Paso Robles, California

Coordinates: 35°38′27″N 120°39′14″W / 35.64083°N 120.65389°W / 35.64083; -120.65389
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Paso Robles, California
City of El Paso de Robles
Overlooking southern Paso Robles
Overlooking southern Paso Robles
Flag of Paso Robles, California
Official seal of Paso Robles, California
Location of El Paso de Robles (Paso Robles) in San Luis Obispo County, California
Location of El Paso de Robles (Paso Robles) in San Luis Obispo County, California
Paso Robles, California is located in the United States
Paso Robles, California
Paso Robles, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°38′27″N 120°39′14″W / 35.64083°N 120.65389°W / 35.64083; -120.65389
CountryUnited States
CountySan Luis Obispo
IncorporatedMarch 11, 1889[1]
Named forThe Pass of the Oaks
 • TypeCouncil–manager[2]
 • BodyEl Paso de Robles City Council
 • MayorJohn Hamon[3]
 • City ManagerTy Lewis[4]
 • Councilmembers[6]
 • AssemblymemberJasmeet Bains (D)[5]
 • State SenatorJohn Laird (D)[5]
 • Total19.66 sq mi (50.92 km2)
 • Land19.65 sq mi (50.89 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)  1.57%
Elevation732 ft (223 m)
 • Total31,490
 • Density1,602.5/sq mi (618.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
93446, 93447
Area code805/820
FIPS code06-22300
GNIS feature IDs254139, 2410415

Paso Robles (/ˌpæsə ˈrbəlz/ PASS-oh ROH-buhlz), officially El Paso de Robles (Spanish for The Pass of Oaks), is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States. Located on the Salinas River about 30 mi (48 km) north of San Luis Obispo, the city is known for its hot springs, abundance of wineries, production of olive oil, almond orchards, and playing host to the California Mid-State Fair. At the 2020 census, the population was 31,490.[9]

Etymology and pronunciation[edit]

The city's full name is El Paso de Robles, which in Spanish means The Pass of the Oaks.

People differ on the pronunciation of the city's shortened name of Paso Robles. While its Spanish pronunciation is PASS-oh ROH-blays, residents anglicize the pronunciation as PASS-oh ROH-buhlz. This anglicized version has been used in the city phone message.[11]


This area of the Central Coast, known as the City of El Paso De Robles, Paso Robles, or simply Paso,[12] is known for its thermal springs.[12] Native Americans known as the Salinan lived in the area thousands of years before the mission era.[13] They knew this area as the Springs or the Hot Springs.[14] A tribal site on present-day Paso Robles was named elewexe, Obispeño for "Swordfish".[15]

Paso Robles is located on the Rancho Paso de Robles Mexican land grant that was purchased by James and Daniel Blackburn in 1857.[14] Their partner was Drury James of Kentucky, a veteran of the Mexican War and uncle of the outlaw Jesse James.[14] The land was a rest stop for travelers of el Camino Real trail, and was known for its mineral hot springs. Franciscan priests from neighboring Mission San Miguel constructed the first mineral baths in the area. During this period, Paso Robles began to attract the settlers who established cattle ranches, apple and almond orchards, dairy farms, and vineyards.

In 1864, the first El Paso de Robles Hotel was constructed and featured a hot mineral springs bath house. Three locations (Paso Robles Inn, River Oaks Hot Springs,[16] and Franklin Hot Springs[17]) have offered the mineral bath hot spring experience which brought people like Ignacy Jan Paderewski to Paso Robles.

James and Daniel Blackburn donated two blocks to the city for a public park to be used for the pleasure of its citizens and visitors. Two exceptions were made to requirement that it be used for a public park - allowing the building of the Carnegie Library, and the conversion of the library to a museum. The grounds were laid out by a Mr. Redington and a planting day was held when each citizen set out his own donation. Originally, the whole park was hedged in by a fence of cactus, and in 1890, a bandstand was built with money raised by private theatricals.

