El Granada is located at Pacific coast side of San Mateo County, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco and 45 miles (72 km) north of Santa Cruz, California. Neighboring towns include Montara and Moss Beach to the north and Half Moon Bay to the south.(37.503766, -122.473230), on the less densely populated
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14.0 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,724 people, 2,028 households, and 1,512 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,062.7 people per square mile (410.0/km²). There were 2,097 housing units at an average density of 389.3/sq mi (150.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 84.21% White, 0.56% African American, 1.05% Native American, 2.85% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 6.81% from other races, and 4.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.72% of the population.
There were 2,028 households out of which 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.8% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.8 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $91,979, and the median income for a family was $96,095. Males had a median income of $54,122 versus $48,065 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $38,832. About 1.1% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.
El Granada's unusual concentric-circular street layout was designed by the influential architect and city planner Daniel Burnham. Burnham's other works included overseeing the design for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and designing the 1902 Flatiron Building in New York City. Burnham's plan was commissioned by the Ocean Shore Railroad, which developed El Granada as a seaside resort for visitors from San Francisco. He developed city plans for San Francisco (1905), Chicago (1909), Manila and the Mall in Washington D.C. His company designed many noteworthy buildings in Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and other cities in the US. He is buried on an island with his family under granite boulders in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago.
In the state legislature El Granada is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Gene Mullin. Federally, El Granada is located in California's 12th and 14th congressional districts, which have Cook PVIs of D +22 and D +18 respectively. The 12th is currently represented by Democrat Jackie Speier, elected to office following the death of Democrat Tom Lantos in 2008, and the 14th is represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.