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Celebrating 75 Years Of Moving The Local Bay Area

Living in San Mateo Guide 🏬 | Why You’ll Love San Mateo Living + What to Expect

Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 05:28 am

San Mateo is a beautiful city located on the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first inhabitants of the city were the Ohlone Indians, who lived in the area for nearly 4,000 years before explorers first arrived on the Peninsula. In later years, San Mateo was home to Spanish colonists, Japanese immigrants, and railroad workers. San Mateo was incorporated as a city in 1894 and has been expanding ever since. Today, San Mateo is known for its strong economy, comfortable climate, and diverse population. As such, San Mateo is a good place to live.

Living in San Mateo has never been better, and all of the wonderful features this city has to offer make the area perfect for people of all ages. Let’s take a deep dive into the city of San Mateo and explore what it’s like living in the area.

Where Is San Mateo?


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San Mateo is in San Mateo County and is near the center of the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. It is 19.6 miles from San Mateo to San Francisco and 30.8 miles from San Mateo to San Jose.

San Mateo is bordered by Burlingame to the north, Hillsborough to the west, San Francisco Bay and Foster City to the east, and Belmont to the south.

San Mateo Information

  • San Mateo County: San Mateo
  • San Mateo area: 15.85 square miles
  • San Mateo zip code: 94401-94404, 94497
  • San Mateo area code: 650
  • San Mateo elevation: 46 feet
  • San Mateo time zone: Pacific Time Zone (PT)
  • Closest airport to San Mateo: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 6.4 miles away

San Mateo Population & Demographics

The San Mateo, CA population is 105,661, which is an 8.6% increase over the past decade! San Mateo is a very diverse community, with a racial and ethnic composition of 48.6% White (40.9% non-Hispanic), 25.5% Asian, 9.2% two or more races, 1.9% Black or African American, and 1.8% Native Hawaiian. Nearly 35% of residents living in San Mateo are foreign-born (49% from Asia, 32% from Latin America, 12% from Europe, 4% from Oceania, 2% from Africa, 2% from North America).

Residents living in San Mateo are very prosperous, with a median household income of $129,957. This is 10% higher than the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley Metro Area ($116,005) and 1.5 times the amount in California ($84,907).

Other San Mateo Demographics:

  • Sex ratio: 53% female, 47% male
  • Median age: 38
  • Educational attainment: 91.9% high school degree (or higher), 58.2% bachelor’s degree (or higher)
  • Notable people from San Mateo: actor Barry Bostwick, musician Kris Kristofferson professional golfer Michael Allen

San Mateo is also known as being the birthplace of Tom Brady.

Transportation in San Mateo

Because San Mateo is located in the center of the San Francisco Bay Area, there are several freeways and roads running through the city. The three major freeways in San Mateo include U.S. Route 101, Interstate 280, and State Route 92.

If you are searching for public transportation in San Mateo, then you can take advantage of the SamTrans bus system, which provides service to all of San Mateo and San Mateo County. The Caltrain is a commuter rail service that operates three stations in San Mateo and provides service to all of the San Francisco Peninsula and Santa Clara Valley.

San Mateo is only six miles away from San Francisco International Airport, making air travel in and out of the city a breeze. Other nearby airports include Oakland International Airport (25.4 miles away) and San Jose Mineta International Airport (28.3 miles away).

San Mateo also has a network of over 200 bikeways connecting different areas of the city.

Cost of Living in San Mateo California

Is San Mateo expensive? Moving to San Mateo surely comes with a heftyprice tag. The San Mateo Cost of Living Index is 250.6. This means that the San Mateo, California cost of living is 150.6% more expensive than the national average of 100. Therefore, San Mateo is an expensive place to live.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need to earn $172,888 per year to live comfortably in San Mateo. This averages out to $14,407 per month. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, the living wage for two working adults with two children in the city is $38.17. This is the hourly wage that you would need to make to support a family while still having expenses to spare.

