Home to more than 10,000 street trees, numerous venture capital firms, and social media giant Facebook, Menlo Park packs a lot into its 9.8 square miles. The city offers residents a lovely place to live, amid tree-lined neighborhoods and a friendly community.
The city of 32,881 got its name from two Irishmen, who in the 1850s posted a wooden sign that read "Menlo Park" outside their massive estate. When the railroad came to the area a decade later, officials spotted the sign and gave the station the same name.
Menlo Park incorporated twice, first in 1874 and then in 1927, and remained a primarily rural community until World War I, when some 43,000 soldiers trained at Camp Fremont.
Today the city borders Redwood City, Atherton, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Stanford University, as well as San Francisco Bay. Its populace is quite educated, with 70 percent of people older than 25 having at least a bachelor’s degree, according to United States Census Bureau data.
The Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas Elementary school districts attract many young families to the city. In 2012, both districts earned upward of 940 of a possible 1,000 on the state's Academic Performance Index. The city also offers 13 parks and a wide array of recreational activities.
According to Forbes magazine's 2012 list of America's Most Expensive ZIP codes, the median price of a home in Menlo Park is $1,434,863. Of the city’s 13,085 housing units, 56 percent are owner occupied. The median household income is $111,244, according to census data.
In 2011, Facebook moved its headquarters from Palo Alto to Menlo Park. Other businesses and agencies with a strong presence in the city include SRI International, Tyco Electronics, and the venture capital firms of Sand Hill Road. The independent bookstore Kepler’s Books has been a local institution for decades, and numerous stores and restaurants line Santa Cruz Avenue, the city’s main shopping street.