Infused with woodland serenity, the quiet town of Woodside at first glance appears to be nothing more than a country hamlet immersed in panoramic beauty. In reality, this naturally private community is one of the wealthiest enclaves in America and home to some of the richest people in the world.
One of the first areas on the Peninsula to be settled by English speakers, Woodside originated in the 1830s as a humble logging community. Lured by the area’s excessive beauty, affluent residents began to trickle into the area after the Gold Rush, setting up country estates tucked within the lush forests. By the 1950s, Woodside had matured into a modernized but intimate residential community; it incorporated in 1956 to avoid urbanization and retain its village-like charm.
Unassuming Yet Prestigious
Because of its diminutive population size and number of households, Woodside doesn’t lead as many lists in Forbes magazine and other ranking devices like Palo Alto or Atherton. Nevertheless, its picturesque location midway between San Jose and San Francisco and its abundant natural privacy have long attracted powerful personalities in business, finance, tech, and entertainment. Scenic landscapes of hills and mountainsides clad with heritage oaks and soaring redwoods conceal massive estates, several of which are owned by global billionaires. In fact, one of the most expensive home sales in California’s history occurred in Woodside in 2012, involving a compound purchased by a Japanese billionaire.
Leisure & Recreation
Woodside’s high caliber is evident in its quaint but exclusive offerings. The historic downtown offers gourmet groceries and Michelin-rated dining, while venues like the elite Menlo Country Club are ideal for high-end gatherings.
However, much of the area’s local culture is focused on hiking, cycling, and horses. Recreational rails abound in several open space preserves in and around the town, and cyclists come to Woodside in droves on the weekends to cruise popular routes. The town is perhaps best known for its equestrian activities; many residents own stables, and the Horse Park at Woodside features 272 acres and eight arenas for equestrian use. Woodside’s breathtaking surroundings permit perpetual outdoor enjoyment, causing many to liken its alpine atmosphere to mountain resorts like Lake Tahoe or Vail.
Prime Educational Opportunities
Woodside’s residents understand the value of a fine education. Elementary school students may attend preschool through eighth grade at the highly acclaimed Woodside Elementary School, while high school students may attend Woodside High School. Many families also choose to enroll their children in one of the many elite private schools in the area.
Abounding with privacy, history, and beauty, Woodside is a fascinating community in its own right. It offers a seemingly secluded yet central location, and forms a homey albeit exclusive retreat for the discerning Bay Area resident.
Notable Residents—Past and Present
Prince Vasili Alexandrovich, Russian royalty
Shirley Temple Black, child star and diplomat
Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari
Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit
James Folger, coffee magnate
Kazuo Hirai, CEO of Sony
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple
David E. Kelley, television producer
Joseph Lonsdale, founder of Palantir Technologies
Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and creator of Moore’s Law
Michelle Pfeiffer, actress
Charles Schwab, founder of Charles Schwab Corporation
Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems
Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Softbank
Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of GoPro
Neil Young, rock musician and songwriter
The public schools are among the best in the nation. Graduates from the local high schools attend the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, with a much larger than average number admitted to neighboring Stanford. Abundant bike paths make it easy for most students to bike to their local schools, giving them a sense of independence that is valued by parents and children alike.