Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Redwood City is located approximately 27 miles from San Francisco and about 6 miles from Stanford University. A center of high-tech industry and the mid-point of the beautiful San Francisco Peninsula, Redwood City is known for its great climate and profound sense of community. The city enjoys 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: "Climate Best by Government Test".
There is so much to do in Redwood City, I wanted to break down a few of my favorite must-visit places the next time you find yourself exploring or visiting the area.
DOWNTOWN REDWOOD CITY
Downtown Redwood City comes alive with locals walking the streets, retail shops, delicious restaurants, and community events! You can’t miss City Square as you walk down Broadway Street, which is where the city hosts many public events, including Oktoberfest, Music on the Square, art shows, dancing and so much more. Be sure to pop into the San Mateo County History Museum and learn about the history of San Mateo County and the Peninsula. A gem hiding within the museum is Encore Books on the Square, a used bookstore selling a broad array of titles. Two dining suggestions while downtown, Angelica’s and LV Mar Tapas & Cocktails.
PRO TIP: The Caltrain parking lot by Perry Street offers free public parking Monday - Friday after 6:00 pm and all day on weekends; a daily permit is only $5.50 for the entire day.
LA VIGA SEAFOOD & COCINA MEXICANA
Just off the downtown area in Redwood City along Broadway, there is a hidden gem waiting for you. La Viga Seafood & Cocina Mexicana is a cozy Latin eatery featuring classic seafood dishes and comfort eats in a warm space with a casual vibe. You must try one of the ceviches, or better yet the “Ceviche Duo”. Every time I eat here, I also must save room for their crispy churros stuffed with Bavarian cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. YUM!
EDGEWOOD PARK & NATURAL PRESERVE
With 467 acres of woodlands and grasslands, Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve is by far my favorite place to hike in Redwood City. When you get to the top of the preserve, you will have views of the entire Bay Area! I’ve seen many deer, hawks, rabbits, coyotes, lizards, and even an owl while hiking here. In the springtime, the fields come alive with local wildflowers, and in the fall the smell of golden oak leaves fills your nostrils will the scent of fall harvest!
PRO TIP: I like to park at the “Edgewood Trailhead” – here you can ease into the hike with a nice flat trail before getting into the hilly trails.
GRAND BAY SAN FRANCISCO
When staying in Redwood City, I suggest you consider the Grand Bay San Francisco. The hotel stands on the shores of a tranquil lagoon, and its beauty inspires a refreshing ambiance in every space, from their lobby to the spacious rooms. The hotel went through a major renovation in 2018 making it a super modern and trendy place to stay, complete with a stylish waterfront pool and state-of-the-art fitness center. For nearby food cravings, I suggest a beautiful 15-minute walk through the tech campuses to Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria. Amici’s always offers 20% off their items of the month (pick-up and delivery), so be sure to check out our website for monthly specials. For more hotel options in Redwood City, please click here.
THE BOTTLE SHOP
New business alert! The Bottle Shop opened in February 2020. Since the pandemic prevented many of us from trying this fabulous new wine bar, now is your chance! Enjoy a glass of wine (or bottle - who is judging?) at their bar or in their sunny, pet-friendly, outdoor patio. Their lunch and dinner menu is an exciting French-American, Michelin-inspired collection of cheese and charcuterie boards, small plates, and full serving options that change seasonally. They also host fun in-house wine events such as winemaker’s dinners that offer an exclusive food and wine pairing menu, as well as lower-key wine tasting and food events. They even offer a wine retail section where you can purchase bottles to-go.
PRO TIP: The Bottle Shop also offers a Happy Hour featuring 25% off wine by the glass and cheese & charcuterie boards on Tuesday- Thursday from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
PULGAS WATER TEMPLE
A must-stop selfie spot on your trip to Redwood City, the Pulgas Water Temple is a glorious and picturesque stone structure created to commemorate the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct (San Mateo County’s drinking water). Its marvelous carved and fluted Corinthian columns are paired with a reflecting pool lined with cypress trees. The Temple grounds and parking lot are open Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, including holidays.
GOURMET HAUS STAUDT
Gourmet Haus Staudt is a three-generation family-owned and operated German market and Biergarten located in downtown Redwood City on Broadway. The market sells exciting German goods, rare chocolates and candies, seasonal and festive treats, and also houses an enormous selection of craft and German bottled beers. The Biergarten in the back is a favorite amongst locals and serves up mouth-watering German fare. The “jumbo pretzel with salami and cheese” is a must-try! Beers are served in half or full liters, and the wonderful staff will let you try a sample of the beers before your order a large glass of suds. There is something for everyone at Gourmet Haus Staudt!
PRO TIP: They recently added a fine spirits retail section in the market, selling unique small-batch spirits all with exciting stories!
FREEWHEEL BREWING COMPANY
Freewheel Brewing Company is a neighborhood beer pub located on the border of Menlo Park and Redwood City, a true hidden gem! Their beers are brewed with the same ingredients and methods as their breweries in England. Their fun and outdoor, pet-friendly patio is the perfect place to take the whole family for a meal too. They use fresh and local ingredients to prepare delicious, made-from-scratch pub fare with new specials daily. In addition to beer, they offer wine, hard cider, and a variety of soft drinks. The staff is so friendly here, don’t be shy to ask about the beers!
DRAGON PRODUCTIONS THEATRE COMPANY
Sure, theatre can communicate emotion, evoke great feelings, and provide entertaining experiences, but theatre can also inspire change. Guided by the slogan, “Incubate, Educate, Innovate,” the Dragon Theatre, located in downtown Redwood City, aims to bring people together in the most unlikely of places. In its humble 65-seat intimate venue, the Dragon Theatre creates theatrical experiences for everyone. Check out their website for a list of events.
CALIFORNIA CANOE & KAYAK - REDWOOD CITY
The San Francisco Bay is best experienced on the water, and at 487 Seaport Court, you can rent your very own kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the sloughs of Redwood City with California Canoe & Kayak. Reservations are required and hourly rates start as low as $25.
PRO TIP: Go early! It can get windy in the afternoons. I recommend doing a morning paddle to see the most wildlife.
I know you will love all the great businesses, parks, and people in Redwood City – be sure it’s on your list the next time you come to the San Francisco Bay Area. For more on Redwood City and planning your next trip to San Mateo County, be sure to visit our website.
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