Atascadero is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, about equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco on U.S. Route 101. Atascadero is part of the San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles metropolitan statistical area, which encompasses the extents of the county. Atascadero is farther inland than most other cities in the county, and as a result, usually experiences warmer, drier summers, and cooler winters than other nearby cities such as San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The main freeway through town is the US 101. The nearby State Routes 41 and 46 provide access to the Pacific Coast and the California Central Valley.
Founded by E.G. Lewis in 1913, the city grew to 28,310 people as of 2010. Atascadero State Hospital is located in the city.
The Spanish word atascadero loosely means "bog" or "mire", from the verb atascar, which means "to become stuck or hindered". On the other hand, in the Obispeño language, the site was named tsɨskikiye, which translates into a "place of much water".
The area was originally home to the Chumash and Salinan Indians. In the half century between 1769 and 1823, the Spanish Franciscans established 21 missions along the California coast, including the nearby Mission San Miguel Arcángel, and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.