Palo Alto

Palo Alto Communities

Palo Alto Overview

In 1769, Spanish soldier and explorer, Don Gaspar de Portolà discovered the stretch of land that led to the development of one of the nation’s most industrious and enterprising cities. Palo Alto was granted its name from a majestic 1,000-year-old coast redwood tree, El Palo Alto, which still grows along the banks of San Francisquito Creek. The blend of business and residential areas anchored by a vibrant downtown perfectly defines Palo Alto’s prosperous and dynamic character. Appropriately nicknamed the “land of the tall trees,” Palo Alto’s tree-lined streets and historic buildings reflect its rich 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-tech companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, VMware, Tesla Motors, and Skype. Palo Alto also serves as an incubator to several other such popular companies, such as Apple Inc., Google, Facebook, Sun Microsystems, Pinterest, and PayPal. Many international law firms have also established offices in this city, lured by the abundance of start-up businesses and tech-based companies.

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 enjoying a convenient location to nearby 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.

For a neighborhood-specific analysis or further information, call a DeLeon specialist today!

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 enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. Between hiking, biking, and horseback riding at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, to fishing or camping in the Foothills Park, to enjoying a fun day of golf, tennis, and swimming at the Palo Alto Hills Country Club, this community has outdoor recreation in spades. Quiet serenity infuses the neighborhood of Palo Alto Hills, with nicely-spaced properties.

Looking further west will show properties with even more seclusion, exaggerated by the abundance of native greenery that has slowly, but beautifully reclaimed surrounding gates and fences. Though it feels remote, the residents are active in the community, with the neighborhood association organizing 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

Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • College Terrace Library- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA, 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Esther Clark Preserve- Old Adobe Road Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Foothills Park- 3300 Page Mill Road Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • Pearson-Arastradero Preserve- 1530 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94304

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

  • Nixon Elementary School- (K-5), 1711 Stanford Avenue Stanford, CA (#1) 94305
  • Terman Middle School- (6-8), 655 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA (#1) 94306
  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA (#1) 94306

Green Acres

Living in Green Acres is as idyllic as its name. Once covered by boundless orchards, this pedestrian paradise is a harmonious blend of 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 close proximity, many parents and kids are often seen strolling 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, between 1,600 square feet to 1,800 square feet While the neighborhood has seen a few tear downs in recent days, many residents are reluctant to follow the trend towards replacing old homes in fear of losing the community’s country-living charm.

Boundaries: 

  • Georgia Avenue on the north
  • El Camino Real on the east
  • Arastradero Road on the south
  • Foothill Expressway on the west

 Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • College Terrace Library- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Juana Briones Park- 609 Maybell Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Terman Park- 380 Panama Mall Stanford, CA 94306

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5)- 4100 Orme Street Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#6)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8)- 655 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)
  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)

Barron Park

Amidst the bustle of suburban life rests calm and quiet Barron Park. Once a flourishing orchard, this neighborhood continues its arcadian legacy with mature, fruit-bearing trees dotting most of the properties, and showcases its rich history in the Bungalow and Ranch styles that were the popular style during the 1920s.

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 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 in the winter.

Comfort and relaxation come easily in Barron Park, as evidenced by the many long-time residents who enjoy resting on their front porches or working in their vegetable gardens. For those who enjoy a slower pace of life and a close-knit community, Barron Park is the perfect fit. Despite the restful setting, this neighborhood is not without its share of entertainment. The neighborhood’s 13-acre Bol Park offers abundant space for recreation and leisure, as well as a home to two donkeys, whom residents can visit and feed on Sundays.

Barron Park also boasts close proximity to some of the best state-ranked schools, making it an excellent place for young families to settle down and raise children.

Boundaries: 

  • Chimalus Drive on the north
  • El Camino Real on the east
  • Georgia Avenue on the south
  • Miranda Avenue on the west

Library:

  • College Terrace Library- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Cornelis Bol Park- 3590 Laguna Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Juana Briones Park- 609 Maybell Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com):

  • Barron Park Elementary (K-5)- 800 Barron Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#12)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8)- 655 Arastradero Road Palo Alto ,CA 94306 (#1)
  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)

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 sub-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.

