Foster City, California

Super Hyphy

Looklyloo Score: 86

View Full Profile


What's it like to live in Foster City?

What are pros and cons of living in Foster City, California?

Flat terrain and good infrastructure. Perfect for running, biking, or rollerblading.
On the bay. It never gets hot even when the temperature in neighboring cities gets high in summer.
Beauty. The bay that surrounds the city makes for a beautiful backdrop with marinas, sail boats, canals, and cute ponds and water inlets where ducks and geese live and play. It also has many greenbelts and parks.
Clean. The streets and roads of Foster City are super clean and orderly. It really is a pleasure to drive through them.
Shopping. The city has a Costco and other big box stores along with supermarkets, shops, and restaurants. While it’s nowhere close to being like San Francisco or San Jose, it does a pretty good job at providing beyond basic services for residents and visitors.
Employment Centers. Philips Medical Systems, Gilead Sciences, VISA Inc., Guidewire, and QuinStreet are some of the companies that call Foster City home.
Location, location, location. Highway 92 goes through Foster City connecting it to the west side of the peninsula all the way to the Pacific Ocean and to the San Mateo Bridge to go to cities on the east side of the bay. It is also a mere 10 miles to San Francisco Airport, 20 miles to Mountain View, 22 miles to San Francisco, 23 miles to Oakland airport, and 30 miles to San Jose.
Safety. Foster City is extremely safe. In 2017, it was ranked number 6 among the 50 safest cities in California.
Earthquake preparedness. Although Foster City was built on landfill, it is not prone to liquefaction, as the sand used was engineered to be compact and not loose sand such as the one found in San Francisco’s marina district. Case in point, Foster City sustained minimal damage during the 1989 earthquake whereas surrounding cities like San Mateo had far more destruction.
Great schools. Foster city’s elementary and middle schools are top notch.

Expensive. All the above pros don’t come cheap and Foster City can easily seem overpriced.
Quiet. The city can be a little too quiet for singles and young people looking for excitement. Then again, the lack of nightclubs, bars, and such keeps it safe and clean.
Traffic. Getting in and out of Foster City is a pain during peak hours, as it’s the first access point of traffic getting into and out of the San Mateo bridge.

What are the pros and cons of living in Foster City, California?

Living in Foster City, California has several pros and cons. Here is a brief overview:


  1. Location: Foster City is situated in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, making it a convenient place to live for those who work in the tech industry or other major employment centers in the region. It offers easy access to major highways and is close to both San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
  2. Safety: Foster City consistently ranks as one of the safest cities in California. The city has a low crime rate, which provides residents with a sense of security and peace of mind.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Foster City is known for its beautiful lagoons and waterfront parks. Residents can enjoy activities such as boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. The city also has numerous biking and walking trails, providing opportunities for outdoor exercise and relaxation.


  1. Cost of Living: Like many cities in the Bay Area, Foster City has a high cost of living. Housing prices are significantly above the national average, making it challenging for some individuals and families to afford homes in the area.
  2. Limited Nightlife and Entertainment Options: While Foster City offers a peaceful and family-friendly environment, it may not be the best choice for those seeking a vibrant nightlife or a wide range of entertainment options. The city has a more suburban feel and lacks the bustling urban atmosphere found in nearby cities like San Francisco.
  3. Traffic Congestion: Despite its convenient location, Foster City experiences traffic congestion during peak commuting hours. The proximity to major employment centers means that many residents commute to work, leading to increased traffic on local roads and highways.

In conclusion, living in Foster City offers advantages such as its location, safety, and outdoor recreational opportunities. However, it also comes with drawbacks including a high cost of living, limited nightlife options, and traffic congestion.

Is Foster City a place for a young, single male in his twenties? How about if housing is subsidized by parents? Moving

You seem to have a really good handle on all the factors.

Ultimately, it's up to you whether it's worth the money to spend much more in order to live in a much livelier area.

What might be helpful for you to know is that Foster City is not a city that I'd characterize as tightly packed with townhouses. There might be more packed townhouse complexes, and apartments, but the bulk of Foster City is single family homes characteristic of this area. Detached SFH's on lots of 0.10-0.15 acres or so.

It's a city built on landfill and a unique characteristic are the lagoons. There are homes on the water. It feels quite separate from neighboring San Mateo, as there are only a few major surface streets to cross over, and Highway 92/San Mateo Bridge.

It's definitely a family-oriented suburb. The sort of place that most younger people will balk at living in, as you found. But most people don't get the choice of living there for way below market rate.

San Mateo is also suburban but does have a pretty lively downtown and it's nearby. There's also Caltrain running through and which can be used to get up to San Francisco. Driving to SF is like 20-30 minutes. And you can go to Millbrae to take BART.

If you live in Foster City and not, say, some lively area of San Francisco, you won't have the same kind of social scene that will revolve around bars. Maybe that's not your thing, anyway, and the way that you'd end up meeting people would be basically the same whether you're in Foster City or in San Francisco.

SF and maybe Oakland are both way more hip and lively. But there are plenty of 20-somethings living all around the Bay Area and making a life full of friends and social activities.

If you have the option, I would at least move first to your parents home and take them up on their generous offer. Get the lay of the land and if you want to move, help them find a good replacement tenant at market rate. And move with more knowledge of where would suit you better.

Living in Foster City | San Mateo County City Guide