San Mateo County, gateway to San Francisco and northernmost part of Silicon Valley, is graced with natural scenic beauty, yet has all of the excitement of a cosmopolitan community. With over 170 hotels and easy access, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has it all.
The convenience of being the home to San Francisco International Airport adds to the appeal of San Mateo County. Ideally suited for long weekends and family vacations, San Mateo County fulfills the highest expectations of all types of visitors. Already known for its convenience, its sunshine, 60 miles of coastline and proximity to San Francisco, the area is now earning a reputation as a culinary tourism destination due to the incredible, fresh produce grown in the southernmost part of the county, the seafood caught off the Pacific side, and the locally produced cheese, wine and microbrews. The county’s cuisine is “as fresh as it gets,” with area chefs turning local products into incredible creations.
Our numerous award-winning restaurants, elegant art galleries, museums and theaters are inspirational. For the ultimate in shopping, we offer several vibrant downtown areas, as well as four major shopping centers and numerous pockets of unique stores and boutiques.
Nature lovers enjoy exploring tide pools, whale watching, deep sea fishing and migrating elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Reserve. Those fascinated by flight take pleasure in the unique displays at the Hiller Aviation Museum, as well as the San Francisco International Airport Aviation Museum. Golfers find courses and practice ranges with spectacular views; while runners and walkers have miles of scenic trails and parks to explore.
The opportunities are endless in the area we call home. We invite you to discover “the best part of the San Francisco Bay Area - San Mateo County/Silicon Valley” We have it all!!
Below is a sample tour for a day and ½ excursion. We would be happy to customize specific themed tours at your request as well as assist with hotel contacting and any other tour and travel needs.
Filoli Center Mansion and Garden Tour
Start your tour with a Visit to Filoli Center in Woodside, comprised of a gorgeous mansion and magnificent surrounding gardens. Filoli Center is one of America’s greatest treasures and a not-to-be-missed excursion. The beautifully preserved Georgian Revival house, registered as a national historic trust, is situated on a 654-acre estate. It was built in 1915 by William Bower Bourn II, owner of one of the richest gold mines in California. The 36,000 square-foot home, containing 43 rooms, 17 bathrooms, 17 fireplaces and 17-foot high ceilings, was designed by prominent architect Willis Polk to serve as Mr. Bourn’s retirement residence. The estate was purchased in 1937 by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, heirs to the Matson Navigation Company, who opened the house and gardens to botanical and horticultural societies, garden clubs and distinguished organizations. As a result, the 16-acres of formal gardens became world-renowned for their beauty and are delightful to visit at any season of the year. Numerous movies have been filmed at Filoli. This tour will take approx two hours. Filoli Center, www.filoli.org
Lunch on the Stanford University campus
Cool Café. This chic café overlooks the Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Cantor Arts Center. A menu of gourmet sandwiches, soups, and salads changes seasonally. Enjoy fresh desserts, juice, or a glass of wine, port, or beer in the inviting dining room or on the outdoor terrace. After lunch, enjoy an educational experience at Cantor Arts Center, home to the second largest collection of Rodin sculptures. The Cantor Arts Center boasts a proud and venerable history, as it was conceived of in tandem with the founding of Stanford University itself. The Stanford family, including Leland Jr., traveled the world collecting objects of art and cultural interest. The museum was originally created to make this collection available to students and the public. It has withstood natural disasters and periodic neglect, only to be resurrected, renewed, and expanded, with its collections stronger than ever, thanks to the passionate dedication of Stanford faculty and staff, and art lovers in the surrounding community. Please allow approx 2 hours for lunch and a tour of the art center. Cantor Arts Center, museum.stanford.edu
Downtown Palo Alto
University Avenue is the heartbeat of Palo Alto’s downtown area, starting at the gates of Stanford University stretching through to the Four Seasons Silicon Valley. University has everything a shopper or foodie could imagine. From gourmet restaurants to toy shops, it is an ideal place to spend an afternoon. But when the lights go down, University is also a hub for the south peninsula’s nightlife and night clubs and bars abound, all within walking distance of the Palo Alto Caltrain Station. www.paloaltodowntown.com
Indulge in wine tasting and lovely views of the San Francisco Bay area. Few wine regions on earth can match the climates, soils and views of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. Situated at 2000 feet above sea level, the estate offers a rare confluence of great vineyard sites and sweeping panoramas of the San Francisco Bay area. Founded in 1981 by Dr. Thomas Fogarty, a Stanford cardiovascular surgeon and world-renowned inventor, the winery produces single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Merlots and Cabernets that capture the unique character of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards, www.thomasfogarty.com
From the winery on your way to San Mateo County’s unique and breathtaking pacific coast side, enjoy a drive thru the redwoods on Hwy 35.
