Community Guide

San Mateo provides the perfect location to get away from big city life in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, and San Jose. This guide links you to the city resources that provide San Mateo with a high quality of life.

Commute, Travel, Traffic

Hard to escape, but part of life on the peninsula, review traffic on Highway 92 from the Hayward San Mateo bridge as it cuts through town on its way to beautiful Pacific Coast Highway Beaches here.

Family and More

In addition to cafés, innovative restaurants and varied shopping experiences, San Mateo has a lot to offer children. The wonderful CuriOdyssey experience reflects San Mateo’s many creative solutions to education with business investors at Draper University, the large College of San Mateo (CSM) campus, several prep schools, and the Maker Faire and County Fair at the San Mateo County Event Center. San Mateo offers private clubs, public green spaces and trails in nearly every neighborhood.


An executive summary of San Mateo’s elected representatives, city and government resources or view the City of San Mateo’s website here.


An overview of San Mateo’s colleges, prep schools and alternative education options.

Parks & Recreation

The City manages 200 acres of green spaces including 6 community centers with 2 pool areas.


From Hillsdale Mall to specialty food stores find the details on how the shopping in San Mateo is varied and casual.

Health and Fitness

An summary of hospitals and indoor places to keep active and healthy all year long in the San Mateo area.



The Main Library is 3 stories tall, there are two other branch libraries and the College of San Mateo library is also integrated into the county system.

Central Park, San Mateo CA

Central Park & Recreation Center

The city’s central jewel with a rose garden, mini-train, open space for events and more.

San Mateo California Restaurants

Restaurant Guide

Elegant, modern, romantic, organic, fusion or purist choose a favorite cuisine to explore what restaurants San Mateo has to offer.

San Mateo Traffic

Commute, Travel, Traffic

Part of life on the peninsula, review traffic on all roads and highways and alternative transportation options.

San Mateo History

The Ohlone tribe lived on the Peninsula for at least 4000 years before Spanish explorers arrived in the late 1700’s. In 1776 Father Font named the creek that they slept by “San Mateo Creek” by 1849 a stagecoach stop was established in San Mateo, and the Sawyer Creek trail provided a road between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.

The Mexican Land Grants of 1835 designated a few large ranches on the peninsula. Rancho San Mateo, which included south Burlingame, all of Hillsborough, and north San Mateo was sold for four dollars an acre in the 1850’s. The rest of San Mateo was designated Rancho de las Pulgas land.

A railway from San Francisco to San Jose took 4 years to complete in 1864 the same year the first church (Roman Catholic) in San Mateo was completed. A few years later an Episcopalian church, built from stones taken from the Crystal Springs quarry, was completed. In 1889 the Crystal Springs dam was completed, a volunteer fire department was officially organized, and part of a large estate (William Howard) opened for subdivision allowing the middle class to move to San Mateo. On September 3, 1894 San Mateo incorporated as a town.

San Mateo became the place to build summer and weekend homes and became the home for some of the most powerful people in the West.

The original San Mateo-Hayward Bridge was the longest bridge in the world when it was completed in 1929. The bridge was two-lanes with a vertical lift to allow ship traffic to pass under. 4000 feet of the original bridge remains as the Werder Fishing Pier in Foster City. Construction of the current bridge was completed in 1967 at a cost of $70 million.

Work should begin in 2018 to construct a new three lane bridge for west bound traffic. The existing bridge will serve three lanes of eastbound traffic, and the toll plaza will be widened to provide six continuous travel lanes in both directions from route 101 to I-880. There are no plans to improve the highrise portion of the bridge in the next 20 years.