In 1886, after the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SPR), work began on laying out a town site, with the resort as the nucleus. Two weeks after the first train arrived on October 31, 1886, a three-day celebration was held, including a special train from San Francisco bringing prospective buyers, who toured the area and enjoyed the daily barbecues. On November 17, the Grand Auction was held, resulting in the sale of 228 lots.

The local agent for the SPR when it arrived in Paso Robles was R. M. "Dick" Shackelford, a Kentucky native who had come to California in 1853 to dig for gold. Shackelford had a varied career, going from gold mining to hauling freight by ox team, to lumbering, which took him to Nevada, where he served one term as a delegate in the state's first legislature for Washoe County.[18] By 1886, Shackelford had returned to California and was living in Paso Robles, where he began buying up extensive property, building warehouses, and starting lumber yards along the railroad's route. Shackelford also established the Southern Pacific Milling Company, which had a virtual monopoly on local milling until local farmers, in an effort to break Shackelford's stranglehold, themselves organized their own milling cooperative, the Farmers' Alliance Flour Mill.[19][20]

Paso Robles Clock Tower

In 1889, the same year that Paso Robles incorporated as a city, construction began on a new hotel. The hotel required over one million bricks and cost $160,000. The El Paso de Robles Hotel opened for business in 1891. The hotel was three stories tall and built of solid masonry, set off by sandstone arches. This ensured the hotel was completely fireproof. The hotel also featured a seven-acre (28,000 m2) garden and nine-hole golf course. Inside, it had a library, a beauty salon, a barber shop, and various billiard and lounging rooms. The new hotel also offered an improved hot-spring plunge bath and 32 individual bath rooms. The 20 by 40-foot (12 m) plunge bath was considered one of the finest and most complete of its time in the United States.

A year after the hotel's construction began, in 1890 the five-story Granary Building (still standing into the 2020s, albeit renovated) was built in order to store grain.[21][22]

On January 17, 1914, one of the world's more well-known concert pianists and composers came to the hotel: Ignace Paderewski.[citation needed] After three weeks of treatments at the hotel's mineral hot springs for his arthritis, he resumed his concert tour. He later returned to live at the hotel and bought two ranches west of Paso Robles.[citation needed]

During the next 30 years, the hotel was visited by other notables: Boxing champion Jack Dempsey, President Theodore Roosevelt, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Phoebe Apperson Hearst (the mother of William Randolph Hearst), and actors Douglas Fairbanks, Boris Karloff, Bob Hope, and Clark Gable all stayed at the El Paso de Robles Hotel. When Major League baseball teams used Paso Robles as a spring-training home, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox stayed at the hotel and soaked in the mineral hot springs to soothe tired muscles.

For a time, Paso Robles was known as the Almond City because the local almond growers created the largest concentration of almond orchards in the world. The ranchers in the outlying areas were very important to the Paso Robles area. On these ranches were cattle and horses, grain crops (primarily wheat and barley), garden produce, and fruit and nut orchards. Many of these ranchlands and orchards have become vineyards for the many wineries that currently draw tourists to the area.

To show their appreciation to the ranchers, in October 1931, the businesspeople established Pioneer Day,[23] which is still an annual event, celebrated on the second Saturday in October.

The historic Carnegie Library now houses the Paso Robles Historical Society museum.

In December 1940, a fire completely destroyed the El Paso de Robles Hotel. Guests staying the night escaped unharmed. The night clerk who discovered the fire suffered a fatal heart attack immediately after sounding the alarm. Within months after the blaze, plans for a new hotel to be built on the site were drawn up. The design was an entirely new concept: A garden inn-hotel, designed to accommodate motor vehicle travelers. By February 1942, construction was complete and the Paso Robles Inn opened for business.[24][25][26]

In 1955, scores of national media[27][28] came to Paso Robles after pop-culture icon and actor James Dean was pronounced dead in town following his tragic car accident just east of the city. A roadside memorial in his honor stands in nearby Cholame, for fans to pay tribute to the star.[29]

Through the 1960s and 1970s, the City of Paso Robles experienced significant growth. The area's wine industry flourished, the California Mid-State Fair expanded into a regional attraction, and local lakes, such as Lake Nacimiento, became family vacation destinations.

