman said. “With their parents so far away, we’re the eyes and ears for the students’ cars. We take this responsibility very seriously.” 


The shop was established in 1990 with a mission of being an affordable, local alternative to dealerships, while still providing quality service. This mission was carried over by the current owner, Feldman, since he took over in 2015.


“We are really there for the customer. We consider ourselves to be in the people business,” Feldman said. “We want to be there for the community, especially for the long term.”


The shop is a full-service repair shop for both domestic and imported vehicles. Their services range from an oil change to suspension repair and everything in between. They also specialize in hybrid and electric cars, offering normal maintenance and hybrid battery replacement services.


Feldman estimated that at least half of their clientele are students. The shop values that relationship with Cal Poly and offers accommodations with students in mind. 


For busy students, they offer pickup and drop-off services, as well as a 24-hour key drop-off, so that you can leave your car at the shop after hours. Cal Poly and Cuesta students can also receive a 10% discount for up to $100 in labor with a valid student ID.


Certified Auto Repair is located on the outskirts of downtown San Luis Obispo, at 393 Marsh St. They’re open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and you can make an appointment by calling them at 805-543-7383.



Best Grocery Store

Trader Joes by Tessa Hughes


Are you running low on groceries or want to try a fun, new, seasonal and completely unique item? For your next grocery trip, hit up Trader Joe’s, which was just voted the Best Grocery Store in San Luis Obispo. 


Trader Joe’s is a German-owned chain of grocery stores in the U.S., and our quaint, local spot is one of their many locations nationwide.


The San Luis Obispo location prides themselves on being a local, neighborhood grocery store that carries hidden treasures. They have special, unconventional and organic products such as mandarin orange chicken, cauliflower gnocchi and cold brew coffee concentrate. But have no fear, they also stock their shelves with all of the essentials like milk, eggs, meat and organic produce. Trader Joe’s is also a great place to get cheese, wine, beer and liquor. The store also offers a gorgeous selection of fresh flowers daily. 


According to their website, they also have the very best prices. They are happy to be a part of the San Luis Obispo community and are proud to offer affordable prices. 


Trader Joe’s adapted swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, enforcing strict health and safety guidelines to protect their employees and customers. They are currently heeding all federal, state and local health advisories. They say they are always guided by integrity and focused on doing what is right. 


The San Luis Obispo spot is located at 3977 South Higuera St. next to Starbucks and Food 4 Less. They are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and can be contacted at 805-783-2780. 


Check out their website at traderjoes.com to find what products they are currently carrying in stores and a variety of recipes that tell you the best way to prepare their food. 




Best Spa


Sycamore Mineral Spa by Daisy Kuenstler


If you are in need of a bit of relaxation, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is your spot to take a step back. This resort offers a variety of massages and facials, all with a 30-minute complimentary hot tub soak included. It is located 10 minutes away from San Luis Obispo at 1215 Avila Beach Dr. in Avila Beach.


This resort strives to be an alternative to the traditional spa experience. The resort experience is centered around their on-site mineral spring water. The goal is to help guests wash away their stress and help create a better sense of well-being and healthy living. 


Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is one of the largest spas in the central coast with on-site dining, a hotel and access to healing arts. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the resort also offered unlimited yoga, pilates and t’ai chi classes for $50 a month. The classes all take place in their secluded Healing Arts Dome, which is meant to provide a unique and intimate space to work on wellness. 


The hot tubs have recently reopened at their location with reservations available from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. The spa is open Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 


The spa has 72 guest rooms and suites as well as a three-bedroom guest house. If you decide to stay at the resort for three nights or longer, the resort offers discounts that range from 15% to 25% off.


Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is an award-winning spa that has taken the New Times San Luis Obispo’s “Best Place to Get a Massage” title for 17 years in a row. 



Best Nail Salon

@Nails by Daisy Kuenstler


Head over to @ Nails and treat yourself to the complete nail salon experience. This family-owned spot has been operating locally since 2010. They have two locations: one in the University Square Shopping Center at 964 Foothill Blvd. and the other in the Irish Hills Plaza at 1519 Froom Ranch Way. 


@ Nails offers acrylic nail sets, dip nails, ombre and pink-and-white nails, gel manicures and pedicures. All of these services range roughly from $30 to $60. They even offer specific deals for children under the age of 10, including a pedicure for $25 and a polish change for only $10.


All services come with one complimentary drink. They have soda dispensers, coffee, champagne for mimosas, wine and beer. These drinks are offered as soon as you begin your service at the location.


If you call beforehand, you can also request your favorite Netflix show, which they will play while you are getting their nails done. 


If you want to have a fun pampering event, you can also host a birthday party or event at the salon for you and your close friends. This is, of course, also dependent on state and county COVID-19 guidelines.


