Palo Alto

Palo Alto Communities

Palo Alto Overview

Historically, Palo Alto is more than 100 years old and named after a majestic 1,000-year-old coast redwood tree, El Palo Alto, which still grows along the banks of San Francisquito Creek, where early Spanish explorers once settled. The blend of business and residential areas anchored by a vibrant downtown perfectly defines Palo Alto’s unique character. Nicknamed the “land of the tall trees,” Palo Alto’s tree-lined streets and historic buildings reflect its California heritage.

At the same time, Palo Alto is recognized worldwide as the leader in cutting-edge technology development. Currently, Palo Alto is the corporate headquarters to a number of high-technology companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, VMware, Tesla Motors, and Skype. Palo Alto also serves as an incubator to several other popular high-technology companies, such as Apple Inc., Google, Facebook, Sun Microsystems, Pinterest, and PayPal. Lured by these high tech companies and start-up businesses, many international law firms also established offices in this city.

Today, Palo Alto is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and its residents are among the most educated in the country. Over three-quarters of the adults in this community have advanced degrees. From elementary to high school, Palo Alto’s public school system is ranked among the top in the nation. This fact is not surprising considering the close ties to Stanford University, a leading academic research university that produced many Nobel prize winners, Silicon Valley CEOs, leading scholars, and famous politicians.

Besides conveniently located near businesses and access to quality public schools, Palo Alto residents have an amazing array of activities and amenities. Winding throughout Palo Alto are running paths for joggers and walkers. On weekends, residents can be seen playing in the parks, walking in the foothills or baylands, attending cultural activities, shopping in the outdoor malls, and dining at ethnically diverse restaurants.

Within Palo Alto, there are 13 neighborhoods (plus the Stanford campus), each with distinctive character and charm.

2016 Palo Alto Sales (YTD)

  • Median Price: $2,550,000
  • Average Days On Market: 23
  • Total Sales: 297
  • Average Price Per Sq. Ft.: $1,513
  • Highest MLS Sale: $11,000,000
  • Lowest MLS Sale: $1,325,000

Call your DeLeon area specialist for a neighborhood-specific analysis.

Palo Alto Hills

Perched high above Interstate 280 and surrounded by open space preserves, Palo Alto Hills provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Many residents are intimately connected to nature and active outdoors. Most prefer hiking, biking, and horseback riding at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve; fishing or camping in the Foothills Park; or enjoying a fun day of golf, tennis, and swimming at the Palo Alto Hills Country Club.

Homes in Palo Alto Hills tend to be farther apart from each other than in other Palo Alto neighborhoods, so problems of nosy neighbors looking into your backyard from their second story windows are nearly nonexistent. In fact, homes located further west and up the hills are ideal for those looking for even more remoteness and seclusion. As you drive around the area you’ll see properties with more natural/native landscaping surrounded by gates and fences. Do not assume that these residents are isolated, as the neighborhood association organizes events, like the annual holiday party.

Palo Alto Hills, which includes the pockets of homes around Greater Miranda and Esther Clark Park communities, was organically developed which resulted in unique homes and diverse lot parcels. While this attracts residents to the neighborhood, someone looking to buy in the Palo Alto Hills may find it challenging to determine pricing, as merely relying on baseline assumptions of lot value or house plan configurations are not accurate. Historical data may also be unreliable because of the fewer number of closed sales each year. Thus, for a seller, selling a home in the Palo Alto Hills may take longer and equity growth can lag compared to other Palo Alto neighborhoods. However, for those wanting to be connected with nature and still like to be minutes away from the bustle of Silicon Valley life, then Palo Alto Hills is a great choice.

