Saratoga: A Secluded, Classy Corner of Silicon Valley

Saratoga is a highly desirable place in which to live, a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley. Nestled into the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, it is just a few miles to the north of Los Gatos. You can’t miss the scenic beauty!

What is Saratoga known for?

Today, this foothill community is best known as an upscale Silicon Valley suburban city with a quaint downtown, excellent restaurants, top notch public schools, low crime, beautiful hillsides, wonderful shops, and some first class entertainment venues – plus, of course, stunning estate properties.

Exceptional entertainment is abundanthere. Take in concerts at The Mountain Winery (formerly called Paul Masson Mountain Winery) and at Villa Montalvo, two lovely outdoor venues for music, or go wine tasting or horseback riding at Cooper-Garrod off Pierce Road. The younger Saratoga Library is a wonderful place to spend a rainy winter day too.

Saratoga’s history, in brief

Toll Gate in Saratoga 1850This city began as a logging town with two communities – one where The Village is today, and one further into the hills where the loggers lived and worked.

The community had several names:  Toll Gate, McCartysville, and Bank Mills before it became Saratoga. The last iteration was due to the hot springs up the hill from the village.

When logging died down, farming emerged as a major factor in the local economy. Vineyards and wineries were big business in the Santa Clara Valley prior to Prohibition. Some remained after, but not so many.

Fruit and nut orchards were also hugely important locally. In fact, the largest prune orchard in the world was once Hume Ranch, which had 680 acres of prune trees! Today, this area is referred to as the Platinum Triangle.

After World War II, things changed throughout the county. Shifts were seen with Food Machinery Corp becoming FMC, pushing out farming equipment in favor of tanks over time. And the changes were just beginning.

Public schools

The highly regarded schools are a big draw for newcomers to this west valley community.

What’s not so well known is that there are a few school districts which serve the 95070 area:

Like most of the cities and towns nearby, the school district lines do not follow the city boundaries (the school boundaries were set first, when most of the area was unincorporated), so there are several districts within the city of Saratoga, and this can be confusing when people relocate here!

Saratoga neighborhoods

The population of the valley grew, land became more expensive from one set of hills to the other, and open space became housing, particularly from the 60s on. Builders developed small and large tracts that had previously been orchards into suburban neighborhoods.

 

Saratoga neighborhoods map by Mary Pope-Handy and Clair Handy, Realtors

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Saratoga California neighborhood map

Saratoga neighborhoods map 2023Today we’ll share with you the Saratoga California neighborhood map! Saratoga is home to some stunning neighborhoods and subdivisions and is one of the most sought after areas in Silicon Valley.

Within this pretty city, have you ever wondered what neighborhood is where?  Perhaps you’ve heard of Saratoga Oaks, The Golden Triangle, Parker Ranch, Prides Crossing or The Platinum Triangle and had no idea where they were.   While there is some disagreement on select boundaries, the general areas can be identified fairly easily.  The tricky thing is that some of the boundaries are “messy” and at times,  that there’s more than a little overlap!

I have created and been updating Google map where I hand drew in most of the residential areas’ approximate borders in Saratoga.  I hope that you find it helpful! Click on the map image to the right or use this link to see the live map on Google (you will be able to click on an area and see the neighborhood name, and in some cases, a little local information on it too).

Saratoga neighborhoods and subdivisions mapped and described include The Golden Triangle, Blue Hills, Prides Crossing, Fruitvale, Platinum Triangle, Bellgrove, The Vineyards, Saratoga Oaks, Austin Corners, Montewood, Parker Ranch, Les Chateaux de Notre Dame, Squirrel Hollow,  Saratoga Village, Brookview, and several more.

Interested in the Saratoga real estate market statistics?  See the most current data here:

https://sanjoserealestatelosgatoshomes.com/saratoga-ca-real-estate-market-update/

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What does it cost to buy a home in Saratoga? Are there any affordable homes for sale?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, CaliforniaSaratoga is a scenic, historic city with great schools, parks, beautiful neighborhoods and a very attractive downtown, “the Village“. This upscale community values its rural nature, and at the same time is home to some of the most expensive estates in Silicon Valley.  A typical house in average condition may cost anywhere between $1,500,000 to about $1,900,000 in today’s market.  Condos will usually be well under a million dollars, though sometimes over.

But does the fact that the normal price is so high, or that there are luxury homes, view homes & estates in Saratoga make it out of reach for everyone?

Not entirely.

