I've never been to San Mateo and I'm a little overwhelmed by all the hotel options. I'd like to stay in a hotel that is central and gives me good sense of what San Mateo is like. I'd love to know where locals tell their friends to stay when they visit, and why those areas and hotels are special. thanks!
Natural beauty is amazing. Drive CA-92 west to Half Moon Bay. If it's not too cold/wet/windy, consider a hike up the Sweeney Ridge trail from the Sneath Lane trailhead off CA-35. San Mateo it self has some parks with nice Bay views (e.g. Seal Point Park) too. It's mostly a bedroom community that is quiet by 10pm. Maybe 11 on Fri-Sat. A few hotels in downtown San Mateo, near 92/101, and up closer to SFO in Burlingame/Millbrae. None are remarkable. So, I would airbnb it.
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