Hayward has an estimated population of 155,312 (2007), and is located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. Nicknamed “the Heart of the Bay”, the city is considered a suburb of both Oakland and San Francisco. Hayward is known as the location of the original Hunt Brothers Cannery, which opened in 1895. The company, later known as Hunt-Wesson Foods, packaged local fruit at first, and then later added tomatoes, which became the company's primary product. In the 1960s and into the 1970s, Hunt’s operated three canneries in Hayward, as well as three other factories. For over a century, the company employed almost every available person to package its produce. The impact of the factories was such that the smell of ketchup permeated the Hayward air three months out of each year. The plants closed in 1981 due to limited natural resources, much of the production relocating to the Sacramento Valley.
Because of Hayward’s proximity to cities like Berkeley and Oakland, visitors and residents often look to those areas for dining and nightlife opportunities. Those choosing to stay in Hayward, however, might go to Buon Appetito for Italian, Favorite Indian for Indian food, or Buffalo Bills for a trendy pub atmosphere. If you’re looking for a cozy bar where you can hear some live music, you might check out The Bistro downtown.
Hayward’s central location makes it a logical and economical home base for tourists and commuters. The city is conveniently situated near popular tourist locations such as San Francisco, top educational institutions like Stanford and Berkeley, and the economic powerhouse Silicon Valley. Hayward itself is home to California State University East Bay. It is also home to an interpretive center at the entrance to the San Mateo Bridge; this is a place where families can hike on paths through marshland and children can learn about nature. Sulpher Creek is another nature center, with events primarily geared toward younger children. The highlight of Hayward is its spectacular panoramic views of the bay, which can be seen from the hills near the University. The view captures Fremont, Silicon Valley, Oakland, and San Francisco all at once. No matter where you are in the bay, it’s worth it to take the detour to take in this view from the Hayward hills.