COMMUNITIES

The South Bay Area is filled with many exciting neighborhoods offering a strong sense of community and a taste of small-town life in the middle of bustling Silicon Valley. From any one of these, you are within an hour of the Pacific, redwoods, wineries, world-class golf courses, two very international cities, and numerous destination resorts.

This is authentic NorCal living!

Here you can take a glimpse into some of my favorite communities in the South Bay Area:

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Campbell

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Willow Glen

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Los Gatos

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Morgan Hill

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Los Altos | Los Altos Hills
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Monte Sereno

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Saratoga

Campbell

Named the “Orchard City,” this former fruit-packing town nestled between Los Gatos and Willow Glen offers lively energy, a small-town community feel, and a vibrant downtown. An ever-increasing number of boutique shops, specialty restaurants, coffee stops, and wine bars line Campbell Avenue, the main thoroughfare. Each Sunday is like a local festival – you’ll find farm stands from area growers, local purveyors, musicians, artists, and artisan foods all represented at what has been frequently named the best Farmers’ Market in the South Bay.

Campbell living is often described as carefree and easy. Bikers and joggers meet up at the Los Gatos Creek trail which threads through town and to the nearby foothills of the Los Gatos Mountains. Historic Downtown Campbell has become a destination in and of itself, and all year round there is something going on. Boogie on the Avenue, Oktoberfest, Wine Walks, Carol of Lights, a Summer Concert Series—some of the South Bay’s most popular festivals—are hosted here, along with all kinds of happenings at local cafes, shops, and restaurants. The newly remodeled Pruneyard Shopping Center also boasts a state-of-the-art dine-in cinema, an outdoor plaza for mingling over coffee, and additional specialty restaurants.

Located 20 minutes or less from many high-tech Silicon Valley employers such as Apple, Google, eBay, Netflix, and Adobe, Campbell is a convenient choice for those seeking a small-town community atmosphere in the middle of a bustling tech valley.

Local architecture dates from the early 1900s, and many of Campbell’s historic residential neighborhoods still feature a mix of Colonial Revival, Queen Anne Victorian Cottage, Craftsman, California Bungalow, and Spanish Eclectic homes. A variety of home styles, including both modern and contemporary designs, can be found here today. Within the past six years, I have sold over 150 brand new mid-urban homes in two distinct communities here near downtown. Those who move here don’t want to leave. It’s a truly wonderful place to call home!

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Willow Glen

The lure of Willow Glen is its small-town vibe with big-city benefits. I heard an old-timer once say, “They just don’t make Willow Glens anymore,” and living here now for the past five years, I have to agree. It’s a place where neighbors wave to each other and invite strangers to become friends (often within minutes of moving in), families walk their dogs, and kids still play on quiet streets.

Willow Glen has its own walkable downtown area centered around Lincoln Avenue, and offers an abundance of restaurants, eclectic boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and many independently owned businesses. Afternoons can be easily spent enjoying a leisurely lunch, then going for a stroll before stopping in to browse through a bookstore, vintage, or antique shop. Events are generally smaller and low-key, like wine walks and holiday trolley rides. During the Christmas season, nearby residents from all around come to Willow Glen to see the extravagant display of lights throughout the neighborhoods.

All within a few minutes’ drive are downtown San Jose’s entertainment and night clubs, high-end shopping at Santana Row, and the downtowns of Campbell and Los Gatos. Highways 280, 880, and 87 make for an easy commute to the area’s many high-tech Silicon Valley employers.

As for housing, there is quite a variety here amongst the beautiful tree-lined streets. Charming older homes from the 1920s and ‘30s, many lovingly restored or remodeled with high-end modern interiors, are mixed with larger, newer construction beauties. Common styles are Craftsman, Mission, Bungalow, and Victorian. For fans of Mid-Century Modern design, there is also a collection of over 200 Eichler homes in the Fairglen neighborhood.

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Los Gatos

The breathtakingly beautiful town of Los Gatos, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is packed with both small-town intimacy and big-city sophistication. Los Gatos, Spanish for “the cats,” is the southernmost gateway city to Silicon Valley.

