A Guide to Palo Alto
Collected by Allison Murray , AFAR Contributor
Palo Alto is a beautiful little slice of California life. Home to one of the world’s foremost universities, Palo Alto has small town appeal coupled with cosmopolitan culture and cuisine, and a warm climate tempered by proximity to San Francisco Bay.
Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
One of San Francisco’s hidden architectural gems happens to be located right upon the Stanford Campus. Hanna House is a hexagonal shaped building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that paved the way for future architectural design in many modern...
548 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Every town needs a classic, friendly bar, and Scotty’s Bar has that familiar and inviting atmosphere every town’s wateringhole strives to achieve. Their friendly staff pours great cocktails, and they are more than happy to acquaint their customers...
3295 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA
Executive Chef Tommy Charoen was born in Thailand, and brings his international experience to his work at INDO. The menu is based on Southeast Asian cuisine, and the drinks include a number of specialty cocktails, including a refreshing basil...
855 El Camino Real #104, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Douce France is the quintessential French café of Palo Alto. They whip up breakfast, lunch, and baked goods from morning to evening six days of the week, making it a great dining spot any time of day. Their crepes and morning pastries are founded...
325 Sharon Park Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
Often the term 'local artisans' conjures up images of macrame owls and decoupage jewelry boxes—but at Shady Lane you'll find goods with boutique style and designer quality. With a creative population and an increasing maker's movement, the Bay...
546 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Tamarine Restaurant, which has several dining rooms (as well as private dining options) reflects the modern and constantly evolving cuisine of contemporary Vietnam, while the associated art gallery accomplishes the same with pigment and canvas—the...
4001 Sand Hill Rd, Woodside, CA 94062, USA
Stanford University conducts some of the world's most compelling research and education on biotic diversity right here at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (JRBP). This Preserve is a natural laboratory for Stanford students, an education point...
550 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
On a clear day, there is no better way to check out the sights of the entire Peninsula than on top of Hoover Tower. At 283 feet tall, it quite literally towers above every other building in Palo Alto! The observation platform at the very top...
431 Kipling St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Vino Locale wine bar celebrates the best of Northern California, with a wine list that features a number of labels from Sonoma, Napa, Santa Cruz, Mendocino, and more, as well as the work of local artists on the walls. Every two months, Vino Locale...
831 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041, USA
Known for being one of the only vintage clothing stores in the entire Peninsula, Empire Clothing is haven to thrifters and to those seeking to put together festive costumes. The $5 clothing rack of vintage tops and trousers is an open invitation...
221 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Stanford Theatre is the absolute classic movie-going experience. It's reminiscent of an older time, complete with an outside ticket booth, walls plastered with photos of famous movie stars, and a sign illuminated so bright you can locate the...
140 Homer Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
St. Michael's Alley is a truly Californian experience. With a casual, comfortable atmosphere, the menu (influenced by Mediterranean, American, and Latin American cuisines) surpasses the norm, elevating traditional dishes and adding a modern twist—...
Waverley St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Palo Alto’s year-round comfortable weather just begs for fun in the sun. What better way to spend time outdoors than enjoying a rousing game of lawn bowling at Palo Alto’s Lawn Bowling Green. First-time bowlers can learn this relaxing sport...
2775 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA
For fifteen miles the Baylands Preserve stretches out around you and from here it's easy to imagine what the marshy San Francisco Bay looked like before it was developed. Fresh and tidal habitats serve countless species of birds, making it a...
544 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
It's hard not to feel suave at Gravity when tasting a flight of sparkling wine, complemented by the accompanying cheese and charcuterie pairings. The comfortably sophisticated atmosphere makes it the perfect location for a romantic dinner date, or...
536 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Palo Alto remains home to many long-running family businesses, one of the eldest being Bell’s Bookstore in downtown. It is nigh-impossible to comprehend the incredible selection of literature and artistry Bell’s has managed to accumulate without...
328 Lomita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Great for family visits (kids love to run around the Andy Goldsworthy maze) or the art enthusiast, this art museum may just be one of the hidden gems of the entire Bay Area. With free admission, there is no excuse to skip the Cantor Arts Center on...
171 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
With such amazing weather and extensive expanses of trails to explore, it's no wonder that Palo Alto is one of the most picture perfect areas for cycling enthusiasts. If you want to immerse yourself here, chat with one of their knowledgeable staff...
855 El Camino Real #108, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Create It may be just the place for families looking to encourage a creative spark in their children. At this craft store children (and adults!) can create and decorate their own ceramics in a fun setting. Walls are lined with previous projects as...
855 El Camino Real #50, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Satisfy a cupcake craving without going crazy. Kara’s is an unexpected place for guilt-free indulgence, but miniature versions of all their cupcakes let you indulge your sweet-tooth in just one bite. What's more, all ingredients are sourced...
271 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Stop by and treat your palate to University Café's sensational drinks. Homemade lemonades and specialty coffees are great on the go (especially when exploring University Ave.). For those with time to sit and enjoy a meal, they serve crave-able...
167 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
For a dining experience that emphasizes healthy eating from local, sustainable and organic sources, look no further than Lyfe Kitchen. Customers can often see sous-chefs running out from the kitchen to pick fresh herbs from their garden stationed...
22500 Cristo Rey Dr, Cupertino, CA 95014, USA
A trip to Deer Hollow Farm sticks with you—even now my memory of elementary school field trips here are vivid. For over a century the farm has operated as a community-focused experiential education center. True to tradition, they continue to...
448 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA
Founded by three friends who were born in southern Italy, Terrone is an authentically Italian, upscale pizzeria & restaurant—but don't take my word for it, they're certified with the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (yes that's a thing, and it...
490 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA
If you're planning a visit to Palo Alto, be sure you're there for the Sunday Farmer's Market. This local favorite event promotes some of the tastiest treats from local farmers, food truck vendors, clothing stores and more. What separates this...
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Mayfield Bakery and Café is more than just a little 'ma and pa' coffee shop as the name might suggest. Rather, it’s a full-service restaurant with great atmosphere and affordable prices. If you are looking to stop by and enjoy a café experience,...
855 El Camino Real #64, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA
Palo Alto is a haven for boutique shopping. Among the many locally owned niche stores, RUTI sells the latest Israeli styles in women's fashion. Elegant, simple lines and a muted palette may seem dull at first glance, but the shop boasts well-made...
450 Serra St, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Even at a glance, it is quite apparent why Stanford’s Memorial Church is the campus's crown jewel and favorite piece of architecture. With beautiful artwork outside and an equally breathtaking interior, I forgot I was in Palo Alto, and not staring...
Stanford Dish Hiking Trail, California 94305, USA
The Dish in the Stanford Foothills is just the location for the nature enthusiast or fitness fanatic. Located on the corner of Junipero Serra Blvd. and Stanford Ave., this 4-mile paved stretch of landscape is host to some of the most gorgeous...
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