Though it boasts many types of residences, perhaps the most popular type of home in South Palo Alto follows the stylings of Joseph Eichler. A 20th century post-war real estate developer, Eichler made a name for himself by developing distinctive tract housing and 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 house has several distinctive features: modern, one-story, wood, and expanses of plate glass. These homes are built to emphasize casual indoor-outdoor living and to take advantage of the sublime 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. Cruising through streets like Ben Lomond or Redwood Circle is like traveling back in time to the 1950s and 1960s. Residents, themselves, actively keep the lively neighborhood vibes with 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.

The South Palo Alto neighborhood offers an abundance of relatively modest homes at conservative purchase prices, as well as close proximity to some of the top-ranked schools in the state, making it an exceptional place to call home.

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

 Library: 

  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

 Parks: 

  • Mitchell Park- 600 East Meadow Drive Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Hoover Park- 2901 Cowper Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Seale Park- 3100 Stockton Place Palo Alto, CA 94303

 Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • El Carmelo Elementary School (K-5)- 890 Escondido Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#3)
  • Fairmeadow Elementary School (K-5)- 500 East Meadow Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#2)
  • Palo Verde Elementary School (K-5)- 3450 Louis Road Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#7)
  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5)- 4100 Orme Street Palo Alto CA 94306 (#6)

Middle school will depend on the particular address:

  • Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (6-8)- 480 East Meadow Drive Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#2)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8)- 655 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)
  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)

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 the area’s suburbia. Midtown was originally considered South Palo Alto until the area grew so big that Midtown and South Palo Alto were carved out to form two separate neighborhoods.

Midtown’s development was further 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, which resulted in uniform lot sizes between 6,000 square feet to 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 World War II veterans.

For decades, the housing values between north and south of Oregon Expressway have differed 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.

This quiet, neatly organized community enjoys a good mix of mid-sized bungalows and larger new homes, allowing for optimal lifestyle versatility.

Boundaries: 

  • Oregon Expressway on the north
  • Highway 101 on the east
  • Loma Verde Avenue on the south
  • Alma Street on the west

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303

 Parks: 

  • Greer Park- 1098 Amarillo Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Hoover Park- 2901 Cowper Street Palo Alto, CA 94306

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • El Carmelo Elementary School (K-5)- 890 Escondido Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#3)
  • Palo Verde Elementary School (K-5)- 3450 Louis Road Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#7)
  • Juana Briones Elementary School (K-5)- 4100 Orme Street Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#6)
  • Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (6-8)- 480 East Meadow Drive Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#2)

High school will depend on the particular address:

  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Way Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Ventura

Nestled between El Camino Real and the CalTrain railroad tracks is a peaceful neighborhood offering flexible living with a variety of residences, including 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.

Humble, yet central, Ventura offers a peaceful and convenient setting with close proximity to commuting routes along El Camino Real and Oregon Expressway. Ventura’s ideal location allows an easy stroll to neighborhood stores and delicious eateries, as well as to big chains, like Fry’s Electronics or Boston Market. Residents of this neighborhood enjoy taking a stroll to nearby California Avenue, where a bustling farmer’s market is held every Sunday, as well as 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. A charming cottage can be purchased for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a home in other parts Palo Alto, and still be close to some of the highest-ranked schools in the state.

Boundaries: 

  • Page Mill Road on the north
  • Alma Street on the east
  • West Meadow Drive on the south
  • El Camino Real on the west

Library: 

  • College Terrace Libary- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Mitchell Park Library- 3700 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94303

Parks: 

  • Boulware Park- 410 Fremont Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Ventura Community Center- 3990 Ventura Court Palo Alto, CA 94306

 Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

  • Barron Park Elementary School (K-5)- 800 Barron Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#12)
  • Terman Middle School (6-8)- 655 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)
  • Gunn High School- 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 (#1)

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.

Flanked by prestigious institutions, like Stanford University, Hewlett Packard (HP), and big-name law firms, College Terrace 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, and has been instrumental in closing off certain streets for pedestrian-only access. This resulted in minimized traffic clogs and parking nuisances from Stanford University and nearby companies.

Due to College Terrace’s proximity to Stanford University, many of its residents have close ties to the school. 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 work in one of the prestigious companies off of Page Mill Road. This robust rental market makes this neighborhood 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 flush 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 a visually dynamic environment with a mix of styles. In one street alone, can be found 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

Library: 

  • College Terrace Library- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Downtown Library- 270 Forest Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Cameron Park- 2100 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Mayfield Park- 2300 Wellesley Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Weisshaar Park- 2298 Dartmouth Street Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • Werry Park- 2100 Dartmouth Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Escondido Elementary School (K-5)- 890 Escondido Road Palo Alto 94305 (#8)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5)- 1525 Middlefield Road Palo Alto 94301 (#4)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Way Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Old Palo Alto

Stately, elegant, charming, and impressive are just a few ways to describe the distinct grandeur that has long been established in what is arguably the most elite neighborhood in Palo Alto. Old Palo Alto carries a certain cache and the reference to “Old” refers to “old money,” as many of the residents are some of the most affluent and renowned in the world.

