Stierlin Estates is a safe and quiet area with zigzag streets designed to prevent cars from speeding. The streets of Stierlin Estates end at the Highway 101 wall, deterring non-residents from entering the neighborhood. A line of commercial and industrial buildings along the freeway wall act as a noise buffer. Homes in Stierlin Estates are predominantly well-maintained, single-family ranchers built in the 1960s. Some townhouses and condominiums can also be found in this lovely neighborhood. Majestic magnolia trees are scattered throughout the area as well. With the influx of tech workers and their young families, Stierlin Estates offers children a safe neighborhood to play and walk to school.
Formerly an orchard, Blossom Valley was developed in the 1950s into suburbs that feel more open and spacious than others neighborhoods in Mountain View with wider streets and larger lots. The first homes built here were smaller, 1,200 to 1,550 square feet, but on large lots of about 11,000 square feet. The second group of homes to be developed reversed these statistics with large 2,200 to 2,600 square foot homes being built on lots of about 8,000 square feet. In 2009, the highly-reputable Summerhill Homes built 30 homes on land where the Satake Nursery used to be and named it Satake Estates in the family’s honor. The homes are between 2,200 square feet and 3,400 square feet, making Satake Estates one of the best places to look if you desire a large home in Blossom Valley.
Young families are initially drawn to Blossom Valley for the high-performing Los Altos schools. As families become more knowledgeable about the neighborhood, the many other benefits of living here become apparent. These include having the Blossom Valley Shopping Center within the neighborhood and its grocery store and other retail stores all being within walking distance to their homes, in addition to being only a short drive to two downtowns, the Los Altos Village and Mountain View’s Castro Street.
Within Blossom Valley there is only the small Varsity Park for recreation. However, Cuesta Park, with its 12 tennis courts, volleyball and bocce ball courts, barbecue and picnic areas, and a playground, is nearby for residents to enjoy. Just north of the neighborhood, in Saint Francis Acres, there is McKelvey Park with its baseball and softball fields for sporting families.
Some residents have been living in Blossom Valley for forty-plus years, but younger families have moved in as homes become available. Residents have a real sense of community here, they get together for block parties, dinners, and children enjoy the neighborhood Halloween parade.
Castro City is a small enclave of homes that span a two-by-two block area. Most homes here were built in the 1960s and 1970s, designed originally as Ranch-style homes ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. Within this community are around two dozen Craftsman-style homes, built around 2001. Price-points for these single-family homes are comparable to some townhouses, making this neighborhood appealing to first-time homebuyers with a family. Residents love Castro City due to its walking proximity to Rengstorff Park, one of Mountain View’s largest parks. Rengstorff Park’s amenities include BBQ facilities, picnic areas, baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, a skate park, a children’s playground, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and an outdoor volleyball court.
At the southeastern tip of Mountain View is a unique development named Cuernavaca. It is an enclave of luxurious homes offering spacious, tropical, resort-like living with Mediterranean-style designs, lush gardens, and palm trees. The residents take pride in the landscaping, which is maintained by a committee of resident volunteers. Other amenities that make Cuernavaca feel like a resort are its pool, two spas, a recreation room, a children’s play area, and two tennis courts. The development was built in the 1980s on over 30 acres and has 170 attached and detached homes ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet. It is an oasis both aesthetically and in terms of the soothing lifestyle it offers in the midst of bustling Silicon Valley. Outside Cuernavaca’s walls lie a grocery store, various restaurants, shops, small service-oriented businesses, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Sections of this neighborhood can get a lot of noise from Highway 85, but the trade-off is proximity to a major commute route.
Del Medio is the most northwestern neighborhood of Mountain View and is a mix of commercial developments, single-family homes, and multifamily housing. Retail establishments line San Antonio Road, apartments fall in line behind that, and single-family homes are found primarily on the northern side of Del Medio Avenue and on the half of Monroe Drive that falls under Mountain View’s jurisdiction. Residents enjoy being walking distance to the newly renovated and expanded San Antonio Shopping Center, as well as San Antonio Caltrain Station, which allows for easy commuting. Del Medio Park is a neighborhood meeting spot and a perfect place to bring young children to play. The portion of this neighborhood along Monroe Drive is particularly desirable as it is at the end of the loop, minimizing traffic and increasing privacy. Residents with children also are proud to send their children to desirable Los Altos schools.
