Getting oriented and finding your place is easy in San Mateo, it is all about what neighborhood you live in.

El Camino Real separates East San Mateo from West San Mateo.

Central San Mateo including downtown San Mateo and Central Park are located between the 101 and El Camino. Northwest San Mateo includes San Mateo Heights, the apply named North Central and Central neighborhoods. Sunnybrea, 19th Avenue, Hayward Park, Fiesta Gardens, Hillsdale, 25th Avenue, and across El Camino the Borel, Aragon, Baywood, and Gramercy-Mounds El Cerrito neighborhoods surround Downtown San Mateo.

San Mateo Park at the northwest corner of San Mateo borders the City of Burlingame on Barroilhet Avenue and the town of Hillsborough which borders west San Mateo. On the other side of the 280 freeway is the Crystal Springs Regional Trail adjacent to the beautiful Rancho Corral de Tierra National Recreational Area.

In the northern urban area of San Mateo is divided from the City of Burlingame by Peninsula Avenue. Coyote Point Recreation Area and the CuriOdyssey museum/zoo is at the top northern point of San Mateo.

Neighborhoods between Highway 101 and the bay are North Shoreview, Shoreview and Parkside neighborhoods with exclusive communities like Mariner’s Island, NE Parkside, Las Casitas, Marner’s Green, Harbortown, Edgewater Isle, Marina Gardens, Chesapeake Point, Lakeshore Landing and Los Prados located along the Lagoon/Seal Slough. To cross the waterway take East 3rd Avenue, also known as J Hart Clinton Drive, Fashion Island Boulevard or East Hillsdale Boulevard. Sony Interactive Entertainment, the headquarters for the Playstation game console, is on the Foster City northeastern side of San Mateo.

South of San Mateo is the City of Belmont. Southern San Mateo neighborhoods include Los Prados, Glendale Village, and the Hacienda Beresford/Hillsdale area around the Peninsula Golf and Country Club including Westwood Knolls with neighborhoods named after the nearby parks including Beresford Park, Laurelwood Park, Indian Springs Park, Baywood Park and Timberland Park plus Western Hills, Clearview Townhomes and The Highlands neighborhood at the Southwest corner of San Mateo.

Some of the neighborhoods are in the city’s Neighborhood Association and Homeowners Association map.


Local elected representatives and useful government resources.

Bus Routes

Public transportation information and more options to move around or tour the area.


County and branch library information, hours, and activities.


Reserve park areas, dog park rules, sports facility locations, pool information and more.

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.