San Mateo, California

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San Mateo
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San Mateo, California - Third Avenue.jpg
Draper University and Hero City, San Mateo (42421469721) (cropped).jpg
Downtown San Mateo (3297603005) (cropped).jpg
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Top: aerial view of San Mateo; middle: downtown (left) and Draper University (right); bottom: downtown (left) and Bay Meadows (right).
Seal of San Mateo, California.png
San Mateo County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas San Mateo Highlighted.svg
Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°33′15″N122°18′47″W / 37.55417°N 122.31306°W / 37.55417; -122.31306
Country United States
State California
County San Mateo
Incorporated September 4, 1894 [1]
Named for St. Matthew
   Mayor Lisa Diaz Nash [2]
   City manager Alex Khojikian [3]
  Total15.85 sq mi (41.04 km2)
  Land12.13 sq mi (31.42 km2)
  Water3.71 sq mi (9.62 km2)  23.63%
46 ft (14 m)
 (2020) [6]
  Rank 68th in California
298th in the United States
  Density8,711/sq mi (3,363/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes [7]
94401–94404, 94497
Area code 650
FIPS code 06-68252
GNIS feature IDs 1659584, 2411800

San Mateo ( Spanish for ' Saint Matthew ') ( /ˌsænməˈt/ SAN mə-TAY-oh) is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, on the San Francisco Peninsula. About 20 miles (32 km) south of San Francisco, the city borders Burlingame to the north, Hillsborough to the west, San Francisco Bay and Foster City to the east and Belmont to the south. The population was 105,661 at the 2020 census. [6]


San Mateo has a Mediterranean climate and is known for its rich history at the center of the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the biggest economic drivers for the city include technology, health care and education. [8]


The San Mateo hospice was founded by the Spanish in 1793 as an outpost of Mission San Francisco de Asis in Yerba Buena. Mission San Mateo Old Granary.jpg
The San Mateo hospice was founded by the Spanish in 1793 as an outpost of Mission San Francisco de Asís in Yerba Buena.

The Ramaytush people lived in the land, prior to its becoming the city of San Mateo. [9]

Spanish era

In 1789, the Spanish missionaries had named a Native American village along Laurel Creek as Los Laureles or the Laurels (Mission Dolores, 1789). At the time of Mexican Independence, 30 native Californians were at San Mateo, most likely from the Salson tribelet. [10]

Mexican era

Much of the area was granted to Californio ranchero Cayetano Arenas in 1846 as Rancho San Mateo. Diseno of Rancho San Mateo.jpg
Much of the area was granted to Californio ranchero Cayetano Arenas in 1846 as Rancho San Mateo.

Captain Frederick William Beechey in 1827 traveling with the hills on their right, known in that part as the Sierra del Sur, began to approach the road, which passing over a small eminence, opened out upon "a wide country of meadow land, with clusters of fine oak free from underwood... It strongly resembled a nobleman's park: herds of cattle and horses were grazing upon the rich pasture, and numerous fallow‑deer, startled at the approach of strangers, bounded off to seek protection among the hills... This spot is named San Matheo, and belongs to the mission of San Francisco." [10]

The city of San Mateo was documented by Spanish colonists as part of the Rancho de las Pulgas (literally "Ranch of the Fleas") and the Rancho San Mateo, the earliest history is held in the archives of Mission Dolores.

Post-Conquest era

In the 1850s, following the American Conquest of California, many San Franciscans began building summer homes in the mid-Peninsula, because of the milder climate. [11] While most of this early settlement occurred in adjacent Hillsborough and Burlingame, a number of historically important mansions and buildings were constructed in San Mateo.[ citation needed ]

A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of Italy (which later became the Bank of America), lived here most of his life. His mansion, Seven Oaks, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (No. 99001181). [12] Located at 20 El Cerrito Avenue, it has been deteriorating as it has not been preserved or occupied for years. [13]

Saint Matthew's Episcopal Day School, founded in 1865. St. Matthew's Military School, located in what is today Hillsborough, was at the end of Barroilhet Avenue, on approximately 80 acres..jpg
Saint Matthew's Episcopal Day School, founded in 1865.