Downtown Mountain View
Downtown Mountain View, also called Old Mountain View, has always been the core of the city. However, it was not always centered on Castro Street. The first stage coach service stop was located near Grant Road and El Camino Real, so that is where the town initially was centered. After the Castro family, one of the largest land owners in the 1860s, allowed the train tracks to run through their land, they were granted a train depot for their use which was nearby the current Caltrain station. This refocused the city around this station and Castro Street, and after 150 years, the city has continued to be centered on this well-known street.
When you think of Downtown Mountain View and Castro Street, often your first thoughts are of the numerous restaurants with a wide variety cuisines, including the Michelin Star restaurant Chez TJ, all of which make Castro Street a destination for dining. Besides that, the landmark City Civic Center and Center of Performing Arts, providing sophisticated entertainment and city services in several attractive buildings, also is a focal point. Night clubs, pubs, annual music and wine festivals, weekly farmers markets, and boutique stores round out this vibrant Downtown. Residents of this neighborhood have the benefit of having all of this walking distance from their home. They live in homes ranging from over 100 years old to brand new, tiny bungalows to towering Craftsman, Colonials, and Cape Cods. Lot sizes also vary quite a bit too, however as is typical with older downtowns, they tend to be smaller and narrow creating closely neighboring homes but an overall attractive true Americana aesthetic. Most are in the 4,500 to 7,000 square foot range.
While most homes here are historic or at least older, the continually increasing popularity of being walking distance to a downtown business district has led to developers to purchase any large tracts of land available in Downtown Mountain View to build higher density housing. One of the largest and most popular is The Classics at Station 361, located along Evelyn Avenue, contains 65 luxury detached and attached homes.
Children who live in Downtown Mountain View attend Landels Elementary on the eastern side of the neighborhood. Landels Elementary has an API score over 850 and is on the rise. Middle schoolers attend the best middle school in Mountain View, Graham Middle, which also with a strong API score over 860. Students then continue on to Mountain View High School with an API over 860 as well.
Besides dining and shopping on Castro Street, children and adults alike have many opportunities for recreation right within the neighborhood. Eagle Park is perfect for a picnic, sports on the expansive lawn, or some swimming in the pool. Kids also love Eagle Park for the swing set. On the other side of the neighborhood there are two parks, Mercy-Bush Park, a small but charming park, and Landels School Park which has soccer and softball fields, basketball and volleyball courts, playground and picnic area.
This neighborhood offers a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of life. It is set back two blocks from any major thoroughfare, thus minimizing traffic noise. Adding to the sense of peace and serenity is the neighborhood’s natural setting with its abundant majestic trees, lush landscaping, and squirrels and birds. The neighborhood gem is Gemello Park where parents stroll with children to play with other children while parents mingle, forming a friendly, close- knit community. Gemello is walking distance to El Monte Shopping Center. Most of the homes are charming Ranch-style homes, built in the early 1950s and ranging in size from 1,225 to 1,900 square feet on lots ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet. Over the years, some owners have enlarged and updated these homes, and some have added a second story.
This neighborhood is a small, cozy enclave next to an industrial area of North Shoreline. Jackson Park surrounds its namesake, which displays towering trees, plenty of grass, and playgrounds for local children. Charming Craftsman-style townhomes built around 1980 range from 1,500 to 2,300 square feet and await nearby. A block beyond that are single-family homes built in the 1950s. The most popular homes in the neighborhood are in Windmill Park, a development of two-story homes of over 2,000 square feet built in the late 1980s. Lots are small, however–most are only about 4,000 square feet. Residents can easily walk a couple blocks to get groceries at the locally owned JL Produce or a quick bite at Shana Thai and Taqueria Tres Hermanos at the shopping center at Moffett Boulevard and Central Avenue. Jackson Park is also popular because it is just north of the downtown area.
Martens-Carmelita is a bifurcated neighborhood tucked away from Grant Road yet convenient to almost everything. There are two distinct sections of Martens-Carmelita, offering contrasting atmospheres and lifestyles.
Bentley Square is tucked away from Grant Road and El Camino Real and consists of homes of about 2,000 square feet built in the late 1970s. They are close together around a circle with no through traffic. You can often see children playing in their front yards, scootering and biking around the tree-lined neighborhood, and swimming in the community pool.
Martens-Carmelita proper is between Bentley Square and Waverly Park. You will find Huff Elementary here, bringing some traffic to the neighborhood, but many of the homes are on large quarter acre plus lots that are removed from the traffic on Martens Avenue. The lot sizes create a more rural feel and are often the driving factor for buyers to purchase property here, as they allow more privacy and the ability to build a large, custom home to suit their family. This neighborhood has bifurcated into two main types of houses, larger, newer homes and smaller homes ready to soon be rebuilt. Even more new homes will be found in Martens- Carmelita in the coming years, as one of the last remaining greenhouses in the area is primed to be torn down and the land developed.
