Palo Alto Tourism

This un-official project is curated by Ardan Michael Blum, resident.

Along with this page, I suggest that you read the official introduction to Palo Alto:

Visiting Stanford University for the first time? See: this campus map

Important: Please review the COVID-19 information for Palo Alto and the rules related to access of Stanford campus as some information and suggestions of places to visit may be currently restricted.

The City Of Palo Alto:

The City of Palo Alto is located 35 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara County. Palo Alto is said to be the epicenter of “Silicon Valley“. In 2016 Palo Alto was listed sixth in the top 100 best places to live.

As of the 2010 census, the city’s resident population was 64,403. About 40.000 people come into the town daily for work-related reasons. See detailed demographics.

The city has seven zip codes and 3 train stations. These are: “Palo Alto“, “California Avenue” and halt (on football game days) at the “Stanford” stop.

[Further information: PBS series and list of attractions].

History of Palo Alto:

Palo Alto’s earliest documented record dates from 1769 when Gaspar de Portolá (born c. 1723, Balaguer, Spain — died c. 1784, Mexico or Spain) came across an Ohlone settlement as he moved up the Pacific Coast spreading the Catholic faith by establishing missions.

In 1822, Mexico (including the land that now makes up California) declared independence from Spain. Then American settlers in Sonoma rose against the Mexican authorities who governed the territory and declared the establishment of the independent California Republic.

In 1849, Californians sought statehood and, after heated debate in the U.S. Congress arising out of the slavery issue, California entered the Union as a free, non-slavery state by the Compromise of 1850. California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850.

From across the world people came to Northern California for gold (in 1848/49), and a few made their fortune! [Related BBC radio (podcast) about how gold in California inspired a rush of migrants from Chile to China and across the USA, making fortunes for some while destroying the lives of many, especially Native Americans].

The establishment of Stanford University in 1885 made Palo Alto home to one of the world’s leading places of learning. See: “A History of Stanford“.


The Hewlett-Packard Garage is one of the first landmarks of Silicon Valley. It is located at 367 Addison Avenue.

Backstory: Dr. Frederick Terman, a Stanford professor encouraged his students to start up their own electronics companies in the area. William R. Hewlett and David Packard followed his suggestion! William R. Hewlett and David Packard founded their electronics company in 1930s. [See: Dion Weisler presenting the historical landmark].

Soon others followed: Led by physicist Robert Noyce (nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley“) Fairchild Semiconductor began as a start-up changing the way the world works, plays, and communicates. Noyce’s invention of the microchip ultimately re-shaped the future. There is an animated timeline shows how Silicon Valley became a $2.8 trillion neighborhood.

[Related: El Palo Alto: Rooted in History]

What Does “Palo Alto” Mean?

The name Palo Alto is derived from Spanish for “stick”, or colloquially “tree” which is combined with “alto” for “tall”; giving the meaning: tall tree.

Palo Alto & Stanford “Must See” Sights:

The Stanford Theater is a beautiful building from the 1930s showing Hollywood’s Golden Age films. At the intermission (from under the stage) will rise a Wurlitzer organ and you will hear songs from the silent screen days.

On a sunny afternoon you may want to head out for a walk in “Old Palo Alto”. [Related: How tech billionaires do Halloween].

There is a hidden jewel that should be visited: I refer to the “Stanford Mausoleum“. This place is full of peace and a very beautiful space for meditation, calm and an a rapid escape from the bustle of Silicon Valley.

D) There are several first rate restaurants in town! I would suggest three of these: Evvia Estiatorio (at 420 Emerson Street) and/or the all-American charming and very good Palo Alto Creamery (located at 566 Emerson Street). The best in town is a meal at ZOLA! This is a lovely French restaurant which deserves a Michelin star. (Located at 565 Bryant Street).

City Of Palo Alto Area Map:

Palo Alto, Stanford & Bay Area Tourist Sights:

Town and Country shopping center at 855 El Camino Real is a lovely place to visit:

Next, you might go to the really lovely Stanford Shopping Center.

The Stanford Mall is about a mile away from the Town & Country Village:

The HP Garage

The Hewlett-Packard House and Garage is located at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto. This garage is the birthplace of Silicon Valley. The idea for such a region originated with  Dr. Frederick Terman, a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to start up their own electronics companies in the area instead of joining established firms in the east. The first students to follow his advice were William R. Hewlett and David Packard, who in 1938 began developing their first products.

Stanford’s Palm Drive


The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University is a vital and dynamic institution with a venerable history. Founded in 1891 along with the university, the historic museum was expanded and renamed in 1999 for lead donors Iris and B. Gerald Cantor . The Cantor’s encyclopedic collection spans 5,000 years, includes more than 44,000 artworks and beckons visitors to travel around the world and through time: from Africa to the Americas to Asia, from classical to contemporary.

With 24 galleries presenting selections from the collection and more than 20 special exhibitions each year, the Cantor serves Stanford’s academic community, draws art lovers from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond and attracts campus visitors from around the world.

Free admission, free tours, lectures, family activities plus changing exhibitions make the Cantor one of the most well-attended university art museums in the country and a great resource for teaching and research on campus. The Cantor is also famous for its outdoor sculpture, including the Rodin Sculpture Garden, modern and contemporary art across campus, and the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden.

Hanna–Honeycomb House

The Hanna–Honeycomb House, also known as simply the Hanna House, located on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States, was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first work in the Bay Area and his first work with non-rectangular structures. Wikipedia / More About the Frank Lloyd Wright Designed House


Stanford Memorial Church

Stanford Memorial Church is located on the Main Quad at the center of the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States. It was built during the American Renaissance by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her husband Leland. Wikipedia / More About The Stanford Memorial Church

The Hoover Tower

Hoover Tower is a 285 feet structure on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California. The tower houses the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, an archive collection founded by Herbert Hoover before he became President of the United States. WikipediaMore About the Hower Website

Google in Mountain View, CA

The Googleplex is the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc. It is located at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View. Wikipedia / More about Google and Alphabet

Facebook in Menlo Park

Facebook, Inc., is an American technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with his fellow roommates and students at Harvard College, who were … Wikipedia

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Stanford Dish Hiking Trail

This is one of the best walks in the area. Just avoid hot afternoons as there is little tree cover. See this dedicated Stanford University page about the hiking/walking options.


The Dish, also known as the Stanford Dish, is a radio antenna in the Stanford foothills. The 150-foot-diameter dish was built in 1961 by the Stanford Research Institute. The cost to construct the antenna was $4.5 million, and was funded by the United States Air Force. Wikipedia

Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve

Bounded by Mountain View and East Palo Alto, the 1,940-acre Baylands Preserve is a beautiful marshland. Offers 15 miles of multi-use trails provide access to a unique mixture of tidal & freshwater habitats.

Tip: Good parking and easy access from Terminal Blvd.

See Google Street View of this parking area in Mountain View.

Note: Open hours are generally from 8:00 a.m. to a specific time based on sunset. Closing times are posted at the entrance gates to all preserves.

Arastradero Preserve

Official name: Enid W. Pearson Arastradero Preserve is a wonderful place to un-plug in Silicon Valley! It offers a mixture of rolling savanna grassland and evergreen forest views. Wildlife abounds on the preserve and it is not uncommon to see deer, bobcats, coyotes, and many varieties of birds. Each area of the preserve has something different to offer, whether it is a view of the bay, a quiet walk through the grasslands, or a snooze by the lake.

Address:  1530 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94304 |  Google Plus Code:  9RPG+RF Palo Alto, California

Mountain Lion Habitat – Be Attentive!!

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