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San Carlos

Welcome to San Carlos

Located near the center of the San Francisco Peninsula, the city of San Carlos is a picturesque member of the Bay Area community. Adopting the motto “City of Good Living” early in its history, the city has done everything it can to embody that statement. While the city has worked to develop a diverse and thriving economy, it has not done so at the cost of quality of life in other areas. This has led to a modern city full of quiet residential neighborhoods and sprawling parks sitting alongside progressive commercial and corporate developments.

Lay of the Land

Located in San Mateo County, San Carlos is positioned near the center of the San Francisco Peninsula, an equal distance from San Francisco in the north and San Jose to the south. Belmont sits to the direct north of the city while the sprawling suburbs and unincorporated outskirts of Redwood City push roughly against the south and western edges. The city lacks a single definable characteristic, perfectly balancing residential development and economic centers. This perfect balance has made it a residential and commercial destination on the peninsula, leading to average household incomes of $122,196 and average home values of $962,005 for the city’s 29,387 residents.


U.S Route 101 runs through the center of the city, functioning as the resident’s primary roadway. Despite its relatively close proximity to the west, Interstate 280 is slightly more difficult to access and therefore not as popular. San Carlos lacks its own dedicated Bay Area Rapid Transit Station, with the nearest station sitting in Millbrae to the north. However, the city does have several SamTrans commuter bus lines that serve the area along with a CalTrain commuter train station. The city also features the San Carlos Airport, a modest regional airport that makes business travel as well as travel within the immediate area extremely convenient. National and international travel is possible via the San Francisco International Airport.

Local Highlights

San Carlos has several districts or regions that enhance the ambiance of the town without becoming the defining characteristic of the area. One of these regions is the city’s downtown area. Located on Laurel Street, the downtown region has managed to maintain a small town vibe while serving as a popular regional destination. The area is populated by a mix of local boutiques and specialty shops alongside an eclectic mix of bistros and cozy eateries.The city has also spent a considerable amount of resources developing its park system. San Carlos currently features 15 parks on a total of 143 acres of public land. This features a wide range of public use facilities and athletic fields. Additionally, the city also provides support for the San Carlos Youth Center and a traditional Adult and Senior Center.

Each of the centers hosts a wide range of enrichment activities and educational classes targeted at each center\’s specific demographic. This is in addition to the wide range of traditional athletic programs that the city organizes and coordinates. One of the more unique aspects of the Parks and Recreation department is the Youth Advisory Committee. Appointed by the City Council, the advisory committee is comprised of local middle school and high school students. They serve to provide the Parks and Recreation department and the Youth Center staff with ideas regarding youth programs and activities.

Finally, the city also organizes a number of seasonal and cultural events and festivals. The highlight of these events is the annual San Carlos Arts and Wine Faire. The festival has been a yearly tradition within the city since its premiere in 1985. While it is not as large as some of the more well-known art and wine festivals in the region, it does feature a wide range of performance artists, live musical entertainment, contemporary visual artists, and hundreds of food and wine booths.