San Carlos is situated about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose in San Mateo County and has a long and rich history.

Known as the ‘City of Good Living,’ the small city offers an array of great things to see and do for the whole family, from museums and art galleries to wineries, breweries, parks, reserves and more.

1. Hiller Aviation Museum

Hiller Aviation Museum
© Hiller Aviation Museum

The Hiller Aviation Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of Northern California aircraft and helicopters. Situated at the San Carlos Airport, the aircraft history museum was founded by Stanley Hiller 1998 and features fascinating exhibits with more than50 aerospace vehicles and graphic displays documenting the history of flight. Exhibitions include a replica of a Hiller XH-44 the first coaxial helicopter to fly in America; the front end of a Boeing 747; a Grumman HU-16 Albatross – the first of its kind to circumnavigate the earth; and a NASA AD-1 oblique wing research aircraft. The Hiller Aviation Museum is open seven days of the week and can be rented for special events and functions. Browse our California weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

601 Skyway Rd, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 727-582-2100

2. Fly Bay Area

Fly Bay Area
© Courtesy of trekandphoto -

Experience the San Francisco Bay Area beaches and attractions from the air on an exhilarating scenic flight tour in a Cessna or Piper single-engine airplane with Fly Bay Area. The tour company offers a variety of tours that fly over the stunning Pacific Ocean coastline and some of San Francisco’s top attractions, such as the Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Trips range from the Peninsula and Half Moon Bay, to the San Francisco & Golden Gate, and the Ultimate SkyTour, and include a hands-on aircraft orientation and preflight demonstration prior to the flight, an introduction to how an airplane is controlled on the ground and in the air, and a breathtaking trip on one of two Cessna planes under the guidance of a professional pilot.

620 Airport Way #7, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-631-2927

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3. The Reading Bug, San Carlos

The Reading Bug, San Carlos
© Courtesy of Sergey Nivens -

The Reading Bug is a local, family-owned, independent bookstore in the heart of Cortez that sells a wide range of children's books, music, toys, and accessories. Founded by Diane and Lauren Savage in 2008, the family-friendly bookstore is imaginatively designed and decorated like an enchanted forest and creates unique and memorable experiences for children and their families through a love of literacy. Offering comfortable seating in the form of toadstools and boasting surprises around every corner, The Reading Bug bookstore hosts an extensive calendar of special events such as book clubs and craft days, author visits, sing-alongs, story times, and discussion groups, and has a dedicated event space for special occasions and functions.

785 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-591-0100

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4. Devil's Canyon Brewing Company

Devil's Canyon Brewing Company
© Devil's Canyon Brewing Company

The Devil's Canyon Brewing Company is a locally-owned and operated brewery that produces a core branding of six beers, along with limited runs of seasonal specialties and a favorite root beer. Established in 2001 by Chris Garrett and named after the canyon that runs through Belmont and San Carlos, La Canada del Diablo, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company boasts a large facility in San Carlos with a beer garden and live music that draws a crowd on the weekends. In addition to their core of six beers year-round, seasonal and specialty beers include a coconut porter aged in rum barrels, Blackberry Sour Ale, Habanero Red Ale, and Barrel of Monkeys Barleywine. The Devil's Canyon Brewing offers 7,000 square feet of flexible space and private areas that can be rented for special events and functions.

935 Washington St, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-592-2739

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5. San Carlos Museum of History, San Carlos

San Carlos Museum of History, San Carlos
© San Carlos Museum of History

The San Carlos History Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the history, development, and creation of San Carlos by collecting, exhibiting and displaying a variety of artifacts, items, and memorabilia related to the history of the city. Located in Downtown San Carlos in a beautifully restored building that was San Carlos’ first firehouse, the museum’s collection features artifacts from the first settlers in the area such as tools, clothing, maps, photographs, literature, and mementos. There is also a rich collection of pictures from the late 1800s and early 1900s and an antique full-size fire engine on display. The Museum of San Carlos History is open on Saturday afternoons and admission to the museum is free.

533 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-802-4354, (website link)

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6. Cuisinett

© Cuisinett

Cuisinett is a casual French restaurant with a warm and welcoming vibe and sidewalk seating that serves a creative menu of Provençale-inspired fare and drinks for lunch and dinner. Diners can tuck into fresh salads, homemade soup and quiches, gourmet sandwiches, and classic French entrées such as moules frites, Côte de porc, crevette, ratatouille, and Poulet Roti. Desserts include tarte au citron, crème brulée, chocolate cake, and French bread pudding. A selection of French and local wines, craft beers and imported spirits are served, and Cuisinett is open for lunch and dinner, Friday through Wednesday and lunch only on Sundays.

