I love the natural beauty around me and I go for it when I can. I also enjoy the vitality of downtown. It's a small downtown but it's very alive. That part was cool. The concrete sidewalks were not. It is just hard for my feet to do that. I took the opportunity to check out the Next Big Thing downtown: a new center that contains several upscale chain stores: Abercrombie & Fitch, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, that sort of thing. The retailers have also decided that SLO people are up for walking up stairs to get to their shops, a case that could not easily be made not that many years ago. Abercrombie & Fitch faces the street, at ground level, but next to it are wide steps (at an angle) to another level, where one can enter other upper shops from an upper plaza. There is an elevator, too, of course, but I don't see that many people choosing that.
Who will be buying there? Mostly college students, is my guess, and downtown professionals. Of which there are many, given that it is the county's government center. Sometimes it seems unreal: there are so many people out of work or working low-end jobs, but there is this crop of people who rise above it all, who are not so affected. It's possible to get a strange picture of the world by living here.