Welcome to Allied Arts and Downtown!
This beloved area of Menlo Park is nestled between El Camino Real to the east and Arbor Road to the west. Valparaiso Ave and the meandering San Francisquito Creek making up the northern and southern borders respectively.
Allied Arts, also known as Stanford Park, is like a preserved pocket of peace and culture. It was originally built in 1929 as a place for artists, craftsmen, and creativity to flourish in the area’s namesake, the Allied Arts Guild. This artists’ sanctuary is a Spanish-Colonial design complex with unique artisan shops, studios, gardens, and delectable eateries like the Blue Garden Café. It’s undeniably a crowning jewel of the neighborhood. Similarly, the Stanford Shopping Center with its open-air shopping and dining is a key destination for both locals and visitors alike. The Center is easily accessed by a pedestrian bridge built over the creek, convenient for those traveling by foot or bike.
Amazingly, despite being located so close to the downtown area and modern amenities, Allied Arts manages to retain its quiet country vibe and quaint town charm. Homes in this area are single-family residents with a mix of large luxury homes next to picturesque cottages. There’s a real sense of community here and the neighbors are known for their friendly dispositions.
Just north of Allied Arts, closer to Valparaiso Ave, is Downtown Menlo Park. A favorable location, the area is an eclectic concoction of restaurants, retailers, mom-and-pop shops, and commercial businesses. Recently, because of increasing rent, many of the specialized shops have relocated to downtown Los Altos. Nonetheless, Menlo Park’s downtown still attracts patrons from all over the San Mateo County. Most residents are fiercely loyal to their local retailers with both sides enjoying an amicable relationship.
People who live in the downtown area do have to endure heavier traffic but compensation comes from easy access to Highway 280 and 101 (just minutes away by car) and just under 40 minutes away lies the city of San Francisco itself. Not to mention the close proximity to shopping and delicious fine dining!
Allied Arts and Downtown are both close to Fremont Park, tucked into the corner where Santa Cruz Ave meets University Drive. The park is a great open space and residents enjoy free concerts in the summer time as well as the local farmers’ market. Also nearby is Nealon Park with its playground, baseball diamond, and an off-leash dog area. A great community with superb neighborhood amenities, this area of Menlo Park is an idyllic place for families.
Menlo Park Elementary School District serves both Allied Arts and Downtown. Children from the former neighborhood attend Oak Knoll School while children from the latter attend Encinal Elementary School. Both have high standards of education with API scores above 925. Moving up, middle school students from both areas attend Hillsview Middle School, which boasts an API of 950. The high school, Menlo Atherton High, has a respectable API score in the 800s, just below Palo Alto. Many parents choose to send their children to the prestigious private schools nearby such as Sacred Heart or Menlo School.