Check into Coastside hotel
Dine at a local restaurant featuring home grown produce and fresh seafood and catch the sunset overlooking the spectacular Pacific Ocean view. One option for a unique Half Moon Bay coast side experience is the Moss Beach Distillery, where the view is breathtaking! Previously named “Franks Place”, was known as a popular nightspot for silent film stars and politicians from the City of San Francisco in the 1920’s. The restaurant, located on the cliff, above a secluded beach was a perfect location to benefit from the clandestine activities of Canadian rum-runners. With the repeal of the prohibition in 1933 Frank Torres remained in the food service business as one of the most successful restaurateurs along the San Mateo County coast side. “Frank’s Place” now called the Moss Beach Distillery still retains its spectacular view and secluded location above the ocean coves. The Distillery also retains one of “Frank’s” former customers, as well. Its resident ghost, "The Blue Lady” still haunts the premises, trying to recapture the romance and excitement of “Frank’s” speakeasy years. The story of The Blue Lady was documented by the TV program "Unsolved Mysteries", and has been seen by millions of people around the world. The Moss Beach Distillery, www.mossbeachdistillery.com
Day 2 (Full day)
Get an early start and begin your morning with crisp and fresh coastal morning air discovering the world of sea kayaking in Half Moon Bay on the Northern California coast, a dynamic and diverse environment you can embrace and explore. Kayak among seals, birds, and other marine life in protected Pillar Point Harbor or the wild waters of the open Pacific near Half Moon Bay. Learn to surf in kayaks or travel in them throughout the world. California Canoe & Kayak, www.calkayak.com
Start your day awed by nature – A unique Eco-Tour Adventure will leave you transformed. Discover the “Hidden Coast side” with a visit to Ano Nuevo state reserve, site of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world for the northern elephant seal. Explore wildlife and nature’s splendor along the Half Moon Bay coast – tide pool adventures, historical landmarks, local folklore, ecology, wildlife and intertidal wilderness. Please allow approx 2 hours for these unique adventures.
Coastal Elegance Tours, www.coastalelegancetours.com
Farm to Fork Tours
Step back in time to Harley Farms Goat Dairy. Make your way along country roads to breathe in the coastal breezes that flavor the cheese. The dairy an eight-year winner at the American Cheese Society awards, and the only coastal dairy between Sebastopol and Monterey. Born in Yorkshire, England, Dee Harley's life is surrounded by good friends, good family and really good food. Realizing her dream of blending family, local farming and gourmet food, Dee started Harley Farms 14 years ago with just six goats. She rebuilt a 1910 cow dairy farm that now houses the cheese making room and milking parlor. Popular weekend tours visit 200 American Alpine goats and their soft, friendly babies, and show how the milk flows from the milking parlor into the dairy and to the cheese makers. Taste subtle and delicious farmstead chevre, fromage blanc, ricotta and feta in the farm shop. Admire the pastures and edible flower gardens from the balcony of the restored barn, a charmingly rustic location perfect for private parties. Goat dairy farm tour, approx 1 hour.
Harley Farms, www.harleyfarms.com
Along the scenic drive on the pacific coast highway, discover unique and quaint coast towns, Pigeon Point Lighthouse may be visited while in Pescadero. It is one of the tallest lighthouses in the U.S.
