Whether you’re looking to host a grand party or an intimate gathering, San Mateo County and Silicon Valley offer a variety of event venues with outdoor spaces that stand out. With mild temperatures all year round, outdoor events are a possibility no matter the season. From historical gardens to oceanfront views to beautiful open spaces, here is our list of top choices in and around our county for your next event!
MUSEUMS & SCIENCE CENTERS
With views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline, the Exploratorium offers open-air space in their Outdoor Gallery and Terrace. The California Academy of Sciences also offers several options, including their impressive 21,000 square foot East Garden under the canopy of Golden Gate Park. On top of the building, their Living Roof boasts panoramic views of the Park. Nearby, the de Young Museum’s Terrace and popular Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden are other excellent choices.
Living Roof at the California Academy of Science
Make history with your event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Their 10,000 square foot outdoor area features a canopied deck, fire pits, and Adirondack seating arrangements.
For beautiful waterfront views, you can’t go wrong with Mavericks House in Half Moon Bay which sits on a large bluff overlooking Pillar Point Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Sam’s Chowder House offers a beachside atmosphere with ocean views, fire pits, and heaters. Another picturesque option is Dominic’s at Oyster Point located right on the water in South San Francisco.
Outdoor wedding ceremony at Sam's Chowder House
If you’re looking for the perfect balance between playfulness and sophistication, Pinstripes has a large outdoor patio equipped with bocce ball courts and cozy fireplaces. Par 3 at Poplar Creek features golf course views and lawn games to entertain a crowd.
GARDENS & OPEN SPACE
If you’re seeking something more rustic, La Nebbia Winery combines a beautiful outdoor garden space with award-winning wines and bocce ball. Surrounded by nature, Costanoa Lodge provides several outdoor spaces with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Chalk Hill Mountains.
Outdoor event at Filoli
For a more whimsical atmosphere, Filoli is a must-see historic garden and estate. With an impressive 16 acres of formal gardens, courtyards, terraces, and even a pool, Filoli has a space for any occasion. The charming Gamble Garden provides the perfect intimate setting and offers three spaces: the Rose Garden, Wisteria Garden, and Tea House Patio.
For a lively outdoor event, California’s Great America offers plenty of space for larger groups. Their Celebration Plaza is at the heart of the Park with room for 5,000 guests and the Redwood Amphitheatre is a 70,000 square foot outdoor entertainment area for concerts and speaking events.
Beneath ancient redwoods, Roaring Camp Railroads is an ideal venue for a day on the picnic grounds or an evening under the stars. You can even rent the open-air train for your group! Or travel back in time to the Old West for a one-of-a-kind ranch experience at Long Branch Saloon & Farms.
For a truly unmatched experience, come aboard the USS Hornet, a historic aircraft carrier built for the US Navy during World War II. From the flight deck, you can see views of the San Francisco skyline.