Introduction to Atherton, California

Atherton, California, in San Mateo county, is 2 miles SE of Redwood City, California (center to center) and 18 miles NW of San Jose, California. The city is situated along a peninsula between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It's regarded as one of the wealthiest cities in the nation and is included in the San Francisco metropolitan area. 

The scenic, rural residential community is filled with attractive oak trees, pines, redwoods and cedars and includes a lot of open space. There are no industries or business establishments located within the city limits. Holbrook-Palmer Park is a picturesque location and hosts numerous events.

Atherton History

In the early days, the entire region was part of the Rancho de las Pulgas. Years later, it was part of Menlo Park. The community was originally known as Fair Oaks but was incorporated as Atherton in 1923. The city was named in tribute to Faxon Dean Atherton, one of the region's initial property owners. With the arrival of the railroad, a large number of San Francisco residents constructed summer homes in Atherton. The community originally consisted of large estates but during the 1940's and 1950's smaller lots consisting of one acre or more were created.

Nearby Attractions

The Filoli Center, Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, Carolands Mansion, the Museum of American Heritage and the Hiller Aviation Museum are located in the area. The Sanchez Adobe, Crocker Mansion, Cantor Center and the Palo Alto Cultural Center of Visual Arts are noteworthy destinations.

Atherton Activities

The region features numerous scenic hiking trails. The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge, San Bruno Mountain, the forest acreage on the Montara Mountain block, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are popular with wildlife enthusiasts. Residents have opportunities for a variety of activities and entertainment in San Francisco and San Jose.

Atherton Higher Education

Stanford University and Menlo College are close by.

Atherton Transportation

Air travel is offered at the San Francisco International Airport.


Total Population 7,081
Male Share of the Population 50.4%
Female Share of the Population 49.6%
Senior Citizens 21.9%
Employed Population 16+ 2,743
Age of the Population 49


% of people married 61.5%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 81%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $250
% Above Poverty Level 96.2%
% Below Poverty Level 3.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 24 minutes
% Working from Home 14.1%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.8%
% Using Public Transportation 4.3%


People Living Alone 13.6%
Median Gross Rent $3,242
Median House Value $2


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 23.6%
US/American 0.7%
English 14.4%
Irish 9.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Atherton Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 2 miles SE of Redwood City, California (center to center)
Nearest Large City 18 miles NW of San Jose, California
County San Mateo
Standard Zip Codes 94027
Phone Area Codes 650
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.461
Longitude -122.196

Atherton Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.5 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 58 F
Apr Temp 45 to 70 F
Jul Temp 55 to 81 F
Oct Temp 49 to 73 F
Annual Precip 20.1 inches
Distance 3.5 miles
Jan Temp 36 to 60 F
Apr Temp 42 to 73 F
Jul Temp 51 to 88 F
Oct Temp 45 to 79 F
Annual Precip 28.7 inches
Distance 3.6 miles
Jan Temp 40 to 58 F
Apr Temp 47 to 69 F
Jul Temp 57 to 79 F
Oct Temp 50 to 73 F
Annual Precip 15.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
East Palo Alto 29,198 $51,685
Menlo Park 33,064 $160,378
Palo Alto 66,478 $175,336
Redwood City 81,342 $103,608
San Carlos 29,454 $162,329
Woodside 5,479 $250

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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Atherton High Schools

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 2,090 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21.5

Atherton Colleges

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