What’s it Like to Live in Colma, CA?
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What’s it like to live in Colma?
Living in Colma, you get the best combination of small-town atmosphere and big-city amenities. Located in San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay Area, Colma is a growing community that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown San Francisco. You’ll feel right at home thanks to the town’s welcoming character, featuring old-world charm with historical details like paved brick roads and decorative lamp posts.
The 5,500-square-foot community center reflects the city’s history, which dates back to the 1800s. The center includes a historical museum with a restored 1863 railroad depot and a reproduction blacksmith shop, along with other authentic historical items and displays relating to Colma’s past.
The town prides itself on its friendly, quiet atmosphere—a nice perk if you’re looking for peaceful suburban living without giving up access to metropolitan amenities. After all, downtown San Francisco is never far away with two BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations nearby.
What types of homes are in Colma?
While Colma’s commercial buildings give the town a bit of an exotic flair with Spanish- and Mediterranean-inspired architectural styles, residential areas vary in style. Some follow suit with mission-style features, like spacious, light-filled townhomes painted in sunny colors and topped with red-tiled roofs. Others reflect Colma’s long history, like homey ramblers with classic architectural details.
Whatever your preferences—small and cozy for family time or large and open for entertaining—Colma can offer something that fits your tastes and style.
What’s unique about Colma?
Colma definitely has a unique history; you might even say it’s a little macabre. This northern section of the San Francisco Peninsula was first settled in the 1800s, and eventually incorporated in 1924. But in the early 1990s, when San Francisco passed ordinances prohibiting opening any more cemeteries due to rising land values and then removing all existing cemeteries, Colma became the chosen site for relocation and new burials for all of San Francisco. As a result, many well-known figures who died in San Francisco are buried within the city limits, including Wild West legend Wyatt Earp, blue jeans innovator Levi Strauss, newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, famous Yankees baseball player Joe DiMaggio, and jazz musician (well known for his Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack) Vince Guaraldi, among others.
So it isn’t hard to see why Colma has earned nicknames like “City of the Silent” or “City of Souls.” In a New York Times article issued in the mid-2000s, the city’s mayor quipped that “We have 1,500 aboveground residents . . . and 1.5 million underground.” Good-humored residents have adopted the tongue-in-cheek motto, “It’s great to be alive in Colma.”
Where are the good schools in Colma?
- Marjorie H. Tobias Elementary School | Grades K-6 | 725 Southgate Avenue, Daly City
- Holy Angels School | Grades K-8 | 20 Reiner Street
- Westmoor High School | Grades 9-12 | 131 Westmoor Avenue, Daly City
What are the best things to do in Colma?
Can’t wait to get off of work and soak up a little sun. . . or maybe just burn off some calories from lunch? Colma, and all of the Bay Area for that matter, is an outdoor lover’s paradise and home to not a few fitness enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for something within walking distance from town, maybe a place to hang out with a few friends or co-workers, Colma’s Sterling Park Recreation Center should fit the bill. Maybe shooting some hoops in the half-court basketball court is in order, or perhaps bocce ball is a bit more your speed. You can even take advantage of the picnic area complete with barbecue pits (bring your own steaks!). You can tote the kids off to the playground or the grassy area for field games. If you have a canine friend to keep entertained, Colma also has its own dog park (referred to, fittingly, as the “Bark Park”).
Daly City, the largest city in San Mateo County that also borders Colma and shares a Chamber of Commerce with the town, offers even more opportunities for indoor and outdoor recreation. The Daly City Parks and Recreation Department serves parts of Colma and other neighboring cities and has athletic and aquatic programs for kids, teens, and adults, plus nearly 200 classes for all ages ranging in topic from arts and crafts, to dance and martial arts, to language, music, computers, and more.
As if that weren’t enough, the nearby Olympic Club, an athletic and golf course that crosses San Francisco’s border and is located partly within Daly City, hosted the USGA U.S. Open in 2012 and four other times. It is the oldest athletic club in the U.S and offers two 18-hole courses plus facilities for more than 20 sports, from swimming and water polo, to lacrosse and rugby, to squash and handball, to even shooting at the club’s nationally recognized rifle range.
So whatever your sporting or recreational preferences, Colma and its neighboring towns can deliver for you and your family!
Is Colma right for me?
If you’re looking for friendly neighborhoods and small-town charm without giving up your access to big-city amenities, then Colma offers the ideal balance. A close-knit community, Colma spans only 2.2 square miles, but provides everything you need—from local resources and recreation to shopping and dining (and plenty of parking, something that’s hard to come by in the San Francisco area). And if you feel like venturing out of your own neighborhood, downtown San Francisco is just a short drive or public transit ride away. There’s a reason this area is known as the gateway to San Francisco. . . it offers you an opportunity to get away from the urban rush without missing out on the culture and entertainment opportunities that make city living so fun.