7.5 out of 10


Ranked 4th best neighborhood in San Mateo
37.5654127375606 -122.320688403954
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Nightlife
  • Clean & Green
  • Pest Free
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Resale or Rental Value
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students


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

"Best Downtown in San Mateo County"

Downtown San Mateo is one of the best spots in the Peninsula, packed with eateries, coffee shops and nightspots. It is probably my favorite spot in San Mateo County.

Where to start?

I guess I should start at the top with 231 Ellsworth, the swankiest restaurant in Downtown, which is Michelin Guide recommended and consistently voted as one of the top restaurants in Northern California. It sounds really outstanding and I am hoping one day to actually go there (hint, hint bf). Of course, it will cost you an arm and leg to have dinner here—don’t expect to get out without having spent at least $100 a piece.
If you are meat lover, you will also find a ton of places that specialize in making it red and bloody. You have Porter House and San Mateo Prime to start, but by far my favorite in this category, and one that I’ve actually been to, unlike the 231 Ellsworth, is Espetus Churrascaria, a Brazilian barbecue that is just fantastic. (This is the exact opposite of the Brazilian BBQ in Bridesmaids¬—you will not get a traffic violation trying to relieve yourself.)
Of course, you don’t have to spend a fortune just to go out for a date night. Here’s a few more moderate choices:
--Izakaya Mai: a Japanese bar.

--Grape & Grain: a wine bar, with excellent Tapas.

--Attic: a Filipino lounge

--Osteria Coppa: an Italian restaurant.

There are also a number of bars and night spots here. Here are my favs:

---the Downtown Tiki Lounge: It’s a Tiki Lounge—‘nuf said.

--B Street and Vine: Wine bar that regularly has live Jazz. Very cool in an older, more laid back and sophisticated sort of way.

--Yuppie Bar: More really of a neighborhood bar, but very nice, good place to chill while waiting for a table or for a bit of a post dinner gab session.

There are also a number of stores here as well, including everything from the Atlas Skateboard store, a Talbot’s, and my favorite, J’me Boutique.

What about living here?

Apartments here run between $2000 and $3000 for a 2-bedroom.

As you might expect in a location like this, crime is higher here than in other areas of San Mateo. In the last six months there have been 2 to 3 dozen assaults, about a half dozen sexual assaults, and 8 or 9 roberries.

Overall, however, this is relatively safe for a downtown area.
  • Great Restaurants
  • Good Night Spots
  • Busy
  • A Touch of Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5

"Beating heart of San Mateo"

While along the San Francisco peninsula, Downtown San Mateo is the beating heart of the city. Its mostly known for its heavy business quarters, plethora of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment options that make it a thriving epicenter for locals. And with it’s fine dining and shopping options within every block, you’ll likely stay here for awhile. The area is also known for its vibrant and booming community quarters. The district offers several luxury condominiums and apartment buildings within the neighborhood’s outer limits. This is a convenient and likable living option for those who can afford it.

For perspective locals, the area has the charm and quaintness of a mid-size town’s commercial hub. It provides everything from trendy shops, to gourmet markets, from business parks to chain stores and restaurants. East 3rd and East 4th Avenue are the main commercial strips of downtown San Mateo. Here, you’ll find some revamped business fronts and a couple dozen restored historic buildings which give it a charming feel. At 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, people come out of their business centers and flood the streets for fine dining, happy hour drinks or the cinema (Cinemark 12 Cinema is located along East 3rd Avenue). The streets are usually lighted up by then, making for an attractive holiday aesthetic. On weekends, the downtown area is usually buzzing with window shoppers and restaurant goers. But like any busy commercial center, Downtown San Mateo can be a challenge to park within its limits.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Trendy & Stylish

"Lots to Eat and Explore!"

I like coming here, but more during the evening because its cooler and the street is lighted up with lots of small pretty lights. I'm a sales, and I travel around the bay area a lot. Of all the places I go to, this is one of the places I like to go to for meetings, because I get to try out all the different restaurants in this area. (^.^)v Especially around 3rd and 4th Avenue, there are a lot of restaurants and shops.
The area is clean and it isn't really crowded. On e Restaurant that I've tried is called Central Park Bistro. The food and service is great there, I had a great time there, and would definitely return there. I would totally recommend it to everyone.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles

Travelling to Downtown?

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Best Streets in Downtown


East 4th Ave

"A place to satiate any craving"
37.5623061621786 -122.325099425548

Unranked Streets in Downtown

2nd Ave

"Date night or out with friends"
37.5664159266143 -122.32303765716

East 5th Ave

"A very busy business street"
37.5659078692526 -122.318325214526
"Fine dinning and fine people"
37.5655021253457 -122.32372260772

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