Located in the southeast San Francisco Peninsula, Palo Alto is the perfect destination for urban exploration. The city is home to globally renowned technology companies, the prestigious Stanford University, world-class cuisine from around the world, luxury à la mode boutiques and sprawling green spaces to explore. Here are 10 more reasons to visit Palo Alto.
Around 40 years ago, Silicon Valley was covered in boundless orchards of plums, pears and apricots. Now, thanks to the internationally renowned Stanford University and early tech pioneers, the area has acquired a reputation for innovative thinking. This reputation has led to the world’s largest tech companies and venture capital firms choosing to call Silicon Valley home. Tucked away on a peaceful, tree-lined residential street, is the Hewlett Packard Garage, not only the birthplace of Silicon Valley but also an enduring symbol of the area’s entrepreneurial spirit. College friends Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, motivated by an unwavering desire to develop groundbreaking products, first pursued their dream in this humble 12-by-18-foot building, blazing the trail at the forefront of the electronics revolution.
The Museum and Gallery Scene
Top headliners include Cantor Arts Center, which currently features nearly 100 bronze sculptures by August Rodin, making it the largest collection of his work outside of Paris. Next, the Pace Gallery is an intimate experience with rotating exhibits featuring works by contemporary artists like James Turrell, Richard Avedon and Chuck Close. In the nearby city of Mountain View, only a 10-minute drive from Palo Alto, take a captivating journey through The Information Age at the Computer History Museum, to have unprecedented access to the largest international collection of computing artefacts and archives in the world.
Audio and Visual Delight
With a mission to bring back the magic cinematic aura of the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Stanford Theater, which first opened 1925, was marvelously restored in 1987, complete with the original Greek-Assyrian paintings, handmade stair tiles, and seven stunning chandeliers. The theater’s unique neoclassical Persian and Moorish architecture creates a lavish ambiance and features an ongoing schedule of classic films projected in 35mm prints, taking the audience back into the traditional film experience. Bing Concert Hall is also an impressive venue that showcases an array of performance styles. The concert hall, called “the envy of any big city” by The New York Times, is a seamless integration of architecture, acoustics and technology.
A pilgrimage site for football fans, the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium is filled with 20,000 square feet of memorabilia and thrilling interactive installations. Guest can walk among 27 life-sized statues of 49er Hall-of-Famers in their iconic poses, snap a photo next to Coach Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, or join the huddle with the “Million Dollar Backfield.”
Local Food, Local Wine
Silicon Valley is quickly becoming a gastronomical destination in its own right. Attracted by the small town feel and innovative spirit, young and ambitious chefs are flocking to the area. Evvia Estiatorio, one of Palo Alto’s most buzzed about restaurants, serves modernized Greek cuisine respecting traditional Hellenic flavors. Quattro serves innovative Italian dishes with a California twist while featuring one of Palo Alto’s most extensive wine lists. Oenophiles will appreciate the selection of highly rated wines, offered by the glass thanks to restaurant’s Enomatic wine preservation system.
There’s plenty to explore along the vast and diverse landscapes of the Northern California coast – from miles of wide sandy beaches, to lush blufftop meadows and rolling forested hills. In the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay, gaze upon the towering coastal redwoods and family-run farms, and – if the timing is right – spot one of the area’s most famous visitors, the majestic grey whale. Enjoy small-batch craft breweries and quiet country roads year-round, but in October, the area buzzes with excitement during the annual Halfmoon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival in celebration of the bountiful fall harvest.
Artisan Wine Country
Stray from the well-trodden path of Napa and Sonoma and discover one of the most distinctive wine regions in the world, the Santa Cruz Mountains. Dotted with quaint small-production family-run vineyards, the region produces some of the New World’s finest terroir-driven wines and was one of California’s first AVAs. A visit to Byington Vineyard & Winery is reminiscent of the Old World with tastings and tours in their French country style villa surrounded by towering redwood forests and breathtaking views of Monterey Bay. The award-winning vineyard is located within a 45-minute drive of the hotel, yet it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.
The Bay Area is surrounded by some of the most accessible and breathtaking outdoor spaces that are just waiting to be explored. Beginner trail-seekers can hike the 3.7-mile trail that loops around “The Dish” in the Stanford foothills, an unofficial landmark in Silicon Valley. Hike, bike or explore on horseback at the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, a local favorite with just over 10 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. The preserve is also home Arastradero Lake, open year round for fishing.