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North Central San Mateo is a lovely residential neighborhood close to all the action of San Mateo and the San Francisco Bay. The homes and rentals here remain more affordable than many other areas of the bay, making North Central a great choice for single commuters, families on a budget or students.

The area comprises mainly small family houses from the 1960s and apartments, allowing for a number of rental choices. Easy access to U.S. 101 makes for a direct commute to San Francisco and the San Francisco airport, just a few miles up the road.

North Central San Mateo lies south of San Francisco and is bordered by the beautiful bay to the west. The area contains a shopping center and other amenities, such as grocery stores and restaurants. Additionally, a short drive will take you to one of two beautiful parks on the bay.


Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in San Mateo, CA is $2,787 for a studio, $2,681 for one bedroom, $2,993 for two bedrooms, and $3,420 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in San Mateo has increased by 6.8% in the past year.

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78 Walk Score® Very Walkable
31 Transit Score® Some Transit
0 Bike Score® Somewhat Bikeable



There are some stellar restaurant options tucked away in this corner of the bay. Among other international flavors, the culinary kings of this area are Asian and Latin American cuisine, including Peruvian, Mexican, Taiwanese and Japanese fare. Much of the action takes place surrounding the convenient San Mateo Caltrain Station.

Sushi Sam's Edomata earns some serious respect and customer loyalty. Try the Copper River salmon, available only during the summer months as a sashimi cut.

Sushi Sam's is well known for showcasing some of the freshest fish available. For desert, try some out-of-this-world green tea tiramisu, paired with marscapone cream and a biscuit soaked in green-tea syrup. The bitterness of the tea enhances the rich marscapone cream and happens to be the chef's featured dessert.

For some South American flavors with a twist, take your date to Fusion Peruvian Grill. All palates are satisfied here, with a wide range of options, including organic meat dishes, seafood, saltados, ceviche and vegetarian options. Seafood lovers with rejoice over the Tacu Tacu a lo Macho, a rice and bean dish with calamari, prawns, black mussel, baby shrimp, clams, fried plantains and vegetables with a creamy aji panca sauce. Vegetarians will love the tofu saltado, a rich stir fry with seasonal vegetables and red wine sauce.

A number of appealing bars and wine bars are located just south of Caltrain Station, including Attic, Vault 164 and Grape & Grain, a craft beer and wine lounge in a minimalist warehouse setting. Clubs and more entertainment options are easily accessible in downtown San Mateo.


Before the arrival of Spanish explorers, the San Mateo area was the home of the Ohlone Native Americans. In 1793, missionaries from the San Francisco Mission set up a camp at the current site of downtown. The area was mostly a backwater until the opening of a stage coach and then railroad stop in the area, reducing commute time to San Francisco to 37 minutes. This transportation link created a number of businesses along Railroad Avenue and Main Street. Development continued through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Following WWII, the area became an important suburb of San Francisco and a city in its own right.

North Central San Mateo is home to the San Mateo Performing Arts Center which hosts symphonic, theatrical and musical performances. The North Central area also houses the Burlingame Museum of PEZ memorabilia, a campy collection of PEZ and other 20th century toys.


Commuters to San Francisco and other cities within the Bay Area will appreciate the proximity of Highway 101 and the San Mateo Bridge, spanning and connecting West Bay with East Bay.

North Central is fairly compact, making it walkable as well as bike-friendly. There are many secondary streets which make biking safe in the area. Taxis are available via telephone and occasionally can be hailed on the street. Uber's ride-share service presents another option in the area.

Parking can be found in the northern region of the neighborhood, but it becomes more scant as one reaches areas closer to downtown. Hourly parking meters are available in the area north of downtown. Caltrain provides another very convenient commuting option for those looking to leave their cars at home, and SamTrans buses provide rides throughout San Mateo.


