17 Fun & Best Things to Do in Palo Alto, California

If you’re in search of a enjoyable time out in Palo Alto, California, you’ll discover no scarcity of actions to take pleasure in. From exploring the Stanford University campus to strolling via Gamble Garden, there’s one thing for everybody within the Palo Alto space.

Gorgeous, sunny Palo Alto is located within the higher western nook of Santa Clara County within the San Francisco Bay Area and is near the customarily underrated California metropolis of San Jose. It is a principal metropolis of tech paradise, Silicon Valley, and residential to the world-renowned Stanford University.

Indeed, a lot of Palo Alto’s historical past is intricately related to Stanford University and its founders, Leland and Jane Stanford. Established in 1884, Palo Alto got here into being primarily due to the creation of this prestigious establishment. After dropping their solely son to typhoid, Leland and Jane determined to construct a college in his reminiscence.

Palo Alto, first often called University Park, sprung up across the college, turning into its personal neighborhood of scholars and businesspeople, spilling over from the neighboring city of Mayfield. Today, the town continues to thrive, dwelling to a number of the most educated individuals within the US, in addition to a slew of tech corporations.

Here are the perfect issues to do in Palo Alto, California.

Dinahs Garden Hotel

1. Dinah’s Garden Hotel
Top Recommendation

Looking for a spot to remain close to Palo Alto that is each serene and handy? Look no additional than Dinah’s Garden Hotel! The lovely property is surrounded by lagoons and waterfalls, and only a brief drive from downtown. Plus, all the rooms come geared up with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs— good for kicking again after a protracted day of exploring. When you are able to enterprise out, you may take a dip in our out of doors pool or stroll via the close by gardens.

Hilton Garden Inn Palo Alto
2. Hilton Garden Inn Palo Alto

The Hilton Garden Inn Palo Alto is the proper place to remain for enterprise or pleasure. The rooms are adorned with fashionable facilities and stylish décor, and have free WiFi, a flat-screen cable TV, and a seating space. The en suite lavatory come stocked with contemporary linens and towels. The lodge additionally has an indoor pool, good for a refreshing swim.

The Palo Alto Inn
3. The Palo Alto Inn

The Palo Alto Inn is a good alternative for vacationers who’re in search of a handy and reasonably priced place to remain. Located only a mile off the Central Expressway, the lodge is only a minute’s drive from the San Antonio Shopping Center. The lodge options free Wi-Fi entry, a microwave, fridge and coffee maker in each room, satellite tv for pc TV and a DVD participant, and is furnished with a piece desk. The entrance desk is staffed 24 hours a day, and there may be additionally a enterprise middle that provides fax and replica companies.


  • Most important landmark – Stanford University
  • Best park – Mitchell Park
  • Best free exercise – Cantor Arts Center
  • Best exercise for teenagers – Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo
  • Best exercise for adults – Stanford Theatre
  • Best meals – Howie’s Artisan Pizza
  • Best nightlife – The Patio @ Rudy’s
  • Best all-around lodging – Dinah’s Garden Hotel

Fun & Best Things to Do in Palo Alto, California

1. Visit the Hewlett-Packard Garage

Address: 367 Addison Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

The Hewlett-Packard Garage is one in every of our favourite Palo Alto sights and a must-see for vacationers, particularly for those who’re taken with tech historical past. Considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley, this discreet little hideaway is now a California Historical Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.

Once the house of Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett, it was on this one-car storage that they invented their first audio oscillator and established themselves as would-be giants within the IT trade.

As the bronze plaque by the door declares, it’s laborious to think about how completely different the Valley may need seemed if these Stanford grads hadn’t been satisfied by their academics to remain in California.

While the Hewlett-Packard Garage isn’t open to the general public, it’s rife with photograph alternatives from the road or sidewalk.

See Related: Fun Things to Do in Palm Springs, California

2. Check Out the Cantor Arts Center

Address: 328 Lomita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305

Art buffs can go to the world-renowned Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford University Campus to view a few of their 38,000-piece-strong visible arts assortment.

