The dynamic and diverse city of Palo Alto is stuck in the crosshairs of numerous intersecting borders. Although part of the San Francisco Bay Metropolitan community, it is actually closer to San Jose. Even though its influences stretch well into the Bay Area, it is also grounded in the heart of Silicon Valley. And Stanford University, which sits partially in the city limits, adds yet another layer to the multi-chaptered book of Palo Alto.
The result of this unique layered make-up is that Palo Alto has developed into a Bay area sampler of sorts. In Palo Alto, one can get a taste for the big city and the small town all in the same bite. From multimillion dollar mansions to classic early 20th century middle class homes; from the arts and culture of a college town to the rural recreation offered by the outdoors- Palo Alto has it all. In order to truly discover the mystery of Palo Alto, one has to start peeling away its layers.
Points of Interest
Although such classic alternative dives and tech-savvy favorites as the New Varsity and His-Nan are now a thing of the past, in their place has come a diverse spectrum of dinning options. Indochine’s chefs favor bold flavors and fresh ingredients in creating their traditional Thai and Vietnamese masterpieces. For a fusion of flavors, try Mantra’s unique combination of California and Indian. Buca di Beppo is the place for Italian while the California Pizza Kitchen is known the world over for their specialty creations. Palo Alto also has a vibrant café culture with such java joints as Café Fino, Café Pro Bono and California Café leading the way.
There’s no shortage of shopping in Palo Alto. Its trademark specialty stores line the city’s many tree-shaded boulevards and make for a perfect shopping stroll. Bloom Butik’s fashions, home décor, books and stationery are as unique as its name. For top-level jewelry, there’s the sparkle of Diamonds of Palo Alto. Piazza’s Fine Foods specializes in gourmet specialty foods and produce while Shady Lane has your unique gifts covered. Stanford Shopping Center hosts such name brands as Tiffany & Co., Tommy Bahama, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Crate and Barrel, Kenneth Cole and many, many more.
Palo Alto’s entertainment focus is on the arts. From music to theater, film and painting, Palo Alto combines the amateur works of the college scene with the professional visions of the Bay Area. The Cantor Arts Center is a museum featuring everything from photography to antiquities and even a Rodin sculpture garden. There is also a cluster of galleries worth browsing, most being located in the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. An event you won’t want to miss is the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, an annual celebration of art and wine. For the performing arts, West Bay Opera Company, TheatreWorks and Dragon Productions each offer a diverse playbill of dance, theater and drama.
Did You Know?
- Palo Alto is home to several leading technology firms including Hewlett-Packard.
- The total population of the city is roughly 60,000.
- The city gets its name from the El Palo Alto tree, a large species found along Menlo Park’s creek banks.
- In the early years of Stanford University, many of its professors lived in a Palo Alto neighborhood called Professorville, now a national historic district.
- Palo Alto is the hometown of many notable Americans including the Grateful Dead, Steve Jobs and Condoleezza Rice.
Visiting Palo Alto
Palo Alto’s attractions are not only for the art enthusiast. Due to its location in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto also offers numerous outdoor recreation opportunities.
Palo Alto Recreation
Golfers will enjoy the tranquility and challenge of Palo Alto Hills and Country Club. The Winter Lodge offers a wide range of activities including ice-skating during the winter and tennis in the summer. During warm weather, enjoy an evening of music under the stars with the Twilight and Brown Bag Concert Series. For hiking and camping, the Baylands Nature Preserve provides 1,940 acres of green space that includes one of the nation’s largest undisturbed wetlands. For those with kids, every second Saturday of the month the Children’s Theater hosts the always-entertaining Second Saturday Participation Plays.
Getting There and Around
Although the city is served by the Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County, most visitors arrive via either the San Francisco or Oakland International Airports.
Because of its location at the crossroads of several major metro areas, the highways and interstates that crisscross Palo Alto are notorious for congestion and delays. To ensure you get to where you need to go - when you need to get there - your best option is to rent a limousine, classic car, sedan, van, shuttle, coach or tour bus from Nationwide Limousine Service. This gives you the flexibility to take control of your Palo Alto and Bay Area transportation needs - allowing you to discover the many layers of Palo Alto on your own time and your terms. Call NLS today at 800-339-8936.