In 1995, a new library building, combined with city hall, was completed; acclaimed novelist Ray Bradbury spoke at the dedication to a crowd of about 600 in attendance.[30]

The waters[edit]

Historic brochure for Paso Robles Hot Springs resort, circa 1910[31]

As far back as 1795, Paso Robles has been spoken of and written about as "California's oldest watering place"—the place to go for springs and mud baths. In 1864, a correspondent to the San Francisco Bulletin wrote every prospect existed of the Paso Robles hot springs becoming the watering place of the state. By 1868, people were coming from as far away as Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, and even Alabama. Besides the well-known mud baths, the Iron Spring and the Sand Spring bubbled through the sand and were said to produce delightful sensations.[32]

In 1882, Drury James and the Blackburn brothers issued a pamphlet advertising "El Paso de Robles Hot and Cold Sulphur Springs and the Only Natural Mud Baths in the World". By then, the inn had first-class accommodations - a reading room, barber shop, and telegraph office; a general store, a top-of-the-line livery stable, and comfortably furnished cottages for families who preferred privacy to quarters in the hotel. Visitors could stay in touch with the rest of the world, as two daily mail deliveries were available, as was a Western Union telegraph office and a Wells Fargo agency with special rates for guests. As the springs became more a destination of the well-to-do as a place to go to socialize, the original purpose of the springs—to heal—became peripheral.

The bathhouse was erected over the sulfur spring in 1888, with a plunge and 37 bath rooms. In the following year, work began on the large Hot Springs Hotel (today the Paso Robles Inn), which was completed in 1900 and burned down 40 years later. Since the privilege of using the baths was restricted to guests of the hotel, and many sufferers of the ailments the baths cured could not pay the rates of the fashionable hotel, a few businessmen in Paso Robles made arrangements with Felix Liss for the right to bore for sulphur water on a lot that Liss owned. A sulfur well was reached, a bath house was built, and baths were offered at an affordable rate of 25 cents. The establishment was later offered to the city and is currently the site of the Municipal Pool.


Paso Robles’ growth industry—wine—has a long history with the area. Wine grapes were introduced to the Paso Robles soil in 1797 by the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries. Spanish explorer Francisco Cortez envisioned an abundant wine-producing operation and encouraged settlers from Mexico and other parts of California to cultivate the land. The first vineyardists in the area were the priests (padres) of the Mission San Miguel, and their old fermentation vats and grapevine artwork can still be seen at the mission, north of the city of Paso Robles.

Commercial winemaking was introduced to the Paso Robles region in 1882, when Andrew York, a settler from Indiana, began planting vineyards and established the Ascension Winery at what became York Mountain Winery and is now Epoch Winery. When York purchased the land, it was primarily apple orchards, with a small plot of wine grape vines. York found that the climate and soil were more suitable for vineyards and he expanded the vineyards. Within a few years, he found that the vines were yielding more than he could market, prompting him to build a small, stone winery.

Following Andrew York's early success in the wine business, Gerd and Ilsabe Klintworth planted a vineyard in the Geneseo/Linne area around 1886. They were licensed to sell jugs of Zinfandel, port, and muscatel, as well as some of the area's first white wine made from Burger grapes. The Casteel Vineyards in the Willow Creek area were planted just prior to 1908. Casteel wines were stored and aged in a cave cellar. Cuttings from the old vines provided the start for other vineyards, still producing in the area today.

As the popularity of wines began to grow, so did the Paso Robles wine region. Lorenzo and Rena Nerelli purchased their vineyard at the foot of York Mountain in 1917. Their Templeton Winery was the area's first to be bonded following the repeal of Prohibition.