Boundaries: 

Arastradero Road on the north

Page Mill Road on the east

Page Mill Road and Alexis Road on the south

Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club and Arastradero Open Space Preserve on the west

Median Home Price: 

$3,250,000 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Number of Homes Sold: 

11 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
  • College Terrace Library, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Ester Clark Preserve, Old Adobe Road, Palo Alto
  • Foothills Park, 3300 Page Mill Road, Los Altos Hills
  • Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, 1530 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

  • Nixon Elementary School (K-5), 1711 Stanford Avenue, Stanford (API 955)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road (API 968)
  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road (API 917)

Green Acres

Living in Green Acres is as idyllic as its name. Once covered by boundless orchards, this pedestrian paradise neighborhood is a blend between city and rustic living.  

Green Acres consists of three regions — Green Acres 1, Green Acres 2, and Palo Alto Orchards. Although all three regions border the busy Arastradero Road, they manage to remain peaceful and quiet with minimal vehicular traffic. Because all schools are within walking distance, parents and kids are often seen walking or biking to school. During school hours, crossing guards are on standby to help kids safely cross Arastradero Road. As added safety, Palo Alto has reduced the number of car lanes to only three lanes and added some turn lanes at the center, although this can cause traffic backups.  

Most homes in Green Acres are traditional ranch style or American bungalows, dating back to the post-World War II suburban boom. Because Green Acres was once a tract housing development, most homes in this area are fairly modest in size, around 1,600 sq. ft. to 1,800 sq. ft. While Green Acres has seen a few tear downs in recent days, many residents in this neighborhood are reluctant to follow the trend towards replacing old homes in fear of losing the community’s country living character.

Boundaries: 

Georgia Ave on the north

El Camino Real on the east

Arastradero Road on the south

Foothill Expressway on the west 

Median Home Price: 

$2,440,000 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$575,000 (2014, Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

4 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

3 (2014, Condo)

Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
  • College Terrace Library, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Juana Briones Park, 609 Maybell Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Terman Park, 380 Panama Mall, Stanford 

Public Schools: 

  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5), 4100 Orme Street (API 941)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road (API 968)
  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road (API 917)

Barron Park

Calm, quiet, and with rustic charm, Barron Park is rich in history. Its historical value can be seen from the many 1920’s ranch-style bungalows in this neighborhood. The lifestyle in Barron Park is relaxed and comfortable, where many long-time residents can be seen resting on their front porch or working in their vegetable garden. Even the newer homes have mature fruit-bearing trees, reminiscent of days when Barron Park was mostly a fruit orchard.

Unique to Barron Park is its ability to maintain a rural atmosphere while situated in a suburban area. Most homes have mature, even overgrown, trees that were not part of planned landscaping. The streets have no sidewalks and only few streetlights. The architectural styles of the homes here are both eclectic and modest, with new home construction using a simpler Craftsman inspiration.

Formed in 1926, the neighborhood association is very active and contributes to the antique feel of Barron Park. Upon moving in, new residents are gifted with a friendly greeting packet outlining the neighborhood, bike lanes, Neighborhood Watch programs, and activity schedule. Many Barron Park residents look forward to the May Fete celebration and neighborhood holiday caroling.

Barron Park is perfect for those who enjoy a slower pace of life and a close-knit community of neighbors. One fun neighborhood activity in Barron Park is donkey feeding on Sundays. The neighborhood’s 13-acre Bol Park is home to donkeys. Currently Bol Park has two donkey residents: Miner 49er and Perry. Perry is a humble donkey, despite his fame as the past model for Pacific Data Images (later merged with Dreamworks) for Shrek’s sidekick “Donkey.” With such an amusing neighborhood mascot, you can understand why life in Barron Park is filled with plenty of quirky entertainment.

Boundaries: 

Chimalus Drive on the north

El Camino Real on the east

Georgia Avenue on the south

Miranda Avenue on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,388,000 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,225,000 (2014, Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

29 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

3 (2014, Condo)

Library: 

  • College Terrace Library, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Cornelis Bol Park, 3590 Laguna Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Juana Briones Park, 609 Maybell Avenue, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

  • Barron Park Elementary (K-5), 800 Barron Avenue, Palo Alto (API 871)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road (API 968)
  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road (API 917)

South Palo Alto

Modest homes, wide streets, and numerous parks are the common characteristics of South Palo Alto. Originally part of the post-World War II residential expansion, South Palo Alto broke off from Midtown and is now a large geographic area consisting of several smaller neighborhoods, including: Palo Verde, Adobe Meadow/Meadow Park, Charleston Gardens, The Greenhouse, Greendell, Greenmeadow, Walnut Grove, Fairmeadow, Charleston Meadow, Monroe Park, and the eastern part of what used to be Midtown. 

