a street with trees on the side in Midtown, Palo Alto, CA

MLS Midtown, Real Estate in Palo Alto, CA

“Mature trees, copious green space, and a strong commitment to maintaining the quality of life along with its relative affordability make the borough of Midtown a top choice among home buyers.”

Midtown (MLS #234) embodies a timeless post-war ambiance. With the sole exception of the Midtown Shopping Center, its exclusive residential appeal, convenient locale, and comparative entry-level home prices draw many prospective homeowners to Midtown.

Midtown offers much in the way of outdoor recreation with its three public green spaces. Seale, Greer, and Hoover Parks are all within its boundaries, affording residents over 30 acres of athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, dog runs, open meadows, and a tri-bowl skateboard complex built-in 1991, the first of its kind on the Peninsula. Midtown also owns bragging rights to Winter Lodge, the region’s sole outdoor ice-skating facility.

The homes in Midtown are primarily ranch-style, built between 1946 and 1956. A significant number have undergone expansion and renovation, while some residents have rebuilt them entirely. The avenues of sub-district Palo Verde are lined with iconic Eichlers while homes in St. Claire Gardens, designed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, offer more conventional designs.

Midtown holds claim to a dedicated and active Residents Association. Formed in 1994, the Association’s chief focus is maintaining the quality of life in this Palo Alto district.

Its entry-level affordability, accessibility, recreational opportunities, and commitment to the quality of life make Midtown the sweet spot for many looking to call Palo Alto home.

Favorable Attributes
  • Considered one of Palo Alto’s more affordable, entry-level neighborhoods
  • Offers a mature, mainly residential ‘lived-in’ atmosphere
  • Numerous well-established trees line its streets
  • Dominant architectural styles are California ranch and Eichler homes with a dash of pre-war and modern rebuilt dwellings
  • Located in the Midtown Shopping Center, the Winter Lodge offers the region’s only outdoor ice skating center
  • Access to Palo Alto’s excellent public schools
  • Green spaces of Hoover, Greer and Seale Parks within borough’s borders

History of Midtown, Palo Alto

Where the borough of Midtown now sits, was wherein 1847, two Mexican rancho land grants, Rinconada del Arroyo de San Francisquito and Rincon de San Francisquito, collided. The acreage was mostly marshland and passed through a series of owners, 500 acres of which were traded in the 1870s for horses and a buggy. The property was subdivided and initially used for farming and fruit orchards. When the marshy land finally dried out in the 1920s, the opportunity for residential development was born.

In 1947, the city of Palo Alto, whose focus had been the development of housing tracts north of the Oregon Expressway, finally looked southward. With the end of World War II began the growth of Midtown. Homebuilders Coastwise, Barrett & Hilp, and Stern & Price were instrumental in the transformation of orchard land into residential housing tracts. In the 1950s, Joseph Eichler constructed his mid-century modern homes in the sub-borough of Palo Verde.

St. Claire Gardens, a small 83 home sub-district, was once farmland owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Its original intent was as housing for parish members and staff of neighborhood churches. These large dwellings were constructed of redwood and those who resided there were 90% Catholic, earning it the nickname, “Vatican Row”. Today, St. Claire is family-oriented with modernized, more traditional home designs.