Typical San Mateo Living Expenses

  • Average San Mateo utilities per month: $184.00
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $22.00
  • Gallon of milk: $4.43
  • Gallon of gas: $4.78
  • Internet (monthly): $58.69
  • Fitness membership (monthly): $92.50
  • Childcare (monthly): $2,533.33
  • Movie ticket: $14.50

Source: Numbeo

You will also need to know about taxes before moving to San Mateo.

Property Taxes

San Mateo property tax is handled by the County of San Mateo, CA. The San Mateo County Assessor reports the assessed value of a property, the San Mateo County Controller determines the amount of taxes to be collected (typically 1% of the assessed value), and the Tax Collector bills and collects the taxes.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in San Mateo is 9.625%. This is how San Mateo sales tax is broken down:

  • California State: 7.250%
  • San Mateo County: 2.125%
  • San Mateo City: 0.250%
  • Total: 9.625%

Income Tax

Income tax in California is divided into nine income brackets, with tax rates ranging from 1% to 12.3%. The income tax you will pay depends on your income level.

San Mateo Real Estate | Average Rent & Home Prices

San Mateo, CA real estate is one of the most costly expenses you will encounter when moving to the area. There are many houses for sale in San Mateo, CA, but they do not come cheap. The average home price in San Mateo, CA is $1.35 million. Although this is down 7.0% from last year, it is still well above the national average of $420,846.

Are you looking for apartments for rent in San Mateo? According to RentCafe, the average rent in San Mateo is $3,447. The most affordable neighborhoods in San Mateo include Aragon, Baywood, and Foothill Terrace, where the average rent goes for $2,971. The most expensive neighborhoods are Lauriedale, The Village, and Westwood Knolls, where the rent averages out to $3,531 per month. Some of the most popular San Mateo, CA apartments include The Lark, Park Place at San Mateo, and Creekside Apartments.

San Mateo Neighborhoods | Where to Live in San Mateo

Before moving to San Mateo, you will want to decide which neighborhood best fits your lifestyle. Here are a few of the best places to live in San Mateo.

Downtown San Mateo | Trendy Area Popular Among Young Professionals

Downtown San Mateo, CA is one of the hottest areas in the entire city. This neighborhood features over 800 shops and restaurants and is home to the popular San Mateo Central Park. The downtown area features mostly apartment living, but there are a few houses situated on the outskirts of the neighborhood.

Hillsdale | Bustling Neighborhood Ideal for Families

Located in the center of the city, Hillsdale is a large area with many things to do. This area contains The Peninsula Golf & Country Club as well as the San Mateo Garden Center. Many of the city’s schools are also located in this neighborhood. The average home price in Hillsdale is $1.57 million, and most of the homes are single-story family homes with 3-4 bedrooms.

Shoreview | Upmarket Residential Suburb With Beachfront Real Estate

If you want a house with a view, then look no further than Shoreview. The average home price in this neighborhood is $1.3 million, and many of the houses are situated along the water. This neighborhood is also popular among tourists and is home to many San Mateo hotels.

San Mateo CA Weather & Climate

The weather in San Mateo, CA is known for being incredibly pleasant. According to the Köppen classification, San Mateo has a Mediterranean climate. This means that the San Mateo climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, damp winters. The average temperature in San Mateo during the summer months is around 70ºF, while the average temperature during the winter is just below 59ºF.

Due to the gap between Montara Mountain and San Bruno Mountain that allows in ocean weather, the city often sees fog during the morning hours in the summertime.

San Mateo Restaurants

When it comes to San Mateo food, there is something for everyone. Here are just a few of the best restaurants in San Mateo.


This upscale steakhouse is one of the best restaurants in San Mateo. All stocks and sauces at Porterhouse are made fresh in-house daily.

164 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401, 650-579-5911

The Fish Market – San Mateo

The Fish Market is one of the most well-known restaurants in San Mateo. This eatery serves up fresh, local seafood while patrons enjoy a waterfront view.

1855 S Norfolk St, San Mateo, CA 94403, 650-349-3474


Situated in the heart of downtown, Foreigner serves seasonal New American dishes with fresh ingredients. Make sure to stop by for brunch from 8 AM to 2:30 PM every day!

