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Welcome to Atherton

Sitting just inland of the southeastern edge of the San Francisco Bay lies a rustic slice of California history. Atherton is not like many of its neighbors in the San Francisco Bay Area. It doesn’t have a booming industrial center or a burgeoning technology complex. In fact, the town is comprised of mainly houses and trees. There are miles and miles of beautiful trees, trees of every shape and size. Oaks, redwoods, cedars, pine trees, imported species and every type of indigenous tree the region has to offer. Atherton is as rural and undeveloped town full of citizens who aim to keep it that way.

Lay of the Land

Located in San Mateo County, Atherton is positioned in the southeastern area of the county, near the Santa Clara County border. This allows the city to take advantage of all of the amenities offered by both the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley without having to lean towards one or the other.

A small incorporated city, Atherton’s closest neighbor is Menlo Park with which it shares an extended border. With a population of approximately 7,159 residents on just over 6 square miles of land, Atherton is one of the smallest cities in the region in terms of population and geography. However, even conservative estimates place it as one of the top five wealthiest zip codes in the country. The estimated median income for the area is well over $200,000 and the average value of a home in the city is over 1 million dollars.


Atherton is a city very much concerned with maintaining a rural feel and relaxed atmosphere. This means that public transportation within city limits is kept to a minimum and is closely monitored by both a general Transportation Committee as well as a Rail Committee. Public Transportation within the city itself is limited to a single CalTrain commuter station which is only open on the weekends.

Luckily the city is surrounded by numerous transit locations that make public transportation readily accessible. Atherton’s neighbors in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County possess a variety of transit stations, including Bay Area Rapid Transit Stations and several light rail and bus stations operated by the Santa Clara County Transportation Authority and the San Mateo County Transit District.

Local Highlights

Atherton is a city focused on maintaining a rustic feel and preserving the natural landscape as much as possible. This is accomplished by a combination of public committees and extremely active homeowners associations. There are no commercial operations or industrial sites in the town itself. Additionally, homeowners are expected to follow strict encroachment guidelines when it comes to property maintenance and overall landscaping.

The committees and improvements organizations within the city are focused on maintaining and improving the cultural and aesthetic ambiance of Atherton. They are extremely active and viewed very positively by the community. They include: the Heritage Association which focuses on preserving historic locations and town artifacts, the Arts Committee which works to support local artists and public displays of art, the Tree Committee, the Friends of the Atherton Community Library which organizes community events and secures donations for the library, the Civic Interest League, and, most importantly, the Holbrook-Palmer Park Foundation.

Holbrook-Palmer Park is the cultural epicenter of the city of Atherton. The park is a sprawling natural location, occupying a total of 22 acres of rolling hills and secluded glens. There are numerous public general use locations available for walking, hiking, athletic activities, and picnics. However, the park also supports a host of organized activities at several centers. These include exercise groups, activity groups focused on supporting the elderly, and numerous daycare and educational programs focused on early-childhood education.