San Carlos is a city rich in culture and history-
– with a name that dates back to the 1770s when a ship named “San Carlos” from Spain first landed in the bay. Moving forward a few hundred years, from the founding of California, the Gold Rush, the arrival of the railroad, and now to the 21st century, San Carlos is now most reputed as part of “Silicon Valley” in America – a global center for high technology and innovation. Today, it continues to attract brilliant inventors and tech entrepreneurs who want to bring their ideas to life.
Despite the passing of centuries – the Spanish Era, the Industrial Age, World Wars I and II – remnants of the times remain intact in certain areas of California, including those within or nearby San Carlos. These, plus other attractions in San Carlos such as wineries, gardens, bay area tours, museums, and amusement parks, are places definitely worth visiting.
San Carlos is a town with a history as old as America itself. And the story could never have been told without the faithful workers at the Museum of San Carlos History.
Did you know? The museum has been with us since 1983, at the time the firehouse was rebuilt and reassigned to it. Since then, a group of people called The Villagers have taken great care in collecting and restoring memorabilia even from centuries past, which you can now explore with just one visit. By the way, the museum is open every Saturday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Admission is free, and donations are always welcome.
We were fortunate to be welcomed into the museum by none other than Gayle Collins, President of the Board, who showed us interesting exhibits such as the restored firetruck and the flag that was brought into space by one of our San Carlos residents.
Truly, every piece of history in the museum is a piece of all our lives. A shout-out to all: Mrs. Collins is looking for a photo of Nathaniel Brittan – whom Brittan Ave. was named after. If by any chance you find a photo of him tucked away in your albums, please send it in! See you at the museum! 🙂
HILLER AVIATION MUSEUM
The Hiller Aviation Museum was opened to the public in 1998 by helicopter designer and inventor Stanley Hiller Jr. and features more than 50 aircraft from more than a century of aviation history.
The museum is visited by over 108,000 people each year, including over 10,000 children from regional K-12 schools. Since opening, the museum has served over 1.7 million visitors.
A unique cultural asset and lifelong learning resource for diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Museum celebrates the spirit of discovery and innovation of aviation pioneers whose creativity made the dream of flight a reality.
Core museum programs for youth are based on state and national academic standards in history and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), including interactive, hands-on programs developed in partnership with NASA.*
The Mid-Peninsula Wine Trail
Domenico Winery is a family-owned winery that has been making award-winning wine for more than 20 years. With Italian varietals as its specialty, Domenico has more than 20 on its roster. As of 2016, their wines have won 350 Medals in the California Region. Their shop in San Carlos also serves as an event venue that can house more than 300 guests.
Flying Suitcase Winery
Flying Suitcase Wines are the creations of Danish biochemist Anders Vinther, who also has a passion for good wines. What began as an experiment with a colleague and fellow winemaker, became the winery’s first release, a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Lodi, which would launch Flying Suitcase Wines.
Russian Ridge Winery
Russian Ridge is a small family owned winery producing less than 1,000 cases of wine annually.
Old County Cellars
Old County Cellars makes wine in small lots, which allows them to personally monitor each bottle for the highest quality and perfect consistency.
Cuvee Wine Cellars
Cuvee Wine Cellars is an artisan winery producing limited releases of Bordeaux-inspired wines.
Filoli is a vibrant landscape of the Bay Area, situated on the unceded ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, in Woodside, California. The estate boasts 654 acres of beauty nestled along the slopes of California’s coastal range. Originally built as a private residence in 1917, Filoli was opened to the public in 1977 as a nonprofit organization and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The property is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the 20th century, featuring a 54,000+ square-foot Georgian revival-style mansion, 16 acres of exquisite English Renaissance gardens, a 6.8-acre Gentleman’s Orchard, and hundreds of acres of Natural Lands with 5 distinct ecosystems and a 1-mile Estate Trail.
Filoli is dedicated to connecting our rich history with a vibrant future through beauty, nature and shared stories, so that one day all people will honor nature, value unique experiences, and appreciate beauty in everyday life.*
HISTORIC GARDENS AND NATURE PRESERVES
If you love gardens, here are others, which are a few minutes’ drive from San Carlos –
Filoli Gardens near San Carlos CA
18 mins drive from San Carlos
Filoli Gardens is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the 20th century, featuring a 54,000+ square-foot Georgian revival-style mansion, 16 acres of exquisite English Renaissance gardens, a 6.8-acre Gentleman’s Orchard, and hundreds of acres of Natural Lands with 5 distinct ecosystems and a 1-mile Estate Trail.
