San Mateo, California

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City of San Mateo
San Mateo from above
San Mateo from above
Official seal of City of San Mateo
Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°33′15″N 122°18′47″W / 37.55417°N 122.31306°W / 37.55417; -122.31306Coordinates: 37°33′15″N 122°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
 • Mayor Robert Ross
 • City Manager Larry Patterson
 • Total 15.884 sq mi (41.137 km2)
 • Land 12.130 sq mi (31.416 km2)
 • Water 3.754 sq mi (9.722 km2)  23.63%
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 97,207
 • Density 8,013.7/sq mi (3,094.1/km2)
  United States Census Bureau
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 94401-94404
Area code(s) 650
FIPS code 06-68252
GNIS feature ID 1659584

San Mateo (/ˌsæn məˈt./ SAN mə-TAY-oh; Spanish for "Saint Matthew") is a city in San Mateo County, California in the high-tech enclave of Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of 97,207 as of the 2010 census, it is one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula, located between Burlingame to the north, Foster City to the east, Belmont to the south, and Highlands-Baywood Park and Hillsborough to the west. San Mateo was incorporated in 1894. San Mateo is about thirty minutes from San Jose and twenty five minutes from San Francisco by car.


Originally part of the Rancho de las Pulgas (literally "Ranch of the Fleas") and the Rancho San Mateo, the earliest recorded history is in the archives of Mission Dolores. It indicates in 1789 the Missionaries had named a Native American village along Laurel Creek Los Laureles or the Laurels (Mission Dolores, 1789). An 1835 sketch map of the Rancho refers to the creek as arroyo de los Laureles, but by now most of the Laurels have vanished.

Coyote Point was an early recorded feature of San Mateo in 1810. Beginning in the 1850s some wealthy San Franciscans began looking for summer or permanent homes in the milder mid-peninsula. While most of this early settlement occurred in adjacent Hillsborough and Burlingame, a number of historically important mansions and buildings trickled over into San Mateo.

A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of Italy (that became Bank of America), lived here most of his life. His mansion, Seven Oaks, currently in disrepair and listed in the National Register of Historic Places (No.99001181), is located at 20 El Cerrito Drive.

Interurban Railroad Car riding up B Street, circa 1909

In 1858 Sun Water Station, a stage station of the Butterfield Overland Mail route was established in San Mateo. It was located 9 miles south of Clarks Station in what is now San Bruno and 9 miles north of the next station at Redwood City.[2]

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 substantial use of the automobile by about 1935, neither name was commonly applied to that hill (Brown, 1975). The Borel estate was developed near Borel Creek in 1874, with present uses being modern offices and shops; the property is still managed and owned by Borel Place Associates and the Borel Estate Company.

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. The parcel was purchased in 1988 by San Francisco businessman Achille Paladini and wife Joan, who restored it. It features hundreds of varieties of plants and several rare trees. A large Koi pond surrounds an island. Its teahouse was built by Japanese artisans brought primarily for its construction. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

"Hayward Park," the extraordinary 1880 American Queen Anne style residence of silver and banking millionaire Alvinza Hayward (often said to be "California's first millionaire"), was built on an 800-acre (3.2 km2) estate in San Mateo. The property, which included a deer park and racetrack, was converted into a hotel after Hayward's death in 1904. It burned in a spectacular 1920 fire.But in 2009 Roblox the multi million dollar business emerged becoming the 3rd best selling video game in the world now on some tablet divises as well as pc and laptop.


View of the San Francisco Bay from Shoreline Park

Perhaps 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,[3] but cargo ships carrying grain in the bay renamed it Big Coyote (BLM, 1853). In any case sailors had a penchant for naming promontories at the edge of San Francisco Bay after the coyote, since across the bay in Fremont are the Coyote Hills, part of Coyote Hills Regional Park. By the 1890s the shore area was a popular beach called San Mateo Beach, originally named by the Spanish in 1842 as playa de San Mateo. Today Coyote Point is home to CuriOdyssey, formerly known as the Coyote Point Museum, one of the best natural history museums and wildlife centers in California.[according to whom?] The Peninsula Humane Society is also situated at Coyote Point.

There are a variety of natural habitats present, including 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.[4] The marsh areas are also likely habitat for the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, who enjoy 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 traces back to at least 1870, is a prominent landform between the forks of Laurel Creek (Brown, 1975). In late 20th century, this mixed oak woodland and chaparral habitat was a site of controversy involving proposals to develop a portion of the mountain for residential use. Today it is park and open space area and home to the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.

San Mateo is located at 37°33′15″N 122°18′47″W / 37.55417°N 122.31306°W / 37.55417; -122.31306 (37.554286, −122.313044)[5]. 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) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (23.63%) is water.


