Menlo Park Downtown- THE Place To Be

Danielle Balestra

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Forget about Palo Alto’s extensive 12-block downtown. You don’t need that. Stay local and visit Menlo Park’s quaint, yet totally not depressing downtown on Santa Cruz Avenue!

Despite being half the size of Palo Alto, Menlo Park makes up for what it lacks in size with its ability to satisfy their customers’ most obscure yet pressing needs. Are you out of thread and your monthly care-package from Grandma is lost in the mail? Never fear, Menlo Park devotes an entire store to accommodating local demand for thread. In case you are carpeting your medieval dining hall and are having a tough time finding a large enough rug, do not worry. There is not one, but rather, four different carpeting retailers just to make sure that you’re able to invest your life savings on that perfect rug. From imported spices, to candy, to stationery, Menlo Park provides ways for you to spend absurd amounts of money on “the essentials.”

Each morning you can experience the ultimate showdown between rival coffee shops, Peet’s and Starbucks. As such, downtown accommodates both the hipster and the mainstream coffee-goers, so either way, they’ve got you covered.

Central to three high schools and a college, Menlo Park prides itself in having an incredible nightlife worthy of its youthful demographic. Swing into the “Santa Cruz Ave Scene” at around 9:30 or 10 and you’ll find yourself hobnobbing amongst the finest tumbleweeds and crickets in the Bay Area. In an attempt to feed all these night ragers, downtown is home to around five or six bakery-esque eateries where weight watching teens can easily gorge themselves with all kinds of carbs for under $40.

However, Friday afternoons, by far, remain the ideal time of day to visit the downtown area. Why bother spending time and money at any of the multiple bagel stores when you can just as easily flock like sheep with the local middle schoolers to Fremont Park. As these youngsters naturally separate along gender lines, one can be assured of minimal “cooty” exposure.

Samantha Henze, a local high school senior, exclaims, “I have been going to DT MP every Friday since sixth grade. Can’t stop, won’t stop.” Henze also said that, despite a number of college scholarship offers across the country, she plans to attend Menlo College, saying that “there’s no way I could survive four years without the Sugar Shack.”

Menlo Park has everything anyone could want. Sports teams? No. Affordable food? Also no. But who really wants those things? Downtown Menlo Park has the things you don’t think you need, or even want, but trust me: you do. You’re going to go ahead and spend your allowance on a $7 grilled cheese at Le Boulanger because that’s what Downtown has to offer. So grab your friends, your wallets, and your friends’ wallets (you’ll need their money too) and head down Santa Cruz Avenue for a world of excitement.

Well there you have it M-A, your own little 'Home Sweet Home.'

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3 Responses to “Menlo Park Downtown- THE Place To Be”

  1. msimes on October 2nd, 2013 7:04 pm

    The best thing about M-A is definitely its proximity to DT MP.
    In middle school, I used to have to beg my parents for a ride to satisfy my Sugar Shack fix. Now I can easily walk and spend $25 on half a pound of pure sugar!

  2. alai on October 10th, 2013 7:09 pm

    I’m so bummed I’ll be leaving this behind for college. Where else am I going to get my oriental rug fix?

  3. shoover on October 12th, 2013 12:51 am

    The music scene in Menlo Park is also hoppin’. So many concerts to see….

Menlo Park Downtown- THE Place To Be