Introduction to Palo Alto, California
Incorporated in 1894, Palo Alto derived its name from a majestic coastal redwood tree (called "El Palo Alto") found along San Francisquito Creek, a settlement spot of early Spanish explorers. Known as the "Birthplace of the Silicon Valley," Palo Alto is home to the garage that housed the launch of the Hewlett Packard Corporation. Today Palo Alto boasts more than 6,000 businesses including several innovative technological firms residing in the Stanford Research Park. However, Palo Alto is perhaps best known as the home of Stanford University, although technically the school is not located within the city limits.
Palo Alto is located 15 miles north west of San Jose and 35 miles south east of San Francisco. It is bordered by Menlo Park to the west, East Palo Alto to the north, Mountain View to the east and Stanford (site of Stanford University) to the south. The city is served by two major freeways, U.S. Highway 101 and Interstate 280, and is also traversed by California State Highways 82 (El Camino Real) and 84.
Palo Alto Events and Attractions
Palo Alto is home to a number of annual events, including: the May Fete Parade, an 80+ year old event and Northern California's oldest children's parade; the Annual Summer Festival, held around the 4th of July holiday and featuring a Chili Cook-Off; and the Palo Alto Black and White Ball, offering live bands, theatrical performances and food from top Bay Area restaurants.
Museums in Palo Alto include the Museum of American Heritage, the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. Art galleries located within the city limits include ART21, ArtsIndia West, the Bryant Street Gallery and the Chelsea Art Gallery. Nearby cultural attractions include:
- Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University (Stanford).
- Computer History Museum (Mountain View).
- Coyote Point Museum (San Mateo).
- Hiller Aviation Museum (San Carlos).
- Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (Stanford).
- Los Altos History Museum (Los Altos).
- San Mateo County History Museum (Redwood City).
- Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose).
Located only about a half-hour away is the city of San Francisco, home to many popular attractions including Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Nob Hill, the Museum of Modern Art, the Embarcadero Center, Alcatraz, the Wells Fargo History Museum, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Zoo and the Cable Car Museum
Professional sports teams residing in San Francisco include: MLB's San Francisco Giants, the NFL's San Francisco 49'ers, pro basketball's Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco Dragons of Major League Lacrosse.
San Jose is even closer, only about a 15-minute drive away. Pro sports teams there include: the San Jose Giants (Minor League baseball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), hockey's San Jose Sharks (NHL) and the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League.