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Redwood City

Redwood City

With a vibrant downtown and access to nature preserves, this Silicon Valley town is a versatile destination for Bay Area travelers

  • Summary
  • Official Resources
  • Things to do
  • Gallery
  • Places to Eat & Drink

The name “Redwood City” perfectly captures this San Francisco Peninsula community’s unique mix of natural beauty and urban attractions. Poised along the shores of San Francisco Bay and with easy access to open space areas in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, it’s a great destination for anyone who wants to get outdoors while also enjoying exciting nightlife and outstanding dining.

Outdoor Activities in Redwood City

So considering that Redwood City is a Silicon Valley town midway between San Francisco and San Jose, your first question might be: Are there actually any coast redwoods in Redwood City? A stand of the stately trees does grow at city hall, and just outside town at the 5,412-acre Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve you can hike through gorgeous groves of these giants. Accessed through Huddart Park, the Phleger Estate was once the site of extensive logging activity, but a few old-growth trees survived and second-growth redwood groves are thriving in the property’s ravines and along its creeks.

There’s more hiking near Redwood City at the 366-acre Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, where six miles of trails provide access to canyons and San Francisco Bay views. The routes are open for dogs on leashes, and the preserve even has a fenced 17.5-acre off-leash area. Just across the road from the preserve, don’t miss the incredible wildflower displays at Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, 467 acres of grasslands and woodlands with 10 miles of trails and a panorama that looks all the way across the bay.

Much of Redwood City’s bayfront of tidal channels and salt marshes is protected as part of the Bair Island Ecological Reserve and the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (the country’s first and largest urban national wildlife refuge). The bay habitat draws huge numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, not to mention plenty of birders, who flock to Bair Island’s Middle Bair Island Observation Deck to try to add to their life lists. If you want to get out on the water, California Canoe & Kayak rents an assortment of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and also offers classes.

What to Do in Downtown Redwood City

Redwood City’s natural beauty is within easy reach of its historic and vibrant downtown. Catch a concert at the ornate Fox Theater, a onetime movie palace built in 1929 that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater is situated across from Courthouse Square; in addition to year-round live music and comedy performances, on Thursdays during summer you can catch free double features during the seasonal Movies on the Square series.

Commanding one side of the square, the San Mateo County History Museum is in the landmark 1910 courthouse that gives the square its name. Walk inside and you’ll be dazzled by the gorgeous stained-glass dome (one of the largest on the West Coast) and an elaborate tile mosaic floor that includes an exquisitely crafted Seal of the State of California. The museum’s exhibits examine the county’s story, from the Native American era to the present time.

Where to Eat in Redwood City

Downtown dining favorites include the contemporary Latin flavors at LV Mar Tapas & Cocktails and inventive California cuisine at the acclaimed Timber & Salt. Or enjoy the Latin-inspired California specialties out on the lovely patio at local favorite Angelica’s. Pair wines by the glass from California and around the world with a charcuterie board and small plates at The BottleShop or pair a Bavarian pretzel with one of the rotating German or craft beers at Gourmet Haus Staudt & Biergarten. A short distance from the heart of downtown, La Viga Seafood & Cocina Mexicana is the place to go for everything from red snapper ceviche to grilled seabass.

If you’re looking for an elegant backdrop for your Instagram feed, it’s hard to beat Pulgas Water Temple, a classically styled monument with a reflecting pool lined by towering Italian cypress trees. The temple commemorates the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, which delivers water from the Sierra Nevada to communities in the Bay Area. A few minutes away from the temple in nearby Woodside, explore Filoli, a 654-acre country estate renowned for its English Renaissance gardens and 54-room mansion.

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