50 Perfect Hours: Foster City

Each week, travel writer Katie Morell will detail how to spend 50 hours in a different San Francisco Bay Area city for the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee’s #Perfect50 Hour Series.

Visitors looking for a slower pace of life with plenty of parks and water recreation options are smart to turn to Foster City, a town of 30,000 residents situated about 20 miles south of San Francisco. Listed by Forbes as one of America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well and Money Magazine‘s Best Places to Live, Foster City is the home to a variety of large companies such as Sony, Visa and Gilead Sciences.

Here, we detail the perfect way to spend a 50-hour getaway in Foster City.

Day 1

9:00 a.m. – Wake up in your crisp and clean room at the Courtyard San Mateo Foster City. Throw on some workout gear and pack a bag with a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a bathing suit. Then go downstairs for breakfast at The Bistro, an on-property restaurant. Fill up on pastries, fruit and coffee and then head out.

10:30 a.m. – Drive a few blocks down Shell Blvd. and pull into California Windsurfing, an outfitter right on the Foster City Lagoon that offers a variety of water activities. Put on your swimsuit and try pedal boating, wind surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. You can even try riding a hydro bike. Enjoy the outdoors for a few hours while you get in some excellent exercise.

1:00 p.m. – Sufficiently hungry after a major calorie burn, towel off and drive north to Sandwich Monkey. This place is well known for its massive, delicious sandwiches. Order a “Roasted Rascal” (roast beef, cream cheese, safari sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions) and a “Goodall” (artichoke, red pepper, avocado, pepperoncinis, cucumbers, garlic sauce, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions).

2:00 p.m. – Strap on your most comfortable walking shoes and head over to Leo J. Ryan Park, a 20-acre green space overlooking Central Lake, part of the Foster City Lagoon. Spend the next few hours playing Frisbee with your family and checking out the amphitheater and gazebo and strolling along the boardwalk. If the weather is nice, this park can serve as the ideal spot to capture your holiday photo.

4:00 p.m. – Just in case you need an afternoon pick-me-up, drive over to Chatime on Edgewater Blvd., a tasty place to indulge in some milk tea. The banana milk tea is mouth watering, as is the taro milk tea. If you would prefer other varietals, opt for the brown rice green tea, the Hawaiian fruit tea or the mango smoothie.

5:00 p.m. – Drive back to the Courtyard, shower and relax for a while. Catch up on your vacation novel and take a short nap. When you are ready, change into some casual dinner clothes and get ready for a fun night on the town.

6:30 p.m. – Set your GPS to 1000 Metro Center Blvd. and, once parked, walk into Pieology Pizzeria, a popular spot that offers pizzas cooked in a stone oven. Unlimited toppings are available, so go crazy and mix it up! If you’d prefer something other than pizza, opt for the hickory BBQ chicken, Alfredo’s Alfredo or the Caesar salad.

8:00 p.m. – End your evening by witnessing a live performance at the Hillbarn Theatre. This place offers a variety of shows, from comedy to timeless favorites like Fiddler on the Roof. Check the online schedule before you go.

Day 2

9:00 a.m. – Wake up slowly today, pour yourself a cup of coffee and relax in your room. When you are ready, dress in some breathable clothing (like yesterday) and drive over to Plaza Gourmet Delicatessen. Ask the person behind the counter to make you a breakfast sandwich and snag a bottle of water on your way out.

10:30 a.m. – Drive five miles north to Coyote Point Recreation Area in neighboring San Mateo and grab a picnic table near Magic Mountain Playground. Take your time eating your breakfast sandwiches here and then hop on the Bay Trail for a walk along the water. This trail is scenic, paved and dog friendly (they need to be on a leash, though).

Next, spend time at CuriOdyssey, a science and wildlife center geared toward children. The facility has a host of interactive exhibits; admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children 2-12 years old and $7 for students 13-17 years old.

1:30 p.m. – Next up is lunch at Akisu Sushi Bar & Grill at 1457 Beach Park Blvd in Foster City. Belly up to the sushi bar and order the Super Godzilla Roll, Spicy Crunch Roll and Crazy Dragon Roll. This place will likely be busy on a weekend, so have fun mingling with friendly locals.

3:00 p.m. – After two days of activity, it is time to for some pampering. Go to 939h Edgewater Blvd. and walk into Oceanic Foot Spa, a relaxing spot on the water. Relish in a 90-minute foot or hot stone massage and enjoy treating yourself while on vacation.

5:00 p.m. – Drive back to the Courtyard to shower, take a nap and change. When ready, drive to 1058 Shell Blvd., park and settle into a table at Chalet Ticino, a Swiss/Italian restaurant known for its pasts and fondue dishes. Order a helping of the wedding soup, Veal Zurich (veal with white wine), cheese fondue, Chicken Milanese (chicken with Dijon mustard, fresh tarragon sauce and gnocchi) and beef lasagna.

8:30 p.m. – End your night with a cocktail at The Clubhouse Bistro, located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Tasty drinks include “The Bistro Diddy” (berry vodka, sprite and sweet and sour grenadine) and the “Kir Royal” (champagne, crème de cassis and strawberries).

Day 3

10:00 a.m. – Wake up later this morning and take your time checking out of the Courtyard. Drive back to the Crowne Plaza and grab a seat at Café Florian, an airy spot with excellent breakfast food. Order the corned beef hash, Florentine omelet and French toast and waffles. Wash it all down with a coffee and a berry smoothie. This is the perfect way to end your 50-hour getaway in Foster City.


Katie Morell is an independent journalist based in San Francisco who writes about travel, business and social justice issues. Her work has appeared in Hemispheres, Fast Company, USA Today, Diversity Woman, BBC Travel and others. Read more of her work at www.katiemorell.com