Cost of living in North Central San Mateo sits about 7 percent lower than the city average, but prices are still quite high when compared to national averages. Samtrans buses serving the San Mateo area cost $2 for a trip downtown. The median rent for a one-bedroom residence is approximately $2,266 per month. The typical price of a beer at a local pub can cost anywhere from $5 to $9. Meanwhile, the cost of gas sits at around 22 percent higher than the national average.


North Central has great access to the many businesses that fringe the outskirts of downtown. There are many ethnic markets to explore, as well as handy thrift stores and clothing boutiques. Many businesses are located just south of Caltrain Station. California dreamers should head over to Atlas Skateboard Store, which presents a wide selection of new decks, trucks, wheels and street wear. The shop dedicates itself to preserving the culture of skateboarding through events, rotating art shows and reliable gear. Great for fans of urban wear in general, Atlas stocks numerous styles of clothing, hats, pants and accessories like belts and backpacks. Fans of Japanese and Hawaiian foodslike to stroll down the colorful aisles of Takahashi Market. Products are flown in weekly from Hawaii, including fresh poi and Portuguese sausage. Takahashi also has a wide selection of locally made tofu and manju sweet pastries, and a selection of cookbooks for Japanese, Hawaiian, Korean and Thai cuisine. For a legitimate Hawaiian plate lunch, stop in and try a delicacy from Sachi Kitchen's lunch menu. Grocery stores within the area include Safeway and Mi Rancho Supermarket, an old-school market offering mexican grocery items, produce, meats and more. There are also a variety of farmers markets hosted throughout San Mateo, where shoppers enjoy the fresh produce and handmade goods.


North Central is very close to two great bayfront parks with a number of activities for dog owners, families and those looking to exercise and get out of the city.

Coyote Point Recreation Area provides tons of family fun with an elaborate Magic Mountain-themed playground, and CuriOdyssey, a science and wildlife center that connects kids with the wonder of natural sciences and the animal kingdom. For a small fee, children at the center can explore a number of interactive animal and science exhibits, and they can take part in summer and winter camps as well. The remaining areas of Coyote Point are free, including a nice sandy beach, extensive trails and ample water-sports opportunities, such as windsurfing and SUP paddling.

Seal Point Park is a dog's paradise, with areas for both small and large dogs. In addition to canine delights, bicyclists will adore the bay trail, which winds around the perimeter of the entire park. Wind surfing is very popular here as well, with reliable winds and easy access to the water. An outdoor classroom provides events and workshops for kids and families to enjoy the beauty and magic of the Bay Area. Seal Point Park is free of charge and open to the public.

The Annual San Mateo Wine Walk is a fun event for adults looking to sample fine Northern California wines paired with specials from local merchants.


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North Central Apartments for Rent

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Metropolitan Apartments
338 S Fremont St, San Mateo, CA 94401
$3,365 - 11,130 1-3 Bed Available Now
Lakeview Garden Apartments
816-864 N Humboldt St, San Mateo, CA 94401
1 day
$2,345 1 Bed Available Now
Station 401 @ Poplar
401 E Poplar Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401
2 wks
$2,195 - 2,395 Studio - 1 Bed Available Now
7 hrs
Listing by
316 Eldorado St, Arcadia, CA 91006
$2,395 2 Bed Available Now
1 hr
Royal Pines Apartments
525 N El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94401
$2,200 1 Bed Available Now
18 S Idaho St
San Mateo, CA 94401
$2,770 House for Rent Available Now
1 hr
888 San Mateo
888 N San Mateo Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401
$3,417 - 4,495 1-2 Bed Available Now
10 Mounds Rd
San Mateo, CA 94402
$4,200 Condo for Rent Available Now
Sterling Court
850 N El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94401
$5,150 1 Bed Available Now
2 wks
Terrace Hills
619 N San Mateo Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401
No Availability 1 wk

Apartments for Rent in North Central, San Mateo, CA

North Central San Mateo is a lovely residential neighborhood close to all the action of San Mateo and the San Francisco Bay. The homes and rentals here remain more affordable than many other areas of the bay, making North Central a great choice for single commuters, families on a budget or students.

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