Living in San Mateo County, CA – Here’s What It’s Really Like [Insider’s Guide]

Cost of Living in Central Virginia Featured Image

Photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

Living in San Mateo gives you a mix of the urban-suburban environment combined with better quality of life. The charming county of San Mateo has excellent neighborhoods, impressive amenities for families, and fantastic recreational destinations and superb restaurants.

It is home to many businesses and an anchor for employment on the peninsula. It attracts many homebuyers across the state, provides easy access to major highways, and features a diverse real estate market.

Despite not being huge, because of its popularity as a hub for tech startups, San Mateo county is a fantastic location for relocating single professionals due to the large percentage of young, single, and upwardly mobile people residing in the city.

Best Neighborhoods in San Mateo County

Best Neighborhoods in San Mateo County

Photo by Avi Waxman on Unsplash

Each neighborhood of San Mateo County offers unique identities and charm. If you are still getting familiar with the county and wondering which area provides the best of San Mateo living, here is a rundown of the lovely neighborhoods of the city to give you an idea of the best places to live in San Mateo County.


Photo by Jane Sorensen on Unsplash

The community of Burlingame is also called the “City of Trees” and is one of the most highly-regarded cities in San Mateo County. It is home to several desirable homes in the region and is known for its high quality of life and extensive waterfront.

Furthermore, Burlingame is a business hub with a wide range of employment opportunities for locals and job seekers.


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The beautiful city of Hillsborough is mainly a residential town in San Mateo County and has no commercial zone. Hillsborough grew into a premier and exclusive residential community, with most homes worth millions of dollars due to their immense size and impressive features.

This residential area is suitable for families who want to live in a quiet, tranquil place. Living in Hillsborough allows one to experience a rural lifestyle far from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life.


Photo by Bailey Anselme on Unsplash

It is a suburban community composed mostly of single-family homes accounting for most of San Mateo County’s real estate portfolio.

San Bruno

Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

The vibrant city of San Bruno offers residents natural parks and well-maintained residential areas. Known as the “City with a Heart,” each community in San Bruno provides insightful landscape design to develop an aesthetic atmosphere and an elegant neighborhood structure for its residents and visitors to enjoy.

San Mateo

Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

San Mateo is a flourishing city with a diverse economy, known for its rich history and location at the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Most jobs in the neighborhood are in the information technology, healthcare, and education sectors.

Several large and small multi-story commercial buildings and governmental institutions are in the region, as well as the Mills Medical Center. The downtown center is home to approximately 800 businesses and shops, many of which are in historic structures dating back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Moreover, there are a lot of parks and nature trails across the city, such as Bay Meadows Park, Lakeshore Park, and Parkside Aquatic Park. A network of bikeways that connects the city’s key locations complements the unique cityscape and overall layout of San Mateo.

South San Francisco

Photo by Datingscout on Unsplash

This residential area is ideal for families seeking a city with a tranquil environment. Locals and tourists enjoy South San Francisco’s various recreational and job opportunities.

Cost of living in San Mateo County

Cost of living in San Mateo County

One of the essential factors to know when planning to move to a new city is the cost of living, as it helps weigh the economic cost and money you need to cover your everyday expenses, such as housing, health care, and food.

Housing Cost

Photo by Brian Babb on Unsplash

When living in San Mateo, housing is among the highest in the nation, approximately 255% higher than the national average. The median home selling price in San Mateo County is $1,412,529, and the median rent is $4,315 per month.

The high expense of housing puts a heavy financial burden on many people. Finding affordable housing might take time and effort, even if you have a well-paying job.

Food Cost

Photo by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash

San Mateo County’s food costs are 30% higher than the national average. The average yearly cost of food for a single adult is $3,837, while $11,080 for a family of four. The grocery bill in San Mateo County has an average cost of $107, and the average meal cost at a restaurant in San Mateo County is $32.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors established the Food Access Task Force to address this problem. The Task Force suggested actions, including developing community gardens and increasing financing for food assistance programs. Through these initiatives, citizens of San Mateo County can access reasonably priced, wholesome food.

Transportation Cost

Photo by Connor Wang on Unsplash

Transportation is one of the many factors contributing to San Mateo’s high cost of living. The cost of transportation in San Mateo is 43% higher than the national average.

