The Truth About Living in San Mateo

Raziel Ungar

Raziel Ungar

April 2nd, 2024 - 11 min read

Raziel: What is your name?

Andy Grotto.

Raziel: Andy, What do you love about living in San Mateo County and what brought you here?

Andy: Well, work brought us here. I'm an academic and I love living in San Mateo because it's very family-friendly, has great parks, easy to navigate. I just love the community.

Raziel: And where did you live before San Mateo County and what brought you here initially?

Andy: Well, we lived in Belmont for a couple of years before we moved to San Mateo. And before that, we were in Washington, D.C.

Raziel: If you could wave a magic wand, is there anything that you'd want to see done differently or that's annoying to you, what would that be?

Andy: Well, I’d like to see more affordable housing. I think it's important for the community to make this great place more accessible. I'd also, if I had a magic wand - traffic. Even with traffic being not as bad as it was pre-COVID, you know, it still can be epic at times.

Raziel: What is your name?

Anne: Hi there. I'm Anne Wong Reed.

Raziel: Anne, what do you love about living in San Mateo County?

Anne: So many things. So before here, I lived all around the country, in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and San Jose, before moving to the peninsula. And you can't beat the weather. You can't beat the access to nature with the water and the mountains so close b. And, also just the diversity of culture, of people, of food. I challenge anyone to find a place anywhere in the country where you can get so much diversity in such a small-town feel... all together.

Raziel: And talk to me a little about the food scene that you mentioned. Like what makes it really special around here?

Anne: Sure, you can never get bored. There's nothing that you need to repeat. And I think that's one of the best things not only about Burlingame, but about the peninsula in general. And I love how much diversity there is in terms of the richness of authentic food culture and would love to see that continue to grow. It would be great if one day there's the same reputation as the San Diego, the Taqueria vibe, or the Los Angeles Koreatown culture, but it's growing. And we not only get the benefit of restaurants from San Francisco coming down here but also a lot more immigrants and people coming in and building up authentically all around the peninsula. So it's awesome.

Raziel: Anything that you would change or just bugs you about living here?

Anne: Everyone's going to complain about traffic. But that's, I think, a given with any place especially if it's somewhere where people want to live. But it's a pretty fantastic place. And I think after living here, it's hard to find anywhere else in the world that can now hold a candle to it... if you can afford it. Yeah. Let's be real.

Raziel: Yeah. Awesome.

Raziel: What is your name?

Russ: Hey, I'm Russ Taga.

Raziel: And what do you love about living in San Mateo County?

Russ: San Mateo County, there are many things that I love specifically about Burlingame's community. I think it's very, very supportive of kids. That's been a really great thing for my family. Personally, I really like all the outdoor things. I like access to the ocean. And I feel like there's a little bit of everything here. The other thing that I enjoy, just lifestyle-wise, is the many independent businesses. So even though it's a little bit different than living in the city, I think there are some nice elements and good energy. A lot of things to get behind living around here.

Raziel: So before where were you? You were living in San Francisco before you moved down here?

Russ: Yes, I lived in San Francisco for about 20 years.

Raziel: And what brought you down to San Mateo County from San Francisco?

Russ: Family. My wife grew up in this area. Her family all live around this area. And it's it's been great spending more time with them. But there have been a lot of things that we've liked about it beyond that, Certainly like some of the reasons that I listed, Weather is certainly better, too.

Raziel: If you could wave a magic wand and say there's something that you'd like to change about San Mateo County, what would you say?

Russ: I think just living in the suburbs sometimes things It can be a little sleepier, sometimes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for everybody... but that was a little bit of a change that had to be made because we live close to the airport. We do hear a little bit of plane traffic going back and forth. But you know, that's, that's just kind of part of it.

Razie: What is your name?

Belinda: I'm Belinda Carrillo.

Raziel: And what brought you to San Mateo County? Where were you before this?

Belinda: Yeah, so before this, I was living in Oakland, so I was going to school at Berkeley. And once I finished that PhD program, I was like, let’s change my life along with that new phase and close that chapter. And so I just wanted to move across the bay. I grew up in San Jose and I was living in Daly City for a while, so I'm familiar with this area. I don't know, it just made sense.

Raziel: And now that you've been here for a little while, what are some things that you love about living on the San Francisco Peninsula?

Belinda: So I, for one, just love the community like I walk my dog every day around. I feel totally safe. I feel, you know, like, I don't know, the streets are clean and there's always something to do in terms of going out to dinner or grabbing a glass of wine somewhere. I feel like, you know, it's my speed.