In 1858, Sun Water Station, a stage station of the Butterfield Overland Mail route, was established in San Mateo. It was located 9 miles (14 km) south of Clarks Station in what is now San Bruno and 9 miles north of the next station at Redwood City. [14]

The Howard Estate was built in 1859 on the hill accessed by Crystal Springs Road. The Parrott Estate was erected in 1860 in the same area, giving rise to two conflicting names for the hill, Howard Hill and Parrot Hill. After use of the automobile changed traffic patterns, neither historic name was commonly applied to that hill. The Borel Estate was developed near Borel Creek in 1874. It has been redeveloped since the late 20th century for use as modern offices and shops. The property is managed and owned by Borel Place Associates and the Borel Estate Company.[ citation needed ]

First Church of Christ, Scientist, established in 1897. USA-San Mateo-First Church of Christ, Scientist-1.jpg
First Church of Christ, Scientist, established in 1897.

Hayward Park, the 1880 American Queen Anne-style residence of Alvinza Hayward (often said to be "California's first millionaire" from his silver and banking fortunes), was built on an 800-acre (3.2 km2) estate in San Mateo which included a deer park and racetrack, roughly bounded by present-day El Camino Real (on the west), 9th Avenue (on the north), B Street (on the east) and 16th Avenue (on the south). [15] A smaller portion of the property and the mansion, was converted into The Peninsula Hotel in 1908, following Hayward's death in 1904. The hotel burned down in a spectacular fire on 25 June 1920. [16]

20th century

San Mateo Church, c. 1906. 08181-San Mateo-1906-St. Matthews Church-Bruck & Sohn Kunstverlag (cropped).jpg
San Mateo Church, c. 1906.

In 1893, Pedro Evencio had been called the last of the Ramaytush Native American of San Mateo.[ citation needed ] Although Joseph (José) Evencio (the younger) was reported to be his descendant living at Coyote Point until World War II, "Indian Joe", (Joe Mestes) was the American Indian who was actually hired by the Howard family to oversee their land holding at Coyote Point. He is reported to have had a tribal affiliation in Montana. His final whereabouts were reported to be a care facility in Oakland after he had been removed from Coyote Point when a Merchant Marine Academy was established there. [17] [18]

In the early 20th century, Japanese immigrants came to San Mateo to work in the salt ponds and flower industry. Although Japanese-Americans only account for 2.2% of the population today, they continue to be a major cultural influence and a draw for the rest of the region. [19] The Eugene J. De Sabla Japanese Teahouse and Garden was established in 1894 at 70 De Sabla Road, designed by Makoto Hagiwara, designer of the Japanese garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. He arranged for Japanese artisans to be brought to the United States primarily for its teahouse construction.

Interurban Railroad Car riding in downtown San Mateo, c. 1909 PostcardSanMateoBStreetCirca1909.jpg
Interurban Railroad Car riding in downtown San Mateo, c. 1909

The parcel was purchased in 1988 by San Francisco businessman Achille Paladini and wife Joan, who have restored it. The garden features hundreds of varieties of plants and several rare trees. A large koi pond surrounds an island. The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. [20]

In December 1967, Sgt. Joe Artavia, then serving in Vietnam with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division wrote to his sister, Linda Giese, who was a resident of San Carlos working in San Mateo, [21] asking if San Mateo or San Francisco could adopt the company, saying that it would bring "the morale of the guys up as high as the clouds". [22] San Mateo passed a resolution on March 4, 1968, officially adopting Alpha Company and letters and gifts began arriving from the citizens of San Mateo. [21] [23] Joe would be killed in action on March 24, 1968, less than three weeks after the resolution. [24] Linda would travel to Vietnam to meet with the men of Alpha Company for Christmas in 1968 and deliver personalized medallions from the City of San Mateo. [21] [25] In 1972, San Mateo requested and received permission to have Alpha Company visit the city when they left Vietnam, later holding a parade in January 1972, believed to be the only parade honoring the military during the Vietnam War. [21] In 1988, Joseph Brazan wrote a screenplay entitled A Dove Among Eagles chronicling the adoption of Alpha Company by San Mateo and the real-life romance between Linda and Artavia's commander, Lt. Stephen Patterson. [26] The city expanded its support to the entire 1st Battalion in 1991, when they were deployed to Kuwait under Operation Desert Storm. [21]

San Mateo Masonic Lodge, b. 1910 USA-San Mateo-Masonic Lodge-1.jpg
San Mateo Masonic Lodge, b. 1910

Bay Meadows horse-racing track was torn down in 2008.