And the perfect half? It’s free. A brief stroll from the Stanford Visitor Center, the Cantor Arts Center, additionally established by the Leland household, started with its personal assortment. But after the disastrous San Francisco earthquake in 1906, it gave the impression to be on the point of closure.

It remained in disrepair till 1917 when Pedro Joseph de Lemos was introduced in as curator, constructing and rising the museum’s assortment, albeit type of poorly. By 1953, the Committee for Art at Stanford was established, tasked with the prolonged strategy of as soon as extra revitalizing the seemingly ill-fated Stanford University museum.

Unfortunately, it suffered structural injury once more in 1989, in the course of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Still, after funding by numerous historians, patrons, and collectors, quite a few refurbishments, and donations, it reopened in 1999 and has been going robust ever since.

Today, the Cantor Arts Center is dwelling to the world’s second-largest assortment of Rodin sculptures, in addition to many rotating and everlasting reveals. The Bronze Sculpture Garden is a should, and we extremely suggest setting at the least half a day apart for traversing via the galleries.

3. Watch a Film on the Stanford Theatre

Address: 221 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Once you’ve had your fill of artwork, you merely must catch a basic movie at Stanford Theatre on University Avenue. But be warned. They solely display films that had been launched between 1910 and 1970.

That mentioned, you’ll undoubtedly really feel such as you’ve traveled again in time, particularly contemplating the neoclassical structure of the constructing. Another outstanding characteristic of this landmark theater is its Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, designed and put in to accompany silent movies or to be performed throughout intermissions.

Today, the Stanford Theatre is chargeable for 25% of basic movie ticket gross sales within the US. Even so, it wasn’t all the time easy crusing for the Stanford Theatre. It fell on laborious instances within the Nineteen Sixties, with attendance dropping to a dismal fee.

Fortunately, it was bought and restored in 1987 by none aside from the Packard household. It is at the moment owned by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

See Related: Best Things to do in California & Places to Visit

4. Climb to the Top of Hoover Tower

Hoover Tower

Address: 550 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

The final Stanford University landmark on our checklist (and one in every of our best-known Palo Alto sights) is the Hoover Tower. This breathtaking, 285-foot-high tower is dwelling to the Hoover Institution Library and Archives and was as soon as the hideaway of exiled Russian novelist and thinker Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Founded by Herbert Hoover previous to his tenure as president, the structure was impressed by the Spanish New Cathedral of Salamanca. It has a 46-bell carillon, an commentary deck providing sprawling views of the campus, workplace house, a useful library, a analysis middle, and a assume tank.

The Hoover Tower is a brief stroll from the Stanford Memorial Church, and for those who organize a Stanford University Tour, you might be certain to see all the campus’ greatest sights.

5. The Museum of American Heritage

Address: 351 Homer Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Of the various issues to see in Palo Alto, the Museum of American Heritage is a superb option for families with children.

With rotating non permanent reveals showcasing each native and nationwide historical past, you may count on to see installations exploring what every day life seemed like from the late nineteenth century via to the Fifties, together with a kitted-out General Store.

The museum additionally preserves numerous innovations and technological artifacts, lots of which converse to Silicon Valley’s storied historical past.

With occasions all year long, together with lectures, workshops, and particular packages geared toward children, you’re certain to seek out one thing that appeals to your internal historian.

General admission is free to the general public, and the museums working hours are 11 am to 4 pm from Friday to Sunday. Special occasions and excursions might be booked on-line for a nominal donation beginning at 3 {dollars}. It’s situated just some blocks from downtown Palo Alto, California, making it a straightforward stroll and cease from the principle avenue.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

6. Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

Address: 1451 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Another attraction that’s good for teenagers is the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. With over 200 animals from over 50 completely different species, the zoo goals to teach youngsters about wildlife and preservation in a enjoyable and informative method.