South Palo Alto is known for Eichler-style homes. Joseph Eichler, a 20th-century post-war U.S. American real estate developer known for developing distinctive mid-century modern style tract housing, built around 11,000 homes in Northern and Southern California. His name became synonymous with this particular architectural style. Although many homes in South Palo Alto are true Eichlers, others are Eichleresque homes built by copycat developers.

An “Eichler” has several distinctive features: modern, one-story, wood, and expanses plate glass. These homes are built to emphasize casual indoor-outdoor living and to take advantage of the lovely California climate. Usually, the roof is flat or shallow-pitched, with exposed beams, no attic space, and minimal insulation. The interior has an open floor plan, and the rooms are flooded with natural light from skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, which often face inner courtyards or backyards. The floor has radiant heating on a concrete slab foundation. Currently, these homes are quite desirable to a young crowd. It should be noted, however, that these Eichler homes can be difficult to renovate and Palo Alto’s planning department strictly enforces the floor area ratio (maximum floor area to lot size).

Several specific tracts in South Palo Alto were developed by Joseph Eichler. The most well-known is Fairmeadow, sandwiched between East Meadow Drive on the north and East Charleston Road on the south. Fairmeadow is known for its circular streets, designed by Mr. Eichler to reduce vehicular traffic and give his affordable housing development a quiet, family-friendly atmosphere.

Another popular Eichler development is Greenmeadow, right behind the Cubberley Community Center, between Creekside Drive to the north and Ferne Avenue to the south. To foster privacy in Greenmeadow, Mr. Eichler designed numerous cul-de-sacs which branch off several main streets. In 2005, Greenmeadow was included in the National Register of Historic Places. To preserve the iconic Eichler character of the neighborhood, Palo Alto barred homeowners from adding a second story or drastically changing the contemporary look of the home.

As there are other pockets in South Palo Alto that have this second story restriction, it has been both a blessing and a curse to homeowners. On one hand, the unique indoor-outdoor suburban environment, envisioned by Mr. Eichler and his colleagues, remains to this day. A drive through streets like Ben Lomond or Redwood Circle will take you back to the 1950s and 1960s. Residents, themselves, actively keep the lively neighborhood vibes with many block parties, Fourth of July parades, and street games. 

On the other hand, the second-story restriction prevents homeowners from maximizing their land with expansions or additions. Likewise, Eichler-influenced restrictions highly limit home renovation. Proposing to tear down an Eichler can be considered nearly “blasphemous” by neighbors and Palo Alto. As a result, home values have a lower price ceiling. Home values in South Palo Alto generally lag behind other Palo Alto neighborhoods. 

If your goal is to simply step foot into the Palo Alto market for its excellent schools, and you desire a relatively modest 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with a conservative purchase price, then South Palo Alto is for you.

Boundaries: 

Oregon Expressway on the north

Bayshore Road and HIghway 101 on the east

San Antonio Road on the south

El Camino Real, W. Meadow Drive, and Alma Street on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,125,000 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,335,000 (2014, Townhouse)

$1,050,000 (2014, Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

93 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

18 (2014, Townhouse)

29 (2014, Condo)

Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • J. Pearce Mitchell Park, 600 East Meadow Drive, Palo Alto
  • Hoover Park, 2901 Cowper Street, Palo Alto
  • Seale Park, 3100 Stockton Place, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:    

  • El Carmelo Elementary School (K-5), 890 Escondido Road, Palo Alto (API 944)
  • Fairmeadow Elementary School (K-5), 500 East Meadow Avenue, Palo Alto (API 953)
  • Palo Verde Elementary School (K-5), 3450 Louis Road, Palo Alto (API 961)
  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5), 4100 Orme Street (API 941)