21st century

In the November 2022 election, Councilmember Diane Papan was elected to the California State Assembly, creating a vacancy on the 5-person city council. At the December 5, 2022 council reorganization meeting, two of the remaining four councilmembers chose not to follow the standard precedent of selecting a new mayor, which normally rotates to the councilmember who has been in office the longest. With the vote split at 2-2, the city went a week without a mayor. After a second meeting that also ended without a decision, Amourence Lee was selected as the mayor at the third meeting on December 12. [27] [2]


Aerial view of Coyote Point Park, directed northeast towards San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge. Zeppelin-ride-020100925-130 (5028699547).jpg
Aerial view of Coyote Point Park, directed northeast towards San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge.

San Mateo is located at 37°33′15″N122°18′47″W / 37.55417°N 122.31306°W / 37.55417; -122.31306 (37.554286, −122.313044). [28] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41 km2), of which 12.1 square miles (31 km2) are land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), comprising 23.63%, are covered by water.

The best-known natural area is Coyote Point Park, a rock outcropped peninsula that juts out into the San Francisco Bay. The early Spanish navigators named it la punta de San Mateo. [29] Crews of American cargo ships carrying grain in the bay renamed it Big Coyote. [30] Sailors had a penchant for naming promontories at the edge of San Francisco Bay after the coyote; across the bay in Fremont are the Coyote Hills, part of Coyote Hills Regional Park. By the 1890s, the shore area was developed as a popular beach called San Mateo Beach. In 1842, the Spanish had named it playa de San Mateo. Today, Coyote Point is home to CuriOdyssey, formerly known as the Coyote Point Museum, a major natural history museum and wildlife center in the state. The animal care facility for the Peninsula Humane Society is also situated at Coyote Point, where the adoption facility is located in Burlingame, CA.

Parkside Aquatic Park on Marina Lagoon. Parkside Aquatic Park, San Mateo - 51792634076.jpg
Parkside Aquatic Park on Marina Lagoon.

The variety of natural habitats includes mixed oak woodland, riparian zones, and bayland marshes. One endangered species, the California clapper rail, was sighted feeding on mudflats by the Third Avenue bridge in San Mateo. [31] The marsh areas are also likely habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, which inhabits the middle and high zones of salt and brackish marshes, as well as for the endangered marsh plant, Point Reyes bird's beak.

Sugarloaf Mountain, whose name has been documented in 1870, is a prominent landform between the forks of Laurel Creek. [32] In the late 20th century, this mixed oak woodland and chaparral habitat was a site of controversy related to proposals to develop a portion of the mountain for residential use. It has been preserved for use as park and open space area, and is home to the endangered mission blue butterfly.

Sawyer Camp Trail, located on the western edge of San Mateo along the Crystal Springs Reservoir, is another popular destination for joggers, pedestrians, and bikers. This roughly 6-mile (9.7 km) trail begins in San Mateo and stretches north toward Hillsborough and San Bruno, parallel to the 280 freeway.


"Main Street" alley in downtown. Downtown San Mateo (263918695) (cropped).jpg
"Main Street" alley in downtown.

In general, San Mateo's downtown core and the neighborhoods east of El Camino Real are more populous and have a greater density than the neighborhoods to the west of El Camino Real, where there is a lower population density.


San Mateo has one of the larger, better-developed suburban downtowns in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is located roughly between Tilton Ave. to the northwest, 9th Ave. to the southeast, Delaware St. to the northeast and El Camino Real to the southwest. The downtown core contains over 800 shops and restaurants, many located in historic buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The non-profit Downtown San Mateo Association (DSMA) works on behalf of downtown businesses to promote them and improve the downtown area. [33]

The historic National Bank of San Mateo, located in downtown. National Bank of San Mateo, 164 S. B St., San Mateo, CA 9-5-2011 2-54-48 PM.JPG
The historic National Bank of San Mateo, located in downtown.

Central Park is considered to be San Mateo's signature park with a baseball field, tennis courts, sculptures, picnic areas, playground, Japanese tea garden, recreation center, miniature train, rose garden and the San Mateo Arboretum. The 16.3-acre (6.6 ha) property was purchased by the city in 1922. [34] A historically influential area for the Japanese-American community, the downtown is home to many Japanese restaurants and shops. A large, 12-screen movie theater complex is located off the Main Street alley between 2nd and 3rd Ave. The San Mateo Caltrain station is situated downtown. The area also contains many large and small multi-story office buildings, apartments, government buildings and Mills Medical Center.

