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CA Palo Alto Old Palo Alto

Despite its name, Old Palo Alto isn’t the oldest part of Palo Alto — just the most well-known. “Old” is commonly said to refer to “old money”, given the exclusive price of its homes and, subsequently, the wealth of its residents.

“Old” might also be apt to describe some of the homes in this neighborhood, many of which were built pre-war and precede the 1920s. If there’s one thing to be noted about this neighborhood besides its affluence, however, it’s the eclectic mix of architectural styles and eras. You’ll find anything from colonial estates to sleek modern contemporaries in Old Palo Alto, with each street characterized by its own distinct vibe. Despite the mix of home styles, however, even newer homes are built with a nod to pre-war styles.

The overall atmosphere of Old Palo Alto is distinctively high-end and boasts a regal charm filled with history. It’s a premium neighborhood, home to several notable people including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and formerly the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Old Palo Alto is segmented off by Alma, Oregon Expressway, Middlefield, and Embarcadero. To the north by Embarcadero, you’ll find older styles like shingle, craftsman, and colonial with strong Spanish Revival influences. If you head south towards Oregon Expwy, those Early Californian touches are replaced by large, traditional ranchers. Homes here are notably spacious, most at more than 2000 sq. ft and some even 6000+ with a handful of smaller, one-bath homes. Along the southern boundary of the neighborhood, they become noticeably smaller and closer together — this area was developed in the 1930s and matched the lower buyer affordability.

For families seeking quality education opportunities, Old Palo Alto’s schools are about as good as it gets. The neighborhood is served by two public elementary schools (Walter Hays and Addison Elementary), Greene Middle School, and Palo Alto High School — all ranked top five or ten public schools in the state.

The northern portion of the neighborhood is close to Town & Country Village, which offers convenient grocery shopping, dining, and shopping. Within walking distance to the southern portion is California Avenue, which offers similar shopping amenities. Also within close range of the neighborhood is Main Library, Lucie Stern Community Center, and Rinconada Park facilities including a pool, picnic spots, and a community theatre.

The neighborhood itself has a strong community feel despite lacking a formal neighborhood association until a few years ago. Halloween on Waverley and Santa Rita, for instance, is a massive festival that attracts flocks of trick-or-treaters, set up with carnival attractions and even port-a-potties.

For more information on the Old Palo Alto neighborhood and personalized guidance on buying a home here, get in touch with our team at!

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