Middle school will depend on the particular address:

  • Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (6-8), 480 East Meadow Drive, Palo Alto (API 943)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road (API 968)
  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto (API 917)

Midtown

As this name suggests, Midtown is located in the middle of Palo Alto. Unlike other older Palo Alto neighborhoods, Midtown was developed after World War II. Historically, this neighborhood was part of a state-wide post-victory development boom that started suburbia. Midtown was originally considered South Palo Alto until the area grew so big that two separate neighborhoods – Midtown and South Palo Alto — must be carved out.

The development of Midtown was more directed and structured compared to the more organic neighborhoods like Professorville and College Terrace. While Midtown didn’t follow a typical suburban street grid, it did have a standard lot split development. The lot split resulted in uniform Midtown lot sizes of 6,000, 7,000, or 8,000 square feet, with a few exceptions here and there. This consistent inventory of homes and lots were meant to make housing more affordable for returning WWII veterans.

For decades, the housing values between north and south of Oregon Expressway differ greatly. Starting in the 1990s, as Palo Alto thrived economically and financially, many residents began remodeling or tearing down their homes for brand new ones. As the number of new constructions and major renovation projects grew, so did Midtown’s home values.

If you’re looking for a quiet, neatly organized community with a good mix of mid-sized bungalows and larger new homes, then Midtown is for you.

Boundaries: 

Oregon Expressway on the north

Highway 101 on the east

Loma Verde Avenue on the south

Alma Street on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,356,000 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,370,000 (2014, Townhouse)

$638,000 (2014, Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

36 (2014, Single Family Residential)

3 (2014, Townhouse)

1 (2014, Condo)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto
  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Greer Park, 1098 Amarillo Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Hoover Park, 2901 Cowper Street, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • El Carmelo Elementary School (K-5), 890 Escondido Road, Palo Alto (API 944)
  • Palo Verde Elementary School (K-5), 3450 Louis Road, Palo Alto (API 962)
  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5), 4100 Orme Street (API 941)
  • Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (6-8), 480 East Meadow Drive, Palo Alto (API 943)

High school will depend on the particular address:

  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto (API 917)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto (API 905)

Ventura

Nestled between El Camino Real and the CalTrain railroad tracks is a cozy neighborhood of single family homes, small apartments, townhouse complexes, and mom-and-pop shops. This neighborhood, known as Ventura, is perhaps the likeliest place to find the least expensive home in Palo Alto.

Despite the train noise and traffic sounds from El Camino Real and Oregon Expressway, most residents still enjoy living in this humbler neighborhood. Ventura’s ideal location allows an easy walk to neighborhood stores and delicious eateries or to big chains, like Fry’s Electronics or Boston Market. Ventura is also close to the downtown area on California Avenue, where a number of boutiques and restaurants are located, including one that just earned a Michelin star.

Homes in Ventura are relatively smaller single-story California bungalows, with a few being newer two-story homes.  In Ventura, you can purchase a nice, charming cottage for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a home in other parts Palo Alto and still be able to send your kids to top Palo Alto schools.

Boundaries: 

Page Mill Road on the north

Alma Street on the east 

West Meadow Drive on the south

El Camino Real on the west

Median Home Price: 

$1,425,000 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,045,150 (2014, Townhouse)

Number of Homes Sold: 

15 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

2 (2014, Townhouse)

Library: 

  • College Terrace Libary, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto
  • Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Boulware Park, 410 Fremont Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Ventura Community Center, 3990 Ventura Court, Palo Alto    

Public Schools: 

  • Barron Park Elementary (K-5), 800 Barron Avenue, Palo Alto (API 871)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road (API 968)
  • Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road (API 917)

College Terrace

Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell aren’t just the names of illustrious Ivy League universities, but also are street names for the neighborhood of College Terrace.