Although best known for its tony neighborhoods, there are opportunities to purchase in this highly sought after and well regarded city without spending a million dollars or more.  Nothing in Silicon Valley is inexpensive, of course, and Saratoga is no exception, so the cost of housing here must be viewed in relation to the region as a whole.  It is certainly possible to buy a home in Saratoga for under $1,000,000. Today we’ll look at the strategies for getting in at the smallest price possible.

More and less expensive: school districts and location in Saratoga

Saratoga, like much of Santa Clara County’s cities and towns, has a fewl school districts.  Several things drive home values, but a key driver is the school district.  Areas where the local public schools have high API scores (all level of schools over 900 API) will command a premium – namely the area with the Saratoga or Cupertino schools.  Looking for a more affordable part of this lovely city? Consider the section which is served by Campbell schools or the Campbell Union High School District (the northeastern part of town).

Even within the Saratoga or Cupertino school areas, there are tiers of pricing.  Homes will be very highly valued if they are in close proximity of Saratoga Village (what some would call “walk to town”).  Also well regarded are neighborhoods which are very close to schools, shops, parks, or anything attractive.  The areas west of Highway 9 or Saratoga – Sunnyvale often sell for a bit more than those further from the hills too.

Something else to consider, especially in a market as tough as the current one, is choosing a home with a “location issue” such as being next to (or backing to) a busy road, too close to a shopping center or freeway, etc.  There are often very good discounts to be enjoyed when buying a house adjacent to something not ideal.  If you are not someone who spends a lot of time outside, this may be a great compromise for the budget minded home buyer, since often with double pane windows, it’s nearly impossible to tell indoors when the windows are closed.

Property type, size and condition in Saratoga

Condominiums and townhouses are often a great alternative for Silicon Valley home buyers who’d like to own, rather than rent, and enjoy the benefits of living in a wonderful community like Saratoga without either the maintenance or the cost of purchasing a house with a yard to look after.

Sometimes there are very tiny houses, or cottages, too.  In 1996 I sold a 1-bedroom house that was all of about 800 square feet on 4th Street in Saratoga. Not surprisingly, it was later torn down and a brand new house was built in its place. (more…)

Saratoga Village: Downtown Saratoga, CA

Saratoga Village is a charming part of scenic Saratoga, California. Below please see some images that I  hope will inspire you to visit!

Saratoga Village slideshow

If you are thinking of relocating to Silicon Valley, perhaps you are looking for a great part of Santa Clara County with exceptional schools, community involvement, a fabulous library, beautiful parks, unique shopping and dining.  Saratoga offers all of that and much more.  Today I took a few minutes to photograph the downtown area, which is known as “Saratoga Village” or just “the village” to locals.

This is just a small introduction to one part of town.  I hope you will enjoy it. Find more Saratoga articles (including regular market updates) here on my blog!

 

 

 

Wildwood Park in downtown Saratoga, CA

Wildwood Park is downtown Saratoga’s quiet getaway spot. Situated on Fourth Street, just off Big Basin Way in Saratoga Village, it’s a stone’s throw to great dining and shops, but borders a pleasant residential neighborhood too. For people fortunate enough to buy or rent a home in the downtown area, the park is a wonderful plus.

What makes Wildwood Park in Saratoga so special? In addition to a nice play structure and an open, grassy area (which you might expect in any city or town park), Wildwood offers a sandy volleyball court, restrooms (many smaller parks don’t) and perhaps best of all, Saratoga Creek. Tall Eucalyptus and Sycamore trees grace this downtown retreat too, so there’s no shortage of shade on warm days.

As a teenager, I attended Saratoga High School (class of 1977) and visited the park with friends or to work on my photographic skills. This is a great location for shooting pictures. What could be cuter than a child or pet by the creek? [Sometimes my girlfriends and I used to watch old movies in the quonset hut theater, The Vitaphone (it was at Big Basin Way and Third) that was then a part of downtown Saratoga’s charm. I wish I had thought to take pictures of that theater when I was downtown – it’s long since gone. Happy downtown Saratoga memories.]

Recently I stopped in to try videotaping the park since I was in the neighborhood on the real estate broker’s tour and literally was on 4th Street already. About 2 weeks ago I got a Flip Video so am learning (critics be gentle!) and hope that these couple of clips give you a sense of the tranquility and beauty of the park if you have not had the pleasure to visit it in person yourself. If you live elsewhere in Silicon Valley, perhaps next time you dine in Saratoga, you can make a side trip to see the quaint little park nearby. It’s a worthwhile visit, especially if you have a camera in hand!