1105 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-453-3390

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7. Domenico Winery, San Carlos

Domenico Winery, San Carlos
© Domenico Winery

Domenico Winery is a family-owned and operated boutique winery in the Sierra Foothills in Amador County that specializes in Cal-Italia varietals and produces two award-winning estate wines and over 20 varietals. Owned by Italian-born Dominick and Gloria Chirichillo, Domenico Winery uses high-quality grapes sourced from American Viticultural Areas in California such as the Napa Valley, Lodi, the Sonoma Coast, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Russian River. Inspired by their Italian roots, Dominick and Gloria produce specialize in Cal-Italia varietals such as Aglianico, Barbera, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Nebbiolo, Nero d'Avola and Sagrantino. Domenico Winery has an elegant tasting room for couples, with a mahogany bar and an Old-World charm where visitors can sample the winery’s award-winning wines amongst the aroma of wine aging in French oak barrels.

1697 Industrial Rd, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-593-2335

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8. San Carlos Flight Center Day Tours

San Carlos Flight Center Day Tours
© San Carlos Flight Center Day Tours

The San Carlos Flight Center offers a range of aviation-related services such as flight training, aerial tours, and more. The San Carlos Flight Center Day Tours include offer three different tours based on different locations, ranging the Scenic San Francisco Tour, which flies over Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Land’s End, Downtown San Francisco, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The Peninsula and Pacific Coast Tour takes guests over the rolling hills and rocky cliffs that border the Pacific Ocean, the Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, and the Ano Nuevo Reserve in Northern California, and the Silicon Valley Tour provides aerial views of the Bay Area’s center of innovation, taking in Stanford University, Moffett Field, Levi’s Stadium, and Apple’s new Infinite Loop. Tours are operated in four-seat, high-wing Cessna 172 and Cessna 182 aircraft, which can carry up to three passengers, and weather permitting, run seven days a week.

655 Skyway Road Suite 215, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-946-1700, (website link)

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9. Town Restaurant

Town Restaurant
© Town Restaurant

Town Restaurant is an elegant eatery in the heart of San Carlos that serves an all-American menu of premium steaks and chops, local seafood, fresh salads, and decadent desserts, along with handcrafted cocktails, and a wine list of California, Oregon, and Washington-based wines. Boasting an inviting and cozy wooden interior, the restaurant prides itself on serving a menu of dishes that have been prepared using only the highest quality ingredients, such as 100% Black Angus, 30-day aged, pasture-raised on a ranch in the Sierra foothills, locally and seasonally sourced seafood, poultry from Pitnam Farms, and beverages from American small-batch breweries and distilleries. Town Restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, seven days a week.

716 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-595-3003

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Located in the quiet downtown area of San Carlos, the REFUGE is an upscale, artisan pub-style eatery that is famous for their mouthwatering pastrami, which has been described as being ‘the greatest pastrami on the planet.’ In addition to the hand-carved, ultra-tender, mouth-watering pastrami, the menu boasts some iconoclastic American dishes such as fresh house-ground Hamburgers, juicy Ribeye Cheesesteaks, fresh salads, seasonal soups, and decadent desserts. The fantastic cuisine is accompanied by an Old-World wine list, artisan and craft beers, a 35,000-song iPod library, and a warm and welcoming ambiance.

963 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-598-9813

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11. Flying Suitcase Wines

Flying Suitcase Wines
© Flying Suitcase Wines

Flying Suitcase Wines is a family-friendly winery and tasting room that produces award-winning wines using the highest quality California grapes from Amador County, Napa, and the Russian River Valley, including whites and rosé, Zinfandel, Syrah, Italian varietals, cabernet sauvignon, and red blends. Flying Suitcase Wines has a welcoming, family-friendly tasting room that is open every weekend for wine-tasting and there is a great indoor play area for children. For group tastings, reservations are required, and dogs are also welcome too.

915 Washington St, San Carlos, CA 94070, Phone: 650-636-6737

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The Top 10 Best Things to See, Do and Eat in San Carlos on Your Day Trip from San Francisco & Fun things to do near me today: