Scenic, rural, wealthy residential community with spacious lots.
Atherton was not always the most expensive zip code in the nation, but it became that way over the years as the community worked to maintain its independence and the natural beauty of the neighborhood. Beginning as a flag stop called Town Oaks in 1923, Atherton declined to incorporate into Menlo Park and struck out on its own.
After the San Francisco railroad was developed, Atherton became a hotspot for affluent San Francisco residents to spend their summers. The town eventually took its name from Faxon D. Atherton, who purchased 600 acres on the peninsula in 1860. Nowadays, Atherton is known for being a prestigious place to live thanks to its idyllic charm and business-free environment.
Atherton is resplendent with breathtaking surroundings, including a plethora of natural oak trees ranging from redwood to cedar. Childfree couples, retirees, empty nesters, and nature lovers are attracted to the wealthy area thanks to its lack of commercialized real estate. Most Atherton residents are older than 45-years-old and married. It is an older community that has few households with children under the age of 18.
The town promotes tranquility and bucolic living not found anywhere else in Silicon Valley. It is not a boisterous neighborhood with lots of children running around; instead, Atherton is more of a place for peaceful relaxation for those who enjoy solitude and the great outdoors.
However, don’t think living in Atherton makes one a total recluse. The Greater Bay Area is easily accessible to those with specific cultural and recreational interests. Some residents prefer to enjoy a blissful bike ride to the shops in neighboring Menlo Park and Palo Alto.
Given the community's dedicated focus to maintaining a private, residential neighborhood, there are no restaurants, bars, or other businesses in the immediate vicinity of Atherton.
Thankfully, it is in close proximity to several notable shopping centers, such as the Stanford Shopping Center, Downtown Menlo Park, and Downtown Palo Alto. Residents don't have to travel far to go shopping or dine out, but still get to experience the sense of exclusivity living in Atherton provides.
The Menlo Circus Club is the crème de la crème of Atherton, perhaps even the entire Silicon Valley region. It is the sole business-type function in the area.
Started in 1920 as a place for girls to gather and ride horses, the club soon evolved into a pantheon of equestrianism. Young folks associated with the club would create circuses to entertain their families and the local community. The first circus raised $500 in a year alone, and as this tradition continued, more fundraising efforts followed.
A 1922 land development deal allowed the club to grow and flourish until it became an iconic scene for social events, polo matches, tennis tournaments, glitzy galas, and more. Despite its incredible evolution, the Menlo Circus Club is first and foremost a place for families, with plenty of events and recreational activities available for all ages.
Holbrook Palmer Park is Atherton's sole recreational site. A picturesque park with picnic tables, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor facilities encompassed within a 22-acre garden setting makes it the perfect place to spend a day with friends and family. The park is also a popular wedding venue and allows rentals of their significant buildings for special events, such as the Jennings Pavillion and Carriage House.
The Atherton community is served by several excellent public and private schools.
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