Segments of South B Street between 1st and 3rd Ave. and the southbound lane between Baldwin and 1st Ave. were temporarily closed to vehicular traffic in 2020 to allow for expanded outdoor dining. [35] The San Mateo City Council extended the temporary closure through the end of 2021 and voted in September 2021 to create a permanent pedestrian mall between 1st and 3rd Ave. [36] The plan requires a 12-foot (3.7 m) fire lane in the center of the street for public safety vehicles and necessary garbage or delivery services. The city aims to conduct the project in two phases: First, by installing retractable bollards and updating traffic signals and signage, then by raising the level of the street to be flush with sidewalk and reimagining its landscaping.

Bay Meadows
Landing Green in Bay Meadows. Landing Green Park.jpg
Landing Green in Bay Meadows.

The Bay Meadows neighborhood is an 83-acre (34 ha) mixed-use transit-oriented development on the site of the former Bay Meadows Racetrack, a horse racing venue that closed in 2008. [37] The area includes hundreds of new residential units, office space, retail space and parks and a town square. [38] Ground broke in 2012 and construction on various projects continues as of 2021. [39]


Hillsdale Shopping Center is a mall in San Mateo County, featuring over 120 stores in the mall itself and surrounded by many big box stores. Tenants include anchors Nordstrom, Ethan Allen and Macy's. The construction of a new food court and the outdoor North Block Plaza expanded the mall in 2019. [40] New entertainment additions include luxury movie theater Cinépolis and a Pinstripes bowling alley off El Camino Real. The Hillsdale Caltrain station is located across El Camino.


The pavilion at Ryder Park. 8706 Sweep (27495017135).jpg
The pavilion at Ryder Park.

San Mateo has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, damp winters. The city is generally shielded from the Pacific Ocean by the Montara Mountain block of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but two gaps in the mountains (the San Bruno Gap, between Montara Mountain and San Bruno Mountain; and the Crystal Springs Gap, near where State Route 92 meets State Route 35, west of the College of San Mateo) can channel ocean weather, resulting in gusty afternoon winds that bring fog toward San Mateo in the late afternoon through early morning in the summer. [41] [42]

Coyote Point Marina. Coyote Point Marina and Golf-Course, San Mateo County.jpg
Coyote Point Marina.

The National Weather Service maintained a cooperative weather station in San Mateo until 1978; records for the period show that January, the coolest month, had an average maximum of 57.8 °F (14.3 °C) and an average minimum of 41.7 °F (5.4 °C), and September, the warmest month, had an average maximum of 78.0 °F (25.6 °C) and an average minimum of 54.2 °F (12.3 °C). The record maximum temperature was 109 °F (43 °C) on June 14, 1961, and the record minimum temperature was 25 °F (−4 °C) on January 5, 1949, and December 9, 1972. Annual precipitation averaged 18.77 inches (477 mm) of rainfall, falling on an average of 60 days each year. The wettest year was 29.77 inches (756 mm) in 1973 and the driest year was 11.16 inches (283 mm) of rainfall in 1953. The most precipitation in one month was 12.59 inches (320 mm) of rainfall in December 1955 and the most precipitation in 24 hours was 3.72 inches (94 mm) of rainfall on December 23, 1955. [43] Based on comparison with the existing NWS office at San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo is generally a few degrees warmer in summer than the airport and a few degrees cooler in winter, while annual precipitation is almost the same at the airport and in San Mateo. [44] In recent years, daily temperature reports for San Mateo from local weather observers have been published in the San Mateo Times and the San Francisco Chronicle .

Climate data for San Mateo
Record high °F (°C)76
Mean daily maximum °F (°C)55
Mean daily minimum °F (°C)40
Record low °F (°C)16
Average rainfall inches (mm)4.02
Source: [45]


Historical population
1880 932
1900 1,832
1910 4,384139.3%
1920 5,97936.4%
1930 13,444124.9%
1940 19,40344.3%
1950 41,782115.3%
1960 69,87067.2%
1970 78,99113.1%
1980 77,640−1.7%
1990 85,48610.1%
2000 92,4828.2%
2010 97,2075.1%
2020 105,6618.7%
U.S. Decennial Census [46]
San Mateo Episcopal Church. USA-San Mateo-Episcopal Church of Saint Matthew-2 (cropped).jpg
San Mateo Episcopal Church.