There’s a museum with an interactive science exhibit, a collections nook that includes a large number of pure historical past artifacts, and a newly put in, wheelchair-friendly treehouse the place youngsters can bird-watch or see the zoo from above.

The Junior Museum and Zoo is open from 10 am till 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets might be bought for 10 {dollars}. As a frontrunner in disability-inclusive sights in Palo Alto, differently-abled individuals can apply for decreased admission by submitting a kind on the Junior Museum and Zoo’s web site.

7. The Computer History Museum

Address: 1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

It wouldn’t be Silicon Valley with out some homage to tech, which is why we extremely suggest a go to to the Computer History Museum, situated close to the well-known Googleplex campus.

As the title suggests, the Computer History Museum particulars the historical past of laptop know-how and its impression on the world over the past 2,000 years. There are occasions and workshops all year long, in addition to attention-grabbing interactive reveals, together with autonomous automobile rides.

General admission to the Computer History Museum varies relying on age from $6 to $17.50, and the museum operates from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm. It is a sight to not miss on a Silicon Valley Private Tour.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US

8. Downtown Palo Alto Farmers’ Market

Address: 601-699 Gilman St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

When you’re performed visiting Palo Alto’s museums and grand buildings, there are many enjoyable actions throughout city to maintain you busy and immerse your self within the metropolis’s tradition.

One of our favorites is the Downtown Palo Alto Farmers’ Market, the place you’ll discover all forms of distributors promoting contemporary native produce, crafts, trinkets, and avenue meals, all whereas listening to native stay music.

The market attracts loads of residents, in addition to vacationers trying to bask in seasonal delicacies or buy handmade items. And what makes it distinctive is that it’s all for a very good trigger. As thriving non-profit, partial proceeds from the market are donated to a neighborhood charity that assists the aged.

Entrance is free to the Palo Alto Farmers’ Market and the market runs each Saturday from 8 am till midday. Just be sure that to get there early to keep away from the crowds and to get the freshest meals.

9. Baylands Nature Preserve

Baylands Nature Preserve

Address: Palo Alto, CA 94303

The Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, which covers practically 2,000 acres, is essentially the most in depth remaining marshland within the San Francisco Bay space and is dwelling to some exceptional fowl and mammal species, with the Baylands Golf Links proper subsequent door.

The ecology itself on the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve is fascinating, with a mix of each tidal and freshwater habitats. Fifteen multi-use trails will hold you busy for hours, and for those who get caught, you may swing by the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center for extra data.

For these eager to spend a day in nature, or hit the tees at Baylands Golf Links, there are beautiful picnic spots, accessible restrooms, a sports activities middle, and the picturesque Palo Alto Duck Pond.

See Related: Most Beautiful Valleys in the US

10. Dining, Drinking, and Shopping

Eating Breakfast on a Restaurant

While Palo Alto has a lot to supply by way of day journeys and sights, we can’t overlook the array of superb food and drinks that’s accessible proper on the center of University Avenue. Ramen Nagi and Oren’s Hummus are wonderful selections.

Howie’s Artisan Pizza is a brief stroll away from University Avenue, nearer to the Stanford campus, and is the advice if you’re craving pizza.

For drinks, try The Rose & Crown or The Patio @ Rudy’s. The Rose is a U.Ok-style hangout, whereas The Patio is extra of a sports activities bar. Both are extremely rated and beneficial.

Those in search of somewhat retail remedy will love Town and Country Village, which boasts a number of the world’s main retailers and boutique outlets, in addition to a choice of nice eateries and cafes.

There’s one thing for every little thing, and clever city planning makes it straightforward to navigate this space on foot.

11. Take a Class on the Palo Alto Art Center

Address: 1313 Newell Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303

The Palo Alto Art Center is the proper place to discover your creativity, irrespective of your ability degree. With quite a lot of courses provided, you’re certain to seek out one which’s best for you. The Palo Alto Art Center is a multipurpose arts middle that options a number of non permanent artwork exhibitions all year long.

