60 31st Avenue • San Mateo, CA 94403
Score (8 out of 10)
A peninsula tradition for over 50 years, Hillsdale mall still reigns in San Mateo County. It even knocked the socks off San Mateo Fashion Island mall, which was knocked down a few years ago.
Hillsdale shopping center’s interior is fresh, clean, and generally pleasant for shopping. The lower level is uncluttered and spacious, a rarity in today’s malls. Wide aisles on the second floor make it easy to maneuver around other shoppers.
The area’s first Nordstrom resides in this shopping center. Banking on the area’s affluence, many mid and high-end shops call Hillsdale Mall home, including Aldo Shoes, Restoration Hardware, Banana Republic, and Hollister.
Outside the mall you’ll find Trader Joe’s, Old Navy, and Barnes & Noble.
A unique feature is that you have to cross 31st Avenue to get to Sears and the adjoining food court, called Food31. The easiest way is from the upper level. Otherwise, you have to walk outside, cross the street, then walk back inside again.
Outside the mall you’ll find The Counter Custom Burgers, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and FGI Friday’s.
Don’t miss the fascinating granite sculptures of Beniamino “Benny” Benvenuto Bufano (1898-1970), originally installed in 1956. You’ll find seven animal sculptures and a St. Francis on horseback; all but one inside and on the lower level. The eighth is located on an outside plaza near the food court. Tall totem pole-like structures mark each piece and its name; best viewed from the upper level. Look for the stripped green and yellow poles with a giant “H” on top (see top photo on the right for an example).
Parking can be a bear sometimes, but you’ll sooner or later find a pretty good space. Most of the backside of the center is a multi-level parking garage, so you may have better luck there.
Hillsdale Shopping Center is located in San Mateo CA on El Camino Real at Hillsdale Boulevard. It can be a little confusing for the first-time visitor. Access from Hwy 101 isn’t direct and El Camino can be rather congested.
In generally, this shopping mall has a nice selection of fashion-oriented stores that make it worth visiting over and over again.
Mondays – Saturdays
10 AM – 9 PM
11 AM – 7 PM
Barnes & Noble
Cost Plus World Market
Macy’s (252,000 sq. ft.)
Nordstrom (150,000 sq. ft.)
Sears (206,339 sq. ft.)
Type: Superregional center
GLA: 116,128.8 m2 (1,250,000 sq. ft.)
Owner: Bohannon Development
Management Company: Bohannon Development
Grand Openings: 1954 (mall); 1962 (The Emporium); 1982 (Nordstrom)
Anchor Closures: 1996 (The Emporium); Dec. 2008 (Mervyn’s)
Renovated: 1982, 1995, 2004
Architectural Appearance: Chic
Cleanliness: Hospital clean!
Occupancy: Bursting at the seams!
Store Quality: Standard
Parking: Average (-0.5)
Location: Bring a map, compass, and provisions (-1)
Services: Website, printed directories, security, ATM, gift certificates.
Uniqueness: Nice, but nothing to write home about (-0.5)