The 2010 United States Census [47] reported that San Mateo had a population of 97,207. The population density was 8,013.8 inhabitants per square mile (3,094.1/km2). The racial makeup of San Mateo was 56,214 (46.8%) White, 2,296 (2.4%) African American, 505 (0.5%) Native American, 18,384 (18.9%) Asian (7.9% Chinese, 4.6% Filipino, 2.2% Japanese, 1.8% Indian, 0.8% Korean, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Thai), 1,998 (2.1%) Pacific Islander (1.2% Tongan, 0.3% Fijian, 0.2% Samoan, 0.1% Hawaiian), 12,264 (12.6%) from other races, and 5,546 (5.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 25,815 persons (26.6%); 14.4% of San Mateo is Mexican, 2.8% Guatemalan, 2.6% Salvadoran, 1.2% Peruvian, 0.9% Nicaraguan, 0.5% Puerto Rican, 0.3% Colombian, 0.3% Chilean, 0.2% Honduran, and 0.2% Cuban.

The Census reported that 95,891 people (98.6% of the population) lived in households, 975 (1.0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 341 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

There were 38,233 households, out of which 11,464 (30.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,964 (47.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,824 (10.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,656 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,098 (5.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 343 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 11,751 households (30.7%) were made up of individuals, and 4,391 (11.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51. There were 23,444 families (61.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

Japanese Tea Garden. Japanese Tea Garden, San Mateo, CA - IMG 9112.JPG
Japanese Tea Garden.

The population was spread out, with 20,254 people (20.8%) under the age of 18, 6,915 people (7.1%) aged 18 to 24, 30,772 people (31.7%) aged 25 to 44, 25,286 people (26.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 13,980 people (14.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

There were 40,014 housing units at an average density of 3,298.8 per square mile (1,273.7/km2), of which 19,969 (52.2%) were owner-occupied, and 18,264 (47.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.7%. Of the population, 50,951 people (52.4%) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 44,940 people (46.2%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year estimate, [48] the median income for a household in the city was $86,772, and the median income for a family was $107,023. Males had a median income of $65,541 versus $60,491 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,248. About 3.6% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


The historic Spanish Colonial Revival-style San Mateo post office. US Post Main Office, 210 S. Ellsworth Ave., San Mateo, CA 7-31-2011 8-12-45 PM (cropped).JPG
The historic Spanish Colonial Revival-style San Mateo post office.

San Mateo is structured as a council–manager form of government. The city council has five members elected every two years to staggered four-year terms. [49] In 2022, the city began the process of switching from at-large elections to district elections. [50]

In the California State Legislature, San Mateo is in the 13th Senate District , represented by Democrat Josh Becker, and in the 21st Assembly District , represented by Democrat Diane Papan. [51]

In the United States House of Representatives, San Mateo is in California's 15th congressional district , represented by Democrat Kevin Mullin. [52]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, San Mateo has 54,946 registered voters. Of those, 27,502 (50.1%) are registered Democrats, 8,504 (15.5%) are registered Republicans, and 16,772 (30.5%) have declined to state a political party. [53]


Sony Interactive Entertainment headquarters. See-Through - Flickr - Peter Kaminski.jpg
Sony Interactive Entertainment headquarters.
Hero City at Draper University. Draper University and Hero City, San Mateo (28548332088).jpg
Hero City at Draper University.

The economy of San Mateo is considered very diverse with jobs in the technology, health care, financial services, government, and retail trade fields being among the most numerous. Current and former companies based in San Mateo include Sony Interactive Entertainment, NetSuite, Franklin Templeton Investments, Fisher Investments, Solstice, Guidewire Software, Coupa, Snowflake Inc., Roblox Corporation, Marketo, SurveyMonkey, Devsisters USA, and GoPro.