The early 1920s saw a flurry of winemaking activity when several families immigrated to the area to establish family vineyards and wineries. Sylvester and Caterina Dusi purchased a vineyard in 1924. The old head-pruned Zinfandel vines are now owned and cultivated by their son, Benito. The Martinelli, Busi, Vosti, Steinbeck and Bianchi Winery vineyards were also established around this time.

The Paso Robles wine region gained more notoriety when Ignace Paderewski, the famous Polish statesman and concert pianist, visited Paso Robles, became enchanted with the area, and purchased 2,000 acres (8.1 km2).[33] In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard in the Adelaide area. Following Prohibition, Paderewski's wine was made at York Mountain Winery. The wines produced from grapes grown on Rancho San Ignacio went on to become award winners. Paso Robles' reputation as a premier wine region became firmly established as a result of this and later successes, and through to the late 1960s and early 1970s, a new generation of vineyard pioneers came forth and flourished in the Paso Robles area.[33]

The entirely rebuilt clock tower stands downtown neighboring the city park.
The entirely rebuilt clock tower stands downtown neighboring the city park.

San Simeon earthquake[edit]

At 11:15 am PST on December 22, 2003, the San Simeon earthquake struck about 25 mi (40 km) northwest of Paso Robles. The earthquake registered 6.6 on the moment magnitude scale and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (severe). Two deaths occurred when the roof slid off the clock tower building, a popular landmark in downtown Paso Robles.

The dormant underground springs that had once been used for the spa were brought back to life, causing flooding and a large sinkhole in the parking lot of the city hall and library.

Due to lengthy environmental and engineering considerations, the sinkhole was not filled and the parking lot resurfaced until December 2010. Paso Robles has dedicated a new clock tower in memory of the two women who died.


Paso Robles is roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The topography of the area consists of gentle rolling hills on the eastern half of the city, and foothill peaks, which rise in elevation to the Santa Lucia Coastal Range on the west, which are all blanketed in the Californian chaparral environment, which is mainly dry grassland and oak woodland. Paso Robles sits on the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountain Range, which lies directly to the west of the city, and runs in a north–south direction, starting at Monterey, then runs south to its terminus in the San Luis Obispo area. The city is located at the southern end of the fertile Salinas River Valley, which is centered in between the Temblor Range (including the San Andreas Fault), which lie about 28 mi (45 km) to the east, and the Santa Lucia Coastal Range, which lies directly west, rising up from the city's western border. Paso Robles sits at the border where northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County meet, and is situated roughly 24 mi (39 km) inland from the Pacific Ocean.

A panoramic view of Paso Robles


The Paso Robles area has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) typical of coastal Southern California. The climate is defined by long, hot, dry summers and brief, cool, rainy winters. Paso Robles enjoys long-lasting, mild autumns and occasional early springs, giving the region a unique climate suitable for growing a variety of crops (ranging from primarily grapes, to olives, almonds, and other tree nuts). The city receives an average annual rainfall of 14.71 in (374 mm) per year, and most of this precipitation falls during winter and early spring. Paso Robles often receives less than 10 in (250 mm) of rain per year and typically, no rain falls from May through September. Summers in Paso Robles tend to be very hot, with daily temperatures frequently exceeding 100 °F (38 °C) from late June to as late as mid-September, and occasionally exceeding 110 °F (43 °C). Paso Robles' summers feature an unusually large day-night temperature swing, where a profound temperature difference, as much as 50 °F (28 °C), is seen between the daytime highs and the overnight lows. This large diurnal swing permits the planting of certain grape varieties that would otherwise not be suited to the region. Winters are often very cool and moist, with daytime temperatures reaching into the low 50s°F (10 °C). Mornings and nights differ from the daytime average, as they tend to be quite cold (especially in December and January), where lows reach as low as 22 °F (−6 °C). Due to the somewhat close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the marine layer occasionally makes it over the coast range and into Paso Robles, creating fog. Unlike typical California coastal marine fog, this fog is not long lasting, and typically burns off before 10 a.m.

