The City of Menlo Park was incorporated in 1874 as the community grew around the Menlo Park train station that made the area a popular residence for San Francisco businessmen. Almost a century and a half later, Menlo Park remains a sought-after address for commuters to San Francisco, as well as those who work in Silicon Valley and desire a top-rated school district. Menlo Park’s charming downtown on Santa Cruz Avenue is the heart of the city, complemented by nearby shopping and entertainment available in Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Stanford Shopping Center. The Burgess Park recreation area and adjacent civic center complex is a thriving hub of community activities and resources. A strong public school system and the presence of several private schools make a Menlo Park address a favorite of school-aged families. All of its schools and community facilities have undergone upgrades within the past five years. A new state-of-the-art, multi-discipline performing arts center opened at the high school in 2009. Homes are varied and include turn-of-the-century bungalows and mid-century ranchers, along with modern estate-sized homes that have recently been built to replace older houses. The approximately 32,000 residents that call Menlo Park home enjoy the excellent blend of suburban accommodations, privacy, and peace, with the urban conveniences of a well-connected, vibrant city.