Back in 1887, wealthy agriculturist, Alexander Gordon, purchased a 120-acre tract of land in the town of Mayfield (before it was incorporated into Palo Alto). As he started to develop and subdivide his property, he whimsically named the streets after these famous colleges. The construction of Stanford University nearby was likely part of the inspiration.

College Terrace is a small community surrounded by Stanford University, Hewlett Packard (HP), and big-name law firms. While flanked by prestigious institutions and companies, College Terrace still maintains a friendly neighborhood atmosphere where residents enjoy simple pleasures, like the annual Easter Egg Hunt, summer block parties, and community picnics at Dartmouth Park. The College Terrace Resident’s Association (CTRA) remains very active. The CTRA has been instrumental in closing off certain streets for only pedestrian access. This resulted in minimized traffic clogs and parking nuisances from Stanford University and nearby companies. Two additional neighborhoods can also be found within College Terrace: Evergreen Park and Southgate. 

Due to College Terrace’s proximity to Stanford University, many of its residents have close ties to the University. In fact, a few of the homes in the neighborhood are owned by Stanford and are provided as part of the benefits to its high-level employees. Many tenured professors are also long-time residents who walk, bike, or even drive their golf carts to the campus.

College Terrace has a consistent demand for rentals, mainly from graduate students and new employees who worked in one of the prestigious companies off Page Mill Road. This robust rental market makes College Terrace an ideal area for real estate investors looking to rent a 2- to 4-unit property they can hold long-term (7-12 years).  While the cash flow analysis is less than ideal for a financed purchase, a nearly all-cash investment can give pretty stable returns.

Unlike Midtown or South Palo Alto where city planning was more uniform, College Terrace has a mix of varying lot sizes and zoning areas. There are single family homes with standard 6,250 square foot lots flushed against small cottages with sub-standard 3,000 square foot lots. There are also duplexes or triplexes next to small shops. Architectural styles are a patchwork, in College Terrace, creating an interesting and dynamic environment. In one street alone, you can find an English Cottage, a Queen Anne home, a California Mission bungalow, and a mid-Century flat.

Boundaries: 

Stanford Avenue on the north 

El Camino Real on the east

South California Avenue on the south 

Amherst Street on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,322,875 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,075,000 (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

18 (2014, Single Family Residential)

9  (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Library: 

  • College Terrace Library, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Donaldina Cameron Park, 2100 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Mayfield Park, 2300 Wellesley Street, Palo Alto
  • Weisshaar Park, 2298 Dartmouth Street, Palo Alto
  • Werry Park, 2100 Dartmouth Street, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Escondido Elementary School (K-5), 890 Escondido Road, Palo Alto (API 928)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5), 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto (API 905)

Old Palo Alto

Old Palo Alto carries a certain cache and the reference to “Old” refers to “old money.” Stately, elegant, charming, and impressive are some adjectives commonly describing homes in Old Palo Alto.  

Old Palo Alto residents are some of the most affluent and renowned in the world. Starting in 1902, the first Old Palo Alto home, called the Gamble house, was built for Edwin Percy Gamble, son of co-founder Proctor & Gamble Co. His daughter, Elizabeth, eventually became the primary homeowner. In 1970, she gifted the estate to the city of Palo Alto. Since then, this estate was converted to a horticultural foundation with a historic home, carriage house, tea house, and formal garden open to the public. In the early 1900s, Birge Clarke, a famous American architect who built many buildings for Stanford University, such as the Lou Henry Hoover House (now the residence of the university President), designed and built several homes of historic significance in Palo Alto. In recent years, Old Palo Alto has been home to Google’s Sergey Brin and the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple.  

Old Palo Alto is a quiet enclave of tree-canopied streets, lush lawns, luxury estates, and charming, smaller homes. Lots here, averaging 9,000 square feet, are usually bigger than other neighborhoods like Midtown and College Terrace. These lot sizes are ideal for larger-sized houses usually in demand in the luxury home market. Due to the higher quality of construction and finishes, as well as the historic character of many of the homes, people are willing to pay a high premium to live in this exclusive neighborhood.

