Menlo Park, California

Capital of Venture Capital

Looklyloo Score: 85

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Allied Arts & Downtown

Young Professionals/DINKs/Families/Retirees

The neighborhood of Allied Arts & Downtown, is sometimes referred to as Stanford Park, contains the only commercial districts in Menlo Park.

Downtown runs along El Camino and Santa Cruz Avenue and is the center of Menlo Park Dining. While there isn’t a ton to do here for eats and drinks what’s there is good. This includes: The Refuge, for upscale American fare, Menlo Tavern, for great pub food and drinks, Back A Yard, a cool Caribbean grill, among many others. Allied Arts runs just south of Downtown and is a cool complex of art studios, a restaurant and gardens. In addition to being a home for working artists it also has a shop for visitors interested in the art and is a space used by many for special events such as weddings, meetings, and luncheons.

There are a number of apartment buildings on El Camino and Santa Cruz, many newer developments like six50live that come with all the newest amenities and offer a super short walk to everything to do in the area. Just a block or two off of these two commercial centers the single-family housing starts. Plenty of stunning older homes along University Ave and newer modern builds in the Allied Arts District. These homes do not come cheap as the median home price here is $2.5m+.

Belle Haven

Young Families / Young Professionals/DINKs

If you’re looking for a more affordable entry point to Menlo Park then check out Belle Haven. Located east of 101, the neighborhood was originally established as an affordable housing project during the Great Depression.

The housing is primarily small single-family ranch style homes, with some apartments and condos as alternatives. The prices drop from a median $2.5m for Menlo Park overall to $1.3m in Belle Haven. Not cheap by any standard but if you can find one in original condition the prices can drop below a million.
The neighborhood is on the edge of the Facebook Building, depending on your pov that could be good or bad. More universally appreciated, there are several parks and playgrounds with Kelly Park the most notable. It’s over 8 acres of beautiful green outdoor space with playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer field with lights, full size track, tennis courts, pickleball courts (they’re everywhere!), outdoor exercise equipment and so much room for the kiddos to run.

Central Menlo


Just west of Downtown/Allied Arts is the Central Menlo neighborhood. A mix of new construction and traditional homes it is the most luxurious and expensive neighborhood in the city. The neighborhood is so beloved and even tight-knit it’s not unusual to have second generation families living blocks away from their parents.

The lots in Central are large and beautifully maintained and the streets are winding and tree-lined. It’s the neighborhood that most resembles the look and affluent feel of neighboring Atherton and prices run from low $4m up to $16m+. While there aren’t as many parks in the neighborhood as others residents often enjoy a walk or run along the trail that follows Bay Laurel Drive and the San Francisquito Creek, which serves as the southern border of the neighborhood.

Felton Gables


Felton Gables is a small pocket of single family homes bound by Encinal Avenue, the railroad tracks, and Holbrook Palmer Park on the east side of El Camino Real. Restrictions on development have contained the size of the homes and the lots are larger so there is a quieter, rural feel to the neighborhood.
Holbrook Palmer Park, just across the border in Atherton borders Felton Gables, and residents have special access via a private gate which gives them 26 acres of open green spaces for kiddos/doggos to play, along with tennis courts and basketball courts and playgrounds.
Prices in Felton Gables run $3m+, which is expensive relative to most cities but is not outrageous for Menlo Park. Locals love both the quieter vibe of the neighborhood and the fact a 26 acre park is essentially everyone’s backyard.

Sharon Heights & Stanford Hills


Sharon Heights and Stanford Hills are two of the most beautiful and bucolic neighborhoods in Menlo Park. Sharon Heights takes its name from the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, which gives the area a lush, private vibe. Stunning, magnificent trees cover the winding streets among the hills of the area. Originally a neighborhood of ranch homes, most have been replaced with mansions (many gated) but the golf club’s social offerings create a tighter community than might be expected.

Stanford Hills sits right next to Sharon Heights and is a small pocket of 78 homes with only one way in and out. Car traffic is kept to a minimum and privacy is greatly valued. Many of the homes in the Hills have stunning views of the bay and Stanford’s Hoover Tower. There is also a social committee that puts together regular social gatherings for the neighborhood so like Sharon Heights the community is tighter than you might expect.

The Willows


The Willows is an eclectic neighborhood(for Menlo Park) with an extremely tight community. There’s a pretty good mix of different ages, race/ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds who work both in tech and the other area industries. There are older ranch-style homes that were in many cases purchased in earlier generations at low prices that sit next to sleek modern homes priced at $4m+. That mix of starter and high-end homes results in a cool blend of different neighbors and a much more interesting social scene at the many community gatherings (of which there are many).

One of the great things about The Willows neighborhood is it runs along the Palo Alto border and is a walk from that city’s downtown. Living in an interesting neighborhood and being a short walk to the best commercial district on the peninsula is a great option and why The Willows is so popular.