The all-time record high temperature at the National Weather Service cooperative city office was 117 °F (47 °C) on August 13, 1933. It also reached the same temperature a few more times, most recently on September 6, 2020.[34] The record low temperature was 0 °F (−18 °C) on January 6, 1913, making Paso Robles the lowest elevation in California to reach that low temperature.[citation needed] An average of 81.0 days have high temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 64.0 days have low temperatures of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The 30-year average (1971–2000) annual precipitation is 15.17 in (385 mm), falling on an average of 47 days. The wettest year was 1941 with 29.19 in (741 mm) of precipitation and the driest year was 1947 with 4.24 in (108 mm). The most precipitation in one month was 14.76 in (375 mm) in January 1916. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 5.25 in (133 mm) on December 6, 1966. Although snow is rare in Paso Robles, 4.0 in fell on April 5, 1929, and on December 15, 1988.[35] As well as February 24, 2023

At the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, the record high temperature was 115°F on June 15, 1961, and July 20, 1960. The record low temperature was 8°F on December 22, 1990. An average of 86.7 days have highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 53.6 days have lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The 30-year average (1971–2000) annual precipitation was 12.57 in (319 mm), falling on an average of 42 days. The wettest year was 1995 with 25.56 in (649 mm) and the driest year was 2007 with 4.20 in (107 mm). The most precipitation in one month was 12.19 in (310 mm) in January 1969. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 5.47 in (139 mm) on March 10, 1995. The record snowfall was 4.0 in (100 mm) on December 15, 1988.[36]

Climate data for Paso Robles, California, elev. 730 ft (222.5 m), (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1894–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 83
Mean maximum °F (°C) 73.5
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 61.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 48.1
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 34.2
Mean minimum °F (°C) 24.5
Record low °F (°C) 0
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.44
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.1 9.3 7.9 3.9 1.7 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.7 2.4 4.3 7.8 47.1
Source: NOAA[37][38]


Historical population
2022 (est.)31,544[10]0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[39]


The 2020 United States Census[40] reported that Paso Robles had a population of 31,490 living in 12,005 households. The population density was 1,602.5-inhabitant-per-square-mile (618.7/km2). The racial makeup of Paso Robles was 69.6% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 1.8% Native American, 3.9% Asian, 13.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 33.7% of the population.


The 2010 United States Census[41] reported that Paso Robles had a population of 29,793. The population density was 1,533.7-inhabitant-per-square-mile (592.2/km2). The racial makeup of Paso Robles was 77.7% White, 2.1% African American, 1.0% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 13.1% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 34.5% of the population. The census reported that 99.4% of the population lived in households, 0.6% lived in noninstitutionalized group quarters, and 0.06% were institutionalized.

Of the 10,833 households, 37.9% had children under 18 living in them, 52.8% were opposite-sex married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present. The population had 7.1% unmarried opposite-sex partnerships and 0.6% same-sex married couples or partnerships. About 22.9% of the households were made up of individuals, and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.73. Of 7,669 families (70.8% of all households), the average family size was 3.19.

In the city, the age distribution was 26.3% under 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 35.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

The 11,426 housing units had an average density of 588.2 units per square mile (227.1 units/km2), of which 59.2% were owner-occupied and 40.8% were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.9%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.8%. About 55.9% of the population lived in owner-occupied housing units and 43.5% lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[42] of 2000, 24,297 people, 8,556 households, and 6,040 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,401.6-inhabitant-per-square-mile (541.2/km2). The 8,791 housing units had an average density of 507.1 units per square mile (195.8 units/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.70% White, 3.32% African American, 1.30% Native American, 1.89% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 13.68% from other races, and 3.97% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 27.72% of the population.

Of the 8,556 households, 37.4% had children under 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were not families. About 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.73, and the average family size was 3.23. In the city, the age distribution was 29.8% under 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 97.6 males. The median income for a household in the city was $39,217, and for a family was $44,322. Males had a median income of $35,514 versus $24,058 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,974. About 10.7% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.7% of those under 18 and 9.7% of those 65 or over.