Bair Island Wildlife Refuge & Trail near San Carlos CA
9 mins drive from San Carlos
Bair Island is a marsh area in Redwood City, California, covering 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), and includes three islands: Inner, Middle and Outer islands. Bair Island is an important ecological wetland, which provides critical habitat for a variety of species, including the endangered California clapper rail and the Salt marsh harvest mouse, and is an important stop for birds on the Pacific Flyway.
Photo from Google Maps
Arizona Cactus Garden
23 mins drive from San Carlos
The Arizona Garden, also known as the Cactus Garden, was designed for Jane and Leland Stanford by landscape architect Rudolf Ulrich between 1881 and 1883. There are many unusual plants within the garden. Selections from the Cacti family include columnar, barrel and monstrose forms. Selections of succulents include Aloes, Crassulas and rosette-forming Agaves.
Photo from Google Maps
Allied Arts Guild
20 mins drive from San Carlos
Allied Arts Guild is a beautiful and historic garden oasis, home to unique shops, artists' studios, and Café Wisteria. Since 1929, Allied Arts Guild has provided an inspiring environment for working artists, beautiful gardens and shops for visitors, and support for critically ill children at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.
Photo from Official Facebook Page
Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve
19 mins drive from San Carlos
The serpentine grasslands of Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve are famous for their magnificent displays of wildflowers each spring. The park's location, within easy access to Interstate 280 and Edgewood Road, makes this beautiful display readily accessible to the population centers of the San Francisco Peninsula. The Park's 467 acres of woodlands and grasslands afford wonderful hiking and sightseeing opportunities
Photo from San Mateo Government Website
Pulgas Water Temple
17 mins drive from San Carlos
San Francisco built Pulgas Water Temple as a monument to the engineering marvel that brought Hetch Hetchy water more than 160 miles across California from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay Area. The Hetch Hetchy Project took 24 years to build through the Great Depression at a cost of $102 million. The frieze above the columns expresses the city’s joyful relief: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.”
Photo from Wikipedia
THINGS TO DO
Sky Tour of the Bay Area
San Carlos Airport. Google Maps
At Flyby Tours, get to enjoy breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay Area from the air; Overfly Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the picturesque coastal town of Half Moon Bay at 1,500 feet; Glide above the stunning Pacific Ocean coastline with it’s impressive cliffs and sea shore for an experience you’ll never forget. Most tours depart from San Carlos Airport, but booking happens online.
Indoor Sky Diving
28 minutes from San Carlos, in Union City. Google Maps
If you can’t take the real thing, try indoor skydiving instead. Experience the sensation of flying in iFly’s state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels. Safe for all ages, experience levels and abilities, indoor sky diving at iFLY is a family-friendly activity.
827 Cherry Lane, San Carlos. Google Maps
Bay Area Tactical offers a wide array of tactical courses integrating usage of our state of the art simulator and practical application in a shoothouse. All instructors come from military or law enforcement training, certified to teach various disciplines from basic firearms safety to personal protection.
1119 Industrial Road, San Carlos. Google Maps
LaserMaxx San Carlos features state-of-the-art equipment and the ultimate laser tag experience, played in a HUGE multi-level, fog-filled maze. For all ages 5 to 85 – intense fun and the interaction amongst team mates, and a meal afterwards.
32 minutes from San Carlos, in San Jose. Google Maps
Inspired by Viking warriors and Canadian lumberjacks, indoor axe throwing is the latest viral sensation. At AxeVentures, you’ll learn basic throwing techniques from our coaches in 15 minutes. Compete against your friends. Have a bite and a drink and enjoy a memorable experience.
401 Quarry Road, San Carlos. Google Maps
At Rockin’ Jump, fitness and fun go hand in hand. You get the exercise you need and lots of laughs along the way. Instead of stair-climbers and weight machines, you can soar in open jump arenas, dive into pools of soft foam cubes, play trampoline dodgeball, do flips and somersaults. A fun treat for the whole family!
At the San Carlos Flights Center, you’ll be working with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), who will teach you how to control an aircraft by perfecting aerial maneuvers, practicing takeoffs and landings, and simulating abnormal situations. Once you have successfully completed these, you’ll be able to solo.