By Ken DeLeon | Founder
While I appreciate all of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto is the city I love the most and which I call home. From the moment I interviewed at Wilson Sonsini twenty years ago, I immediately fell in love with our amazing city. Over these twenty years, I have been privileged to own and live in many of Palo Alto’s uniquely beautiful neighborhoods, including Crescent Park (two homes), Green Gables, Midtown, and Barron Park.
My love of Palo Alto is not unique, as Palo Alto consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top cities. This was evidenced in a relatively recent survey done by Livability.com, which ranked Palo Alto as the best place to live in America. Palo Alto provides an optimal living experience with a vibrant, dynamic downtown and a living environment that generally requires an urban setting, combined with the natural beauty and exceptional schools that are only found in suburban areas. Palo Alto is simultaneously a world-class city that retains its small-town charm. While very hard to limit myself, below I list the five aspects that buyers love most about Palo Alto.
Palo Alto is known worldwide as the epicenter of the world’s innovation. The city is home not only to Hewlett-Packard and Tesla, but also to many of Silicon Valley’s major law firms and, additionally, many venture capital firms. Innovation is built upon education, so it is no surprise that Palo Alto has excellent schools. In fact, Palo Alto overall has the best public schools in the entire state per Niche.com’s recent rankings. This top ranking is not unexpected since Palo Alto has the top eleven elementary schools in the state, three of the top four middle schools in the state, and the top high school in the state (Gunn took top honors, but at #5, Paly also has reason to be proud). Congratulations, and thanks to the school district’s faculty and administration for such a strong showing.
Even though I am a graduate of archrival Berkeley (Law School), I have tremendous respect and gratitude for Stanford, which is generally considered to be amongst the top three universities in the world. Even within this rarified realm, Stanford is rising farther and now has the lowest acceptance rate (4.6 percent) of any college and generally fundraises at a record level, often raising over a billion dollars per year. At this pace, Stanford’s ascendance over Harvard, the Stanford of the East Coast, seems likely in the next decade. I am personally thankful to Stanford’s exceptional medical school, ranked second-best in America, and its hospital, where all four of my children were born.
With 32 parks that cover over 4,000 acres, Palo Alto has the best park system in Silicon Valley. I have enjoyed hundreds of hours playing with my children at these parks, and buyers love that each neighborhood has an exceptional park within walking distance.
Many buyers relocating to Silicon Valley come from large urban tech centers such as San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Austin, or Boston. These buyers bemoan the fact that they must live in suburbia, but they happily pay the Palo Alto premium to be close to the shops and boutiques of our dynamic downtown, which is viewed as the best downtown area between San Jose and San Francisco.
California Avenue Farmer’s Market
What pizza is to New Yorkers, fresh fruits and vegetables are to us. The California Avenue Farmer’s market is bigger and better than many others, providing a great selection of items and a very fun time. It also happens to be a place where I run into many of my clients.
As a proud Palo Alto resident, I can so easily justify the premium that our Palo Alto listings receive and why Palo Alto commands the highest price per square foot within Northern California. While good deals abound in other cities, there is nothing that can ever get me to leave the unique combination of all that Palo Alto provides to its thankful and happy residents