Modern villas and sophisticated luxury in one of Silicon Valley’s most exclusive neighborhoods
Since the 1860s, Gold Rush entrepreneurs and other wealthy San Franciscans have come to Atherton to build their lavish summer homes. When the opportunity came for the city to be incorporated into Menlo Park, the residents declined and decided to keep it independent and entirely residential. With opulent mansions on wooded estates tucked behind tall ornate gates, Atherton has maintained its prestigious status as the most expensive neighborhood in the United States. Situated just south of San Francisco and next to the headquarters of Tesla, Google, and Facebook, it’s home to Silicon Valley’s most elite, including Charles Schwab, Stephen Curry, and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum.
You’ll find more modest ranch-style and country estate homes on single-acre lots in the Lindenwood and Lloyden Park neighborhoods. Many of these date back to the 20s and 30s. Some remnants of the 1878 Flood mansion remain in Lindenwood, including street lamps, fountains, statues, and the gate at the entrance. However, in West Atherton and west of Alameda de las Pulgas, you’ll find new Tuscan-style villas and ultra-modern summer mansions on larger private lots surrounded by fruit orchards and vine-covered fences. There are almost no sidewalks, and the streets are lined with heritage trees, making the homes even more secluded.
Atherton is strictly residential. There are no commercial structures other than schools and a private country club. Homes are hidden behind tall gates and fences, adding to their exclusive appeal. Residents treasure their privacy, but they still hold small-town, tight-knit community values. For a night out, you can head to downtown Palo Alto or Menlo Park.
There are no restaurants or retail shops in Atherton. Downtown Menlo Park is five minutes away, and there you can find a couple of grocery stores and numerous upscale restaurants. Bistro Vida serves classic French dishes in an intimate setting. Next door is Left Bank, another French restaurant with a full bar and outdoor sidewalk seating.
La Stanza Cucina Italiana has Sicilian-style pasta dishes and is a great choice for date night. Kyosho is highly rated for its sushi and omakase service. Mama Coco Cocina Mexicana is great for casual get-togethers, and Stacks is famous for brunch and pancakes.
About 10 minutes away, Stanford Shopping Center has luxury brands, including Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry. It’s an outdoor plaza with plenty of dining options, such as Taro San Japanese Noodle Bar, which serves homemade udon noodles and izakaya-style plates. Pacific Catch is great for seafood lovers. They have poke, salmon burgers, fish tacos, coconut shrimp, and grilled plates. Fleming’s Steakhouse serves prime-cut steaks and has an extensive wine list to pair. True Food Kitchen has a health-focused menu and lots of vegetarian choices.
There is one park in Atherton within walking distance to the Middleton and El Camino neighborhoods. Holbrook-Palmer Park has a baseball field, tennis courts, picnic areas, walking trails, and a playground. Its 22-acre garden setting has indoor and outdoor event facilities, including the Main House, Jennings Pavilion, and the Carriage House.
Residents organize community events, fundraisers, and an annual Easter egg hunt. Two blocks away is the Atherton Library. It has story-time readings, concerts, workshops, and equipment rentals.
The Menlo Circus Club in West Atherton has equestrian facilities, tennis courts, a polo field, a pool, and several event facilities. It was established in 1923 as a private country club and remains members-only for Atherton’s social elite.
Atherton is served by the Menlo Park City School District and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Together with his wife and son, the Buljan Group has grown as a commanding force in the local real estate realm over the years selling every major landmark property in the community.