Palo Alto Travel Guide

  • Downtown Palo Alto
    Downtown Palo Alto
    by tvdandy
  • Stanford University
    Stanford University
    by tvdandy
  • Stanford University
    Stanford University
    by tvdandy

Palo Alto Things to Do

  • Stanford University

    5 out of 5 stars

    Leland Stanford Junior University, is commonly known as Stanford University or just Stanford. It was founded in 1885 by the former governor of California Leland Stanford in memory of his son who had recently died of typhoid. The university opened in 1891 with 15 professors and 559 students including future president Herbert Hoover. Today Stanford's...

  • Downtown

    Downtown Palo Alto is a lovely tourist destination. There lies my disappointment. I like my college towns to be edgy, progressive and artsy. This town caters to the rich tourist more so than the poor college student. Having said this, it is still a very walkable downtown with everything located on University Avenue. There are very few hipster...

  • Water Tower Park

    What to do with a 100 year old concrete water tower that is a foot thick concrete and might cost the city tens of thousands of dollars to remove? This water tower and nearby well in Palo Alto were built in 1910 to provide drinking water and fire protection to the city. In 1992 and again in 1996 the city asked local residents for suggestions for...

  • Hoover Tower

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Hoover Tower is visible from almost anywhere in the surrounding area. It was built in 1941 to celebrate the university's 50th anniversary. The structure is 285 feet tall. The observation deck at 250 feet has superb views of Stanford and the Bay area (see the next tip). Above the observation deck is a carillon of 48 bells cast in Belgium. The...

  • Varsity Theater

    Borders is located in the historic Varsity Theater in downtown Palo Alto. Everyone knows what a Borders is and what Borders sells, so I won't spend much time there. The cool thing about this store is that when the theater went out of business and needed major renovations, Borders stepped in and restored the beautiful interior to create a very...

  • Stanford Theater

    Stanford University is gorgeous, colorful and easy to get around. The best bet for parking is to go to the main quad area, there you will see a circled parking area for guests. This is metered parking for two hours. This is plenty of time to stroll the campus. Since the main buildings is around this parking area, you can continue to feed the meter...


Palo Alto Hotels

See all 25 Hotels in Palo Alto
  • Garden Court Hotel

    520 Cowper Street, Palo Alto, California, 94301, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

  • Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at...

    2050 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, California, 94303, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

  • Dinah's Garden Hotel Palo Alto

    4261 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California, 94306, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

Palo Alto Restaurants

  • Get Your Caribbean Food

    The Mango Cafe has Jamaican and Trinidadian food. My wife and cousin are half Trinidadian so we like this kind of food. Their jerk and curried "joints" (chicken wings) are pretty spicy, so be forewarned. Their chicken pelau was just okay, but maybe I am spoiled by the homemade pelau I get. My cousin liked the hot spicy goat but it was too spicy for...

  • Good Chinese

    P.F. Chang's is a good choice for a restaurant when you are tired or lazy to think about the portions, and just want something tasty. The selection itself is huge, as usual in Chinese restaurants, and everything is tasty, as again usual in Chinese restaurants. Nothing is spectacular, though.The restaurant itself is large, and as most chain...

  • Hearty American-Italian

    Despite Babbo's not so welcoming entrance in Stanford shopping center, the restaurant is worth a visit to have a lunch while shopping. I would not go there as a sole destination, but it works more than well in a casual lunch or dinner joint.The food is Italian with some American influence. Surprisingly enough, the portions are not huge, but sized...


Palo Alto Nightlife

  • The Rose & Crown English Food & Ale...

    Something just felt off about this place from the moment we walked in the door until we left a beer or two later. I'm not usually picky with bars, and I love a good dive bar, but this was odd. We arrived around 9 or 10 pm on a Friday night and the outside was busy, the bar pretty full, and the tables mostly empty. I wandered up to a vacant corner...

  • Empire Tap Room

    We stopped by the Empire Tap Room to catch the end of a postseason baseball game and grab a few beers. At first I almost didn't enter this brightly lit, somewhat fancy establishment, but we needed a place to park our butts for an hour, and Gordon Biersch across the street is sometimes just too... Starbucksy corporate.The establishment has a big...

  • English style pub

    For us expats who start to get withdrawl symptoms for English beer you can always pop into the Rose and Crown. Actually I drank the draft Strongbow Cider which was pretty good. I'd previously tried the english beer in here and it wasn't as I'd remembered from home. Don't know what it's like now but a few years ago it used to get pretty crowded with...


Palo Alto Transportation

  • Car Service to Palo Alto

    Consider using a car service. We used 101 Limo service, and they picked us from the airport and dropped us in Palo Alto. The fare was reasonable, the driver was reliable and courteous and knew the area well. Reservations are recommended.

  • San Jose Airport

    When you are coming into Palo Alto, you have several choices of where to land. Each one of the airports are unique, Oakland (OAK), San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC) are all options when coming to Palo Alto based on where you are coming from. I always prefer a direct flight, which brings me into SJC often.I might also consider copying this tip...


    I drove to Palo Alto but you can also take the Caltrain (public transportation). These directions take you to the downtown/Stanford Univ area. If you drive, take the Highway 101 to University Ave. Stay on this street when you exit & just keep driving (about 1 mile) until you reach boutiques lining the street on both sides. When you see all of this,...


Palo Alto Shopping

  • Luxury Apparel and Accessories

    In 1989, TSE the cashmere label, was founded by Augustine Tse, supporting an idea that this luxury yarn, up to that point, had been greatly under-utilized. This beautiful raw material had been used very one-dimensionally, was very classic and expensive, and was perceived to be reserved only for the elite. The objective of the company was to...