Residents enjoy a multitude of amenities, including fantastic outdoor recreation in its parks and trails, charming hillside neighborhoods, distinguished schools, and excellent shopping and dining. The town has a strong sense of community and volunteerism, and puts on dozens of annual events, a huge holiday parade, a summer music concert series, and art and wine festivals. It is even home to an award-winning winery, Testarossa Winery, perched on the hillside right above town.

Charming downtown Los Gatos is a National Historic District whose buildings preserve a wide variety of architectural styles, ranging from Victorian and Queen Anne all the way to the Art Deco period. Visitors come from all over the Bay Area to shop, dine, and stroll its attractive Main Street and lively avenues. Spas, salons, French patisseries, an intimate luxury theater, and numerous unique shops and fine dining restaurants provide a pampering, relaxing experience.

Just a short drive away via Highway 17, the breathtaking views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, wineries, and the beaches of the Pacific Coast offer another wonderful day’s adventure.

The lively mix of home design reflects the local history, spanning from its early years in milling, logging, and railroad expansion, which created some of the grandest homes in the area, to later a thriving orchard and canning industry. Well-maintained Victorian, Craftsman, ranch, and contemporary homes fill the tree-lined streets. Today, Los Gatos is closely tied to Silicon Valley and its booming tech industry. A number of high-tech enterprises, including Netflix and Barracuda Networks, are headquartered here.

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Morgan Hill

Just 10 miles south of San Jose lies one of the fastest growing communities in Santa Clara County: Morgan Hill. If you love an active lifestyle and seek serenity with a little more breathing room, consider this South Valley treasure. Just a few of its attributes are a stunning wine country, vibrant downtown, miles and miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, PGA golf, and an annual festival whose star is the mushroom.

The region has been known as a rich agricultural center, especially noted for its prosperous vineyards since the turn of the century, when former ranchos were subdivided into homesteads and farms. Growth started to accelerate in the 1970s, when Silicon Valley developed and workers were attracted to Morgan Hill’s small-town atmosphere, sense of community, and reasonable housing prices.

Today, a bustling and hip downtown offers a variety of quality dining, tap houses, locally owned boutiques, a year-round Farmers’ Market, and street fairs and festivals—including the popular Mushroom Mardi Gras—providing a welcoming gathering place for locals and visitors throughout the year.

Over 30 wineries and tasting rooms stretch along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail from Morgan Hill to Gilroy. Beyond the gorgeous scenery and great wines, you’ll find passionate people behind the bar—often the winemakers themselves—who love to share their affection for the region and its fruit.

This is a town that takes sports and recreation seriously, with a 38-acre outdoor sports center, an aquatics center, numerous equestrian facilities, and two top-notch golf courses. Expansive parks and open spaces provide limitless opportunities for hikers and mountain bikers to escape to nature, while the winding, hilly backroads are revered by road cyclists. It is no wonder that renowned cycling manufacturer, Specialized Bicycle Components, chose to headquarter here.

A variety of housing options exist, from large vineyard estates to moderate and affordable housing. Thanks to a swelling residential and business population and thoughtful planning from town leaders, Morgan Hill’s quaint community is strategically poised for continued growth.

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Los Altos | Los Altos Hills

The side-by-side communities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills are home to some of the Bay Area’s most elite residents. The charming city of Los Altos features a picture-perfect downtown district and a wide range of beautiful homes situated on large lots, creating a rich blend of urban accessibility and suburban leisure. Meanwhile, Los Altos Hills forms an incorporated town that is strictly residential. Instead of businesses, this enclave boasts palatial gated estates nestled amidst rolling hills and majestic oak forests. Many of the mansions include vineyards, equestrian stables, and gorgeous views of San Francisco Bay, evoking a sense of luxurious Mediterranean living.

Because of restricted commercial zoning in both communities, Los Altos hosts more options for shopping, dining, and other day-to-day pastimes. The popular downtown area sports a weekly Farmers’ Market (May—September) and a collection of charming restaurants, high-end boutiques, and corporate offices. The city is split into a handful of large neighborhoods, each of which has quick access to pristine local parks. Housing styles varies from mid-century Ranch-style homes to spacious new builds with Modern Farmhouse flair.