Since 1990, San Mateo has had a voter-approved ordinance limiting the height of new development to 55 feet (17 m). The San Mateo housing market is one of the most expensive in the country. In February 2018, the median San Mateo home was valued at $1,463,900, [54] and the median rent was ranked ninth in the entire nation, at $2,242 per month. [55]

In the mid-2000s, the second stories of downtown San Mateo buildings became a hub for startup companies, including Roblox, GoPro and YouTube. [56]

According to the city's 2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: [8]

#Employer# of Employees
1 County of San Mateo Medical Center1,317
2 Sony Interactive Entertainment 1,248
3 San Mateo Union High School District 1,003
4 San Mateo-Foster City Unified 999
5 San Mateo Community College District 579
6 Franklin Templeton Investments 541
7San Mateo County Behavioral Health467
8City of San Mateo456
9 Rakuten 423
10 Mills-Peninsula Health Services 351


San Mateo High School Smhs-sm-campus1.jpg
San Mateo High School

Residents are zoned for schools in the San Mateo Foster City School District and San Mateo Union High School District. Elementary schools comprise Preschool, K-5, Middle and Magnet schools. There are several private schools, including: PreK-8 school: Saint Matthew's Episcopal Day School and the Carey school. There are three public high schools: San Mateo, Aragon, and Hillsdale. There are also two main private high schools: one all-male Catholic high school, Junípero Serra; and the Nueva Upper School.

The Nueva School. Nueva School.jpg
The Nueva School.

The San Mateo Union High School District also hosts an adult school behind San Mateo High School. [57] The San Mateo Performing Arts Center, one of the largest local theaters, is located on the San Mateo High School campus.

The city is home to the College of San Mateo, a community college. The campus of over 10,000 students is located on 153 acres (0.62 km2) in the western foothills of the city which offer a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay. [58] Other universities in the area include Notre Dame de Namur University, a private Catholic university of 2,000 students in neighboring Belmont [59] and Stanford University located about 12 miles (19 km) to the south.

Public libraries

Mosaic by Louis Macouillard and Alfonso Pardinas, built 1963. BofA Mosaic in San Mateo (4377613626) (cropped).jpg
Mosaic by Louis Macouillard and Alfonso Pardiñas, built 1963.

The City of San Mateo operates three libraries within the city. The Main Library, the Hillsdale Library, and the Marina Library are all part of the Peninsula Library System. [60] The Main Library located near Central Park in downtown opened in 2006 after residents passed a $30 million bond measure. Upon opening, the three-story, 93,000-square-foot (8,600 m2) building earned numerous design awards and was LEED-certified NC Gold. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide abundant natural light. The technologically advanced building is modeled after a retail bookstore. [61]

Parks and recreation

Eugene J. de Sabla, Jr., Teahouse and Tea Garden. USA-San Mateo-Eugene J. Sabla, Jr.-Teahouse and Tea Garden-2.jpg
Eugene J. de Sabla, Jr., Teahouse and Tea Garden.

San Mateo maintains more than 15 parks throughout the city. Central Park is considered to be the main one and hosts many community park functions that serve downtown residents. It has a Japanese tea garden to commemorate sister city Toyonaka, Japan. [62] The park also features a rose garden, a mini train and the San Mateo Arboretum. [63]

Beresford Park is another large park that offers bocce ball and a skate plaza. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Joinville Park offer swimming pools, while Ryder Park boasts a water play structure. Parkside Aquatic Park, located on Seal Slough, has beach swimming and volleyball. Many of these parks have picnic areas with grills, children's play areas, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds. [64]

San Mateo's Central Park. Central Park San Mateo CA.jpg
San Mateo's Central Park.

Coyote Point Park, near the border with Burlingame and on the San Francisco Bay, is a 670-acre (2.7 km2) regional county park known for its ideal location for windsurfing and sailing. It is also home to CuriOdyssey: a hands-on science museum and small native animal zoo. [65]

Public art is located all around the city. One of the more memorable works is the large, brightly colored 1963 mosaic mural designed by Louis Macouillard and constructed by Alfonso Pardiñas. [66] [67] The mural is located in front of a mid-century-modern-style Bank of America branch at 300 S. El Camino Real and tells the story of A. P. Giannini, who founded the bank as the Bank of Italy. [66] [67]


San Mateo station, served by Caltrain and SamTrans. San Mateo Station 3111 03 (cropped).JPG
San Mateo station, served by Caltrain and SamTrans.


San Mateo is considered to be near the center of the San Francisco Bay Area about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, the region's two largest cities. It is served by three major freeways, including U.S. Route 101, Interstate 280, and State Route 92. State Route 92 east of San Mateo traverses the San Francisco Bay as the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge to the city of Hayward on its eastern shore.