2007 ACS census update[edit]

As of the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS) update, the city limits population was estimated at 27,868 people, 7,880 families within the city, and an average citizen age of 33.2 years old. The city limits population density was 1,504.2 people per square mile (580.8 people/km2), there were 11,218 total available housing units with 10,876 of them occupied (total households). The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% White, 2.8% Black or African American, 1.1% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 12.1% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.9% of the population.

There were 10,876 households, out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.96. In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.7% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.2 years. The median income for a household in the city was $51,172, and the median income for a family was $57,114. Males had a median income of $42,357 versus $29,311 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,544. About 11.4% of families and 13.5% of the population as a whole were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 12.2% of those age 65 or over.


Wine and vineyards[edit]

The Paso Robles Wine Country has a number of wineries and vineyards in the area. It is the location of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area. More than 25 different varieties of grapes are grown in the Paso Robles Wine Country, with over 250 bonded wineries.

Halter Ranch Winery vineyard near Paso Robles

In 1993, Paso Robles grape growers, wineries, and wine tasting rooms united to form the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. This nonprofit trade organization is dedicated to the promotion and education of the Paso Robles premium wine country. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance[43] is a cooperative marketing alliance made up of Paso Robles Wine Country wineries, vineyards, and related businesses. They host many of the festivals in the Paso Robles Area, and strengthen brand awareness locally, regionally, and nationally. The wine alliance focuses on trade and consumer outreach, media relations, buyer tours, educational and research programs, and giving back to education and health organizations in the Paso Robles community.

Sustainable building[edit]

Several companies in the area specialize in straw-bale construction, insulating concrete forms, rammed earth, superinsulated buildings, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction. Within a 15-mile (24 km) radius of downtown Paso Robles, the area has 12 straw-bale homes, six insulated concrete homes, and several straw-bale wineries/tasting rooms.[44]

Arts and culture[edit]

Every year in March, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance hosts the Zinfandel Festival, during which Central Coast Zinfandel producers and the public visit the area to enjoy the wine of the area. This event is held by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, a nonprofit cooperative marketing alliance looking to not only educate the community and surrounding communities about Paso Robles wine, but to also give back to the community.[citation needed] The Paso Robles Wine Festival[45] takes place in May and an olive festival takes place yearly also. In October is the Harvest Wine Weekend, celebrating the wine harvest in the region. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance also host a Grand Tasting Tour, which takes the wines of the Paso Robles area to other areas in California, and other states such as Washington, D.C.[46]

On Memorial Day Weekend, Paso Robles hosts the Festival of the Arts in the downtown park. With over 100 artists over three art-filled days, the festival is intended to honor and preserve the natural environment and character of the region through the arts.[47]

In August of each year, the Paso Robles Main Street Association presents the Olive Festival in the downtown park featuring free olive oil and olive product sampling from producers from all over California.[48]


Local government[edit]

Paso Robles is a general law city; it does not have a city charter. It uses a council-manager form of government, directed by a five-member city council. The council consists of a mayor (elected at-large for a four-year term during nonpresidential even-numbered years) and four council members (elected at-large for staggered four-year terms in even-numbered years (2+2)). The mayor has no veto power, but has a vote on the council. Prior to the mid-1990s, the mayor was rotated through the city council members on a yearly basis. Then it became a two-year general election post. In 2012, the voters voted to make the mayor a four-year post. The council appoints the city manager and city attorney, but the city clerk and city treasurer are elected officials.[49]

State and federal representation[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Paso Robles is in the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat John Laird, and the 30th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Dawn Addis.[50]

In the United States House of Representatives, Paso Robles is in California's 19th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jimmy Panetta. Prior to 2022, the city was in California's 24th congressional district, represented by Democrat Salud Carbajal.