While there are no parks within Martens-Carmelita, residents enjoy the grassy field and playgrounds at Huff Elementary after school hours. The Stevens Creek trail is at the far eastern end of the neighborhood, which gives residents a scenic route throughout Mountain View.
Monta Loma is a neighborhood with many unique characteristics. The characteristic that is most distinct is its inventory of Eichler and Eichler-style homes, known by the names of the builders Mackey and Mardell. They are single-story, detached homes built in the 1950s with simple, minimalist designs, born out of necessity after World War II when veterans returned home to a shortage of homes. The designs often include slightly pitched roofs, enclosed garages or open breezeways, occasional porch areas enclosed with wooden fencing, and lot sizes ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 square feet. The interiors have fewer walls than conventional homes, uncovered ceiling beams, and many windows and exterior walls that are all glass, designed to bring the outdoors in.
Another distinct characteristic of Monta Loma are the towering, splendid trees in both the front and back yards. Monta Loma also benefits from the recent completion of the new Google campus on the former site of Mayfield Mall, which is directly adjacent to the homes in this neighborhood. Monta Loma Park is enjoyed by residents due to its large playground. Thaddeus Park is a quaint, small park designed with young children in mind and has miniature grass mounds where toddlers can run up and down and roll around. Also a favorite of young kids are the smaller-scale swings, teeter-totters, and slides.
North Bayshore is the high-tech mecca, recreational and entertainment center, and wildlife and nature preserve of Mountain View and, in fact, much of the Bay Area. It has no residential developments or schools, although some have been proposed. North Bayshore is home to world-renowned companies including Google, Intuit, and LinkedIn. Workday mornings, dozens of wi-fi-equipped, double-decker buses transport out-of-town workers to and from North Bayshore. At lunchtime, North Bayshore buzzes with workers riding colorful Google bicycles in search of food from the dozens of restaurants that make up Food City. These high-tech companies juxtapose wetlands, creeks, parks, and social and entertainment venues.
North Bayshore also offers facilities for enjoying outdoor recreation such as kite-flying, golfing, soccer, volleyball, rollerblading, biking, running, hiking, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing. Paved trails for some of these activities run along Stevens Creek Trail, which is used by many Googlers to bike to work. Dining, corporate, and social events are held at Rengstorff House, Lakeside Café, Michael’s Restaurant, Shoreline Aquatics Center and Cafe, and Shoreline Golf Links. Residents and visitors can absorb some of the history of Silicon Valley with a visit to the Computer History Museum. Another iconic structure in North Bayshore is the cone-shaped tent stage cover of the Shoreline Amphitheater, where world-famous artists perform.
This neighborhood is made up of quaint, well-maintained townhomes built in the 1990s, older single-family homes and condos, and newer single-family homes along Evandale Avenue built around 2007. This neighborhood is gentrifying with the construction of six new, tri-level, detached row homes in 2014. 18 additional row homes were planned to be constructed over the following year. Upscale office buildings along North Whisman Road, some housing Google facilities, have also assisted with gentrification of the neighborhood. For those who love to hike for pleasure or walk to work, paved Hetch-Hetchy Trail at Whisman Road connects you to Stevens Creek Trail, which leads to both downtown Mountain View and the bay.
Rex Manor’s residents rave about the calm and quiet streets in the neighborhood due to the fact that none of the streets go through to another part of town, and plenty of traffic circles help minimize speeding. The homes are mostly smaller, single-family Ranch-style built in the 1960s. What is remarkable is that most of the residents are original homeowners who know each other well, thus creating a close-knit community. Recently, a tide of new construction has taken place with builders buying older homes in poor condition and either demolishing them and building anew, or doing extensive additions. The heart of the neighborhood is Stevenson Park with its vast lawn, ideal for sports like baseball, soccer, and football. This neighborhood is centrally located to schools, freeways, restaurants, shopping, and downtown Mountain View.
St. Francis Acres
St. Francis Acres epitomizes a quiet, close-knit, tree-canopied neighborhood. The original homes were small, Ranch-style homes built in the mid 1950s ranging in size from 1,275 to 1,825 square feet with lots ranging from 5,000 to 5,700 square feet. Over decades, some owners added another story to their homes. Residents boast about the cohesiveness of their neighborhood, and most everyone know their neighbors and socialize frequently. Halloween and Memorial Day are two notable celebrations. The neighborhood closes down one street for a block party for Memorial Day. Young children can play safely on the streets due to the fact that the neighborhood has many cul-de-sacs. Students in St. Francis Acres go to coveted Los Altos schools. In addition, residents can walk to McKelvey Park on Miramonte Avenue for a game of baseball or softball at its well-manicured diamond. El Monte Shopping Center is also only a stroll away and has a Starbucks, Panera Bread, CVS Pharmacy, and small locally owned service businesses such as a hair and nail salon and a tennis gear shop.
