Centrally located with a variety of housing options, Menlo Park offers a broad spectrum of mostly suburban living to individuals both young and old. In Menlo Park, you can get a charming condo or modest bungalow in the area known as the Willows or you can get a grand, two-story home on half an acre in Central Menlo for several million dollars. Menlo Park is nearly equidistant between San Jose and San Francisco and borders the affluent communities of Atherton and Palo Alto and parts of the Stanford University Campus. A small portion of Menlo Park is actually on Stanford-owned land where you can live only through land leases. If one can generalize, the neighborhoods to the West of El Camino Real are usually preferred to those on the Highway 101 side of El Camino Real. There are exceptions, but that is the general rule. Allied Arts has smaller lots but is right in the heart of downtown. Central Menlo, just west of that, is considered the best neighborhood with the largest lots and most consistently upscale homes. The Willows has the advantage of having many parts where you can walk to both the Palo Alto and Menlo Park downtowns. For upscale condominium living, popular with affluent adults who want a more simplified lifestyle, there is the area around the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club that is popular. Your lifestyle experience really depends on in what section of Menlo Park you end up.
All Menlo Park neighborhoods share a vibrant downtown and strong schools, especially in the K-8 grades. The downtown has a range of shopping and dining options and a nearby train station whose route spans San Francisco to San Jose with connections to light rail and the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) at some other stops. There are numerous parks including the city owned recreation area called Burgess Park which is adjacent to the city center. Facilities at Burgess Park include baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a full-sized gymnasium and an aquatic center. On any given day you will see many families taking advantage of all it has to offer. The school facilities are all top-notch and enjoy strong parental involvement.
For a central location with much to offer including one of the best downtowns on the Peninsula, Menlo Park is a good bet.