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The Most Expensive Places to Live in Northern California
Real Estate

The Most Expensive Places to Live in Northern California

Looking to make a move to Northern California? It's time you read about the most expensive places to live in Northern California now.


4 min read

September 02, 2021

The term "luxury" once stood for fancy goods; designer handbags, personal trainers, business class flights, and fancy sports cars. Nowadays, however, luxury has morphed into much more—a broader category that above all else values experience as a whole. Take California for example. Luxury living in the Golden State isn’t just defined by the expensive houses its residents own, but also by the trends of the time. Whether it’s a stride towards sustainability, the latest fine dining craze, or a wellness retreat everyone and their mother is raving about, living large is not one size fits all here.

In Northern California particularly, you’re bound to get such a diverse bouquet of expensive places; each offering its own unique twist on the idea of high-end living. So many in fact, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed without a road map. To make your guesswork easier, we’ve combined a list of the most expensive places to live in Northern California—get prepared for all that glitters is actually gold.


Median Home Price: $7,377,100.
Situated just about 45 minutes south of San Francisco, Atherton is one of the richest cities in Northern California (and in the whole U.S, for that matter). When living in Atherton, expect fine dining, celebrity sightings, and massive mansions lining city streets, several of which are owned by the world's wealthiest and most influential, naturally. Just off the top of our heads, we’re thinking NBA superstar Steph Curry, ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum. It doesn’t stop there though. Atherton is also a hub for contemporary Eichler homes, making every stroll a free Architectural Digest masterclass.

Move to Woodside and explore the gorgeous Pulgas Water Temple. Connect with your inner water god(dess) here.


Median Home Price: $4,290,394.
Another Silicon Valley gem, Woodside is a community that puts a lavish spin on quiet living. Given how close it is to several county parks and preserves, Woodside is one of the best places in Northern California to incorporate Mother Nature into your day-to-day. Get to know the area by paying a visit to its downtown, conveniently stacked with boutiques, Michelin-starred eateries, and museums. And if you have a bit of extra time on your hands, head on down to the Djerassi Resident Artists Program Ranch, boasting a rich collection of works by resident artists.

Los Altos 

Median Home Price: $3,843,186.
Squeezed between San Francisco and San Jose, Los Altos is what suburban bliss looks like in the upscale light. Together with Los Altos Hills, this community boasts one of the most expensive zip codes you can find in the whole Bay Area. But if you’re sitting there picturing a bustling urban scene with nightclubs and non-stop noise, let us stop you—Los Altos is actually a great place to retire.

There’s gorgeous architecture everywhere you look, an amazing school system, and new eateries to discover at every corner—but that’s not all. The best part is the backdrop. If you’re a retiree or simply prefer living life in the slower lane, this gorgeous locale is calling your name.

When you move to Ross, make sure to check out the Historic Fort Ross found at Fort Ross State Park.


Median Home Price: $3,729,742.
A Northern California city with the most charming small-town feel, Ross invites you for an unforgettable visit north of the Golden Gate. One of the first things you'll notice here is the abundance of greenery: trees sitting on hills like a wrapper, creeks winding everywhere you look, and yellow landscaped streets that look straight out of The Wizard of Oz.

But, this is not to say that Ross lacks in man-made excellence either. Quite the opposite actually—architectural marvels are scattered all throughout the area, and they make for a super fun road trip slash scavenger hunt. Ross isn’t very densely populated, hosting less than three thousand citizens overall—an introvert’s haven with an enviable zip code. That’s a win-win for sure.


Median Home Price: $1,486,151.
When it comes to this charming Bay Area suburb, here's the main thing you need to know—the name fits like a glove. Ethnically diverse, with an enviable education system, and plenty of jobs available for budding professionals, it’s hard to go wrong with Pleasanton.

Amidst the quiet but luxe living, Pleasanton is only 40 minutes from San Francisco; it’s quick and easy to get into the city for work purposes or if you're ever feeling like a drive to the bustling metropolis. Alternatively, Lake Tahoe is also close for a more rustic kind of getaway—talk about the best of both worlds.

Make your move to Fremont; these gorgeous rolling hills await your exploration.


Median Home Price: $1,387,180.
To prove to yourself (once again) that green is very much in vogue, Fremont is the place you need to swing by, and possibly settle down in forever. At first glance, you'll see a skyline dotted with towering constructions; but before you raise an eyebrow, we'll let you in on a little secret—most of the Fremont buildings are sustainably built.

To live here means really taking care of your environment, even if it comes with redesigning the steps to your daily routine. And, if train stations can do it, so can you. With new biofilters, electric charging stations, and solar power arrays, these stations are really changing the game; and making your environment greener.

Palo Alto

Median Home Price: $1,486,100.
Here's a rule of thumb: if a city's considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley— the hub of most (if not all) major tech conglomerates—then living there is probably going to cost you a pretty penny. There are far more than housing and tech companies in Palo Alto. For one, there's the Museum of American Heritage (open under usual circumstances), a journey back in time to the 1750s through displays of electrical and mechanical technology. There’s also the Cantor Arts Center housing nearly 200 Auguste Rodin works and catering to every art lover’s delight. Byxbee Park is a haven for outdoor recreation, the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve boasts miles upon miles of trails—need we say any more?

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