Redwood City, California 94063
Phone: 650/299-0104 x225
We'd love it if you would mention that you found San Mateo County History Museum on the Here Comes The Guide website.
Museum members with the Family Level Membership or above receive a 10% discount in the Museum Store. As always, admission is free for all members.
Why We Like This Place
Domes are wondrous things, and there's no end to our fascination with them. Fortunately, you don't have to go to Rome (St. Peter's), Washington, DC (the Capitol) or Istanbul (the Hagia Sophia) to get a great dome fix—or even to get married beneath one. Just take the much shorter trip to Redwood City, where the San Mateo County History Museum has preserved one of the Bay Area's most remarkable domes.
The museum inhabits the venerable 1910 county courthouse, a sandstone structure that retains all of the dignity of that era, with its tile floors, Corinthian columns and tall, stately doors opening to Exhibit Galleries and the beautifully restored Courtroom A. The overwhelming centerpiece, however, is its magnificent dome. A towering concoction of skylit glass panes colored brilliant red, green, amber and opaque white, it rises above sculpted eagles and ornamental arches to a constellation of gold stars on a deep blue background. The dome is a full-tilt, rock-your-head-back-on-your-shoulders-and-stare-at-it-in-wonder kind of thing. Get married under it and you'll be talking about it for years to come.
Many couples also use the rotunda for their ceremony and reception. If your party is a large one, take advantage of the balcony-like second floor, which doubles as another dining space. Here guests not only have a better vantage of the gorgeous glass overhead, they can stroll over to the railing and enjoy a bird's-eye view of the festivities below.
Courtroom A also makes a fabulous setting for a ceremony or sit-down dinner. You reach it via a grand staircase distinguished by marble-topped risers, brass railings and mahogany banisters. Couples love its elegance and often pose for wedding photos on it. The courtroom has rich oak moldings and furnishings, including the traditional long railing that separates the jury and bar members from the public. Overhead, the ceiling features an oblong skylight of green, red and gray-blue glass arranged in abstract floral patterns. Stylized plaster wreaths of fruits and grains border the skylight, and four heavy Federal-style chandeliers with scalloped sconces hang low from the ceiling. Large oak-framed windows along two walls come down almost to the floor, and a Roman-style pediment spans the main entrance. The thick English carpet, red with gold highlights, feels absolutely wonderful underfoot. The original clerk, bailiff and judge's benches are still there, as are the jury chairs. This immensely refined room bestows an extra element of grace on any wedding.
The rotunda is so phenomenal that it needs little decoration, and the same goes for Courtroom A. For an added diversion (and fee), arrange to have the museum's exhibits open to your guests. If you love history or simply want something delightfully unconventional, it would be hard to beat this domed museum.
- Max. Seated Indoors: 150
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 0
- Max. Seated Indoors: 170
- Max. Seated Outdoors: 0
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Indoors: 400
- Max. Standing/Cocktails Outdoors: 0
- Max. Seated: 120
CEREMONY CAPACITY: Courtroom A holds 100 seated guests and the Rotunda holds 150 seated.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: The entire courthouse holds 400 standing guests. Courtroom A accommodates up to 170 for a seated reception.
MEETING CAPACITY: The museum seats up to 120 guests for meetings.
Cost: Prices, Deposits, Etc.
A $750 deposit is required to reserve your date, and the balance is due 30 days prior to the event. The rental fee ranges $3,200–5,000 depending on the spaces reserved, services selected and staffing needed for the event.
Special Events, Parties
Services/AmenitiesCatering: select from preferred list
Kitchen Facilities: full catering kitchen
Tables & Chairs: tables provided, extra fee
Linens, Silver, etc.: CBA
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: yes
Bride's Dressing Area: yes
AV/Meeting Equipment: full range CBA, including teleconferencing and internet access
Parking: on-street or large lot, free after 6pm
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Cleanup: caterer and janitorial staff
View: park, hills, fountain, grounds
Other: access to exhibits, extra fee
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
Community Center/Civic Bldg
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK indoors
Wheelchair Access: yes