Reading Time: 5 minutes
Redwood City is situated between San Francisco and San Jose. Stop off for a visit to this storied city as you make your way from San Francisco to San Jose via car or train.
The city became an important post during the latter period of the California Gold Rush (1848–1855). The city has since transformed into a manufacturing hub during the 1960s and 70s and more recently, a home for some of Silicon Valley’s high technology companies.
- Redwood City, California, USA
- The best way to get here is by private car or the San Francisco’s Bay Area public train, CalTrain.
- Redwood City’s CalTrain station drops off directly in downtown. The timetable is located here for reference.
A History of Redwood City
Redwood City is the oldest city on the San Francisco Peninsula.
The 1840s “Gold Rush…was sweeping Northern California, and such expansion demanded lumber. Felling trees was easy; the cost and difficulty lay in moving them down the mountainsides and wagon hauling them overland to San Francisco. When it was discovered that a creek running through the Peninsula emptied directly into a naturally deep channel of water, logging companies quickly made use of this valuable natural resource in Redwood City as a water highway.”
“Throughout the years, many commodities have passed through the Port docks from cement and salt to food commodities and WWII vehicles” (Port of Redwood City).
The downtown area developed into “a vital center for commerce, government, and manufacturing in the early 20th Century, before declining in the 1960s and 1970s” (City of Redwood City).
In the 21st century, the city revitalized to adapt to the growing demand for more technology companies to be located in the Peninsula area.
Citations: City of Redwood City, Port of Redwood City
Visiting Redwood City
The walkable downtown area offers an array of local owned restaurants, bars and shops. Stop off on Main Street for a variety of flavors, including Japanese, Mexican, Vietnamese and Italian. A local favorite is Milagros Latin Kitchen, a Mexican eatery popular for its fresh guacamole and generous margaritas.
Many downtown historical buildings are repurposed into commercial locales, including a Starbucks Reserve and Old Spaghetti Factory which occupy beautiful buildings on the main through fare.
This nod to the past while embracing modern updates makes Redwood City a desirable stop through as you transport between San Francisco and San Jose.
Redwood City Public Library: fire station turned library
Pioneer general store turned printing business
Box’s company headquarters
Redwood City’s Annual Events
August: Shakespeare Festival
Every year San Francisco brings its SF Shakespeare Festival down to Redwood City for three weekends in August. Residents and visitors bring their chairs and blankets to Sequoia High School’s campus lawn to watch a free 2.5 hour show, As You Like It.
“Downtown Redwood City’s Oktoberfest extravaganza offers authentically delicious German food, featuring pretzels and brats, along with enticingly cold beer. Dancing, singing, and tons of audience participation will include dance contests, stein holding, yodeling contest, skits with hand gestures to select songs, etc., not to mention many variations of the “international” chicken dance.”
Citation: City of Redwood City
November: Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos
Redwood City comes together to celebrate The Day of the Dead, a Mexican multi-day sequence of festivities that takes place every November 1st and 2nd. The Day of the Dead is Mexico’s biggest religious holiday. Mexican families visit the graves of their loved ones, tidying the site and placing offerings of flowers (marigolds and wonders) alongside candles.
Redwood City honors The Day of the Dead by transforming its downtown Courthouse Square “into a play, where musicians, dancers, artists, family altars are on display; sugar skulls, marigolds and more will decorate [the] Square” (Casa Círculo Cultural). Activities include a procession, a chalk art mural, arts and crafts, food trucks and vendor booths.
Citation: Casa Círculo Cultural
Other Annual Events
Tech companies located in Redwood City
- Course Hero
- Send Grid
- Sumo Logic
Connect this itinerary:
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- North America Travel: California Wine Country & Whitewater Rafting