1902 saw the construction of the first Old Palo Alto home, a lavish combination of a New England revival and Georgian revival, which was designed by San Jose contractor, C.A. Bates. Built originally for Edwin Percy Gamble, son of the co-founder of Proctor & Gamble Co., his daughter Elizabeth eventually became the primary homeowner and caretaker, and 1970, generously gifted the estate to the city of Palo Alto. The estate was then 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 also been home to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple.

Exclusive, yet grand, this neighborhood is a quiet enclave of tree-canopied streets, lush lawns, luxury estates, and charming, smaller homes. Lots here are usually bigger than other neighborhoods like Midtown and College Terrace, averaging around 9,000 square feet. These lot sizes are ideal for larger houses usually in demand in the luxury home market. Due to the optimal quality of construction and finishes, as well as the historic character of many of the homes, many potential buyers 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

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

 Parks: 

  • Bowden Park- 2380 High Street Palo Alto, CA 94309
  • Lawn Bowling Green Park- 474 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5)- 650 Addison Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#10)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5)- 1525 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#4)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Green Gables

Immersed in a quiet setting, Green Gables is comprised of several sub-areas in Palo Alto, including Duveneck/St. Francis, Embarcadero Oaks, Garland, Leland Manor, and Triple El. These sub-areas capture rich character and charm with wide-tree canopied streets and well-kept homes which retain distinguishing features.

The Duveneck/St. Francis has the largest area coverage, and boasts its share of luxury homes with such close proximity to Crescent Park. This neighborhood’s focal point is Duveneck Elementary School, renowned for academic excellence and impressive scholastic achievements across the board. Couple this with the fact that all of the schools that correspond with this neighborhood are some of the topmost ranking schools in the state, and it becomes the perfect place to raise a family.

Embarcadero Oaks is most famous for transforming Fulton Street into “Christmas Tree Lane” during the holiday season, a lively tradition since the 1940s. Lined with sycamores and classically stunning homes (several of which were designed by famed local architect Birge Clark), this particular street draws a multitude of visitors throughout the year.

Abundant magnolia trees provide blossoming beauty to the Garland neighborhood, which is essentially a one-block neighborhood that divides into four cul-de-sac streets. 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 encircles 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 single-story, mid-century modern homes. Designed by Joseph Eichler, the homes are open and bright, seamlessly integrating the main areas with easy outdoor access, promoting the highly desirable 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, and because of this, allows versatility to accommodate lifestyles varying from quiet comfort to outdoor adventures. Enjoy jogging or biking along 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

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94303

 Parks: 

  • Eleanor Pardee Park- 851 Center Drive Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Greer Park- 1098 Amarillo Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Rinconada Park- 777 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94303

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school depends on the particular address:

  • Duveneck Elementary School (K-5)- 705 Alester Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#5)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5)- 1525 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#4)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (API #3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Crescent Park

Lauded as one of Palo Alto’s most prestigious neighborhoods, Crescent Park’s stately homes, traditional architecture, larger lots, and wide, tree-canopied streets evoke tye stylings of posh, East Coast suburbs. Crescent Park offers the best of both worlds, with its calm, secluded atmosphere, while still being within close proximity of Highway 101 and popular University Avenue. The sense of serenity and high-class style have attracted many of Silicon Valley’s prominent and affluent residents, such as former 49er quarterback Steve Young, who 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. Crescent Park was developed from this parcel and named for its benefactor.

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 in this neighborhood 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, echoing East Coast flair with touches of classic and elegant designs. These designs have encouraged homeowners to keep the facades in the course of major interior renovations.

Boundaries: 

  • Woodland Avenue on the north
  • Woodland Avenue on the east
  • Channing Avenue on the south
  • Middlefield Road on the west

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Downtown Library- 270 Forest Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Eleanor Pardee Park- 851 Center Drive Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Hopkins Creekside Park- Downtown North Palo Alto, CA 94301

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

  • Duveneck Elementary School (K-5)- 705 Alester Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#5)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Community Center

Community Center is a neighborhood that lives up to its name. Children are often seen playing outside together, residents regularly host book club meetings, and block parties are fun-filled, annual affairs.

