You can call Redwood City a suburb of San Francisco. You can do that, but you’d be wrong. Redwood City is a real city, with 80,000 residents and its own thriving downtown with unique shops, restaurants and a year-long slate of concerts, farmers markets and festivals. It has historic neighborhoods, urban neighborhoods, suburban neighborhoods and neighborhoods that seem miles from the nearest freeway.

Redwood City has 30 parks, including massive Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, a skatepark, a dog park and even two lakes, Upper and Lower Emerald Lake. Homeowners surrounding 1.75-acre Lower Emerald Lake enjoy access to one of the area’s oldest private associations, the Emerald Lake Country Club, Only 50 families can call themselves active members, but summer memberships can be purchased.

There are so many ways to live in Redwood City: in a stately pre-war Edgewood Drive mansion, a Mount Carmel Craftsman, a post-war tract house near Sequoia High School, a contemporary or neo-Colonial near the Atherton border. Soon there will be another way to live in Redwood City: in a hip downtown condo.

Unlike some of its Peninsula neighbors, Redwood City has been up and running for over 150 years. It was founded by in the 1850s by loggers using Redwood Creek to float redwood trees from Woodside to San Francisco Bay. Its quirky slogan, “Climate Best by Government Test” was the result of a 1925 Chamber of Commerce contest. The winner, Wilber Doxsee, pocketed a $10 prize.

The test, held during World War I, did actually determine that Redwood City, along with the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean Coast of North Africa, had the best climate in the world. That, along with a location halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, a great variety of neighborhoods, houses, parks and schools and an always growing and improving historic downtown, has kept Redwood City popular for well over a century.