Redwood City, CA
Redwood City is located on the San Francisco peninsula, midway between San Francisco and San Jose. With slightly more than 75,000 people in approximately 19 square miles, the city has an urban, multicultural feel. Home to the only deep-water shipping port south of San Francisco, Redwood City's history is tied to the lumber and shipping industries.
The area's mild climate is highlighted in the city's slogan: Climate Best in Government Test. Prior to World War I, a government agency decreed Redwood City to have one of the three best climates in the word (along with the Canary Islands and the North African Mediterranean Coast), and a slogan was born.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Redwood City is currently revitalizing its downtown in an effort to counteract its "Deadwood City" image. The nickname, adopted in the 1970s, reflected local sentiment about the deteriorating downtown area. With renovations complete on the historic courthouse building, Courthouse Square has become a hub of downtown events. A new 20-screen theater and retail complex was also constructed downtown recently.
Redwood City's distinct neighborhoods mirror its diverse population. The city sponsors a Neighborhood Liaison Program, which encourages residents to meet regularly and address community needs and issues. The program is an effective way for residents to communicate about areas of concern to the city. Areas of focus range from disaster preparedness to beautification projects.
The city's prominent residential neighborhoods include:
- Wellesley Park: North of Whipple and just west of El Camino, this area comprises mostly small 1920s bungalows and a few larger pre-war homes. This neighborhood is expensive, but family-friendly, partly due to its prized local schools.
- Edgewood Park: This neighborhood features a mix of large- and medium-size homes. Some of the larger homes date as far back as the late 1800s. The smaller homes were built from the mid-1920s through the early 1950s. Edgewood Park is served by the same schools as Wellesley Park, making it another affluent, family-friendly neighborhood.
- Redwood Shores: The first houses of this bayside neighborhood were built in the late 1960s, but Redwood Shores didn't become popular until the '80s. The most recent developments are only a few years old and include waterfront condos, townhouses and apartment buildings. Redwood Shores is popular among young professionals.
- Other popular Redwood City neighborhoods include Mount Carmel, Emerald Hills, Palomar Park, Woodside Plaza and Farm Hill Estates.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Historically, Redwood City was dominated by the lumber industry. The large, beautiful redwood trees in the area were used to build homes, wharves, piers and other structures for the pioneers who came seeking gold in the late-19th century.
Today, Redwood City's economy is consistent with the surrounding Silicon Valley. The city is home to high-tech and professional industries, including a division of DreamWorks Animation. Major employers in the private sector include Oracle and Electronic Arts.
Hourly wages in Redwood City are usually higher than the national average for similar jobs, but the high cost of living in the area offsets this difference.
- The San Mateo County History Museum is housed in the old San Mateo Courthouse. The building was constructed in 1910, and features a stained-glass dome and mosaic floors. The original façade and courtyard of the building were restored in 2006. The museum's interactive exhibits extend from early Native American history to the Maverick surfing exhibit, where patrons can take a virtual ride on a surfboard. The museum sponsors school and family outreach programs and hosts events such as Immigrants Day and Victorian Days throughout the year.
- The Malibu Castle and Grand Prix offers recreational fun for the entire family. The park features go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, miniature golf, and a game room. Guests can fuel their fun at the on-site pizza parlor.
- The Phil Shao Memorial Skate Park, which opened in 2003, is located in Red Morton Community Park. It was designed with the help of skaters in Redwood City.
- The most celebrated event during the year is the Redwood City Independence Day Parade. The parade, held every year since 1939, is touted as one of the largest in the nation. A civic festival follows the parade with live music, arts-and-crafts booths, and a jump house and climbing wall for children. The festival is a primary fundraiser for nonprofit organizations in the community.
Other seasonal festivals include:
- Cinco de Mayo at the Courthouse Square
- Halloween Spooktakular at the Red Morton Community Center
- Hometown Holidays in downtown Redwood
The Kiwanis Club sponsors a weekly farmers' market. In addition to fresh produce, shoppers may purchase handmade crafts such as jewelry and clothing. Live local musicians provide entertainment.
- Redwood City is home to Cañada College, a community college that offers both two- and four-year degree programs. High-school students can take courses without paying tuition, reducing the cost of a college education. University extension classes are also available.
- The Redwood City Public Library supports children and adults through electronic resources, educational programs, and book discussions.
- Redwood City is serviced by Caltrain, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains, and VTA Light Rail. SamTrans buses offer fixed route service and shuttles from BART trains to employment centers. VTA buses also service the area.
- Air travel is facilitated by the San Francisco International Airport and the San Jose International Airport.
- The two arterial roads in Redwood are Woodside Road, which runs east/west from the Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and El Camino Real, which runs north/south between San Francisco and San Jose.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Community events held through the summer months include:
- Music on the Square, held on Friday nights at the Courthouse Square.
- Dancing on the Square, held Tuesday nights. Dance demonstrations in tango, swing, salsa, and hip-hop are followed by a public outdoor dance.
- Shakespeare on the Square, where two plays are staged over four evenings. Youth and guest actors from the community may participate in the productions.
- Art on the Square joins the other arts programs with two art exhibitions displaying the work of local artists.
- Target Family Days, during which streets surrounding the Courthouse Square are closed to traffic for one Sunday each month, and the Square becomes a cultural festival for families.
The Redwood City Art Center provides art studios and three art galleries that display the work of local artists. Mediums represented include murals, photography, and mixed-media sculpture. Classes are offered to youth and adults.