A short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will find the peaceful, rural town of Portola Valley. Flanked by gorgeous nature preserves and offering beautiful views, Portola Valley is perfect for Bay Area residents who want more space and serenity in their daily lives.
Early on, it was a logging town, but Portola Valley evolved to became a collection of farms and large estates that offered San Franciscans the opportunity to escape the summer fog. After World War II, there was a push for extensive residential development in the area. However, the locals pushed back in order to preserve Portola Valley's abundant nature and low-density housing.
Thanks to their dedication to maintaining Portola Valley, the homes here are more expansive and sit on larger lots. Mostly made up of single-family homes, the neighborhoods are full of green and open space.
Many residents of Portola Valley moved here for the small-town feel, abundant nature, and caring community. Though it has a rural atmosphere, the town is also on the cutting edge of environmentally friendly design. The centerpiece of that design is the LEED Certified Town Center and Library, which has won numerous awards.
The small community feel attracts residents of all ages, from retired professionals to young families. Though it feels tucked away, Portola Valley is the perfect balance of being close to work while still being surrounded by the beauty of Northern California, which makes it perfect for Bay Area professionals who want to take advantage of the great outdoors.
Like the rest of the town, the shops and dining in Portola Valley are quaint and high-quality. Every store and restaurant brings a feeling of home and community, along with some of the highest quality goods in California.
The most charming place to shop in Portola Valley is Ladera Shopping Center. Here you’ll find Bianchini’s Market, a local family market that sources from the area and consistently gives back to the community. Peruse stationery, candles, jewelry, and more at Ladera Garden & Gifts. Down the road, you’ll find Robert’s Market, a grocery store with a specialty deli, wine, and spirits. Portola Valley Hardware is a staple of the community for homeowners.
Alpine Inn (or Zott's as its known to locals) is the second oldest operating tavern in California and is a great place for beer and pizza. In Ladera Shopping Center, you’ll find some of the most delicious places to eat in Portola Valley. Old Port Lobster Shack serves up fresh seafood in hearty portions. Portola Kitchen is a great place to get pasta and a cocktail. Or grab a margarita and burrito from local taqueria, Amigos Grill.
Portola Valley has few large events like some of the neighboring towns, but the smaller community feel of its gatherings is a huge draw for those who live here.
At the weekly Portola Valley Farmers’ Market, shoppers can buy everything from artisanal bread and delicious pies to farm-fresh eggs and vegetables. Spring Down Equestrian Center holds horse shows as well as riding camps and programs. There are also numerous town-sponsored events, like the Star Party and the Summer Concert Series.
With so much dedicated green space, it’s no surprise that Portola Valley is home to numerous hiking trails. Windy Hill and Alpine Trail are two favorite hikes. For cyclists, Portola Valley also has a pleasant 11.5-mile road best known as “The Loop.” Alpine Hills Swim and Tennis Club and Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club provide family-friendly programs throughout the year.
Portola Valley is served by two excellent school districts: Portola Valley School District and Las Lomitas School District (Ladera). Top educational opportunities include:
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