These exhibitions characteristic works by artists from the San Francisco Bay Area and past. In addition to its exhibitions, the Palo Alto Art Center additionally affords an interactive tour of non permanent exhibitions with educated artwork docents.

The Palo Alto Art Center has additionally been acknowledged for its outreach and academic actions, which embody particular occasions and weekly artwork classes for adults, teenagers, and younger adults. So whether or not you’re a seasoned artist or a newbie, you should definitely try the Palo Alto Art Center the following time you’re on the town.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Monterey, California

12. Explore the Monte Bello Preserve

Monte Bello Preserve Scenery

Address: 4301 Page Mill Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a good place to go to for those who love nature. This lovely protect is dwelling to quite a lot of native vegetation and wildlife and affords breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is an open areas park that encompasses 34,336 acres of thick forest, rolling hills, breathtaking views, and rolling hills within the surrounding areas.

The protect extends from Monte Bello Ridge up into Skylines Ridge and is taken into account a area wealthy with wildlife. Many trails can be found all through the protect, making it a great place to hike or bike. But beware, it’s straightforward to get misplaced among the many paths, together with Stevens Creek Nature Trail.

The preservation has been open since 1989 and affords guests over 1,000 acres of land which might be nice enjoyable to discover. So for those who’re ever in Palo Alto, you should definitely try Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. You received’t be disenchanted.

13. Have a Picnic in Mitchell Park

Address: 600 E Meadow Dr, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Mitchell Park is one in every of Palo Alto’s many parks, and it’s an incredible spot for a picnic. There’s loads of inexperienced house to stretch your legs and unfold out, whereas the park has a playground, a basketball courtroom, and a big area the place you may play Frisbee or kickball.

In addition, for the youngsters, the park additionally incorporates the Magical Bridge Playground. This is a good spot to take your children.

If you get hungry, there are a number of eating places close by, and the extremely beneficial lodge, Dinah’s Garden Hotel, is simply 2 miles down the highway. If you’re in search of a spot to play or a spot to loosen up, Mitchell Park is certainly price testing.

See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November

14. Get Pampered on the Watercourse Way Bath House Spa

Address: 165 Channing Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

It was not too laborious to create the Watercourse Way tub home spa within the strategy of offering a chic and enjoyable atmosphere. A day spa retreat in Palo Alto combines rest with a way of peace. Stylish Chinese artwork decorates each room.

Dim lighting with flowing water creates a peaceful and soothing ambiance. There are a number of remedies accessible, similar to therapeutic massage and facial remedies. Quite a lot of saunas, steam rooms, and sizzling tubs might be accessed from this location.

15. Spend a Day in Rinconada Park

Address: 777 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Rinconada Park is the perfect place to start your holiday for those who’re trying to be taught in regards to the atmosphere and tradition of the world. The park is dwelling to quite a lot of plant and animal life, in addition to a number of strolling trails that wind via the redwood and pine forests. Rinconada Park additionally includes a public pool, 9 tennis courts, picnic tables with barbecue amenities, and two playgrounds.

Visitors can even participate in quite a lot of academic packages provided by the park workers. So whether or not you’re trying to loosen up within the solar or be taught in regards to the native ecology, Rinconada Park is the proper place to start your vacation in Palo Alto, California.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Truckee, California

16. Experience Epic Shopping on the Stanford Shopping Center

Address: 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304

The Stanford Shopping Center is a well-liked mall situated in Palo Alto, California that options over 150 shops so that you can store at. Across from the El Camino Park, the Stanford Shopping Center has every little thing from clothes shops like Forever 21 and Nordstrom Rack, to extra distinctive outlets similar to Apple and Tesla. There are additionally loads of eating places to select from once you’re hungry.

