Allied Arts


Pre-World War II homes, usually mid-range to top end.  Look here if you want pre-war charm with a minimum of commercial and apartment buildings.

Boundaries:  Arbor, Middle, El Camino, San Francisquito Creek.  Map boundaries are approximate due to my limitations as a map maker.  Neighborhood boundaries may be subjective.  Boundaries and other information on this Web site should be verified before being relied upon.

Overview:  Built mostly during the same pre-World War II era as residential downtown Menlo Park, Allied Arts is a much larger neighborhood and lacks the people and traffic (with two exceptions, El Camino and the beautiful Allied Arts Guild complex) that businesses bring.  Allied Arts also doesn’t have nearly as many apartment buildings and duplexes.  Blocks close to El Camino (“lower Allied Arts”) do have some baggage:  cut-through traffic (note the speed bumps), parking problems (also note the No Parking without Permit signs) and traffic noise.  Otherwise Allied Arts is a quiet, gracious area and one of Menlo Park’s most beautiful neighborhoods, especially along San Francisquito Creek.  The blocks west of University (“upper Allied Arts”) are some of its most attractive, and well away from El Camino, although Arbor gets significant traffic (including buses) from Allied Arts.

 Housing stock:  An eclectic group, mostly small traditionals from the ’20s through 1950, but a handful of homes are even older.  Many have been expanded and updated.  Most of the original homes are small and can be quite humble, although some are substantial and many have been updated.  New homes are relatively common, with the PUD style (basically two 3/4-scale homes sharing a deep lot) popular.  You’ll also find a few very expensive apartment buildings and duplexes, and one small townhouse development on its fringe.

 Lot sizes:  Varies from 5300 to 8000 sq.ft., with many around 7800.  Shape is usually narrow and deep.

 Affordability:  Generally expensive, even by Menlo Park’s pricey standards, but it depends on the house and the lot.

 That price range is unusually broad for what’s generally considered an upscale neighborhood.  Affordability is enhanced by the many small, tired homes, relatively inexpensive unless they’re on a sub-dividable lot.

 Schools:  K-8 district:  Menlo Park City School District, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton CA 94027.  Administration-Superintendent (650) 321-7140.  District attendance map.  School evaluations.

 9-12 district:  Sequoia Union High School District, 480 James Ave., Redwood City 94062.  Administration (650) 369-1411.  Boundary search.  School evaluations.

 This information is based on district and other sources but may be obsolete by the time you read this.  Verify district boundaries and school availability with district offices. 

 Amenities:  Nealon Park, Middle Avenue (golf driving range, lighted tennis courts, softball field, children’s playground, picnic areas, Little House Senior Center).

 Shopping:  convenient to Menlo Park and Palo Alto downtowns; Allied Arts Guild, a collection of small shops in a large Spanish-style building built in 1929; walking distance via foot bridge to Stanford Shopping Center.

 Neighborhoods with similar ambience:  It’s tricky to compare the mid-Peninsula’s best pre-war neighborhoods because they’re far more distinctive than the post-war tracts.  And just to further complicate things, Allied Arts mixes the modest and the relatively upscale.  I use “relatively” because even Allied Art’s larger old homes weren’t built on an imposing scale suggesting Old Money, and the neighborhood’s more casual accessibility is part of its considerable charm.  Palo Alto’s Community Center with its combination of the upscale and the humble may be the closest in overall feel.  For the same reason Palo Alto’s Crescent Park and Old Palo Alto (but not the areas with grand houses on huge lots) also resemble Allied Arts.  Redwood City’s Wellesley Park and Wellesley Crescent just west of El Camino are great comparables, as are as the more interesting parts of Mount Carmel.  From Palo Alto’s Oregon Expressway southward you won’t find anything comparable to Allied Arts until you reach Old Los Altos.  After that it’s another long drive to San Jose’s pre-war Rose Garden, Willow Glen and Naglee Park.  ‘50s ranchers are more plentiful in Willow Glen and Rose Garden but their pre-war neighborhoods offer an exceptional ambience.  So does San Mateo’s Baywood, Aragon and San Mateo Park and Burlingame’s Easton Addition and Burlingame Park.  Even parts of Burlingame and San Mateo just east of El Camino offer some of Allied Art’s bang for a lot less buck, but without Menlo Park’s great weather and proximity to Stanford.

Interested in buying a home in Allied Arts or in a similar area?  Please contact me at

copyright © John Fyten 2004-2014

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