San Mateo

San Mateo from above

San Mateo is located on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Get in

By air, San Mateo is near San Francisco International Airport (SFO). San Francisco's other airports, Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC), are less convenient.

By rail, the CalTrain calls at thre stations in San Mateo: San Mateo [downtown], Hayward Park, and Hillsdale); the BART station Millbrae is also in the region.

By car, US-101 and I-280 run through the city. It is also connected to the East Bay via the San Mateo-Hayward Bay Bridge.

Get around

The most convenient way is by car. If you're using public transit, check out the trip planner on

Cycling and walking are also popular ways of getting around. There are two downtown shopping areas: the primary downtown is between 2nd and 5th streets, bordered by El Camino Real and the train tracks. The big, new San Mateo Public Library is also downtown. The "other" downtown is south about 15 blocks, at 25th ave on the West side of El Camino Real. Continuing south on El Camino Real is the Hillsdale Mall.


Central Park is located off of El Camino Real between 5th Ave and 9th Ave. Inside the park is a beautiful Japanese Tea Garden. There is also a miniature railway for children that runs daily in summer and at weekends all year.

North of the park, downtown San Mateo runs along 3rd Avenue and 4th Avenue (spilling somewhat onto 2nd Avenue) between El Camino Real and the Caltrain train tracks; it's one of the more successful urban downtowns left on the Peninsula. The streets with the most restaurants and other establishments are B Street, 3rd Avenue, 4th Avenue and 2nd Avenue.

Until recently, San Mateo was home to the only horse racing track on the San Francisco Peninsula, Bay Meadows. It's being redeveloped, although the structure is (as of mid-2010) still visible from the outside. The grounds are also home to the San Mateo County Events Center, where the annual county fair is held and various other events (including the recent Bay Area stops of Maker Faire. Take the Delaware Street exit off of Highway 92 and head south; the Event Center parking lot is directly off Delaware. What part of Bay Meadows remains visible are best viewed on foot from this area.

For fans of the local mid-century modern architecture, San Mateo is home to two Eichler neighborhoods - 19th Avenue park is a very early tract group of Eichlers, and The Highlands is a later neighborhood of custom Eichlers.

Coyote Point is a park located in the North-East corner of San Mateo off of Highway 101 at Peninsula Avenue. A small boat harbor is there as well as a natural history museum. There is also a public shooting range, open weekday evenings.

Poplar Creek golf course, a municipal course, is located there as well. A hiking trail allows easy access to San Francisco Bay.

Crystal Springs Reservoir is located in the watershed area off of Highway 280 on the western edge of San Mateo. Crystal Springs dam is located just south of Crystal Springs off of Skyline Boulevard.


Along with shopping and dining, there is a medium-size movie theater (12 screens, none of them huge) just off B-street between 3rd and 2nd Avenues.









Many of the restaurants in downtown have full bars - good for a pre- or post-movie drink, but many close relatively early and there is no urban nightlife scene to speak of. There are a few local bars (The Swinging Door on 25th, another on Pacific a few blocks south of Hillsdale) and a small nightclub at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in neighboring Foster City.


Go next

Routes through San Mateo

San Francisco Burlingame  N  S  Belmont San Jose
Ends at Half Moon Bay  W  E  Foster City Hayward

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, September 14, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.