7.2 out of 10

Portola Valley

Ranked 41st best city in California
37.3729637934388 -122.219312115103
Great for
  • Safe & Sound
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Schools
Not great for
  • Public Transport
  • Pest Free
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Childcare
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Country Lovers
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • LGBT+


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"The Real Redwood City"

Portola Valley is even more woodsy than Woodside, and definitely has a higher percentage of redwoods than Redwood City. The feel of the area is a lot more like places near Santa Cruz than places near San Jose.

As with most of these hillside areas at the edge of Silicon Valley, home prices are in the millions. Right now, for example, two thirds of homes in Portola Valley cost over one million dollars, while one third are over $4 million. Some of the homes here are outright mansions complete with tennis courts, long drives, fountains, and an English style architecture you could use as a setting for movie adaptations of a 19th century novel.

On the lower end of the market you can find some slightly older homes for around $500K and these are actually pretty good deals given the area. Most people would be more than happy with the lower end of the market.

This is definitely, however, an amazingly wealthy city. When Portola Valley is measured relative to individual income, it comes out second in California only to neighboring Woodside (among cities with at least 1000 households). It is 7th in the country along the same measure.

As you might expect this rich area offers a number of excellent private and public school choices.

Portola Valley overall is pretty much a residential neighborhood. There are a couple of restaurants, but really, for entertainment you need to head out of Portola Valley to nearby Palo Alto or down to the San Jose area. As far as the basics, like groceries, there is a Bianchini’s Market, but most people head over to Palo Alto, or to Menlo Park where there is a Safeway.

So if like having your home feel like it is in a campground, Portola Valley is the place for you.
  • Very Woodsy
  • Amazing Homes
  • Quiet and Safe
  • Hillside Living
  • A Bit Remote
  • Very, Very Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5

"Wealth in bundles"

Located in San Mateo County and down the San Francisco peninsula, Portola Valley is considered one of the top 40 wealthiest towns in America. More specifically, it’s one of the top 4 wealthiest towns in California. Pricey, yes...but it’s worth every penny. For perspective home buyers, there are 5 affluent neighborhoods to choose from: Lindenwood, Lloyden Park, Menlo Oaks, West Atherton and West of Alameda. You’ll also be interested to know that he community as a whole is very small and intimate, housing only 5,000 residents. Its demographic is made up of white, upper class citizens.

Although there is little to no commercial area within the city’s limits, Portola Valley’s residential community is almost unbeatable. The secluded community streets sit in a peaceful valley, surrounded by heavily wooded hills and wide open spaces. For the typical resident, it starts with a steep, narrow street winding up a secluded driveway, leading up to a large, elegant home. You reach the gates of your home which lead up to your polished house fronts and large, manicured front gardens. The median gross rent in this city is around $2,000/month, while the average household income rakes in just over $170,000/year.

One of the biggest perks of Portola Valley is the tens of thousands of dollars it pours into its school system: Portola Valley Elementary School District. The district overlooks two public schools which include Ormondale School (with grades K-3) and Corte Madera School (grades 4-8). Although it lacks any higher education options, the city is located just west of the prestigious Stanford University. For outdoorsy type, Windy Hill Open Space Preserve takes up almost half the community’s land area. Its dozens of hiking trails and many woodsy, scenic vistas located along the way make for a great afternoon of exercise.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • LGBT+
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers

Unranked Neighborhoods in Portola Valley

"Typical Portola Valley: Rich and Remote"
37.3709165160887 -122.214037728418
"Nice Country Spot"
37.3850361965273 -122.20373817105


"Good Suburban Spot"
37.4002327912493 -122.195413544962
"Nestled In the Woods"
37.3380591150656 -122.191392817753
"Pinot Noir and Turnabout Cul-de-Sacs"
37.3666621990784 -122.207318643867


"Elbow Room for the Rich"
37.3859213836774 -122.223192659897
"Nice, Quiet Little Nook"
37.3855621134622 -122.240475867556

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