East Palo Alto has an above average violent crime rate and a below average property crime rate compared to other cities in the United States.
Situated in San Mateo County and adjacent to much more affluent neighborhoods, East Palo Alto is often described as one of Silicon Valley’s safe havens from skyrocketing living expenses. But this predominantly residential area with a population of around 28,000 is affordable for a reason: it's got a "bad neighborhood" reputation that has maligned the town and led to many attemps at gentrification and rebranding since it was dubbed the “Murder Capital of the USA” in 1992. (Also, "affordable" is a relative term in pricey Silicon Valley: East Palo Alto’s housing costs still rank highly compared to the rest of the United States.)
Granted, its reputation comes mostly from people involved in organized crime — specifically gang violence — so as long as you're not in a gang and use common sense you'll likely be okay. Although the crime and homicide rate has dropped significantly in the fast few decades, it is still a high crime area for the Valley. For people moving from other major cities it won't be anything new, but it could feel unsafe for those coming from quiet suburbs.
Nonetheless, money matters and the relative affordability is attracting tech workers and it's a short commute to big employers like Facebook and Google.
There are plenty of supermarkets, a respectiable number of stores, a couple bars, and restaurants for residents. An IKEA is located here, providing all your furniture needs (and plenty of grief putting it together). Additionally, the upscale suburb of Palo Alto is next door so many EPA residents come here for shopping and culture.
In terms of housing, there are plenty of options ranging from single family homes and apartments to public housing that is rent subsidized. As people get priced out of other Valley areas and move here, homes are getting renovated and new housing developments are going up.
Although you will need a car to get around and explore, East Palo Alto does have a Caltrain shuttle service that takes residents to the station in Palo Alto. Cyclists are only a few minutes ride to the Bay Trail which provides miles of cycling around the San Francisco Bay.
Apart from the massive IKEA store that attracts people all around the San Francisco Bay, there’s not a whole lot to do or see in East Palo Alto. It mostly serves as an appendage to Silicon Valley where many Bay Area residents house themselves while working in the rest of the Valley.
East Palo Alto is bordered on the west and north by Menlo Park, on the east by the Bay, and on the south by Palo Alto.
Residents from all over Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area frequent this store for all of their furniture needs. Not only does this multi-level warehouse store showcase all of IKEA’s product offerings, there’s a food court here where you can grab a quick bite. (Mmm, Swedish meatballs….)
Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, this is the kind of place you come to splurge on a special occasion. There's a great patio with fire pits that's perfect for enjoying a cocktail on a cool night.
This tiny, no frills restaurant serves up amazing Mexican food. Customers rave about the friendly service. On a sunny day it's a great spot to come to grab a burrito and sit outside.