Local Things to Do in Central San Mateo
San Mateo, CA, is one of the most primitive San Francisco peripheries. It was, in the beginning, a stagecoach stop, then a railroad stop, then an ideal place for wealthy San Franciscans to have a weekend home. One of its best features is the location, about halfway between San Francisco & Palo Alto, as well as a mild climate and great access to jobs. These features make San Mateo a tremendous place to call home for many long-time residents. Here are things you can easily visit from Central San Mateo:
Nestled in the bayside area of San Mateo, Coyote Point serves as the perfect outdoor getaway for families and groups of friends alike. With huge amounts of picnic tables you can preserve, Coyote Point is an immense barbecue spot on a sunny weekend. There are also five walking trails you can venture on to get great views of the bay and to see the San Francisco skyline from a different perspective. With great beach access located on the bayside, there is a great opportunity to participate in various water sports. The most popular in Coyote Point is windsurfing, which also makes for great people-watching if you don’t feel too adventurous.
CuriOdyssey is a totally interactive playground where kids can enjoy the wonders of science for a day, and feel like real scientists! Here, kids are free to observe wild animals, experiment, and get answers to their questions. This is a great daytime activity with the family or a birthday party for a group of kids. CuriOdyssey, formerly known as the Coyote Point Museum. This museum has an arrangement of internal science exhibits and an open-air zoo area. The animal collection features many wildlife rescues that cannot be released back into the wild, with a focus on California native species, such as bobcats, raccoons, otters, and eagles. The experiential science and wildlife center also boasts a variety of hands-on science exhibits that showcase natural phenomena up-close.
The San Mateo Japanese Garden
The San Mateo Japanese Garden is one of California’s most beautiful gardens. Added to Central Park in 1966, the garden consists of a koi pond, bamboo, and a pagoda made of granite. The trees are also of Japanese variety, and these include cherry blossoms, Japanese maple, and the diminutive bonsai. The most significant event here is when the cherry blossoms bloom, to signal the start of the spring season. There’s also the Japanese Tea Garden, an attraction all on its own. The beautifully maintained grounds are especially beautiful when the cherry blossoms bloom, and in the spring and summer, you can feed the koi that fill the pond. The Japanese Garden is a can’t-miss destination on your trip here to San Mateo!
Sawyer Camp Trail
The Sawyer Camp Trail is a 6-mile (9.6-km) section of the bigger Crystal Springs Regional Trail and is perhaps the most popular of the trails in San Mateo. Once open to cars, the trail was closed off in 1979 to protect the nearby reservoir from pollution and has remained a non-vehicular road since. Walking, jogging, and cycling are the main activities here, and are even accessible to people with disabilities. There are three restrooms along the path, two near each end and one near the middle of the trail. Don’t forget to bring your own water, as there is no fountain along the road.
The San Mateo Central Park
At almost 100 years old, Central Park is the first public park in San Mateo, located right in the heart of the town. It has plenty of sights and venues spread across 7 hectares (17.3 acres), including a baseball field, tennis courts, a recreation center, a rose garden, and the Japanese Garden. Kids can enjoy the small train that runs around the park and have fun in the playground. The park is also home to several popular statues, including Leon, a life-size giraffe constructed from braised copper plates, and a cast-iron dog statue from Italy, which has been standing guard since William Kohl owned the land. Don’t forget to visit this historic site!