7.2 out of 10

Western Hills

Ranked 5th best neighborhood in San Mateo
37.5235322419411 -122.334350048924
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Public Transport
  • Cost of Living
  • Medical Facilities
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Lack of Traffic
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students


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

"Community College, Apartments, Contemporary Homes"

Running along Highway 92, Western Hills is a pretty good mix of a neighborhood. There was a chance that I would be teaching a summer class up here at the community college so I wanted to check out the neighborhood (it turns out I won’t be teaching it, but anyway). We decided we would look into it as a place to live possibly as well.

The community college here is on the far northern end of the neighborhood, right on the border with swanky Hillsborough.
The college looks very much like a 1970’s style community college—sort of ugly buildings for the most part and about the size of a high school. They’ve had new construction recently, I think, but they haven’t really updated the look that much with it, apparently.

Just to the south of the college are a bunch of apartment buildings. They are not swanky or particularly attractive nor terrible—they are just your run of the mill apartment complexes—the kind of place students don’t mind living and that are okay when you are just out of college, but that start to seem dingy as you get older.

In case you are wondering, 2-bedroom up here, btw, will run you around $2100/month. In terms of buying, there are also condos up here that go for about $400 K ($300 K if in foreclosure).

On the farthest southern end of this neighborhood you get an upper middle class neighborhood with really nice mostly contemporary style homes. Homes here tend to go for just over $1 million dollars, some rising to as much as $1.5 million if recent homes sales are any indicator. These are nice newer homes that give you just under 3,000 sq. ft. These are expensive, but given how far up in the hills they are and the views many of them offer, it is not altogether surprising that they should go for this amount.

Schools in the area are pretty great as well, with Hillsdale Elementary, Ralston Middle School and Hillsdale High School all being above average. (You will also find a number of private religious schools in the area if that is more to your liking.)

The area is relatively safe as well, with only some reports of theft to report in the last six months. In other words, this is not the sort of place where you generally need to worry about getting mugged or otherwise assaulted if you go for a walk at dusk.

Overall, pretty nice area, though still outside the range of most people.
  • Nice Homes
  • Great School
  • Good Mix of Condos, Apartments and Homes
  • Expensive Homes
  • Ugly College
  • Poor Public Transportaton
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • LGBT+
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5

"Upper middle-class with wide open spaces"

Western Hills is a wealthy, upper middle-class neighborhood within within the vast San Mateo county. It is known for its wide open spaces, polished residences and reclusive hillside aesthetic. Geographically speaking, the district is a skinny neighborhood spanning about 1 square mile and follows US Route 92 into US Route 280. It encompassing about a handful of neighborhood streets as well as the College of San Mateo, a cheap, 2-year community college convenient for locals.

Western Hills is one of the most enticing communities within the city of San Mateo. Homes are, for the most part, large, two-story town houses set against the brushy/leafy landscape. They offer elegant, well-maintained yards, two-car garages and somewhat sizable properties. For cheaper residences, there are also a couple dozen condos and nice looking apartment units clumped along Lyonridge Lane. The typical house will run you up $1.3 million while average household incomes are between $120,000 to $140,000/year. Demographically speaking, the area has a population just exceeding 2,000 residents, most of whom are from a white or asian background.

For recreation, the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir is about a 5-minute drive west of the district’s limits and consists of two different lakes. The reservoir is set within the Santa Cruz Mountains and offers beautiful woodland vistas and a handful of trails that run along the lakes’ perimeter. Elsewhere, Laurelwood Park is just up the road from De Anza Boulevard while the Peninsula Golf and Country Club sits along US Route 92. For your commercial needs, Crystal Springs Shopping Center occupies the corner of Polhemus Road and De Anza Boulevard. The area provides partial shopping needs including a Safeway and a couple family restaurants.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

Travelling to Western Hills?

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Unranked Streets in Western Hills

Polhemus Rd

"The road to nowhere"
37.5165304604215 -122.334982660411

Ralston Ave

"Great Art Community and Much More"
37.5135439959452 -122.330306960342
"Check out the College of San Mateo."
37.5317108450216 -122.332806641047

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