Boundaries: 

Embarcadero Road, on the north

Middlefield Road, on the east

Oregon Expressway, on the south

Alma Street, on the west

Median Home Price: 

$3,250,000 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Number of Homes Sold: 

29 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Bowden Park, 2380 High Street, Palo Alto
  • Bowling Green Park, 474 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5), 650 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto (API 948)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5), 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (API 934)

 

  • David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

Green Gables

Green Gables is a quiet neighborhood comprised of several sub-areas in Palo Alto, including Duveneck/St. Francis, Embarcadero Oaks, Garland, Leland Manor, and Triple El. While these sub-areas have wide, tree-canopied streets and well-kept homes, they still retain distinguishing features. 

Duveneck/St. Francis has the largest area coverage, and being close to Crescent Park, has its share of luxury homes. This neighborhood’s focal point is Duveneck Elementary School, renowned for academic excellence and impressive scholastic achievements across the board.

Embarcadero Oaks is most famous for transforming Fulton Street into “Christmas Tree Lane” during the holiday season, a lively tradition since the 1940’s. This particular street, lined with sycamores and beautiful classic homes, several of which were designed by famed local architect Birge Clark, draws visitors every year. 

Garland is mainly a one-block neighborhood that divides into four cul-de-sac streets. Streets here are covered with beautiful magnolia trees. Most homes date back to the post-war boom, and in recent years, have gone through interior renovations.

Leland Manor has a unique layout compared to the rest of the neighborhoods. Its central ring of streets encircle twin cul-de-sacs, resulting in less vehicular traffic and a tranquil environment for the neighborhood.

Lastly, Triple El is the only Green Gables area dominated by famous Eichler designed homes. These single story, mid-century homes were designed by Joseph Eichler and blend perfectly with the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Unique to Triple El is Elsinore Drive, which is lined with Chinese Elm trees as old as the neighborhood itself.

In general, Green Gables has a wider range of home values because of its sub-areas. You can find the right-sized and right-priced home in a setting that fits your lifestyle. If you love sports, the outdoors, or have a sense of adventure, Green Gables is your perfect location. Here, you can jog or bike on Embarcadero Road, explore the Baylands Nature Preserve, play golf at the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, or learn how to fly a small propeller plane at the Palo Alto Airport.

Boundaries: 

Newell Road on the north

Highway 101 on the east

Oregon Expressway on the south

Middlefield Road on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,520,000 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Number of Homes Sold: 

37 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

  • Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto
  • Greer Park, 1098 Amarillo Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Duveneck Elementary School (K-5), 705 Alester Avenue, Palo Alto (API 956)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5), 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

Crescent Park

Crescent Park is one of Palo Alto’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Its stately homes, traditional architecture, larger lots, and wide tree-canopied streets are reminiscent of posh East Coast suburbs. Despite proximity to Highway 101 and busy University Avenue, Crescent Park preserves its calm, secluded — almost exclusive — atmosphere. The sense of serenity and high-class style have attracted many Silicon Valley’s prominent and affluent residents. To name a few, former 49er quarterback, Steve Young, built his sprawling custom mansion here, and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, bought his first home and four adjacent homes in recent years.  

Originally, Crescent Park was part of Rancho Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito (literally means “ranch at the bend of San Francisquito Creek”). This 2,230-acre area was a Mexican land grant given seven years before California became part of the United States in 1848. In the following years, ownership of Rancho was disputed, resolved, and then divided. By 1864, a parcel consisting of 60 acres was purchased by Dr. William Newell, and Crescent Park was developed from this parcel. The eastern street border is named after Dr. Newell.

Because Crescent Park lies along the San Francisquito Creek, street flooding can be an issue during heavy rainstorms, most recently during the 1998 storms. Crescent Park is a designated flood zone, resulting in lenders requiring that homeowners obtain flood insurance. Additionally, homes here cannot accommodate a basement, and any major

remodeling work requires raising the house above the flood level. Despite this limitation, home values have not faced downward pressure nor is there a price ceiling.  