Paso Robles is at the major crossroads of U.S. Highway 101 and State Highway 46, about halfway between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Paso Robles is currently served by one freeway and two highways:

  • U.S. Route 101 (US 101) is the most heavily traveled road-transportation arterial for the city of Paso Robles. US 101 runs in a north–south direction and bisects the city (along with the Salinas River), into its western and eastern portions. Traveling northward from the city, US 101 heads to San Jose and San Francisco, and continues on along the coast up through Northern California and Oregon, and ends near Olympia in Washington state. Traveling southward from the city, US 101 heads to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and on to its southern terminus in Los Angeles.
  • State Route 46 (SR 46) is the main east–west artery and connects the city with the San Joaquin Valley. SR 46 runs in an east–west direction except for a portion where it overlaps with US 101 in the city for 3 miles (4.8 km). Traveling westward, SR 46 leaves the city and gradually climbs the Santa Lucia Coastal Range, where it then quickly descends and meets the Pacific Ocean, just south of the coastal village of Cambria at its westernmost terminus at State Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. Traveling eastward, SR 46 leaves the city and after traveling through rolling countryside for about 25 miles (40 km), it climbs up the Temblor Range and San Andreas Fault, then 25 miles (40 km) later, crosses Interstate 5 and continues on, later terminating at State Route 99, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Bakersfield. In the future, SR 46 may be considered for a possible westward extension of Interstate 40.[51]
  • State Route 229 is mainly an intracounty route that is used for traveling between the small rural towns in the eastern part of the county. SR 229 begins in Paso Robles as Creston Road, then 3 miles (4.8 km) east, as it leaves the city heading south-eastward, becomes simply SR 229 as it heads to the small rural town of Creston about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Paso Robles. It then continues southward for 8 miles (13 km), where it ends at State Route 58, about 5 miles (8.0 km) east of the small town of Santa Margarita.
Paso Robles' Amtrak Railway Station is pictured.
The Paso Robles Amtrak Train Station

Rail transportation[edit]

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, serves Paso Robles, operating its Coast Starlight daily in each direction between Seattle, Washington, and Los Angeles. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, which operates between San Diego and Paso Robles, connects by bus transfer from San Luis Obispo Railroad Station.


Paso Robles Municipal Airport, a regional general aviation airport, is about 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of downtown Paso Robles. Paso Robles Municipal does not offer scheduled passenger service. Scheduled passenger market is available at the nearby San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, 25 miles (40 km) to the south in San Luis Obispo. The Paso Robles airport has daily business aviation operations, in addition to serving as a large general aviation base. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has an air attack base at the airport. There, aircraft are reloaded with fire fighting chemicals, which are dropped on brush and forest fires. The local Civil Air Patrol squadron also operates and trains on the airbase as part of the localized squadron 103, performing training craft operations known as O-Flights in a trainer craft that is brought to a desired altitude then dropped, essentially being towed by the aircraft, cadets of the Civil Air Patrol are the most of this demographic, but the cadets also help out congestion in the airport when it is busy during the operations. Also, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) houses a fixed-wing aircraft, used for speed enforcement, and a helicopter, used for search and rescue. The area immediately surrounding the Paso Robles Airport, known as Airport Road Industrial Park, is also home to many aviation maintenance providers and facilities, as well as home to many aviation parts manufacturers and other related businesses. LaGuardia's Italian Deli, operating since November 2012, is the only restaurant on the field, and is located in the terminal building.

The Paso Robles Airport hosts the Northern California Regional Aerobatic Contest, which is held annually in mid-June.[citation needed]


The city has a water purification treatment at its wastewater plant. In 2023, the city council approved a 4.5-mile pipeline (7.2 km) to distribute the purified recycled water to vineyards and parks on the east side of the city so that they will pump less groundwater.[52]


The Paso Robles Public Schools District contains six elementary schools, two middle schools, three high schools, and four other school sites and programs.