The monthly pass for public transit for people without disabilities ranges from $1.10 to $130, while the price for the disabled ranges from $1.10 to $27. A one-way ticket costs from $2 to $5, depending on the distance traveled. On average, gas in San Mateo County costs $6.32 per gallon.

Childcare Cost

Photo by Jason Sung on Unsplash

The average price of an entire month of childcare in the county is over $1,704, and some families spend upwards of $30,000 yearly.

Healthcare Cost

Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash

When moving, one critical factor to consider is the availability and cost of healthcare facilities. In San Mateo County, healthcare services are 23% higher than the national average.

For example, visiting a doctor costs $145.10 and an RX drug is $577.41, on average. However, it is still possible to find affordable coverage, although the area’s healthcare cost is high. For people in need, many programs and organizations provide financial support.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The county’s average tax bill is 0.56% of the median property price of over $1 million. Over 50% of tax revenue in San Mateo County goes to fund public schools.

Attractions and Amenities in San Mateo County

Parks and Recreation

Photo by Bea Berces on Unsplash

In addition to the stunning magnificence of San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County is home to several excellent recreational facilities that are open to families. The County of San Mateo Parks Department oversees recreation grounds, trails, and other historic locations.

The county is home to about 22 parks, trails, and historic sites, including Coyote Point and Crystal Springs. Some famous parks in San Mateo County are Central Park and Japanese Tea Garden, which provide unsurpassed hiking and recreation.

San Mateo County has outstanding natural beauty, from the redwood forests of Crystal Springs Reservoir to the rolling hills of Huddart Park. The county is also home to vibrant cities like San Mateo and Redwood City, which provide a wide range of dining, entertainment, and retail options.

Proximity and Conveniences

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

San Mateo County is centrally located next to Interstate 280, Highway 101, and Highway 92. If you live in San Mateo, you will enjoy quick drives to San Francisco up North, down to Santa Clara, and it’s easy to access East Bay because of Highway 92. The county is also only a one-hour plane ride away from Los Angeles.


Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Living in San Mateo, CA means enjoying the mild weather, which is never too hot or cold. The temperature stays within the 80s when it is hot and in the mid-40s when it is freezing.

Living in San Mateo County, CA – Here’s What It’s Really Like [Insider’s Guide]


The county of San Mateo is indeed one of the excellent places to live when considering moving to the state of California, considering the benefits of living here. It has mild weather, impressive recreational facilities, and amenities that can be conveniently accessed, from parks and trails to dining, entertainment, and retail options.

The county also provides many job opportunities to its residents with many businesses, especially tech startups. The diverse real estate offered by neighborhoods also allows homebuyers to choose based on their budget and preference.

Due to the excellent living environment and opportunities that San Mateo County provides, the cost of living is rising and is projected to continue in the coming year. However, there are still ways to keep your costs down, such as by choosing to live in a less expensive area or looking for affordable housing options.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team at 650-218-3353 for more information about San Mateo County or if you are interested in available properties in San Mateo County’s neighborhoods.

Our team will be happy to assist you and provide you with the necessary information about San Mateo County to help you achieve your dream home. To keep updated with the latest news and updates about San Mateo County, we encourage you to follow us on our social media platforms:

San Mateo, CA

Frequently Asked Questions

San Mateo is one of the excellent places to live in CA with its diverse neighborhood, real estate options, ideal location that gives the area convenient access to nearby cities, and several amenities and establishments. Moreover, San Mateo is home to many businesses, providing job opportunities to its residents.

One of the cons of living in San Mateo County is the high cost of living. However, the pros outweigh the cons, such as San Mateo’s location providing easy access to amenities and other destinations, excellent health care, and many housing options in neighborhoods that offer ideal living environments.

San Mateo County is a safe and sound place to live, although crimes still happen. However, because the county offers an excellent living environment, the cost of living is relatively high regardless of which area. When choosing areas of San Mateo to live in, consider your financial status, the lifestyle you want, and access to amenities.

What are the schools like in San Mateo County?
There are over 25 public and 18 private schools in San Mateo County, including College Park Elementary School, Baywood Elementary School, Beresford Elementary School, and San Mateo Park Elementary School.

For the 2021–2022 academic year, CollegeCalc estimated that the average cost of attending a public elementary school is $28,288, while the annual fee for out-of-state students who don’t live in California is $35,932.

San Mateo County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state. The area also boasts several businesses in the technology, education, and health sectors, providing plenty of job opportunities.