Los Altos Hills compensates for its lack of commercial activity with premier access to several nature preserves and miles of hiking trails that surround its borders. The area’s intense beauty and absence of hustle and bustle make this town an ideal respite for Silicon Valley’s wealthy. However, in spite of its relative seclusion, the northern end of the community adjoins Palo Alto’s southernmost tip, giving residents prime proximity to Stanford University and campuses for Tesla, Nest, VMware, and more.

Both Los Altos and Los Altos Hills enjoy assignment to top-ranking schools; depending on their place of residence, students may be assigned to either Los Altos School District or Palo Alto Unified School District. For even more discerning residents, multiple prestigious private academies are located within easy driving distance.

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Monte Sereno

Flanked by the exclusive communities of Los Gatos and Saratoga, Monte Sereno enjoyed relative obscurity up until its incorporation as a city in the 1950s. This pocket of tranquil suburbia shares the same gently rolling landscape of its neighbors, but since the community has no commercial zoning, it offers a pervasive mix of privacy, serenity, and leafy beauty that can’t be compared to many other South Bay neighborhoods. In fact, John Steinbeck famously retreated to what is now Monte Sereno to author some of his most prominent works. More recently, the area has enticed a growing number of Silicon Valley residents who seek quiet, pastoral surroundings without sacrificing access to quality education or day-to-day amenities.

Despite the city’s absence of commercial activity, its location along Highway 9 makes Monte Sereno form a sort of bridge between the bustling downtown areas of Los Gatos and Saratoga. This allows residents to enjoy excellent proximity to the high-end shopping and dining establishments of both downtown districts, not to mention living within minutes of wineries and performing arts centers. There is no shortage of outdoor recreational opportunities, either; venues like Hakone Gardens, Vasona Reservoir, La Rinconada Country Club, and numerous scenic open spaces are all quickly accessible.

Monte Sereno is also situated near the many corporate offices in Los Gatos and the commuter routes of Highways 17 and 85, providing an easy commute for many residents. Students are at an advantage, too; based on where they reside within the city, students may be assigned to either Campbell, Los Gatos, or Saratoga schools—all of which belong to sought-after school districts. These factors have helped the city recently rank as one of the top suburbs in the state of California for raising a family, according to Niche.com.

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Saratoga

The city of Saratoga is a posh suburb of San Jose, providing a bucolic setting in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains that affords both privacy and immersive natural beauty. Renowned for many decades as a resort for the rich and powerful, this reputation is perpetuated in modern times by the area’s constant allure for Silicon Valley’s elite. Today, Saratoga is regularly recognized as one of the wealthiest communities in all of America.

Saratoga forms a rough square comprised of several major neighborhoods, each presenting its own distinct character. Custom single-family residences on spacious lots are common; these range from understated traditional homes to opulent contemporary estates. Zoning restrictions allow the city to maintain a semi-rural appearance, creating wooded privacy throughout many of the neighborhoods. Although parks aren’t as common in Saratoga as in some neighboring communities, the city’s direct access to golf, wineries, and hundreds of miles of trails enables residents to enjoy plenty of recreational options.

Near the heart of the city lies its one-of-a-kind downtown district: a picturesque, village-like vicinity (often referenced by locals as The Village) heavily infused with European character and charm. Here, tasting rooms, top-rated restaurants, and high-end boutiques are savored by residents and visitors alike. The downtown also serves as the unofficial gateway for Silicon Valley to world-famous hiking destinations like Big Basin and Castle Rock, which teem with wildlife, luxuriant redwood groves, and cinematic vistas.

Not only is Saratoga a premier destination for privacy-seekers and affluent nature-lovers, but it is also an excellent choice for students. In fact, Saratoga Union School District is known as one of the finest in America. Proximity to reputable private schools and West Valley Community College also distinguishes this city as a haven of high-quality education.

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