San Mateo has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, damp winters. The city is shielded from the Pacific Ocean by the Montara Mountain block of the Santa Cruz Mountains. There is a gap in the mountains, west of the College of San Mateo, where State Route 92 meets State Route 35, resulting in gusty afternoon winds and allowing fog to flow toward San Mateo in the late afternoon through early morning in the summer months.[citation needed]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 76
Average high °F (°C) 58
Average low °F (°C) 40
Record low °F (°C) 16
Rainfall inches (mm) 4.02



The 2010 United States Census[8] reported that San Mateo had a population of 97,207. The population density was 6,120.1 people per square mile (2,363.0/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.

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 2,519.3 per square mile (972.7/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%. 50,951 people (52.4% of the population) 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,[9] 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.

Demographic profile[10] 2010
Total Population 97,207 100.0%
One Race 91,661 - 94.3%
Not Hispanic or Latino 71,392 - 73.4%
White alone 45,240 - 46.5%
Black or African American alone 2,099 - 2.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 140 - 0.1%
Asian alone 18,153 - 18.7%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 1,937 - 2.0%
Some other race alone 344 - 0.4%
Two or more races alone 3,479 - 3.6%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 25,815 - 26.6%


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 92,482 people, 37,338 households, and 22,310 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,569.5 people per square mile (2,922.1/km²).

There are 36,501 households of which 26.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.44 and the average family size was 4.09. The age distribution is: 22.4% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who are 65 or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.


In the state legislature, San Mateo is in the 13th Senate District, represented by Democrat Jerry Hill, and in the 22nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Kevin Mullin.

Federally, San Mateo is in California's 14th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jackie Speier.[12]


In general, San Mateo's downtown core and 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 is considered to have one of the larger, well developed, more prominent suburban downtowns in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is located roughly between Tilton and 9th streets and Delaware Avenue and El Camino Real[13] The downtown core contains over 800 shops and restaurants, many of them in historic buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[14] A large, modern 12 screen movie theatre complex gives the downtown a major entertainment option. Central Park is considered to be San Mateo's signature park with tennis courts, picnic areas, playground, a baseball field, a recreation center, a miniature train, and a Japanese Tea Garden.[15] Caltrain operates a large train station in downtown. The downtown is also home to many large and small multi-story office buildings, apartments, government buildings and Mills Medical Center making the area a busy employment center day and night.


Hillsdale Mall is a major shopping area within the city and surrounding area. It is the largest mall in all of San Mateo County and a major destination for shoppers. It has over 100 stores in the mall and is surrounded by many other big box type stores. It has its own Caltrain station across El Camino Real.

Bay Meadows[edit]

Bay Meadows was a horseracing track near Hillsdale Mall which closed down in 2008[16] It is currently being redeveloped into a large mixed used development which will include hundreds of new residential units, office space, retail space and acres of parks including a town square.[17] it is scheduled for completion in 2017.[18] it is a significant amount of new building given the city's and peninsula's limited space available for development.


The economy of San Mateo would best be considered very diverse with jobs in the technology, health care, financial services, government, and retail trade fields being among the most numerous.

Top Employers[edit]

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[19] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 San Mateo Medical Center 1,197
2 Franklin Templeton Investments 1,100
3 San Mateo-Foster City School District 1,090
4 San Mateo County Community College District 1,012
5 City of San Mateo 965
6 San Mateo Union High School District 800
7 Mills-Peninsula Health Services 454
8 Fisher Investments 438
9 San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services 390
10 Nordstrom 360
11 AOL Productions 169

Companies based in San Mateo[edit]


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

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 three public high schools: San Mateo, Aragon, and Hillsdale. There is also one private, all-male Catholic high school, Junípero Serra.

Colleges and Universities[edit]

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 in the western foothills of the city which offer a panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay.[27] Other universities in the area include Notre Dame de Namur University, a private Catholic university of 2,000 students in neighboring Belmont[28] and Stanford University located about 12 miles to the south.

Adult School[edit]

The San Mateo Union High School District also hosts an adult school behind the campus of San Mateo High School.[29]

Public libraries[edit]

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.[30] 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 building earned numerous design awards and was LEED certified NC Gold. Windows from floor to ceiling provide abundant natural light inside. It is modeled after a retail bookstore and is technologically advanced.[31]

Parks and Recreation[edit]

San Mateo maintains more than 15 parks scattered throughout of the city. Central Park is considered to be the city's main park and hosts many community park functions which serve downtown residents. It also has a Japanese Tea Garden, a Rose Garden, and a Mini Train.[32] Beresford Park is another large park which offers bocce ball as well as a skate plaza. Martin Luther King Jr Park and Joinville Park both offer swimming pools while Ryder Park boasts a water play structure. Parkside Aquatic Park located on the San Francisco Bay has beach swimming and volleyball. Many of these parks contain picnic areas with grills, children's play areas, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds.[33] Coyote Point Park is also in San Mateo near the border with Burlingame and on the San Francisco Bay. It is a 670 acre regional county park known for its ideal location for windsurfing and sailing. It is also home to CuriOdyssey which is a hands on science museum and small native animal zoo.[34]



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.