By virtue of its central location, Community Center is one of Palo Alto’s most vibrant, as well as socially, and culturally active neighborhoods. 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 houses more than 50 species of animals and hands-on science exhibits. Further, Community Center is conveniently located to Downtown Palo Alto, where residents can enjoy an evening stroll to a nice restaurant, 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 in this neighborhood tend to be original, dating back 70-90 years, with varying degrees of renovations. These cottages may have a ceiling on their value but are usually 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

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Rinconada Park- 777 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94303

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5)- 650 Addison Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#10)
  • Duveneck Elementary School (K-5)- 705 Alester Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#5)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5)- 1525 Middlefield Road Palo Alto 94301 (#4)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Professorville

Established in 1891, Professorville got its name when a group of young Stanford professors settled in the neighborhood. The location was chosen due to its proximity to the University, but it was also the closest they could be to the university where members of faculty could actually own, rather than lease university land to build 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 famous company, Hewlett-Packard. Today, this garage is dubbed 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. The streets of this neighborhood are graced with homes of various styles, from brown-shingled Craftsmans and stately Dutch Colonials, to elegant Queen Annes and Colonial Revivals. In keeping with tradition, the properties 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 square feet to 8,000 square feet, some larger lots are at least 10,000 square feet, while sub-standard lots range between 2,000 square feet 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 the nearby downtown area for spaces on the street. This parking situation can be a daily hassle, especially for a family with more than one car.

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

Library: 

  • Main Library- 1213 Newell Road Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Children’s Library- 1276 Harriet Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Downtown Library- 270 Forest Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301

 Parks: 

  • Heritage Park- 300 Homer Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

Elementary school will depend on the particular address:

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5)- 650 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#10)
  • Walter Hays Elementary School (K-5)- 1525 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#4)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Downtown Palo Alto

One of the city’s oldest neighborhood’s, Downtown Palo Alto sprang to life during the construction of Stanford University in the 1890s, partially due to  workers, faculty, and administrators who worked to build the university, and  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 its character and attracts residents. Today, the area offers everything from 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. Traditional houses, on the other hand, are smaller compared to other areas of Palo Alto. Built primarily for workers, during Stanford’s early years, these homes were designed as bungalows, and had properties that sat close to the neighbors and sidewalks. The average lot size is about 5,300 square feet. Even with all of the remodeling and rebuilding projects going on throughout 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 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.

Despite this, the centrality of Downtown is unbeatable. Prime access to fine dining, shopping, and local businesses make this area well worth the investment.

Boundaries: 

  • San Francisquito Creek on the north
  • Middlefield Road on the east
  • Addison Avenue on the south
  • Alma Street on the west

Library: 

  • Downtown Library- 270 Forest Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301

Parks: 

  • Cogswell Plaza- 264 Lytton Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • El Camino Park- 100 El Camino Real Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • El Palo Alto Park- 117 Palo Alto Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Hopkins Creekside Park- Palo Alto Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Johnson Park- Everett Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301

Public Schools (state-ranked according to niche.com): 

  • Addison Elementary School (K-5)- 650 Addison Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#10)
  • Jordan Middle School (6-8)- 750 North California Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 (#3)
  • Palo Alto High School- 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 (#5)

Stanford

Home to world-renowned Stanford University, the Stanford neighborhood has a population of just over 13,000 residents. Stanford is an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County and is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Residents of Stanford live in on-campus housing, including graduate student villages and single-family homes, which are owned by Stanford faculty and staff, but located on land leased by Stanford. More specifically, the Office of the Provost offers select Stanford faculty and executive-level staff the opportunity to purchase campus residential properties. Additionally, qualified personnel may avail themselves of other significant housing benefits, such as the Housing Allowance Program (HAP), the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) and the Deferred Interest Program (DIP). However, there are very particular rules and qualifications that apply to both the ability to purchase these properties and to participate in the above-mentioned programs. Additionally, a special contract is used and not the standard form contract real estate agents use for most residential transactions.

While these transactions require expertise and experience, buyers that qualify may find some great opportunities through this program. DeLeon Realty has extensive knowledge on this process and welcomes the opportunity to explain it further to those interested in housing in the Stanford area.

For a neighborhood-specific analysis or further information, call a DeLeon agent today!

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