6.2 out of 10

El Granada

37.5042828146036 -122.481464282732
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Pest Free
  • Public Transport
  • Childcare
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Cost of Living
Who lives here?
  • Beach Lovers
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5

"Quiet Little Nook"

Tiny El Granada is a tiny coastal town of maybe 5000 people or so just to the north of Half Moon Bay. (Most people consider it to be just the northern part of Half Moon Bay since the HMB airport is right there.)

It is basically a little bedroom community that feels as if it just dropped out the sky and landed there because it just seems so removed from everything else. It is really beautiful in a sort of seacoast. The sort of place that would make the perfect setting for a scary movie because of its remoteness. (It kind of reminds me of the setting for the birds though I know that wasn’t here.)

The streets are pretty leafy and you can definitely feel the offshore wind here. It has roundabouts too—which I always think is a nice touch, though these are kind of supersized and don’t have that quaint feeling that European style roundabouts give off.

The real attraction of the area however is Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, down on Pillar Point Harbor where you can go get some shrimp cocktails and beer and hobnob with yuppie types hanging out before a nice day of yachting. I don’t mean necessarily to imply that this is some kind of snobby little community—though I’m sure it gets its share of that sort of thing.
  • Quiet
  • The Pacific
  • Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
  • Secluded
  • Expensive
  • Cold and Overcast Year Round
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5

"A secluded, unkempt beach town"

Located in northern San Mateo County, El Granada is a secluded city consisting mostly of deserted green hillside and a small neighborhood community. It’s so secluded that the nearest source of metropolis is about a 20 minute drive over the easterly rolling hills. You also won’t find any means of public transportation here, nor a decent commercial area. But it’s definitely an escape from the hustle and bustle you typically get in a Bay Area community.

El Granada’s residential quarters are small in size. According to the 2010 US Census, El Granada hosts less than 6,000 residents, most of which are white. Median household incomes are recorded at $120,000/year, well over the Bay Area average. Also, market values for these homes range from $400,000 to upwards of $1 million. However, the neighborhood’s aesthetic appeal make it hard to see its upper middle-class standing. Mostly, the town is saturated with nice, older two-story beach houses. But it’s hard to get past the raggedy roads and unkempt shrubbery lining the street sides. In all seriousness, I’d assume that your tax dollars are not at work within this community. Residents’ front yards vary in quality. Some houses are nice, with trimmed hedges and mowed lawns, while others look like they haven’t been manicured in years. It would seem that many residents use their homes seasonally (or maybe just for those nice beach days, if you can afford it).

The city’s closest source of commercial area is down the California coast and into Half Moon Bay or into the busier San Mateo districts to the east. Highway 1 is the city’s only main road and connects residents to Half Moon Bay and other town’s down the peninsula. If you stay within the town’s quarters, there are bits of commercial activity along Alhambra Avenue. This area consists primarily of a thrift shop, a hair salon, a small preschool and a couple neighborhood cafes. But the area is a noticeable waste of land, almost looking like an unused truck stop along a cross country tour. Sam’s Chowder House seems to be the most popular choice among locals, but that’s about it.
Recommended for
  • Retirees
  • Beach Lovers

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