What makes the Slater neighborhood unique is the fact that it retains much of its original character, feeling much like a Western-style neighborhood with wagon wheels still incorporated in brick-façade duplexes from when they were built around 1955. Home prices are relatively more affordable in Slater due to the fact that homes are mostly still in their original condition. Residents enjoy this affordability without giving up the highly desirable quick access to highways and downtown amenities, both of which bolster the quality of life. Google and Symantec office buildings are just across North Whisman Road, giving residents who happen to work in Slater a short walk to work. Resident demographics range from young high-tech individuals and young families to older, longtime residents. They cultivate friendships and build a sense of community at Creekside Park and Slater School Park, as well as local haunts such as Clocktower Coffee and Roger’s Donut Deli.
Sylvan Dale offers a suburban feel in the heart of Silicon Valley. Magnificent, tall redwood and magnolia trees line the neighborhood streets and yards, giving it a majestic, old-timey feel that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of fast-pace life. At the center of the neighborhood is Sylvan Park, one of the city’s largest parks which features soccer and football areas, volleyball and tennis courts, and paths for jogging. The neighborhood is comprised of a harmonious mixture of different home types and residents in all age groups. Surrounding Sylvan Park are large, single-family homes built in the mid-1970s. It is one of the few neighborhoods in Mountain View that has consistently large homes of approximately 3,000 square feet on spacious lots of around 10,000 square feet. Despite their sizes, they display unique characters so that no two homes feel the same.
The Crossings was developed in 1994 into a uniform neighborhood of 540 homes. In 2002, this community was awarded the Outstanding Planning Award by the American Planning Association. The Crossings has many factors that lead to a high quality of life for residents. It is conveniently located walking distance to the San Antonio Shopping Center with its grocery and other retail stores, as well as near parks (there are two within the neighborhood). Reputed for being child-friendly, this area enjoys resident mothers who coordinate their schedules to take turns supervising children playing in the local parks. It is particularly notable that the neighborhood is right near the San Antonio Caltrain station, which is great for commuting. However, there is a fair amount of noise from the train, mostly outside. Homes in the Crossings are thoughtfully designed with open layouts and abundant natural light that floods and warms the interiors. Many of the properties here are tri-level, which may pose a challenge for less mobile residents. It is a very close-knit environment; the Crossings community holds monthly housing-association meetings and coordinates garage sales, and many houses display Neighborhood Watch markers.
Whisman Station is a housing development built in 1998 consisting of luxury attached townhomes and detached single-family homes. The heart of the community is Magnolia Park, which displays a large grass field, a fountain, and a playground where neighborhood children congregate and play while parents chat. Another park in the complex is Chetwood Park, a vast lawn with tall trees framing the borders. It is situated in the middle of the complex, providing a serene view for those homes that face it. Whisman Station residents include young couples mainly in the high-tech industry and young families from various walks of life. Whisman Station is centrally located for commuting; access to a major freeway is no more than a minute away, and the light rail connects with Caltrain at the Mountain View Station at Castro Street. You could also walk or ride to work if you are employed at one of the dozens of high-tech companies around the corner. A pedestrian bridge connects Whisman Station to Castro Street over Central Expressway, providing residents a safe and pleasant 15-minute walk to downtown attractions.
Willow Gate has an eclectic mix of homes, including Cypress Point Condominiums (with 57 one- and two-bedroom units), about two dozen single-family Craftsman-style homes on Willow Street built in 2006, and a selection of homes that resemble the rustic cabins of Lake Tahoe. Towering redwood, magnolia, and willow trees dot the neighborhood, giving it a sense of serenity infused with peace and privacy. The pride of the neighborhood is the Willow Gate Community Garden, which offers 84 individual plots ranging from 260 to 400 square feet (you do not have to be a Willow Gate resident to be a member, just a Mountain View resident). Gardeners relish the unique opportunity to swap their harvests with one another, gather at a potluck to enjoy the locally grown foods, and contributing excess produce to local food banks. Walking across Central Expressway quickly takes you to downtown attractions for enjoyment or Caltrain for commuting.