San Mateo, CA Neighborhoods

San Mateo is a vibrant city located in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of over 100,000 residents. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, excellent schools, and proximity to major employers like Facebook and Sony, San Mateo contains several distinct neighborhoods each with their own unique character.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top neighborhoods in San Mateo and what makes each one special.


The heart of San Mateo is its charming downtown area centered around 3rd and B Street. This neighborhood contains a pedestrian-friendly streetscape lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and the historic Peninsula Movie Theater.

Some of the top attractions in downtown include:

  • Central Park – A beautiful 12-acre park featuring rose gardens, lawn areas, a playground, and the picturesque Seal fountain. Central Park hosts many community events.
  • San Mateo County History Museum – Located in the old San Mateo City Hall building, this museum chronicles the history of the county through exhibits and historic artifacts.
  • Japanese Tea Garden – A serene garden in Central Park containing pagodas, koi ponds, bridges, and other traditional Japanese garden features.
  • Fisherman’s Park – Situated along the San Francisco Bay waterfront, this park contains boat docks, bay views, and directional tiles marking the distances to various ports around the Pacific.

Downtown San Mateo has an excellent Walk Score of 91 with plenty of amenities within walking distance. The neighborhood attracts young professionals and families who want an urban lifestyle without big city prices.


Bordering downtown to the northwest, Hillsdale is one of San Mateo’s most coveted residential areas due to its proximity to shops and restaurants. The main thoroughfare is E. Hillsdale Blvd which is lined with boutique shops, cafes, salons, grocery stores, and services. Some of the top features of Hillsdale include:

  • Excellent schools like Hillsdale High School consistently ranked among the best in the state.
  • Hillsdale Shopping Center, a large upscale outdoor mall with major department stores like Macy’s and luxury retailers like Tiffany & Co.
  • Hillsdale Caltrain Station providing easy access to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
  • Picturesque neighborhoods with charming mid-century homes and tree-lined streets.

Hillsdale provides residents with urban convenience coupled with safe suburbs ideal for families.

North Central

Moving inland near the center of San Mateo you will find the North Central neighborhood roughly bounded between route 92 and 101. This area contains a diverse mix of housing from starter homes to luxury single-family residences. Some highlights include:

Families and professionals seeking good schools, parks, and easy transportation will find North Central fits the bill. Home values are also slightly more affordable than Hillsdale.

The Marina Lagoon

Along the eastern edge of San Mateo bordering the San Francisco Bay lies the scenic Marina Lagoon neighborhood. This area encompasses two artificial lagoons that feed into the bay surrounded by walking trails, parks, and recreational facilities. Highlights include:

  • Stunning bay views along the shoreline perfect for walking, running, or biking.
  • Boating activities like kayaking, standup paddleboarding, and fishing on the lagoons.
  • Dining at The Wharf restaurant known for its fresh seafood.
  • Events like outdoor concerts and movies at Ryder Park.
  • Playgrounds, tennis courts, and bocce ball at Marina Vista Park.

The neighborhoods surrounding Marina Lagoon offer a mix of apartments, condos, and single-family homes in a scenic waterfront environment. Proximity to beaches, trails, and boating make this a popular area.


Situated east of Highway 101, Baywood is a charming residential area blessed with stunning natural scenery. The neighborhood is divided into two sections, Baywood Park and Baywood Townhomes, each with distinct features:

Baywood Park

  • Single-family midcentury homes on quiet, tree-lined streets.
  • Top schools like Abbott Middle School ranked in the top 25% statewide.
  • Close proximity to the bayfront use to walk along trails in the Shoreview area.
  • Neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

Baywood Townhomes

  • Apartments and townhouses offering more affordable options for renters and buyers.
  • Adjacent to Bay Meadows Park with lighted tennis courts, play area, and gardens.
  • Quick access to highways 101 and 92.
  • Retail centers on Saratoga Drive and S. Norfolk Street.

Whether seeking a single-family home or apartment, Baywood delivers scenic nature and amenities east of 101. Home values are generally lower than neighborhoods west of the highway.

North Shoreview

Perched along the northeast shore of the San Francisco Bay, North Shoreview arguably offers the most spectacular views and access to the water in San Mateo. This medium-density neighborhood features beautiful homes and scenic walking paths following the shoreline. Highlights include:

  • Panoramic vistas of the bay looking towards the San Francisco skyline.
  • Shoreline paths connecting to the San Francisco Bay Trail for biking and jogging.
  • Upscale homes on streets like E. Bayshore Rd and Marina Ct.
  • Dining and shopping at Bridgepointe Shopping Center.
  • Parks like Ryder Park and Seal Point Park.

With protected wetlands and winding trails along the shore, North Shoreview is perfect for nature lovers who still want urban convenience. Home prices reflect the premium waterfront location.

East San Mateo

Moving inland towards the hills, East San Mateo consists mostly of residential neighborhoods interspersed with parks, schools, and retail strips. The area features pleasant suburban living without being far from town. Some notable features include:

Families looking for open space, recreation, top schools, and retail conveniences will feel right at home in East San Mateo. Home values tend to be lower than areas west of 101.

West San Mateo

Located west of Highway 101, West San Mateo contains a diverse mix of housing options and amenities. The area could be divided into two sections – North West and South West:

North West

  • Predominately single-family homes near Hillsdale and Highway 92.
  • Parks like Beresford, Laurelwood, and Sugarloaf.
  • Retail along W. Hillsdale Blvd.
  • Top schools including Abbott Middle and Hillsdale High.

South West

Overall West San Mateo provides a mix of family-friendly suburbs, retail conveniences, recreation, and housing at generally more affordable prices than central areas.

San Mateo Park

Situated south of downtown near the border with Foster City, San Mateo Park is a large master-planned community built in the 1960s. The area contains over 3,000 homes consisting largely of Eichler-style mid-century modern tract houses featuring signature flat or low-sloped roofs and floor-to-ceiling glass.

Some key features of San Mateo Park include:

  • Lush mature landscaping and tree-lined streets thanks to 50+ years of growth.
  • Proximity to retail centers like Mariner’s Island and services along S. Norfolk Street.
  • Top schools in the San Mateo Unified School District.
  • Neighborhood parks and pools for recreation.
  • Single-family homes and townhouses offering a range of prices.

People seeking an Eichler home or appreciating mid-century modern architecture will love San Mateo Park. The neighborhood has a strong sense of community thanks to active resident associations.


With its diversity of distinct neighborhoods, San Mateo truly has something for everyone. Seek a contemporary downtown feel in the center of town, a scenic shoreline lifestyle along the bay, or a family-friendly suburban vibe in established residential areas.

Take your pick from premium neighborhoods west of 101 or find more affordable options to the east. Whether you rent an apartment, buy a condo, or invest in a single-family home, San Mateo offers safe communities, high-performing schools, ample amenities, and natural beauty.


Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Contact Us.

Get Solutions For All Fencing Services

Every day from

9:00 — 5:00

Call to ask any question



  • Starting downtown, head north on South B Street then make a left on East 4th Ave followed by a right on South Delaware Street. Turn left on 9th Avenue and arrive shortly on the right.
  • Coming from Highway 101 North, take the CA-92 West exit then turn left on Delaware Street and right on 9th Avenue, arriving soon after on the right side.
  • From Hayward Park Station, walk northwest on West Hillsdale Boulevard, turn right on Norfolk Street followed by a left on 9th Avenue. 812 will be on the left side.