Redwood City, California

Ranch of the Fleas

Climate best by government test (don't judge a city by it's slogan)

The Best Thing About Redwood City?

Location, Location, Location

It's extremely hard to beat Redwood City’s location. It’s smack dab in the middle of the peninsula so you’re roughly midway between San Francisco to the north and San Jose to the south. If you commute to the south bay for work but want to be close to San Francisco this is ideal and if you need to fly a lot you’re just 15 minutes from SFO. You’re also right in between the two peninsula bridges to the east bay so heading to Oakland or the Sierra’s or Lake Tahoe is as easy as it gets from the west side of the water. You’re also right on the San Francisco Bay so water sports and views are right in your neighborhood.

One additional note about the location: Redwood City is just south of the fog belt so it’s as sunny as you can get and still be close to San Francisco.

The Worst Thing About Redwood City?

The Architecture

This is a tricky one. Many people love new homes and apartment buildings - less upkeep and repairs to wrestle with. There is however something antiseptic about cities like Redwood City where a majority of the housing was built in the last couple decades. Everything is new but that newness comes with a lack of history and architectural character. If you can look past the absence of old Victorians and gothic buildings you’ll be fine.

Lifestyle of Redwood City

While there are young professionals in Redwood City the bulk of the population is made up of families. For that community the city is pretty idyllic. For starters you have two wonderful parks: Stafford Park which is awesome, with playgrounds and sports fields and plenty of room for the doggos to play. Stafford is also host to the summer Music in the Park series with Swing, Soul, Blues and more offered every Wednesday night.

Magical Bridge Playground is the true gem though. Heralded as the most innovative and inclusive playground in the country it is designed to be provide safe and accessible play spaces for everyone, including though with physical or cognitive disabilities. You can’t do better for parks in the Bay Area.

There’s also tons of sport activities for families including the beloved La Petite Baleen swim school along with all the usual kiddo sports leagues. The area is also filled with outdoor options, especially great hiking trails including Bair island, Edgewood Park and Purisma Preserve -- all close and all unique. You’re also just a short drive to Half Moon Bay, a stunning coastal town with world-class golf and beach play.

Finally, Redwood City has a small but growing commercial district. It surrounds the Caltrain station and plays host to concerts, art shows and festivals throughout the year. There’s also a movie theater and a couple dozen good and eclectic dining choices. It isn’t a major city center but there’s enough to do to keep busy most days and nights when you don’t have the verve to get up to San Francisco or down to San Jose.

Schools of Redwood City

The Redwood City elementary school district gets a B grade on niche.com. That’s lower than many of the surrounding wealthier cities but also better than some. Several of the elementary and middle schools do get A’s so if you are particular about how your kid’s schools perform on standardized tests then just keep an eye on the neighborhood. The high schools are a different matter. They are part of the Sequoia Union High School District and they rate an A+. Redwood High School is not the highest rated among the options but Sequoia and Carlmont both get A’s and are considered among the best in the county.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

A Young Family’s Paradise

If you’re a young family with a job(s) on the peninsula you could hardly do better than Redwood City. The housing is “reasonable” by Bay Area cost standards, you get sunny days, great parks and outdoor experiences, and a small but spunky downtown social scene. Seriously, if you can afford the housing it’s a great option.