For the best experience and shorter wait time, the salon recommends scheduling an appointment beforehand with a specific worker. If you do not know who to pick, they recommend starting with anyone and then figuring out who you prefer.


Their hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m at both locations. Appointments may be made online at nails.systems/home.php or over the phone by calling 805-234-5271 (University Square) and 805-543-2268 (Irish Hills Plaza).



Best Surf Shop

Moondoggies by Chloe Peng


Nestled in the cozy downtown San Luis Obispo area at 837 Monterey St. is Moondoggies Beach Club, a local shop that specializes in selling surf and skate supplies, outdoor gear and athletic clothing.


Ryan Adler, the founder of this store, is a fourth generation San Luis Obispo local who knows the area extremely well. He had an innate passion for the ocean and was unsure how to carry this love into a job or lifestyle. In 1986, he created Moondoggies Beach Club in hopes to share the beach and surf lifestyle with others.


Adler hoped to create a shopping environment that was more of a clubhouse than a store. Moondoggies supplies vintage surfboards and skateboards which makes the store feel more authentic. The wide-open space, rustic wood floors, and beachy, relaxing music result in the overall chill and relaxed environment that Adler had hoped for.


“I absolutely love visiting Moondoggies,” graphic communications major and surf lover Lyla Swan said. “Their ambiance is relaxed and reminiscent of a fun beach club, and their employees are very well informed about surfing, which is nice.”


Though they have a large focus on surf supplies, Moondoggies Beach Club also sells clothing and supplies for outdoor activities and adventures. They offer a wide array of wetsuits, skate shoes, and trendy athletic gear from brands like Patagonia, Vans, Thrasher and their own Moondoggies brand, widening their audience and bringing in more teenage customers.


Whether you are looking for a place to get advice on anything surf related or just looking to find new and trendy clothing pieces, Moondoggies has it all. Their wide array of equipment, relaxed and beachy atmosphere and well informed employees make it an obvious choice for the best local surf shop in San Luis Obispo.



Best Hotel


Hotel SLO by Carley Epple


After just three years since their grand opening, Hotel SLO has earned its title as this year’s best hotel in San Luis Obispo. 


Located at 877 Palm St. in the historical Chinatown, Hotel SLO’s design was inspired by the neighborhood's cultural history. From ancient artifacts to the sky bridge, circular living wall and traditional art, Hotel SLO honors the Chinese history that came before them.


In addition to its notable contemporary art and design, the hotel is considered the best in San Luis Obispo for many other reasons. Hotel SLO offers a variety of room accommodations including suites, studios and numerous other layouts. With a terrace in every room, guests can enjoy the beautiful views of downtown.


Hotel SLO features two restaurants and two bars. From casual to five-star dining, Hotel SLO has something for everyone. Enjoy lunch by the pool at Piadina, evening craft cocktails at S.Low Bar, gourmet dinner at Ox and Anchor or watch the sunset from the High Bar while sipping on their house favorite cocktail, Slo Rated.


Guests can spend the day relaxing at Sol Spa, enjoying a variety of services including massages and facials. Be sure to also take advantage of their complimentary bikes, which are perfect for cruising downtown. Guests can head over to the concierge for recommendations on local dining, shopping, activities and more.


Discover the community of Hotel SLO by attending a roof-top yoga session, listening to live music Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons in the courtyard or attending Cinema Piadina on Wednesday evenings (temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions). 


Whether you're traveling through town, enjoying the Central Coasts beautiful wineries, staying for business or vacationing, Hotel SLO is the place to be.




Best Thrift Store

Goodwill by Chloe Muller


Something old, something borrowed and something blue? All of these items can easily be found at Goodwill Outlet! Rated by students as the best thrift store in San Luis Obispo County, shoppers can find a variety of retro options that promote sustainable fashion.


Goodwill Outlet, also known as “The Bins” to college students, is located at 880 Industrial Way off Broad Street. This thrift store contains bins of donated clothes and accessories, including shoes, purses, household items and much more. 


Business Administration junior Kaelynn Tholl said she frequently shops at “The Bins.” 


“The staff at Goodwill are so kind and helpful,” Tholl said. “There are tons of clothes, decorations and furniture, which is fun to sort through. It is a great place to go for cheap finds.”


With several large bins piled high with clothes, shopping at GoodWill Outlet can become a playful scavenger hunt to find hidden gems. Many shoppers find themselves digging through piles of merchandise for hours, and ultimately leaving with several inexpensive items. The merchandise at the outlet is sold by the pound or at a reduced price per item, which is significantly cheaper than other Goodwill retail locations. It is not unusual to find college students leaving with fun costumes and outfits for just a couple of bucks. 


Goodwill Outlet is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. If you’re looking for inexpensive and sustainable clothing options, Goodwill Outlet is the place to go!