Lots in Crescent Park are generally larger than most Palo Alto neighborhoods, allowing for sprawling homes. Many of these homes are older, with touches of classic and elegant designs. These designs have encouraged homeowners to keep the facades in the course of major interior renovations. If you’re an architectural enthusiast looking for a community that is friendly, private, and has an East Coast flair, Crescent Park is your home.

Boundaries: 

Woodland Avenue on the north 

Woodland Avenue on the east

Channing Avenue on the south

Middlefield Road on the west

Median Home Price: 

$3,575,000    (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,010,000    (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

28 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

2   (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto
  • Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto

Parks: 

Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto

Hopkins Creekside Park, Downtown North, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Duveneck Elementary School (K-5), 705 Alester Avenue, Palo Alto (API 956)

David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)

Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

Community Center

Community Center is a neighborhood that lives up to its name. Neighbors are friendly and children are seen playing on the streets. Block parties are annual affairs, and residents regularly host book club meetings. Residents are seen jogging, biking, or walking their dogs, and always wave or nod hello to the passersby.

By virtue of its central location, Community Center is a vibrant, socially and culturally active neighborhood of Palo Alto. Swimming or tennis lessons are offered at Rinconada Park; fun events are held within walking distance at the Lucie Stern Community Center; and community entertainment is provided at the Children’s Theatre. Whenever children feel restless and trapped at home, parents can take them on a fun and educational excursion at the Junior Museum and Zoo. The Zoo housed more than 50 species of animals and hands-on science exhibits. Further, Community Center is conveniently located to Downtown Palo Alto. Residents can enjoy an evening stroll to a nice restaurant in Downtown or catch an old Hollywood movie at the Stanford Theater.

This mix of family fun and urban amenities keep the housing demand fairly strong, even during the worst economic downturn. 

Unique to Community Center are little pockets of four homes, which rest on sub-standard lots and have shared driveways leading from the street. Because of the small lot sizes and building restrictions of the city, the homes here tend to be original, dating back 70-90 years, with varying degrees of renovations. These cottages may have a ceiling on their value but usually are sold fairly quickly because they are a better alternative to buying a condo or townhouse for about the same price but without the HOA dues.

Boundaries: 

Channing Avenue on the north

Newell Road on the east

Embarcadero Road on the south

Middlefield Road on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,850,00 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Number of Homes Sold: 

20 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto

Parks: 

Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5), 650 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto (API 948)
  • Duveneck Elementary School (K-5), 705 Alester Avenue, Palo Alto (API 956)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5), 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

Professorville

Established in 1891, Professorville got its name when a group of young professors, who received their teaching positions at Stanford University, settled in the neighborhood. The location was chosen due to its proximity to the University. Additionally, this was the closest location to the University where Stanford professors could actually own, rather than lease university land from Stanford University, to build their properties.

True to its deep intellectual roots, Professorville has become home to many significant events and famous historical figures over the years. For example, located at 959 Waverley Street in Professorville is the childhood home of William Shockley, a Nobel Prize winner and co-inventor of the transistor. A few blocks over, at 367 Addison Avenue, is the garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their Hewlett Packard company. Today, this garage is dubbed as the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Due to the area’s historical significance, Professorville is considered as a Historic District and several of its houses are designated as Historic Places, either on local or national registries or even both. 

Residents of Professorville foster a strong sense of pride in their neighborhood. This is quite evident in the effort and money many residents spent in refurbishing homes to maintain their true vintage charm. Driving down the streets, a passerby will find homes in varying styles, from brown-shingled Craftsmans and stately Dutch Colonials to elegant Queen Anne-style and Colonial Revival. Keeping with tradition, lots also vary widely in configuration and size — flag lots mixed with standard lots and large lots flushed against substandard lots. While typically-sized lots in Professorville are about 6,000-8,000 square feet, some larger lots are at least 10,000 square feet, and sub-standard lots range between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet.  