Raziel: If there's something that you could change or bothers you about, you know, living in the peninsula, maybe nothing, I don't know. But what are your thoughts?

Belinda: Yeah. So, I mean, I just said, you know, there's always something to do. But like, compared to Oakland, the food scene could be more diverse. I miss that a lot. So I think some more kind of like Gastropubs. I don't know, something like that. And then I still go visit people on that side of the bay. Just I noticed that getting places takes longer.

Raziel: What is your name?

Roger: Roger Selsbak.

Raziel: And what do you love about living in San Mateo County? And where do you live now?

Roger: I live in San Carlos now, and I love the fact that everything’s close by. Restaurants, entertainment, things for kids to do, lots of action, lots of activity.

Raziel: And tell me a little bit more about that in terms of everything being close by... what you love about that because you've lived here for you said a very long time.

Roger: I've lived in Burlingame for over 30 years and recently moved to San Carlos, and both cities are absolutely fantastic, but I moved away from the hills close to downtown now, so I'm within three blocks of almost 100 restaurants, the banks, post office, library, everything is very convenient. Very friendly people and, a great community.

Raziel: And can you talk a little bit about something that you wish could be done a little bit differently in San Mateo County or something that you don't like or something that you might find annoying even.

Roger: Traffic.

Raziel: Tell me about about the traffic.

Roger: I'm not sure what you could do about it. Seems like the roads are more and more impacted by cars

Raziel: Are you seeing that just on the freeways, side streets, like how does that affect you?

Roger: It’s like everywhere. Freeway, side streets, what have you. Whenever you go out, I seem to spend a lot more time at stop signs. That's why I'm on the train today.

Raziel: What is your name?

Marci: I'm Marci Yamaguchi Hughes and I've lived in San Mateo on and off since I was two and a half. Raised here. 

Raziel: And Marci, what do you love about the Peninsula and having grown up in San Mateo and living here and then buying a couple of houses as an adult?

Marci: Yes! So I'll be honest, growing up here, you never think you'll move back, right? And the first house that we looked at many, many years ago was in San Mateo. And we just were close to family. We just love the community. It's incredibly diverse. All nationalities, all, you know, all different heritages. We love the public school system. It is a top school system right in the area. And we just feel really lucky to be in a place like this.

Raziel: And then if there's anything that you could change about San Mateo or the peninsula, anything, thoughts on that?

Marci: So, you know, one has to work really hard to live here, it feels like. Right. Affordability is definitely a challenge. I think for many. You get what you pay for though, right? You're just minutes away from the ocean and just a few hours away from skiing and the snow. In terms of if there was anything that we could fix as a parent of two boys, Child care. Right? Is really hard, especially with the return to work happening for so many of the folks in the area. So, yes, if we could if we could push the magic button to solve childcare, that would be amazing.

Raziel: Love that. And Marci, talk about like fun things to do. What do you and your family love to do on the weekends or in your free time?

Marc: So when the kids were little, we'd go to the beach all the time. Half Moon Bay. It's amazing. And of course, if you're a seafood lover, right, all the crab that you could possibly want. We love going skiing in the wintertime... but on the weekends, my gosh, you've got so many opportunities to eat at restaurants right to go into the city or right here in Burlingame. My husband jokes that, of course...half of us are Asian, and half are of English heritage. And of course, thank goodness he loves Asian food. But San Mateo is like the haven for ramen. Ramen shops, right? So, yes, we love ramen, sushi, going out on the weekends, and helping our children, our boys, explore more than just pasta and steak.

Raziel: Awesome. Anything else you’d like to add?

Marci: If you can check out San Mateo, check out Burlingame, right? And the surrounding areas. I think you will absolutely fall in love. And of course, Raziel is the top person. He helped us get our dream home, our forever home. So we're forever grateful. 

Raziel: Thanks, Marci.

Raziel: What is your name?

Ricardo: Ricardo.

Raziel: And Ricardo, tell us, what do you love about living in Burlingame or San Mateo County?

Ricardo: A lot of things. Mary Beth, my wife, and I walk a lot, and we walk around. We've got tennis courts, we've got a pool, we've got trees and we got families. And she's got a lot of history here. So her grandfather was at the post office around the corner. So there's a lot of familiarity..

Raziel: And what are some other things that you love? I know you're a big outdoorsman.

