7.0 out of 10

Foster City

Ranked 53rd best city in California
37.5550876892189 -122.262284044398
Great for
  • Safe & Sound
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Clean & Green
  • Schools
  • Peace & Quiet
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Pest Free
  • Childcare
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
2yrs+

"Forbes’ 2009 America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well"

Foster City is an affluent bayside city with a metropolitan feel. Its located on the eastern edge of the San Francisco peninsula (and the San Mateo County), almost half way between San Francisco and San Jose. The city itself spans about 20 square miles, which is accompanied by scattered waterways that all converge on Central Lake. The city is mostly residential with a population of just above 30,000 (split evenly between white and asian residents). The city’s most accomplished feat is its 10th place ranking in Forbes’ 2009 America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well.

Foster City’s residential quarters offer about 14 neighborhoods to choose from. More often than not, the residences are a mixed bag of middle-class homes. Some are two stories in size with well kept front yards and an attached garage while others are single story houses with shallow front yards. Foster City’s median household income is around $110,000, while the bulk of the residents live in houses that range from $500,000 to $1 million. If you’re looking to rent, head towards Metro Center Boulevard near the city’s lofty business quarters. Here you’ll be met with a handful of attractive and modern looking apartment buildings. And with quiet streets and well mannered neighbors, its no wonder that the community is one of the safest and most family friendly areas in all of the Bay Area. In fact, the city averages as low as one murder per decade.

For your shopping needs, the city offers a handful of small neighborhood shopping centers scattered throughout the city. Its most notable of which is Bridgepointe Shopping Center. The area boasts a couple department stores including a Target, Marshall’s and a handful of other neighborhood shops and restaurants. For those seeking employment, you’ll be interested to know that Foster City’s proximity to Silicon Valley and its local industry give residents a convenient option for work. The city’s most recognized business is the financial services giant Visa, which employs over 3,000 residents. It owns owns three buildings at the intersection of Metro Center Boulevard and Vintage Park Drive. For other employment options, the San Mateo bridge connects Foster City residents with the greater parts of the inland Bay Area (most notably Hayward and Fremont).

The city boasts 4 public elementary schools, while Nathaniel Bowditch Middle School serves 6th through 8th graders. Of the four public schools in Foster City, Audubon School, Foster City School, and Bowditch Middle School have won California Distinguished School awards. But since there are no public high schools within the city’s limits, students usually attend any of the San Mateo Union High School District schools outside the area (all based on your geographic location).

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Foster City has plenty of activities for you. The city boasts a world class windsurfing spot in the San Francisco Bay. At almost every hour of the day, you can find windsurfers breaking waves around Mariners Point. Moreover, the city provides a 9-hole golf course and driving range at Mariners’ Point.
Pros
  • Great Bay Side Spot
  • Great Schools
  • Safe as it Gets
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Little Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Bay Waters and Condos"

Foster City is a cool little town (only about 30,000 residents) right on the eastern edge of the Penninsula right by the San Mateo Bridge (a low lying causeway that gets people from the Alameda County area over into the Peninsula—the second choice to the Dumbarton, a little farther to the south). This is a fairly upscale area with really unique kind of topography—a little bit like Venice in spots with waterways skirting the backside of homes throughout the neighborhoods.

Rents are, of course, on the high side with your average 2 bedroom in Foster City going for about $2,000. That is high but not as high as other places in the Bay Area. There are a lot of Condos and Townhomes in the area which brings down the average home and rental price somewhat. Overall, homes in the area average more than $500k and there are some single family homes in the million dollar range—though I would say this mostly has to do with the primo location than the actual quality of the homes that anywhere else would go for a few hundred thousand less.

If you can afford it, this is a popular spot for young families. The schools are great and there are plenty of daycare options in Redwood Shores. There is also plenty of shopping and the usual conveniences in the area.

It is not quite so great an area for singles—especially younger singles—though I could definitely imagine a slightly older bachelor taking advantage of the waterways in the area and living it up here. There isn’t much nightlife here other than some Sushi places and an Italian restaurant. But that doesn’t much matter since you can just head over to the San Mateo or Redwood City for that kind of thing.

Overall, this is a really good quiet city for those who like to live by the Bay.
Pros
  • Great Bay Side Spot
  • Safe as it Gets
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Little Nightlife
  • Expensive
  • A Little Out of the Way
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish

Unranked Neighborhoods in Foster City

"The Heart of Foster City"
37.5598672495439 -122.262771989823

Birds

3.5/5
"Not Just for the Birds"
37.5667870804702 -122.256352455763

Fish

3/5
"Pretty Nice Neighborhood"
37.5577865805484 -122.253638711006
"Nice But Too Many Condos"
37.5479548811435 -122.257783537303

Explorers

3/5
"Okay, But Not Worth Exploring"
37.552669649113 -122.270912988908

Admirals

4/5
"Nice Canal Side Homes"
37.5464282412436 -122.265797159398

Islands

3.5/5
"Good Spot for Morning Jogs"
37.5403475859122 -122.262922042143

Bays

3.5/5
"Big Sky Neighborhood"
37.5395604813092 -122.27168319928
"Cool name, cooler area"
37.5499597272787 -122.276886911005

Chess

2.5/5
"Foster City's Commercial District"
37.567738217603 -122.274088063804

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