7.6 out of 10

University South

Ranked 3rd best neighborhood in Palo Alto
37.4439684476738 -122.155230569334
Great for
  • Schools
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Eating Out
  • Shopping Options
  • Clean & Green
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Childcare
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parking
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5
2yrs+

"Downtown shopping and condominiums galore"

University South is a busy, pedestrian-friendly Palo Alto neighborhood split between commercial amenities and a small town housing community. The area hosts a myriad of activities and boasts a small downtown center made up of eateries, boutique stores and mid-rise office buildings. This part of the neighborhood always seems to be buzzing with window shoppers and hungry locals looking for some fine dining. Geographically speaking, the district spans about 0.3 square miles with a dense population approaching 2,000 (predominately white).

For the prospective resident, University South has a variety of housing options. If you’re looking to own a home, a large number of residences were built during the 1930’s as well as the post-World War II era. They also tend to vary from old-style Craftsman to Queen Anne and from historical clapboard to Victorian homes. On average, house listings tend to sell for around $1.3 million. If you’re looking to rent, there are a couple more options. The area is made up of a couple beautiful mid-size and modern-looking condominiums that are hard to miss. These listings can run you up $900,000, especially along Forest Avenue. If your pockets don’t go so deep, you can choose to live in the many, more drab, two-story apartment complexes that suit the average Stanford University student. These rents typically circle around $1,500/month, but can go for a lot more.

University South’s biggest perk is its proximity to commercial real-estate. In fact, University Avenue is the district’s main shopping drag and is lined with polished local businesses, mid-rise office buildings and ground floor restaurants and boutique stores. Off of University Avenue, you can find the remnants of a small downtown shopping hub that look a little less glamorous. This also includes the old Stanford Theatre and a couple neighborhood bars and stores. Its only downside is that traffic and parking can be a bit of a hassle. But all in all, this a very desirable neighborhood for someone looking for the right balance between peace and entertainment.
Pros
  • Great bars
  • Great coffee shops
  • Great restaurants
  • Great Movie Palace
Cons
  • Consistent traffic
  • Expensive
  • Serious lack of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Classic Flics and Cool Eats"

Ahhhh! University South.

Let’s just start with the restaurants. There are a ton of great ones here. Here are my top ten:

10. The Three Seasons: My spot for Vietnamese food. Favs are garlic noodles and spring rolls.
9.Shokalaat: Great lunch spot. Sit in there little veranda area, have some crab cakes, a good sandwich, and a diet killing desert! Ohhhh, I just gained 5 pounds thinking about it.
8. Gyros Gyros: Cheap lamb and beef gyros. ‘Nuf said.
7. St. Michael’s Alley: Okay, I’ve not been here but I have heard absolutely amazing things. Just from what I’ve heard puts this place in the number 7 position. It might actually be much higher if I ever actually get to eat here at some point.
6. Osteria: Got to have an Italian place on the list even though I’m not impressed with the Italian selections in Palo Alto. This is the best one, moderately priced and pretty yummy. It is our go to place when we feel like Italian, which is about once a month.
5. Cafe Renaissance: Great Persian place--well the only Persian place. Favs: dolmas, OSH soup, and pomegranate chicken, and lamb wraps. Yum!
4. Mango Caribbean: Ya man, try the jerk chicken here. It it totally rocks!
3. Cafe 220: This is just best Mediterranean place in University South, bar none. I've not run across anything on the menu I didn't like.
2. Mantra: Darbar's University South competition,this is a swanky Indian place--very tasty.
1. Pampas: Brazilian BBQ! This is definitely what they serve in heaven.

Okay, so this is definitely where you go for eating in Palo Alto. What else do they have here?
Bars:

The Wine Room, Gravity and Vino Vino: Wine bars are the staple of Palo Alto bars. These are the three best.
You also have a lounge (Scotty’s), some sport’s bars (the Old Pro), and the closest you get to a dive bar in Palo Alto (the Nut House).
You also have lots of clothing boutiques, from Anthropologie to independent stores.

But the real standout of area for cinephiles like me is the Stanford Theatre, which is one of the those great, old movie palaces from the golden age of cinema. It is a revival house, so you get to experience old movies the way they should be. (Given how few of these are still in existence this is really a local treasure.) This weekend, for example, you can watch the double feature of Joseph Mankiewicz’ People will Talk, with Cary Grant in the lead, and the 1939 Ginger Rogers/David Niven flic, Bachelor Mother. You’ve probably not heard of these and that is the great virtue of the Stanford Theatre, a real commitment to movie history—not just the classics, like next weekend when they are showing Olivier’s Richard III and Othello.


Okay, so this is definitely the place to go for food and to catch a classic flic. But what about living here?

Renting is pretty tough. A one-bedroom starts at about $1800 on the low end and can go up as much as $3000. A two-bedroom is even steeper, with prices ranging from $2300 to $5500. Needless to say, we rapidly gave up on trying to find a place here.

Thinking of buying instead? Well, a condo here could run you nearly a million dollars. And a 1600 foot home will run you $2.5 million. Put simply, you would have to put a really high premium on proximity to campus.

So, in a nutshell, I would say this is a great place to visit, but who could afford to live here?
Pros
  • Great Movie Palace
  • Great bars
  • Great coffee shops
  • Great restaurants
Cons
  • Consistent traffic
  • Expensive
  • Serious lack of parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Schools 5/5
2yrs+

"This is where the action happens..."

University South has a lot going on - perhaps even more than Downtown North. With an abundance of everything from restaurants to bars to yoga studios, it is probably the most packed couple of blocks in Palo Alto. While it is an exciting place to be, it is also home to the most traffic and the least parking of anywhere in the area.

Staples around here include Pizza My Heart, Coupa Cafe and Reposado, but new venues seem to pop up every month. This is probably one of the best places for restaurants and nightlife in Silicon Valley, and the prices certainly reflect this!
Pros
  • Great restaurants
  • Great bars
  • Great coffee shops
Cons
  • Serious lack of parking
  • Consistent traffic
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Nice place to live, if not overly exciting"

University South is a large neighborhood, so its qualities vary as you move up and down the streets. Most residents, frankly, are yuppies, but despite the negative connotations this term often carries with it, the area is generally a friendly one. Of course, there are a number of publicly snobby and rude people, but I imagine the same can be said for most wealthy neighborhoods around the country. The number of young families in the area is rising, so if you are thinking of raising a family here you won't be alone. Furthermore, the schools in the city are excellent and no matter where you're living in the neighborhood you're sure to be close to a store where you can buy most things that you need, be it Whole Foods or Longs Drugs.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

Travelling to University South?

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Unranked Streets in University South

Alma St

2.5/5
"Standard Palo Alto Street"
37.4413403812059 -122.160625948684
"A Pleasant Place to Shop, but not to Get To"
37.4393480973166 -122.152949418624

Hamilton Ave

3.5/5
"A lower-key alternative to University Avenue"
37.4462331153337 -122.159177855505

Homer Ave

3.5/5
"Nice Palo Alto Park"
37.4441410535752 -122.15722472424

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