Ricardo: Yeah. So nearby, Coyote Points has been redone. They're constantly redoing something. I was just walking on the streets yesterday and I said to Mary Beth, “Wow, they widened the streets to make it more of a feel.”I don't know if I've been through another downtown in the Bay Area that has that. So it's a draw. In addition to adding new restaurants and adding a lot of other activities and upgrading all the parks, which has been a lot of fun, including our new community center. That's really cool.

Raziel: And what's something that you'd like that should be done differently if you can make a change or something that's just annoying for you about San Mateo County, let me say, okay,

Ricardo: I think we've been joking since we walk a lot. I think one of the things even with the widened streets is I have a bicycle, but the electric ones end up on the streets a lot and my wife doesn’t hear. Sometimes they come up behind her and it's quite startling. So we're like enforcing the ordinance to say none of the motorized things because someone can get hurt is some of the things. But I think otherwise it's just care for what we have and respect. We don't have as much graffiti as other cities and what have you. So I think most folks in there, but that would probably be one thing that we are constantly aware of.

Raziel: Anything else you want to add, Ricardo?

Ricardo: Nope. Thanks for the weather in Burlingame! Enjoy all the pies!

Raziel: Thanks a lot.

Raziel: What is your name? Joe Pissano.

Joe: Joe Pessano.

Raziel: And what do you love about the peninsula?

Joe: There are so many things I love about the peninsula. One, I enjoy being outdoors and the peninsula...Not only do we have world-class, everything at our fingertips, I mean, anything that would bring an adventurer to a place to really get the most of it. The Bay Area Peninsula has that. It's absolutely extraordinary. I personally love the cycling.

Raziel: Can you talk a little bit about the people in San Mateo County?

Joe: You have an opportunity to encounter all walks of life, all different beliefs, and philosophies. It's just a fantastic experience. I love that people seem to be very welcoming. Of course, there are always the folks who would prefer their own space. That's everywhere you go. But from what I have experienced in my decades of living here, people want to get to know you. People want to find out who you are and just want to almost welcome you into their circle so your circle can expand pretty quickly without you even realizing it. And it's a beautiful thing.

Raziel: If there is something that you could say San Mateo County that's annoying about the area that you'd like to change or that could be different. Any thoughts there?

Joe: I would say the housing can be challenging. It really can be very challenging for most. A lot of folks who, like… if you're a barista and you need to have a job… the job market can be difficult if you don't have a certain level of education. You’re probably not living in Burlingame to work in Burlingame. So that can be a very difficult thing.

Raziel: So if there was more Anything else that you'd like to add?

Joe: Raziel Ungar is the man! Like, I love this guy.

Raziel: What is your name?

Emma: Hi, I'm Emma McCulloch, and I live on the peninsula.

Raziel: And Emma, what do you love about living in San Mateo County? And also, where do you live?

Emma: I live in Woodside. I lived in Summertown. I've lived in Burlingame as well. So we love it. We love the weather. We love all the things that there is to do. Obviously, there's the countryside nearby. In particular, we used to live in the city, so we love the culture of the city. There's so much to do in the city. Go to the theater. But we love that it's still accessible. So Burlingame or San Mateo, you just jump on the freeway and you can be there in 20, 25 minutes.

Raziel: And what brought you originally to San Mateo County? Because I'm assuming you're not from here.

Emma: I'm not, but I lived in the East Bay for a while and I just love the peninsula. There are so many little towns, cute towns, you can go to. So wherever you live, it's just, you know, 10 minutes, 15 minutes away, great. Great restaurants, shops, Burlingame Avenue and San Carlos is nearby. Just a great atmosphere, a great vibe. And we're always at the restaurants, meeting friends and having fun. Parks... as well for kids.. My kids have grown up around here, so there was a mothers club that we always used to belong to. We've made a lot of friends through the school, the Mothers Club, and the Great Parks. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else because of those friendships.

Raziel: I love that. Now, if there's something that you could change in San Mateo County or something that you just don't like, anything that comes to the top of your mind?

Emma: Well, I just quickly thought of that. The house prices... maybe. But that's what you get. You know, the house prices are high because it's a very desirable area. And it's why we don't leave. My husband and I, you know, we might complain, but we don't leave because we love the area, we love the schools, love the weather, and we're this is home for us.

Raziel: Awesome. Emma, anything else you'd like to add?

Emma: You're the best realtor in the world.

Raziel: Thank you. Well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about what people love about San Mateo County and what they might consider changing. If you'd like to see more videos like this, please consider subscribing to my channel. I chat with nice people like you every week who are thinking about buying in San Mateo County, and I'd love to help you figure out if this might be an option for you. I'll see you on the next video.

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