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Welcome to Pacifica

The city of Pacifica is a sprawling community spread amongst gently rolling hills and beaches along California’s Pacific Coast. While the city has a decent sized population and commercial base it manages to maintain a relaxed and open atmosphere thanks to its sheer geographic size. Located just outside of San Francisco, Pacifica manages to create a balance between metropolitan suburb and isolated beach community.

Lay of the Land

Pacifica is located in San Mateo County, 12 miles south of San Francisco. Pacifica is bordered by a mountainous region to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Daly City to the north. Pacifica is one of several cities and small coastal communities located along the Pacific Coast that are separated from the rest of the Bay Area and Santa Clara County by the Santa Cruz Mountains. This makes Pacifica a gateway city of sorts, serving as the last major city and transportation center before a relatively undeveloped stretch of California’s eastern coast. The city has a population of 38,606 spread out over 12.6 square miles. The median household income of $98,057 and median home values of $632,045 are well above state averages though on the lower end for the region.


Pacifica is served by the full array of Bay Area and San Mateo County public transportation services, either through stations located directly in the city or via stations in nearby Daly City. This includes Bay Area Rapid Transit services and SamTrans bus services as well CalTrain commuter train services. However, it is also the origination point for several SamTrans bus lines that run along the coast. These serve as the only form of public transportation for several cities along the coast, including Montara, Moss Beach, Half-Moon Bay, and Pescadero.

Local Highlights

The natural tendency of most of the major cities in San Mateo County and Silicon Valley has been to focus entirely on commercial and technological development or to maintain a strictly residential atmosphere via strict zoning laws. Pacific is one of the more balanced communities in the region, offering visitors and residents access to a wide array of activities and services while still maintaining a strong residential ambiance.

Pacifica’s geographic location means that there are a wide range of naturally occurring outdoor activities that take advantage of both the ocean coast and the edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The city has one of the most extensive systems of hiking and biking trails in the region. These trails wind all through the richly forested canyons of the city’s eastern edge and the gently rolling hills that overlook the Pacific Ocean to the west. The ocean itself of course offers numerous activities, including surfing, fishing, and enjoying the local aquatic wildlife.

Organized activities are also plentiful in the city. Sharp Park is an 18 hole golf course first established in 1932. A fully functional par 72 course, the park sits alongside the Pacific Ocean and is often referred to as a “poor man’s Pebble Beach” based on its undeveloped coastal surroundings. The city also features numerous general use parks and community recreation centers as well as athletic fields and several indoors swimming pools.

Finally, the city is a major hub for tourism and travel in the region. Pacifica is located just five miles south of the San Francisco International Airport. Its location at the end of the San Francisco Peninsula also means that visitors can use Pacifica to easily access Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, or the collection of small communities located along the coast. Additionally, the city is home to numerous hotels and dozens of restaurants. Finally, Pacifica is home to 11 separate major shopping areas. These include a wide range of nationally recognized retail locations as well as a smattering of locally operated specialty shops and coastal themed boutiques.