Half Moon Bay, California


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What's it like to live in Half Moon Bay?

What is it like to live in Half Moon Bay?

I lived in Half Moon Bay for the first 18 years of my life. I think Sunshine's answer is really good. I would add:

fog. Half Moon Bay has its very own microclimate. It is extremely foggy. You can go literally weeks without seeing the sun. The foggy climate very much influences the culture and people of the area. Many people move to Half Moon Bay and can't handle the fog and so end up moving. It will be cold, misty, windy and completely fogged in on the coast and then 15 miles in any direction you can be bathed in warm, sunny and clear skies. This has a very real psychological effect on the people. At least on timescales of >few years. The people who stay (and like the fog in fact)..are a little unusual as well. HMB without the fog would be a very different place.
the people. HMB draws an interesting crowd. Lots of ex-hippies and loner types. Also artists, surfers, and conservative types. Sort of an anti-social feel also. You aren't going to find many showy, materialistic sorts in HMB. In fact you feel a little out of place if you aren't in jeans/sweats and a t-shirt. This is changing a bit as HMB is becoming more of a tourist destination though (with the addition of the Ritz in particular). Now there are more social and business minded people there than ever before.
family town. There are few young adults. Virtually no community of people 18-30 year olds.
community. small town= small town gossip. Overall HMB folks are very nice, low-key and keep to themselves. Still, it's a boring town and everyone knows everything about everyone (that is if you are living there for any significant amount of time or connected to the community at all, e.g. have a kid in school, own a local business..etc.)
few distractions. HMB is a boring place to live. Other than a handful of bars and restaurants nothing is open past 9pm. Past like 7pm it looks like a bomb went off downtown. There is no movie theatre. There is nothing to do in the evenings. No coffee shops are open.
isolated. HMB seems really close and it is, but 92 gets really annoying. Also the traffic during certain hours is bad. Accidents on 92 can be extremely inconvenient and worrisome. Highway 1 is equally a pain. Living in HMB you feel very isolated/trapped sometimes.
food. HMB has some good food options.
racial demographics. all white people with a large but very separate hispanic community.

What's it like commuting from Half Moon Bay?

I commute every day to Menlo Park from Half Moon Bay and it's a very easy commute, imo. I leave the house around 6:30 AM and there's hardly any traffic all the way to Menlo Park, takes about 25-30 minutes on average. The afternoon is a different story however, I try to leave work by 3:30 but I get slowed down on 101 South at the 92 exit ramp (people going to the east bay) and then it can get pretty slow once you hit the 1 lane portion of 92 going into HMB. On average it takes me about 40-45 minutes in the afternoon. My wife and I love it though, such a nice quaint little town without all the hustle and bustle of the cities inland. We are renting a 3 bedroom house with a 2500 sqft yard. No way would we be able to get something like that in the city. Also, it's very nice to be able to walk to the beach everyday. Like the others said, the traffic on the weekend is horrendous on highway 1 and the beaches are pretty packed. I've lived here for about 6 months now and only once has 92 been backed up in the morning because of a wreck. So if you leave early enough you should be fine.

What’s a perfect day in Half Moon Bay Area for you?

Come in early enough for breakfast at either the Pilot Light (at the airport) or The Press, this way you avoid the traffic which starts getting bad by 10:30/11:00.

After breakfast, hike around Fitzgerald Preserve where you can spot the sea lions hanging out and - if your timing is good - the tide will be out to explore the tide pools.

Continue into downtown Half Moon Bay and wander Main Street for the shops; sit outside and enjoy a wine tasting at Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Company or one of the in-house beers at Sacrilege Brewery (but skip their food). By doing all this before and around noon, you will be missing the crowds that won't be arriving until 1:00 and 2:00-ish.

If you have a sweet tooth, Small Town Sweets has tons of vintage candy and Sweet55 excels in gourmet chocolates. Newly-opened Fish Wife Sweets specializes in cupcakes and the locals love them, but I have found them a tad dry. Gulino Gelato's coffee gelato is extraordinary.

Then either head to Princeton Harbor for bike or kayak rentals and hang around there until an early dinner at either Barbara's Fish Trap (cash only) or, if you want slightly nicer, Mezzaluna for excellent Italian. An alternative after downtown is to continue south a bit further to San Gregorio for live music every weekend; for dinner, continue down to Duarte's in Pescadero or back into Half Moon Bay, my personal favorite being Fattoria e Mare where Pasta Moon used to be (the latter having moved to the other end of Main Street and raising their prices), Ciya which is a new Mediterranean open only a few months, or La Costanera Peruvian at Princeton Harbor.

5 Pros and Cons of Living in Half Moon Bay & the Coastside