Because of the strong adherence to preservation efforts, remodeling or rebuilding a home in Professorville can be problematic and frustrating. Even if a house has the lowest level of historic designation, the homeowner must still jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops, further complicating an already drawn-out permit process. One such additional step is petitioning the Palo Alto Historic Review Board to approve the construction plans. The petitioner must justify the work and guarantee that the project will be in keeping with the aesthetic and lifestyle characteristics of the neighborhood. Even so, going through all these tedious steps doesn’t guarantee success. To help reduce frustration, if a potential buyer plans on giving the home a facelift or add an additional level to the home, it is best to check with the Building and Planning Department before making an offer to purchase the home.

Another negative aspect of Professorville is that a number of the homes here do not have a full garage. Many residents inevitably end up parking on the street, competing with people who work in nearby downtown for spaces on the street. This parking situation can be a daily hassle, especially for a family with more than one car and no real garage.

Despite minor inconveniences, Professorville homes command a premium price. In 2013, the average price of a single-family home was $3,466,667, a robust average of $1,143 per square foot.

Boundaries: 

Addison Avenue on the north

Middlefield Road on the east

Embarcadero Road on the south

Alma Street on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,950,000 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Number of Homes Sold: 

9 (2014, Single Family Residential)

Library: 

  • Main Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
  • Children’s Library, 1276 Harriet Street, Palo Alto
  • Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto

Parks: 

Heritage Park, 300 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto 

Public Schools: 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5), 650 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto (API 948)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5), 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)
  • Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

Downtown Palo Alto

Downtown Palo Alto is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. It sprang to life during the construction of Stanford University in the 1890’s. As workers, faculty, and administrators worked to build the university, they ate, slept, and shopped in Downtown. Previously, this area was designated a “dry” spot and no alcohol was served, a condition imposed by Leland Stanford for establishing his university – that is no longer the case.

The juxtaposition of residential, commercial, and retail structures that formed in the early days of Stanford University remains today. It’s this “urban-like” environment that gives Downtown character and attracts its residents. Downtown Palo Alto today has retail shops, office spaces, condo complexes, and commercial structures. Indeed, University Avenue, the artery of Downtown Palo Alto, is one of the liveliest streets in Silicon Valley. A plethora of shops, restaurants, bars, offices, a theater, and a park plaza lie side-by-side on an 11-block stretch.  

Among all of Palo Alto neighborhoods, Downtown has the highest concentration of condominium units. In 2013, 47 condo units were sold, with an average price of $1,200,906. This included multi-level townhouses with direct street access. Houses, on the other hand, are smaller compared to other areas of Palo Alto. Dating back to Stanford’s early days and were built for the workers, many of these houses are generally designed as bungalows, sitting close to the neighbors and the sidewalks. The average lot size is about 5,300 square feet. Even with all of the remodeling and rebuilding projects going on in the last 10 years, the smaller lots keep the house size to around 1,700 square feet.

One downside to a Downtown location is parking. With all of the offices and retail establishments in the area, the City of Palo Alto has had to enforce a four-color parking zone. A car can only be parked for a maximum of two hours, per zone per day. If parking past the limit, the car must be moved to a different color zone. As a result, many park their cars in front of homes and surrounding streets, leaving residents to forage for parking.

Boundaries: 

San Francisquito Creek on the north

Middlefield Road on the east 

Addison Avenue on the south

Alma Street on the west

Median Home Price: 

$2,522,500 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

$1,380,000 (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Number of Homes Sold: 

18 (2014, Single Family Residential) 

33 (2014, Townhouse/Condo)

Library: 

Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto

Parks: 

Cogswell Plaza, 264 Lytton Avenue, Palo Alto

El Camino Park, 100 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

El Palo Alto Park, 117 Palo Alto Avenue, Palo Alto

Hopkins Creekside Park, Palo Alto Avenue, Palo Alto

Johnson Park, Everett Avenue, Palo Alto

Public Schools: 

Addison Elementary School (K-5), 650 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto (API 948)

David Starr Jordan Middle School (6-8), 750 North California Avenue, Palo Alto (API 934)

Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto (API 905)

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