By Joe Kukura
Sports fans who love live games—or playing live games—have a new go-to destination to experience the thrill of victory. The Northern California hotspot of San Mateo County/Silicon Valley is one of the best places in the country for watching or playing live sports, with major-league sporting venues and world-class indoor and outdoor playing facilities. When you find yourself in Northern California, consider the wide world of sports that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer with these 15 great places to watch, play and totally get your game on.
1. The granddaddy of all sports attractions in the region is Stanford University, with a consistently top-ranked football team, powerhouse men’s and women’s basketball programs and one of the most entertaining marching bands in the land. Check the Stanford football website for home games and the Stanford basketball site for theirs.
2. The always popular Divas Half-Marathon and 5K runs through San Mateo County/Silicon Valley on Sunday, June 5, 2016, with all of the pink tutus, pink tank tops and sparkling tiaras of this highly fashionable women’s foot race. Shirtless firefighters present the medals and pose for photos.
3. If you’d rather watch a foot race, US Association of Track and Field holds its US championships on Sunday, June 5, 2016, at the College of San Mateo.
4. San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has some of the greatest golf courses in the world, including the Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Poplar Creek Golf Course and TPC Harding Park, so swing by a few of them while you’re there.
5. Golf fans can also tee off to watch the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (April 18-24, 2016) at the Lake Merced Golf Club, or the NCAA Golf Regionals at Stanford University (May 3-7, 2016). This event features top women golfers, gigantic sculptures shipped over from China for the event and costumed mascots.
6. Burlingame’s Broadway Tennis Center is a world-class, state-of-the-art indoor tennis court recently named one of the best new facilities in the country by Inside Tennis magazine. Stop by and play a match.
7. Sportshouse is San Mateo County/Silicon Valley’s largest indoor sports complex, a climate-controlled multi-sport facility offering state-of-the-art indoor fields for soccer, basketball, lacrosse, flag football and even indoor beach volleyball. Party rooms, bounce houses and a sports cafe are also on the roster at this Redwood City complex.
8. There’s more bounce to the ounce at Sky High Sports in Burlingame, a trampoline-floored, trampoline-walled bouncy facility that lets you flip, fly and freestyle in a 360-degree, immersive trampoline environment. Sky High also schedules organized activities including bouncy cardio workouts, trampoline dodgeball and more.
9. Horse races from all over the world are broadcast at the Jockey Club in San Mateo, a luxury horseracing facility without the horse track. The Jockey Club is a “satellite wagering facility” playing dozens of horse races from around the US in deluxe watching rooms and party rooms, with wagering available, and night racing broadcasts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
10. Bocce ballers have plenty of places to play in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, with outdoor bocce courts at Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park in Foster City, Beresford Park in San Mateo, Washington Park in Burlingame, Orange Memorial Park in South San Francisco, and the Office Bar & Grill and Laureola Park in San Carlos.
11. The shores of Redwood City offer first-class sailing, with sailing lessons and charter boat tours available at Spinnaker Sailing, next to the Port of Redwood City.
12. Paddleboating and stand-up paddleboarding are all the rage, and the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay are perfect for paddling. Rentals and lessons for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and paddleboating are provided by Cal Canoe and Kayak, with locations in San Mateo, San Carlos and Half Moon Bay.
13. Windsurfing is another popular pastime in the San Francisco Bay, with smooth waters and fantastic views at numerous marine parks. California Windsurfing on the shores of Central Lake in Foster City offers rentals, leasing and beginner lessons with windsurfing boards, kayaks, paddleboards and even hydrobikes.
14. Outdoor sports galore are on the menu at the Pescadero paradise of Costanoa Lodge and Resort. The 140-acre eco-resort is equipped with breathtaking scenic trails for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking, and numerous weekly kids camps to teach these hobbies to the little ones. And after a day on the trails, you can unwind with spa services and sumptuous stargazing.
15. And you can’t go wrong taking a trip to the ballpark to see the San Francisco Giants. The Giants’ AT&T Park is regarded as one of the premier facilities in baseball, with its iconic Coke bottle slide, gigantic catcher’s mitt in the bleachers and unparalleled menu of gourmet foods and craft beer. The park is just a Caltrain ride or BART trip from San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, and the Giants’ recent even-year championship magic (2010, 2012, 2014) bodes well for lively crowds at the ballpark in 2016.
Whether you love watching big games or getting in on the games yourself, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has a stacked roster of sporting venues, game facilities, and professionally groomed parks and trails for the sporting enthusiast. You won’t feel like you’re on the visiting team when visiting San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, one of the best places in America where sports fans can really have a ball.
See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer and plan your trip now.