San Mateo has a network of bikeways connecting major destinations in the city. In 2011, the city approved a Bicycle Master Plan to establish bicycling goals, identify gaps in the existing bikeway system, and create a prioritized list of infrastructure improvement projects. [68]

Public transportation

SamTrans provides local bus service within the city of San Mateo as well as the entire county of San Mateo. [69] AC Transit provides transbay bus service via the San Mateo Bridge to Alameda County. [70] Caltrain provides commuter rail service on the San Francisco Peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. Caltrain operates three stations within the city of San Mateo with stations at Hillsdale (serving the mall and surrounding area), Hayward Park (near Highway 92), and San Mateo (in downtown San Mateo). There are 41 northbound and 41 southbound trains with a stop in the city each weekday and 18 trains in both directions on weekends. Extra southbound trains are run to accommodate passengers after San Francisco Giants games. [71] See public transportation in San Mateo County for more details.


Sister cities

San Mateo has two sister cities, as designated by the Sister Cities International, Inc.: [72]

Notable people

Actors, entertainers

Artists, designers





Writers, poets, journalists


See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Francisco Peninsula</span> Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Peninsula is a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area that separates San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. On its northern tip is the City and County of San Francisco. Its southern base is Mountain View, in Santa Clara County, south of Palo Alto and north of Sunnyvale and Los Altos. Most of the Peninsula is occupied by San Mateo County, between San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, and including the cities and towns of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, El Granada, Foster City, Hillsborough, Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Loma Mar, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palo Alto, California</span> City in California, United States

Palo Alto is a charter city in the northwestern corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area, named after a coastal redwood tree known as El Palo Alto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Mateo County, California</span> County in California, United States

San Mateo County, officially the County of San Mateo, is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 764,442. Redwood City is the county seat, and the third most populated city following Daly City and San Mateo. San Mateo County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA MSA, Silicon Valley, and is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, the nine counties bordering San Francisco Bay. It covers most of the San Francisco Peninsula. San Francisco International Airport is located in the northeastern area of the county and is approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of the city and county limits of San Francisco, even though the airport itself is assigned a San Francisco postal address. The county's built-up areas are mostly suburban, and are home to many corporate campuses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Menlo Park, California</span> City in California, United States

Menlo Park is a city at the eastern edge of San Mateo County within the San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States. It is bordered by San Francisco Bay on the north and east; East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Stanford to the south; and Atherton, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City to the west. It had 33,780 residents at the 2020 United States census. It is home to the corporate headquarters of Meta, and is where Google, Roblox Corporation and Round Table Pizza were founded. The train station holds the record as the oldest continually operating train station in California. It is one of the most educated cities in California and the United States; nearly 70% of residents over 25 have earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burlingame, California</span> City in California, United States

Burlingame is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula and has a significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay. The city is named after diplomat Anson Burlingame and is known for its numerous eucalyptus groves, walkable downtown area, and public school system. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 31,386.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Millbrae, California</span> City in California, United States

Millbrae is a city located in northern San Mateo County, California, United States. To the northeast is San Francisco International Airport; San Bruno is to the northwest, and Burlingame is to the southeast. It is bordered by San Andreas Lake to the southwest. The population was 23,216 at the 2020 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Redwood City, California</span> City in the United States

Redwood City is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California's Bay Area, approximately 27 miles (43 km) south of San Francisco, and 24 miles (39 km) northwest of San Jose. Redwood City's history spans its earliest inhabitation by the Ohlone people to being a port for lumber and other goods. The county seat of San Mateo County in the heart of Silicon Valley, Redwood City is home to several global technology companies including Oracle, Electronic Arts, Evernote, Box, and Informatica. The city's population was 84,292 according to the 2020 census. The Port of Redwood City is the only deepwater port on San Francisco Bay south of San Francisco.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Bruno, California</span> City in California, United States

San Bruno is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, incorporated in 1914. The population was 43,908 at the 2020 United States Census. The city is between South San Francisco and Millbrae, adjacent to San Francisco International Airport and Golden Gate National Cemetery; it is approximately 12 miles (19 km) south of Downtown San Francisco.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South San Francisco, California</span> City in California, United States

South San Francisco is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, located on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is colloquially known as "South City". The population was 66,105 at the 2020 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caltrain</span> Commuter rail line in San Francisco Peninsula, California

