Monthly Archives

December 2016


San Mateo holiday ideas keep everyone entertained

Keep spirits shining bright with these local, San Mateo holiday ideas.

Have you ever looked at San Mateo through the lens of a visitor or young child? Think about our community from their perspective. You may see that San Mateo offers many incredible amenities that provide the right amount of entertainment for family and friends visiting this holiday season. If you are home for the holidays, here are some unique San Mateo holiday ideas that will keep antsy kids and visiting relatives entertained.

Outdoor Fun

San Mateo Bike Share

Get some fresh air and go for a bike ride. San Mateo’s bike share program is easy to use and a great way to get around town.

Go outside and play! San Mateo has more than 30 parks, an 18-hole golf course, and an accessible bike share program. Explore the Bay Trail at Shoreline Park, climb to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, or enjoy San Mateo on Ice located at Central Park. Fresh air and exercise will keep your holiday spirit shining bright!

Downtown Walking Tours

While there is no official walking tour of Downtown San Mateo, there is an abundance of architecture dating back from the city’s incorporation in 1894 to the 1930’s. For the best representation of historic architecture, walk through the northern portion of Downtown between B Street and Tilton Avenue and along Third, Second, and Ellsworth Avenues. Peppered throughout the architectural landscape of the downtown are murals and other forms of street art. The most recent, “Good Life,” featuring significant symbols of San Mateo, was completed earlier this month. You’ll find it at the Downtown Caltrain Station. Watch this video to learn more about muralist, Brian Barneclo and the creation of “Good Life.”

San Mateo Best Food

Who doesn’t like to eat? San Mateo’s vibrant food and dining scene is the perfect way to entertain out of town guests. With 350 restaurants and food specialty stores, there are plenty of options that will satisfy the pickiest eater to the most adventurous and everyone in between. Download the Downtown San Mateo restaurant guide, and explore San Mateo’s diverse dining options at

Shop ’til you drop

Friends Shopping

Everything is on sale after the holidays. Grab your friends and discover the best local deals.

Resisting holiday sales is hard! Grab your friends and enjoy a day exploring San Mateo’s local shopping districts and regional centers. Each one offers a different experience. Enjoy smaller boutiques in Downtown San Mateo and national retailers and department stores at Hillsdale Shopping Center. Early birds will likely find great deals at the discount and big-box retailers located at Bridgepoint, while 25th Avenue features a handful of mom and pop stores that are unique to San Mateo.

Over the holidays, take the time to share your favorite things about living in or around San Mateo. Your guests will enjoy your local perspective, and the variety of activities offered throughout our community.

House ornately decorated for the holidays

San Mateo Holiday Lights Make Seasons Bright

San Mateo Holiday Lights HogoDecorating for the holidays is an art form. Some like the subtle approach using white twinkling holiday lights. And why not they’re lovely! While others prefer to unleash their inner Griswald; “go big or go home” is the motto they follow. Whatever your style, it’s always fun to see the merry ways neighbors get into the spirit of the season.

This year, the city of San Mateo is making it possible for you to show-off your light stringing skills. We’ve created an interactive holiday lights map where you can register your home, upload a few photos, and it will automatically plot on the map. It’s a fun way to share your holiday creativity and cheer with others.

House decorated with Santa and Reindeer

Plan a family holiday event by creating your own walking or driving tour through neighborhoods decorated for the season. Your efforts will help bring neighbors together while making San Mateo brighter!

The more homes plotted on the map, the more festive it will be! Particularly for families that have a tradition of driving around looking at the homes decorated in their finest holiday glory. Kids can view the interactive map online, and you can collaborate as a family to create a personalized driving or walking tour of San Mateo’s neighborhoods.

You can’t dispute the joy of holiday lights.

Many kids, of all ages, find it a special treat to pile into the family car, put on some holiday tunes, and look out in awe at the twinkling festive site of all the holiday lights. Many of you can recall doing this as a kid. I was always on the look out for one particular home that used lights of every color and had a front yard scene that resembled a holiday carnival – an animated carousel and all! My dad thought it was gaudy, but I loved it and looked for it with such excitement each year.

While celebrating your own holiday traditions, please make San Mateo’s Holiday Lights part of your special moments this season. Squeeze in a drive around San Mateo or a walk through your neighborhood to explore the creativity of your fellow community members. You may even run into some neighbors and spread holiday throughout the community. Please visit the city’s website to view the interactive map online or use it on your SmartPhone while planning a tour.