  • Upscale open air shopping center

    Stanford Shopping Center is a collection of upscale boutiques and department stores. The center hosts four giants: Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus. As these name implies, shopping trips here can drain your wallet very effectively.These department stores are surrounded with a selection of specialty stores that cater the most...

  • Designed PCs and other electronics

    Sony Style is the flagship store for Sony products. Stanford Shopping Center has a smallish Sony Style store near Neiman Marcus department store. The store sells the whole range of Sony gadgets, including (but not limited to) laptops, walkmans, TVs, DVD players, headphones and monitors.The items are of high quality, as usual with Sony. This is also...


Palo Alto Local Customs

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Your Morning Paper

    by ATXtraveler Written Jan 15, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Due to being a business traveler, I am fairly used to eating my meals by myself while I am on the road. One of the things I always enjoy doing is to grab a paper and read a little in it prior to breakfast arriving.

    What I found interesting in Palo Alto was that a large number of people were doing the same thing. I thought this was odd, because they looked local.

    This made me think... did they have no one to go to breakfast with?

    The Palo Alto Daily News was the paper I picked up in town. It had alot of good editorial articles, which I expected being so close to Stanford!

    Palo Alto Daily News
    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Study Abroad
    • Work Abroad

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Palo Alto Warnings and Dangers

  • Look Both Ways!

    California Law states that pedestrians always have the right of way, however many times in the "cell phone" era, you will see drivers on the phone talking rather than focusing on their already bad driving.The best advice of course is to pay attention, and do not start walking until you are sure that the person saw you.

  • Downtown Palo Alto Parking Tickets

    Street parking in most areas of downtown Palo Alto is limited to 2 hours or 3 hours depending on the location, and there is not a single lot downtown where you can pay to park for a full day. (Well, there is one, the Caltrain lot, but it is supposed to be for people riding the train only.)Parking tickets are $25 each (ouch) and if the meter person...

  • Others have mentioned the...

    Others have mentioned the dangers of East Palo Alto... It's not nearly as bad as it used to be, and is even starting to build up a retail base. Don't walk East Palo Alto alone or late at night and use common sense like you would anywhere else.


Palo Alto What to Pack

  • Zartenejal's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by Zartenejal Updated Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Palo Alto is very temperate and generally has good weather. Bring a warm sweater for nights and trips to foggy San Francisco. You'll see rain here Nov-Feb most years, and sun during the other months!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The closest beaches to Palo Alto are about 30 min away in Half Moon Bay. The water is COLD but lots of people enjoy surfing in wet suits and kids often brave the waters in swim suits on a hot summer day.

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Palo Alto Off The Beaten Path

  • The birthplace of Silicon Valley: HP...

    This place is where it all began. It's the garage where Hewlett and Packard first started their company very young, and that's how a culture of tech entrepreneurship really began. It's on a regular house on a nondescript street. You won't be able to go past the gate but you can take pics at the street and on the driveway. It's pretty cool if you're...

  • Secret delicious Thai Cafe

    It's hardly advertised, there's no sign at all, and it's only open for about an hour or two a day at lunch time, but it's amazingly delicious speedy Thai food for the price (on Stanford's campus). Randomly located in the basement of a building on the quad, behind a lecture hall, you'll be able to tell you've found it by the gigantic line of...

  • Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic...

    This trail commemorates the route followed by a Spanish commander, Juan Bautista de Anza, in 1775-76 when he led a contingent of 30 soldiers and their families to found a presidio and mission near the San Francisco Bay. To this day several people still hike this trail.Here is a link to the map:


Palo Alto Sports & Outdoors

  • elji's Profile Photo

    Hiking, kayaking, horse riding, and more

    by elji Written Dec 3, 2004

    If you are visiting Palo Alto, San Francisco, Oakland, or anywhere else in this general area, and you are interested in active outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, horseriding, etc., the Outdoor Adventure Club offers many activities year round. I am not a member, but I have been on several enjoyable kayaking trips with the club. Costs for activities are usually from $40 to $150 for a day trip and more for an overnight trip.

    Equipment: Depending on the activity, you may need a rain jacket, swimsuit, appropriate shoes, etc. You may also need to have transportation to a meeting point although there are some opportunities at times to ride with someone else who is going to the event. Usually the major equipment (such as a kayak and life jacket) is provided and often lunch is provided as well.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Kayaking
    • Horse Riding

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Palo Alto Favorites

  • In the 1930's there were two...

    In the 1930's there were two dirigibles here, USS Macon (as I mentioned) and USS Akron. These dirigibles are filled with helium. In 1933 just prior to the official opening of the hangar USS Akron crashed killing 73 people including Rear Admiral Muffett. In 1935 USS Akron crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur. Nasa-Ames Visitors Centre is...

  • There is a visitors centre,...

    There is a visitors centre, with quite a few exhibits and information on NASA and their research. There is also a tour available which takes about 2 hours of the actual research centre, but this has to be booked in advance and therefore we did not go on this. This photo again of my husband and son is with Nasa research aircraft.

  • The land for the Moffett Field...

    The land for the Moffett Field was commissioned by the United States Government in 1933, and was originally to serve as a base for the navy dirigible the U.S.S. Macon. The Nasa-Ames Research Centre researches hyper-velocity flight, and it has a gigantic wind tunnel which is used for research. This is a photo of my husband and son in front of a...


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