7.8 out of 10

North Central

Ranked 10th best neighborhood in San Mateo
37.5743475834287 -122.329484176338
Great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Internet Access
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Pest Free
  • Clean & Green
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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  •  
  •  
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

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

"A great Bay Area Secret..."

Nestled between San Mateo and Burlingame this location has a ton to offer. Simple commute to the city via Caltrain and Burlingame and San Mateo have both revitalized their downtown scene. Loads of recreation relative to other Bay Area locations. Kitesurfing, Mountain Biking, Coast, Road Cycling! It's all here! Need to get out of town? The airport is 6 minutes away. Want to head to the coast? 15 minutes Night out in the City? 20 minutes and a reasonable Uber. This is a great gem of a neighborhood and we love it.
Pros
  • easy access to city, coast and airport
  • Close to Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Good Spot for Single Commuters"

North Central is one of those neighborhoods that is packed with boxy apartment buildings and smaller, older homes. It is basically a lower middle-class (verging on lower class) neighborhood where a fair number of singles live.

Apartments here tend to go for around $2000/month for a 2-bedroom until you get near Downtown where prices can as much as double.

There are also a number of homes for sale here with the median price running at about $400 K. About 3 quarters of the homes on the market here are on the market due to foreclosure, so that gives you a sense of how hard hit the area has been. (Not surprisingly given that nearly one in five people here make their money via construction.)

One of the features I really like about this area is its proximity to the San Mateo Caltrain Station—being able to easily commute for me and my significant other is a priority, especially since we would both be commuting in the fall if we moved here.

And since you are right by Downtown San Mateo, you have a ton of choices in terms of restaurants and night spots—definitely a plus of the area.

The schools here are pretty good as well. San Mateo High School is located here and though it does not have an API of 9 or 10 like some of its Peninsula neighbors, it does have a 7, which is not too shabby.

Unfortunately this is one of the least safe areas in San Mateo, with maybe 3 dozen assaults in the last six months. (It’s not as dangerous as places in San Francisco, but relative to the Peninsula it is pretty bad.)

Overall this is a pretty good spot if you are single or maybe even a childless couple—I’m not sure it works as well families though.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Good for Single Commuters
  • Close to Nightlife
Cons
  • A Bit of Crime Here
  • Ugly Boxy Apartments
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
2yrs+

"Densely packed urban chaos"

North Central, also known as “North of Downtown,” is known for its disordered suburban chaos. To put it frankly, it has an extremely dense population, hosting over 17,000 residents in an area spanning only 1. 3 square miles. Demographically speaking, the racial makeup of the community is split evenly between hispanic and white residents. For perspective residents, its community space provides are an array of lower middle to middle-class homes. It’s also a bit old and anonymous with most homes being built before the 1960’s and are modest, at best, residences.

While mostly residential, North Central’s flat living spaces are nothing to brag about. For the most part, they’re made up of ragtag blocks, one-story homes and compact lots. In fact, many residences are squished along neighborhood streets, providing little space for yards and driveways. To which case, many residents are forced to park on the usually crowded street. For nicer homes, the neighborhood’s most affluent area is clumped around East Poplar Avenue while shabby, small and unkempt homes are clustered towards San Mateo High School. For perspective residents, median house values are approximated at around $750,000 while median median household incomes circle around $65,000/year, way below the city’s average. If you’re looking to rent, you’ll pay upwards of $1,300/month. Apartment buildings are mixed in with the general suburban homes. As it happens, there are more renters than homeowners within the area.

For young families, San Mateo High School lies on the northern corner of the neighborhood. The school is the marque educational institution of the greater San Mateo Union High School District and boasts a 4-out-of-5 stars on greatschools.org. Elsewhere, the Poplat Creek Golf Course anchors the northern edge of the community. The well-maintained 18-hole golf course sits on along the beautiful San Francisco Bay. For commuters, the San Mateo Caltrain is located along North Railroad Avenue and is a great option for commuters traveling up the San Francisco peninsula.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5
2yrs+

"Cool but old"

I visited North Central a while ago on my trip out there and it was quite nice. I enjoyed the scenery, the houses were beautiful, and the area was quite well built up. There is a nice golf course located nearby which I used a few times and had a great time bonding with a friend there. My only complaint about this neighborhood would be that it seemed to be geared more towards older people. There was not as much to do for a guy my age which would have prevented me from moving here. However for retirees or people with kids this might be nice it is quiet and gorgeous. Even if your looking for a spectacular vacation spot this is it. Close but not too close to the beach. This was a wonderful place to visit but for me just not quite good enough to live here.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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Unranked Streets in North Central

"School kids rule this area"
37.5742881760414 -122.330356522048

Highland Ave

3.5/5
"Neighborhood Parallel to El Camino "
37.5737189889529 -122.337382582367
"Noisy at night but cheap living"
37.5751975032375 -122.330606649082
"Bargains Near the High School"
37.5748572740234 -122.328516262246
"A good retirement community"
37.5777040515676 -122.325089163093
"Another Normal Street"
37.5794938823728 -122.335809032147

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