Central Park and Japanese Garden

Park Location: 50 East 5th Avenue

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Tennis Court parking garage will be closed for structural repairs from October 2 to end of January 2024. More information for short-term parking options is available on our Downtown On-Street Parking webpage.

About this Park

The city purchased the Kohl Mansion property in 1922 and transformed this 16.3-acre property into the City’s signature park in downtown San Mateo, Central Park.

Central Park is home to many signature community events such as the Central Park Music Series, 4th of July in the Park, Eggstravaganza, and more.

The Central Park Recreation Center offers popular aerobic classes and rentable space for meetings and other functions. Aerobic classes take place in the mornings, and then you can rent the center rooms for all kinds of social events from noon to midnight!

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden, in San Mateo Central Park is one of the finest gardens in California. It was designed by landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, and features a granite pagoda, tea house, koi pond and bamboo grove.

The Japanese Garden is beautiful throughout the year, but be sure to visit in the late Winter and early Spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Sorry, no dogs are allowed in the Japanese Garden.

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday - Friday: 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 11:00am-4:00pm

Koi Feedings:
Koi feedings are done during public viewing hours during Spring and Summer only (fish are not fed during public hours November - March)

Monday - Friday: 11:00am and 3:00pm (Spring/Summer)

Central Rose Garden

A beautiful wedding spot available for rent. Fill out the application!

Location: 50 E 5th Avenue

Phone: (650) 522-7434

Mini Train

Plans are underway to restore the Mini Train children’s ride in San Mateo Central Park! The ride has been a cherished amenity in our park, and the 75-year-old train needs to be replaced due to its age and unavailability of parts. The City leases the space and tracks to an operator, who privately owned the train and decided to discontinue his business after the train couldn’t be repaired. 

We’ll soon issue a request for proposals for a new train and operator to run the ride, which has typically been open several hours year-round on weekends and summer weekdays. 

We appreciate the former operator and all of those who’ve visited the park to enjoy the mini train over the decades! We’ll be sure to share updates on the train’s status when available. 

Central Park miniature train with riders

Park and Picnic Photos