Caltrain is a California commuter rail line serving the San Francisco Peninsula and Santa Clara Valley. The southern terminus is in San Jose at Tamien station with weekday rush hour service running as far as Gilroy. The northern terminus of the line is in San Francisco at 4th and King Street. Caltrain has 28 regular stops, one limited-service weekday-only stop, one weekend-only stop (Broadway), and one football-only stop (Stanford). While average weekday ridership in 2019 exceeded 63,000, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been significant: in August 2022, Caltrain had an average weekday ridership of 18,600 passengers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bayshore Freeway</span> Freeway in California

The Bayshore Freeway is a part of U.S. Route 101 in the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California. It runs along the west shore of the San Francisco Bay, connecting San Jose with San Francisco. Within the city of San Francisco, the freeway is also known as James Lick Freeway, named after the California philanthropist. The road was originally built as a surface road, the Bayshore Highway, and later upgraded to freeway standards. Before 1964, it was mostly marked as U.S. Route 101 Bypass, with US 101 using the present State Route 82.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California State Route 82</span> Highway in California

State Route 82 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California that runs from Interstate 880 (I-880) in San Jose to I-280 in San Francisco following the San Francisco Peninsula. It is the spinal arterial road of the peninsula and runs parallel to the nearby Caltrain line along much of the route. For much of its length, the highway is named El Camino Real and formed part of the historic El Camino Real mission trail. It passes through and near the historic downtowns of many Peninsula cities, including Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale, and through some of the most walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods in the region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">SamTrans</span> Public transit operator in San Mateo County, California

SamTrans is a public transport agency in and around San Mateo, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It provides bus service throughout San Mateo County and into portions of San Francisco and Palo Alto. SamTrans also operates commuter shuttles to BART stations and community shuttles. Service is largely concentrated on the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and, in the central county, I-280, leaving coast-side service south of Pacifica spotty and intermittent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coyote Point Recreation Area</span> Park in San Mateo County, California, US

Coyote Point Recreation Area is a 670-acre (270 ha) park operated by San Mateo County, California in the United States. Located on San Francisco Bay, it is south of San Francisco International Airport on the border of Burlingame and San Mateo. Facilities within the park include a large playground, the CuriOdyssey junior museum, a sandy bathing beach, a marina and yacht club, hiking trails, and picnic areas. In addition, the San Mateo County Sheriff's office has a shooting range on-site for training of law enforcement. It is adjacent to the Peninsula Humane Society and the municipal Poplar Creek Golf Course.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Millbrae station</span> Train station in Millbrae, California, U.S.

Millbrae station is an intermodal transit station serving Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain, located in Millbrae, California. The station is the terminal station for BART on the San Francisco Peninsula, served by two lines: The Red Line before 9 pm and the Yellow Line during the early morning and evening. It is served by all Caltrain services. The station is also served by SamTrans bus service, and Caltrain shuttle buses, and other shuttles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hillsdale Shopping Center</span> Shopping mall in California, United States

Hillsdale Shopping Center, or simply Hillsdale, is a shopping mall in San Mateo, California, United States, currently anchored by Macy's and Nordstrom. Featuring over 130 stores and restaurants, it is at the intersection of Hillsdale Boulevard and El Camino Real or CA-82, adjacent to the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and the former site of Bay Meadows Racetrack. It is owned by Bohannon Development Co.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Mateo station</span> Train station in San Mateo, California, U.S.

San Mateo station is the northernmost of the three Caltrain stations in San Mateo, California. It is in downtown San Mateo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hillsdale station (Caltrain)</span> Train station in San Mateo, California, U.S.

Hillsdale station is one of three Caltrain stations in San Mateo, California. The station is next to the Bay Meadows neighborhood and close to the Hillsdale Shopping Center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peninsula Library System</span>

The Peninsula Library System (PLS) is a consortium of public and community college libraries in San Mateo County, California, United States, which serves the part of the San Francisco Bay Area known as "The Peninsula". The system has dozens of branches in local communities and at various area community colleges, a bookmobile, and automated book kiosks called Library-a-Go-Go.

Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) is a high school athletic conference in California, part of the CIF Central Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation. It comprises 17 high schools generally around San Mateo County, California. There are also nine smaller schools, designated supplemental members, of which four are located in Santa Clara County. The seventeen sports offered are divided into different divisions depending on the strength of the school's program.


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