Make a visit to San Luis Obispo on California’s Central Coast, and you’ll likely find yourself scanning Zillow listings for a possible home, or second home. (Trust us, we’ve done it.) But even if you can’t move to this vibrant college town, home to Cal Poly, you can host a meeting here. Our pick: the recently opened Kinney SLO, a 100- room property that describes itself as a “social experience hotel.” That means an open lobby featuring complimentary vintage games like Skee-ball; communal dining tables; self-serve wine and beer on tap at Leroy’s, the hotel’s in-house restaurant that offers elevated pub fare; an outdoor quad with fire pits, string lights, bean bag chairs and more games; a heated outdoor pool, and free parking and Wi-Fi. The intimate meeting space can host groups of up to 100, and there are plenty of other options downtown, which is just a short walk away (or guests can take one of the house bikes), including Luna Red, a lively restaurant with globally inspired fare (including a paella menu) and a sprawling patio that sits adjust to the Mission de Tolosa and San Luis Creek; Old SLO BBQ, and local favorite Big Sky Café. Wineries, including Chamisal Vineyards, the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley, and Biddle Ranch, featuring small batch wines, are within 10 miles. If your attendees are millennials, be sure to make a stop at Bubblegum Alley, which is decades old but was made for the Instagram era.

California is one of the most abundant agricultural regions in the world, but a startling number of residents aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, one in eight Californians struggles with hunger. The situation is especially startling for children; one in five is food insecure.

Hunger is not a supply problem, it’s a logistics challenge. And the meetings and events industry is full of logistics-minded people who are in a position to chip away at it.

 

There’s gold—and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed meeting center—in them thar hills.

 

Overlooking the blue waters of San Diego Bay, this new 400-room property is sophisticated, luxurious and well-suited to both business and pleasure.