By lifting their gaze to the hills, these visionaries set Belmont apart from its Peninsula neighbors. Known for hillside homes set among lush trees and boasting unrivaled views– Belmont offers things you can’t find in San Mateo, Millbrae, Burlingame or San Carlos.
This town of over 27,000 experienced most of its growth after World War II but maintains a small pre-war downtown centered around Ralston Avenue, which was one of only a few direct paths connecting the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. It’s named after Comstock Lode financier William C. Ralston, who built his Italianate country estate, Ralston Hall, along the road in 1867. Today, Ralston Hall is the centerpiece of Notre Dame de Namur University, formerly the only four-year university in San Mateo County, now serving graduate students exclusively.
Belmont is a unique mix of old and new. You’ll find plenty of ultra-modern homes in its lush canyons; a few miles away you’ll find an iconic restaurant, Godfather’s Burger lounge on El Camino Real, that has been featured on television shows and magazines and received awards for its superior burgers. Also on El Camino Real, the ultra-chic Iron Gate restaurant has been serving Steak Diane tableside since 1965. It’s just a short walk from there to downtown and Vivace, an Italian restaurant that’s been drawing raves since it opened in 2010.
Belmont residents also love their outdoor activities. Parks and outdoor recreation have been Belmont mainstays since the town’s founding. The town has made a commitment to preserving plenty of green space, including two major parks in Belmont—Water Dog Lake Park and historic Twin Pines Park, once known as “Belmont Park” and styled after an outdoor German beer hall.
Today, you’re more likely to find modern Belmont locals using Twin Pines Park for hiking or biking, or spot them attending an arts festival at the Carlmont Shopping Center, strolling down a winding lane on their way to the tree-shaded Belmont Library or catching a Friday night football game at Carlmont High. Though Belmont is an easy place to find peace and solitude, its residents equally value their sense of community.
Belmont is perfectly situated for those who work in either San Francisco or Silicon Valley, with a downtown Caltrain station and access to two major highways. With strong public schools and opportunities to help your real estate dollar stretch a bit further, the popularity of this serene, green city is on the rise.
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