Compared to the State Fair, the San Mateo County Fair is not all that great. It is fine for a small fair. However, even for a small fair, there isn't much to do. The carnival rides and games are pretty typical. The animal exhibits are cool. What I like most about them is the pride that the 4-H kids have in their animals, that is awesome. It is cool to see them so proud. The flower exhibits are OK, I heard that in years past they were much better than this year. The best part of the fair is the hypnotist and the pig races. The pig races are so entertaining. The announcer is hilarious and really engaging. Although I wouldn't recommend going to the fair, if you do, I would make it a point to see the pig races. This is definitely skipable, not worth the money or the time.
When I was a kid this was one of my favorite things to do with my dad. Since my dad worked for United Airlines he knew of all the crafty ways to see SFO from eye level. However, the Airport has changed tremendously since I was little and roads and shortcuts that were open then are closed now due to security reasons (post 9/11). There is still one place that will always be open to the public; Millbrae Park at the Southernmost end of SFO in Millbrae. From here you get the view and the roar of the plane engines as they take off, and the view of the plane on approach from the South. The park has benches, and plenty of grassy areas to sit and take photos.
Located in Downtown San Mateo, great place for picnics, barbeques or just to take a walk. Central Park also has tennis courts and a field for baseball (Fitzgerald Field). This park is also home of the Japanese Tea Garden. Admission to this park is free. Parking is available but spaces have parking meters.
My brother told me that there's a great deal of pressure under those hills. Part of the hill is moving northward, the other part of the hil is moving southward, and they just can't agree which side should give way first!
PULGAS WATER TEMPLE - built in 1938, the temple (just off Canada Road by the Crystal Springs Reservoir) commemorates the completion of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, which brings water to Crystal Springs from the Sierras 150 miles away. This is one of only three such temples in the U.S., modeled after those erected near canals and waterways by the ancient Greeks. Canada Road, San Mateo County.
POINT MONTARA LIGHTHOUSE - the picturesque 1875 Point Montara Fog Signal and Light Station served as a naval training base during World War II and became a hostel in 1980. No charge to visit. Environmental interpretive programs for groups and rooms for families and couples are available by prior arrangement.
KOHL MANSION - historic residence of Frederick Kohl who inherited a fortune from his father's shipping business, the mansion has once served as a convent, and since 1931 has been the site of Mercy High School. TOURS OF THE MANSION ARE AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. The mansion is also available for rental for private parties, corporate events, weddings, photo shoots and filming.
PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE - one of the tallest lighthouses in the U.S., Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a photographer's delight. Built in 1872 following a string of shipwrecks (including that of the Carrier Pigeon for which it was named), the lighthouse, close to the elephant seal colony at Ano Nuevo, tidepools, beaches and redwood forests, serves as a hostel for hostellers of all ages. Lighthouse tours are given every Sunday (and Saturdays beginning in June).
HALF MOON BAY COASTSIDE - site of the annual Pumpkin Festival in October, Half Moon Bay and neighboring coastal towns (Montara, Moss Beach, Princeton-by-the-Sea, El Granada, San Gregorio, La Honda and Pescadero) are nestled between the mountains and the sea. The historic settlements date back to the early 1800's and offer fine selections of restaurants, friendly shops and galleries, recreation and inns.
San Mateo County Historical Museum
SAN MATEO COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM - the museum features exhibits on the native Ohlone Indians, the Spanish explorers, pioneer logging, local agriculture and farming, whaling, transportation, and the Victorian era of great estates on the Peninsula. A research library is also available. Located on the campus of the College of San Mateo, the museum is open Monday-Thursday and Sundays. Closed Fridays and Saturdays.
SANCHEZ ADOBE HISTORIC SITE - the adobe traces the various periods of California's past. From prehistoric Indian times through the Adobe's restoration in 1953 when it was made a historical landmark, it has been actively used. It was an Ohlone Indian village, a mission farm, a cattle ranch, the adobe home of Don Francisco Sanchez, a residence of General Edward Kirkpatrick, the Hotel San Pedro, a speakeasy known as Adobe House, and an artichoke storage facility. The adobe, with its furnishings and artifacts, is open for free tours Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.); Saturday and Sunday (1-5 p.m.).
NO NUEVO STATE RESERVE - located on Highway One thirty miles south of Half Moon Bay, the reserve is the largest mainland breeding area for elephant seals in California. The bulls arrive at the reserve December through February. Most adults leave by mid-March leaving behind weaned pups which remain through April. Guided walks begin December 15 through March 31 annually ($2 per person). From April through September adults and yearlings haul out on the mainland and are available to observe through a permit system. Ano Nuevo State Reserve - New Year's Creek Road, Pescadero, CA 94060.
SAN MATEO COUNTY BEACHES - the San Mateo County coastline has a rich history dating back to the Gold Rush era. The Coast with its agricultural businesses (vegetables, fruits, and flowers), fine restaurants, accommodations, walking trails, and especially, its beaches provide visitor, and resident alike with a variety of attractions.
The Faultline lies under this body of water, the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. It's accessible off the Junipero Serra Freeway, I-280.