Quiet suburban community with unique boutique shops and plenty of green space
The Menlo Park Train Station opened in 1863. At that time, it was the last stop for trains coming from San Francisco and provided wealthy barons quick transportation from the city to their summer homes. It’s the oldest running train station in California and has been designated a California State Landmark. Today, Menlo Park is home to the headquarters of Meta, and the country’s top venture capital firms are on Sand Hill Road. It’s surprisingly quieter than other cities on the Peninsula, with locally-owned businesses and downtown shops closing earlier in the evening.
Menlo Park is divided into several neighborhoods with varying architectural styles. In Willows and University Heights, you’ll find charming 1920s bungalows and cottages that have been remodeled into large single-family homes. Central Menlo Park and Felton Gables have midcentury ranch houses next to newly-built mansions. You’ll find mix-use luxury condominiums downtown along El Camino Real. Situated in the foothills of Menlo Park, Sharon Heights has large, exclusive estates where many of those working in the financial firms on Sand Hill Road choose to live. Some of the most expensive real estate in the country is in Menlo Park. It’s home to the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, a five-star private country club catering to Menlo Park’s elite.
Menlo Park is nicknamed the “Sleepy Hollow of California.” While most of the Peninsula has expanded into bigger cities, Menlo Park has kept much of its suburban small-town charm. It’s a tight-knit community where many residents have lived for generations and have families close by. Downtown Menlo Park is rustic and quiet with a hip vibe and mom-and-pop shops that have been there for generations. When an independent bookstore, Kepler’s Books, had to close in 2005, the residents organized a community drive to save and reopen it.
There’s a variety of eateries in downtown Menlo Park and Santa Cruz Avenue. Camper works with local farmers to bring modern California cuisine to the table. Trellis serves northern Italian dishes and has a large rooftop patio. Sultana Restaurant serves Turkish-Mediterranean dishes.
Cafe Borrone is part cafe, part art gallery. They also host live music and serve beer and wine. Bistro Vida is a classic French restaurant that’s great for date night. Chef Kwan’s is a Chinese restaurant specializing in Sichuan and Mandarin dishes. For Japanese food, you can try Octopus or Kyosho.
The Refuge is a gastropub popular for its pastrami sandwiches. If you’re looking for a sports bar, the Dutch Goose is your classic bar scene, complete with arcade games. There are also Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores in town. For retail shopping, the Stanford Shopping Center is walking distance from the Allied Arts and Stanford Park neighborhoods and has everything you need with luxury brands and upscale dining options.
There are over a dozen parks in Menlo Park. Bedwell Bayfront Park has several nature trails and waterfront views. Sharon Hills Park has a picnic area and a lake, perfect for sunbathing. Flood Park is a 21-acre retreat with a playground, baseball field, and volleyball and tennis courts. Next to the Civic Center, Burgess Park has sports facilities, a pool, and a skateboard park.
Every Sunday, the Menlo Park Farmers Market has fresh produce, craft vendors, and live music. For live shows, the Guild Theatre has a jam-packed calendar year-round with concerts, screenings, and other community programs. There’s also an AMC Dine-in cinema showing the latest movies.
Menlo Park 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.