Shopping and Lunch on Main Street
Dine at a local favorite that serves the freshest local produce several popular venues can be found on Main Street, a popular destination in Half Moon Bay. The historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and much more.
San Francisco Bayside/Check into Bayside hotel
Shopping - Burlingame Avenue
Visit downtown Burlingame, the Peninsula's crown-jewel destination for boutique shopping, fine dining, and unmatched personal and professional services. Enjoy the treasures to be discovered along picturesque Burlingame Avenue and the surrounding side streets. Located just minutes from the San Francisco International Airport, downtown Burlingame is one of Northern California's most desirable destinations. www.burlingameshop.com
Dinner at local bayside venue with San Francisco Bay views
Among the many award winning restaurants to choose from in San Mateo County, dinner on the San Francisco Bay is a memorable experience. For a unique dining experience, The Sherman Restaurant is a fine dining floating restaurant located on the San Francisco Bay. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay, the finest of Californian cuisine and excellent service. You will be treated to a unique dining experience aboard the landmark, which dates back to 1922. Accommodations range from an intimate dinner for two to wedding celebrations and special occasions to corporate events. The Sherman Restaurant, www.theshermanrestaurant.com
Other options available if adding a San Francisco experience to the mix is of interest. San Francisco is within a 15-20 mile drive from San Mateo County.
Dinner and a Show
Set along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, Teatro ZinZanni is a bewitching evening of European cabaret and cirque, divas and madmen, Spectacle and Sensuality with Live Music and a Gourmet Five-Course Dinner – set in the nightclub of your dreams! Teatro ZinZanni was created by Pacific Northwest non-profit arts and events producer One Reel in 1998 and enjoyed a sold-out 14 month run in Seattle before bringing its antique “spiegeltent” to San Francisco in 2000, now located at its permanent home on Pier 29 along The City’s Embarcadero. Teatro ZinZanni breaks new artistic territory with this intoxicating blend of interactive theater, spectacle, fine arts and fine dining, put together under the artistic direction of One Reel's Norman Langill. The ever changing cast at Teatro ZinZanni features world-class practitioners of some of the oldest and most time honored traditions in entertainment. It is truly an extraordinary ensemble, of a caliber unlikely seen anywhere else in the world. We know you will enjoy the distinctive magic that is created by these incredible talents with fine cuisine and lively music presented in our intimate “jewel box” venue. Teatro Zinzanni,
Other San Francisco dinner suggestions:
PIER 39, San Francisco’s Premier Bay Attraction, is a festive shopping mecca featuring 110 specialty shops and 12 full-service restaurants serving seafood, California cuisine, and casual fare with beautiful Bay views. At PIER 39, the picturesque scenery captures Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Fisherman’s Wharf and city skyline. PIER 39’s two-level design with lush landscaping is a must-see on San Francisco’s historic waterfront. There’s a multitude of fun for everyone, with attractions such as the Wax Museum and live entertainment to amuse all ages. PIER 39, www.pier39.com
SF Bay Cruise and Dinner
Sail under the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz aboard a one-hour Golden Gate Bay Cruise – a San Francisco original narrated in eight languages-- or enjoy amazing sunsets and appetizers aboard a relaxed two-hour California Sunset Cruise. The 90 minute SF Explorer Cruise is an amazing way to discover San Francisco's unique natural history, architecture, and Native American culture on a sailing route that promises spectacular views. Red and White Fleet, www.redandwhite.com
After your cruise; dine at Fior d' Italia, America's Oldest Italian Restaurant, which has proudly served the citizens of, and visitors to, San Francisco since 1886. Located in the North Beach section of San Francisco in the historic San Remo Hotel, "The Fior" specializes in traditional Northern Italian cuisine and old world hospitality. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the restaurant is the ultimate San Francisco dining experience. It has been said, "If you haven't dined at 'The Fior' you haven't been to San Francisco.” Fior d’Italia, www.fior.com
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