Elementary and middle schools[edit]

  • Almond Acres Charter Academy (K–8)
  • Bauer–Speck Elementary (K–5)
  • Georgia Brown Elementary (Dual language immersion campus) (K–5)
  • Kermit King Elementary (K–5)
  • Pat Butler Elementary (K–5)
  • Virginia Peterson Elementary (K–5)
  • Winifred Pifer Elementary (K–5)
  • George Flamson Middle School (6–8)
  • Daniel Lewis Middle School (6–8)
  • Saint Rose of Lima School (Pres.–8)
  • Trinity Lutheran School (Pres.–8)

High schools[edit]

Colleges and adult education[edit]

  • Cuesta College
  • Paso Robles Adult School
  • PR Culinary Arts Academy
  • University of Phoenix Satellite Office


Local newspapers include the Paso Robles Daily News[53] and Paso Robles Press.[54] The San Luis Obispo Tribune, New Times, KSBY TV, and KEYT TV also frequently cover matters in Paso Robles.

Radio stations serving the area include KPRL-AM/1230.[55]

Sports and recreation[edit]

Paso Robles offers its residents and visitors cycling, golfing, tennis and swimming. In 2009 and 2011, Paso Robles was the finish line for Stage 5 of the AMGEN Tour of California. Since 2008, Paso Robles hosts the annual Wine Vine Run, a half marathon and 5k foot race to benefit Paso Robles High School youth sports programs.[56]

Lake Nacimiento is an 18-mile (29 km)-long lake located about 13 miles (21 km) north-west of the city up in the Santa Lucia Range. Although Lake Nacimiento is not actually located within the city of Paso Robles itself, it is however in what is considered the Greater Paso Robles Area. "The Lake", as it is known to locals, shares the 93446 zip code with Paso Robles, due to its proximity to the city. The lake provides ample room for waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet-skiing, and other water-related activities, in addition to fishing and swimming.

Parks and recreation[edit]

Located just off of Highway 46 at Union Road is the 42-acre (170,000 m2) Barney Schwartz Park. The park has baseball, softball and soccer facilities, as well as lake access, picnicking, event pavilions, picnicking and playgrounds. Centennial Park is located in the eastern section of Paso Robles. Besides being the home of all indoor community sports (basketball, volleyball and gymnastics) and many different classes and activities, the 17-acre (69,000 m2) Centennial Park contains a 200,000-gallon swimming pool and wading pool with waterslides, group barbecue areas, grassy picnic and pavilion areas, an amphitheater, walking paths, two outdoor half-court basketball courts, five pickleball courts,[57] four tennis courts, a 1.2-mile-long (1.9 km) paved trail, four lighted tennis courts and two playgrounds.

The land upon which City Park sits was donated by the town's founders, James and Blackburn, for the specific use of a public park. Located in the heart of downtown, the 5-acre (20,000 m2) park provides easy access to the downtown area's amenities. Holiday and festival events are often held at this park, including holidays such as the 4th of July. City Park hosts “Concerts in the Park”, Trading Day, bi-weekly farmers markets, the Wine Festival, the Olive Festival, the Festival of the Arts, and several car shows.

Sherwood Park is located on the upper south-east side of town and is used mostly for youth sports. The Little League field was completely redone in April 2002. In addition to the renovated Little League Field, Sherwood Park has one basketball court, horseshoe pits, a sand volleyball court, barbecue areas, three soccer fields, a softball field, and tennis courts. The park also features a playground area with a medieval theme called Sherwood Forest.

Chumash Arena within the Paso Robles Event Center complex can seat more than 14,000 fans during popular summer concerts at the annual California Mid-State Fair.
Chumash Arena within the Paso Robles Event Center complex can seat more than 14,000 fans during popular summer concerts at the annual California Mid-State Fair.


  • Paso Robles Event Center, home to the California Mid-State Fair
  • Vina Robles Amphitheatre, a 3,000-seat outdoor theatre, opened in 2013.[58]
  • River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, outdoor venue
  • Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, indoor venue

Notable people[edit]



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External links[edit]