60 E 3rd Ave Ste 108, San Mateo, CA 94401, 650-620-1888

Things to Do in San Mateo

When living in San Mateo, CA, there is no shortage of fun things to do. If you are unsure of what to do in San Mateo, then look no further than these attractions.

Top San Mateo Attractions

  • Ryptic Room Escape: Try to escape one of the three rooms in this attraction.
  • Coyote Point Recreation Area: This Bayside park has a large playground as well as trails and picnic areas.
  • Safari Run: Safari Run is one of the most fun things to do in San Mateo for kids. Let your little ones enjoy this massive indoor playground.
  • Bel Mateo Bowl: This bowling alley has arcade games as well as a snack bar and cocktail lounge.

San Mateo Museums, Entertainment, and Arts

San Mateo Parks & Outdoors

  • San Mateo Japanese Garden: Stop by and check out this garden complete with a koi pond and a teahouse.
  • Ryder Park: This park features picnic pavilions, BBQs, and a splash pad.
  • Laurelwood Park: This is the city’s largest park and offers 225 acres of trails.

Shopping in San Mateo

Map of San Mateo CA Things to Do

Sports in San Mateo

There are no professional sports teams in San Mateo, but you can cheer for the College of San Mateo athletic teams. You can also support nearby San Francisco Bay Area teams such as the Giants, the Warriors, the 49ers, and the Raiders.

San Mateo Crime Rate

Here’s a breakdown of the San Mateo crime rate:

  • Overall crime in San Mateo: 2,451 crimes per 100,000 people (5.0% lower than the California average and 4.5% higher than the national average)
  • Violent crime in San Mateo: 260 crimes per 100,000 people (41.2% lower than the California average and 33.0% lower than the national average)
  • Property crime in San Mateo: 2,191 crimes per 100,000 people (2.4% higher than the California average and 11.9% higher than the national average)

San Mateo is a very safe place to live. As you can see, the overall and the violent crime rates are below or just around the state and national averages. The property crime rate is slightly higher; however, property crimes tend to be less serious than violent crimes. Keeping an eye on your property and locking up your belongings can help you prevent your chances of becoming a victim of property crime.

Here is a San Mateo crime rate comparison with other major cities:

  • San Francisco: 101.4% higher than San Mateo average
  • San Jose: 11.8% higher than San Mateo average
  • Burlingame: 59.6% higher than San Mateo average

When living in San Mateo, you will be served by the San Mateo Police Department, which has 38 officers on the force.

Jobs in San Mateo

The San Mateo economy is very diverse, with many jobs in industries such as technology, health care, government, and retail. The unemployment rate in San Mateo is declining, and the city is on a path to recover all jobs lost during the 2020 pandemic. According to the San Mateo Economic Forecast, nearly 25,000 jobs were created in San Mateo in 2022.

The Downtown area is producing many of the San Mateo jobs. According to The Daily Journal, Downtown San Mateo is rapidly expanding and bringing in many new retail shops and restaurants. Currently, this area is home to Sony Interactive Entertainment, Netsuite, and the Roblox headquarters.

A few of the top employers in San Mateo include:

Currently, the average salary in San Mateo, CA is $114,000, according to PayScale.

San Mateo Schools

Students living in San Mateo are served by both the San Mateo Foster City School District and San Mateo Union High School District. The latter district contains three high schools in San Mateo as well as one adult school. Out of all of the San Mateo high schools, Aragon High School is ranked the highest. This school is ranked by US News as the second-best school in the district and the 131st-best school in California.

If you are searching for private schools in San Mateo, then you may want to consider Stanbridge Academy or Fusion Academy. Fusion Academy is unique, with a student-to-teacher ratio of one-to-one. Every student is paired with one teacher who will give them a personalized learning experience.

Looking for San Mateo colleges? The College of San Mateo serves nearly 1,300 undergraduate students and is known for its Social Science, Business, and Economics programs.

After moving to San Mateo, you can enjoy access to the San Mateo County Library system.

Is living in San Mateo perfect for you? When you are ready to relocate to the city, then let the best San Mateo movers assist you! AMS Relocation has been serving the San Mateo area for over 60 years and is ready to handle any type of move. Give us a call today at 650-284-2931!


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