If you’re in search of one thing enjoyable to do in your subsequent journey right here, think about stopping by the Apple Store the place they provide free lectures about know-how, and/or attend one in every of their many occasions.

17. Check out Stanford Dish

Stanford Dish and Skyline

Address: Stanford Dish, 400 Reservoir Rd, Stanford, CA 94305

Stanford Dish is certainly price testing for those who’re within the space. It’s a big parabolic antenna that’s used for radio astronomy and telecommunications analysis and it’s situated on the Stanford University campus. On clear days, you may see the dish from miles away.

The Stanford Dish can also be another exit on Alpine Road. There’s one other various exit on Alpine Road. The title of the gadget used right here on this area is a telescope used to show or analysis.

However, most individuals are often there to take pleasure in a 3.6-mile hike, which stretches across the telescope. The path runs via an open atmosphere reaching a reasonably larger altitude within the area of 500 ft.

Its route has a excessive publicity to summer season climate and guests ought to put on water and acceptable clothes. If you’re visiting Stanford Dish, be sure that to offer your self loads of time to discover every little thing this wonderful place has to supply.

See Related: Best Palm Springs Restaurants You Can’t Miss


What is Palo Alto, California recognized for?

Palo Alto is thought for being the house of Silicon Valley, in addition to for its tutorial establishments, similar to Stanford University. The metropolis can also be recognized for its lovely climate and its many parks and inexperienced areas. Finally, Palo Alto is thought for its superb eating and shopping options.

Is Palo Alto, California price visiting?

The reply is a powerful YES! Visitors to Palo Alto have an array of actions to select from. The metropolis is a mix of previous and new, providing historic structure and tradition and a myriad of contemporary, stylish hangouts and stores. All that is set in opposition to a wide ranging view of the Santa Cruz Mountains and surrounded by national parks.

How do I spend a day in Palo Alto, California?

There is nobody method to reply this query, as every individual’s preferrred day in Palo Alto would doubtless be fairly completely different. However, a few of our favourite actions embody visiting Stanford University’s campus, going for a hike within the close by hills, testing the native buying and eating scene, or taking a scenic drive down California’s Highway 1.

What enjoyable issues are there to do at or close to Stanford University?

There is not any scarcity of issues to do in Palo Alto proper close by the historic Stanford University. Just a few recommendations embody exploring the Stanford University campus, visiting the Cantor Arts Center, the Stanford Memorial Church, and mountaineering or biking in one of many many surrounding parks.

What is there to do in Palo Alto, California with children?

There are many enjoyable issues to do with children in Palo Alto, together with visiting the Baylands Nature Preserve, taking part in on the Mitchell Park Domes and the Magical Bridge Playground, or taking the youngsters to the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo.

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now

Looking for Extra Travel Perks?

My favourite journey companion is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which provides me lounge entry, Uber credit, upgrades, and loads of different journey perks. If you wish to discover out the perfect journey rewards bank card for you, think about using CardMatch to immediately get matched to a journey rewards bank card that meets your journey wants.
Use Skyscanner to ebook the most affordable flight potential. Skyscanner is my favourite flight search engine as you’ll find flights across the globe and from each airline potential. You’ll be in nice form to get the perfect value potential.

You should grab a free trial or join Scott’s Cheap Flights Premium to get low cost flight alerts on to your e-mail inbox. My favourite low cost flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London continuous.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s a low value manner to make sure your journey plans go easy it doesn’t matter what’s thrown at it. Use World Nomads to seek out the perfect coverage on your journey schedule.
In order to seize the widest choice of properties and the perfect value, use as they’ve the most affordable charges for guesthouses, accommodations, luxurious condos, B&Bs and a lot extra.

Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be certain to hitch the ViaTravelers Newsletter for skilled suggestions, tips and inspiration on your subsequent journey journey!



Express your views here

Disqus Shortname not set. Please check settings

Making Your Outdoor Home Space a Heaven with Nature

Apple removes VKontakte, Russia’s largest social community, from the App Store