Public transportation[edit]

SamTrans provides local bus service within the city of San Mateo as well as the entire county of San Mateo.,[35] AC Transit provides transbay bus service via the San Mateo Bridge to Alameda County.[36] 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 the Hillsdale Station, Hayward Park Station, and the San Mateo Station in downtown. 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 trains are run to accommodate extra passengers when the San Francisco Giants play.[37] See public transportation in San Mateo County for more details.


San Mateo is located near three major airports including San Francisco International Airport 7 miles to the north. Oakland International Airport, and San Jose Mineta International Airport are also within a half an hour drive. . San Carlos Airport is a general aviation airport located about 6 miles to the south.

Other services[edit]

Hospitals in San Mateo include San Mateo Medical Center, an acute care facility.[38] Cemeteries located in San Mateo include Skylawn Memorial Park and St. John's Cemetery (San Mateo, California)|St. John's Cemetery.

Prominent places[edit]

Japanese Tea Garden

The San Mateo Performing Arts Center, located on San Mateo High School, is one of the largest theatres on the peninsula outside of San Francisco. The College of San Mateo is also located here and is home to radio station KCSM. The city is also home to the Bridgepointe and Hillsdale shopping centers. Bay Meadows horse-racing track was torn down in 2008. The Japanese Tea Garden and San Mateo Arboretum in Central Park, San Mateo, CA Central Parkare of interest. U.S. Route 101, Interstate 280, and State Route 92 pass through San Mateo. One of its sister cities is Toyonaka, Japan, for which the Japanese Tea Garden at Central Park was created to commemorate.[39]


Central Park

Sister cities[edit]

San Mateo has three sister cities, as designated by the Sister Cities International, Inc.:[40]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ Waterman L. Ormsby, Lyle H. Wright, Josephine M. Bynum, The Butterfield Overland Mail: Only Through Passenger on the First Westbound Stage. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 2007. pp.92–93.
  3. ^ Brown, 1975
  4. ^ Pfeifle, 1980
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ Note that the climate chart below uses data from The Weather Channel <>
  7. ^ Western Regional Climate Center website <>
  8. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  9. ^ 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates:
  10. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ "California's 14th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ City of San Mateo
  15. ^ City of San Mateo Parks
  16. ^ Bay Meadows closes its doors | (2008-05-11). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  17. ^ Simmers, Tim. (1934-11-03) Bay Meadows nears finish. Urban Habitat. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  18. ^
  19. ^ City of San Mateo CAFR
  20. ^ Actuate Corporate Information
  21. ^
  22. ^ Corporate Information
  23. ^ "About Capcom." Capcom. Retrieved on August 12, 2011. "U.S. Headquarters Capcom U.S.A., Inc. Capcom Entertainment, Inc. 800 Concar Drive Suite 300 San Mateo, CA 94402-2649"
  24. ^ DITTO Crunchbase Profile
  25. ^ "Gaming firms scoop up San Mateo office space." San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved on November 18, 2009.
  26. ^ About Replicon
  27. ^ College of San Mateo
  28. ^
  29. ^ Official Website of the San Mateo Adult School.
  30. ^ "Library Locations & Hours." City of San Mateo. Retrieved on October 6, 2009.
  31. ^ Architecture Record | McGraw-Hill Construction. (2011-10-05). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^!
  37. ^ Schedules. (2012-09-29). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  38. ^ [1]
  39. ^ Visiting Eden: The Public Gardens of Northern California, photographs by Melba Levick, text by Joan Chatfield-Taylor. Chronicle Books, 1993, ISBN 0-8118-0107-1
  40. ^ Sister Cities information obtained from the Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)." Retrieved on July 25, 2007.
  41. ^ Orenstein, Natalie (July 8, 2011). "Jane Baker, San Mateo's first female mayor, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  42. ^ Cian Fahey. "What another Super Bowl ring does to Tom Brady's legacy". Irish Central. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  43. ^ Dennis Haysbert Biography |

Further reading[edit]

  • Alan K. Brown, Place names of San Mateo County, San Mateo County Historical Association, published by Glen Luck, San Mateo, Ca. (1975)
  • Mission Dolores, San Francisco, Registers of Baptisms and Deaths, (1789)
  • "San Mateo: A Centennial History", By Mitchell P. Postel; Scottwall Associates, Publisher, San Francisco; 1994. ISBN 0-942087-08-9 (HBK)
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, FN 254-21 (1853)

External links[edit]