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Centered directly between San Francisco and San Jose, the city of San Carlos attracts residents with its upscale neighborhoods and laid-back lifestyles. Easy commutes to some of the country’s largest technology firms and elite universities allows for San Carlos to be one of the area’s most coveted residential locations. The city enjoys views of the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Montara Mountain Range to the west.


Rent Trends

As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in San Carlos, CA is $1,201 for a studio, $1,782 for one bedroom, $2,095 for two bedrooms, and $2,493 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in San Carlos has increased by 1.1% in the past year.

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75 Walk Score® Very Walkable
22 Transit Score® Minimal Transit
59 Bike Score® Bikeable



Locals head to Laurel Avenue for shopping, dining and entertainment. Bars such as Orchid Room and TasteVin Wine Bar & Bistro sit nestled between cafes, diners and coffee shops on the busy street. If you enjoy trying new beers, stop by Ale Arsenal to sample one of the 25 rotating craft beers it has on tap, or grab one of the 100 varieties of bottled beer.

A new addition to the neighborhood, Johnston’s Salt Box on Laurel Avenue features fresh farm-to-table dishes for lunch and dinner and a brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday mornings. Chef Jennifer McAteer Johnston believes in sourcing the best local ingredients and nurturing them into flavorful dishes. Try the smoked bacon hash with poached farm eggs, caramelized onion, delicata squash, braising greens and light hollandaise. Round out the favorite brunch dish with a mimosa while enjoying the breeze on the patio. The small restaurant limits party sizes to fewer than six and doesn't take reservations, so make sure to plan in advance for a quickly moving crowd.

On the other end of Laurel Street, The Refuge boasts that it has the best pastrami in the world. The kitchen team prepares the meat through a house secret formula of brining, spicing, smoking and steaming. Head over for lunch and grab a Rueben and an order of goofy fries, garlic fries topped with pastrami and cheese. Don’t forget to grab a pint of beer — The Refuge carries 18 Belgian beers on tap.

Another local favorite, Seiya Japanese Restaurant, presents a menu full of traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. The elegant ambiance makes the small restaurant a prime date-night destination. Start the meal with a shared bowl of asari butter sakamushi before sampling the salmon skin hand roll or the specialty roll Great Balls of Fire. Round out your meal with a bottle of saki, guaranteed to enhanced the flavors on your plate. The restaurant gets busy, so ensure a great table by calling ahead for a reservation.


The San Carlos area was first inhabited by the Native America Tribe known as the Lamchins. The name they called their village seems to translate into the word vermin, which the Spanish translated to las Plugas, or the Fleas, when they settled the land in 1769. One main thoroughfare that connects the cities along the peninsula still bears the name Alameda De Las Plugas.

San Carlos hosts the San Carlos Museum of History and the Hiller Aviation Museum. The neighborhood doesn't contain many art galleries — instead, residents enjoy the fine wines available in several wineries along Washington Street. The San Carlos Art and Wine Faire has been held every October for the past 25 years. The family-friendly outdoor event features live entertainment, artwork shows, a hot rod car show and some of the best wines and microbrews from the area.


Residents enjoy walking along the sidewalks of neighborhood streets showcasing well-manicured lawns and homes of every style. San Carlos features several bike-friendly streets and major thoroughfares feature dedicated bike lanes. Residential homes in the neighborhood provide private parking, and on-street parking can accommodate any additional spaces needed. Commercial areas and business complexes in San Carlos provide ample free parking as do the parks and recreation areas.

Neighborhood residents use their personal vehicles to access Highway 101 and Interstate 280 for easy commutes to San Francisco and San Jose. San Carlos contains a robust public transportation system, and a centrally located Caltrain station on San Carlos Avenue ensures commuters reliable and fast transportation between major cities. If you find yourself needing a ride, consider calling one of the local cab companies in advance, or use your smartphone to request an Uber or Lyft ride.


The cost of living in San Carlos rises to double that of the national average and 21 percent higher than San Francisco. Housing costs account for the difference, and residents trade high cost of living for a low crime rates, access to exceptional education systems and easy commutes within the Bay Area. A one-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood costs around $1,835.

If traveling to San Francisco or San Jose via the Caltrain, expect a commute time of approximately 45 minutes. One-way fare should cost between $5.25 and $7.25, depending on destination. One-way fares using the San Mateo County Transit District system cost approximately $2. Gas prices in the Bay Area normally run about 30 percent higher than the national average. Depending on the venue, you can expect to pay around $6 for a pint of beer.


A Lucky Supermarket and Trader Joe's on El Camino Real near Brittan Avenue provide shoppers with most grocery needs. A Whole Foods can be found further south in Redwood City. San Carlos Hot Harvest Nights Farmers' Market sets up on the 700 block of Laurel Avenue on Thursday nights between the months of May to September. For those who are avid skateboarders or want to become one, head to Society. The team here can provide you with helpful advice on gear as well as give beginner to advanced lessons. This shop carries a complete line of clothes and accessories not found at other shops. Shoppers looking for a new look to add to their closets frequent Prairie, a small boutique on Laurel. The staff here delights in making sure their customers have the perfect piece that meets the customer's needs. Thanks to its great selection of clothes, accessories and handbags, you might not need to shop anywhere else. When looking for an exclusive handbag from Kate Spade New York or the latest fashion from Eileen Fischer, head 7 miles south on El Camino Real towards Stanford Shopping Center. In addition to small designer shops, the mall contains department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.


Highlands Park in the center of the neighborhood serves as an athletic park complex. The park features two lighted softball fields, five lighted tennis courts and fields for soccer, football and lacrosse. The synthetic turf-lined fields here allow for year-round sports activities. The large park also features a children’s play area to keep the toddlers occupied while older siblings play ball.

Heather Dog Exercise Area serves as the neighborhood’s preferred dog park, but dogs must still remain on-leash while enjoying the park. The park features a large flat grassy area and scenic trail towards the southern end of the park.

No official events are held in the neighborhood parks, but some areas such as picnic tables and barbecue grills can be reserved for private parties.


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