Things To Do In Palo Alto, CA located in the San Francisco Bay Area is home to Stanford University as well as many high-tech companies such as HP, PARC, and Tesla Motors. Plan a weekend trip to see the iconic Stanford Dish radio telescope, the Cantor Arts Center, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House and winchester mystery house.

Things To Do In Palo Al
Things To Do In Palo Al

The Junior Museum & Zoo, the Palo Alto Art Center, and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve are among the best things to do with kids in Palo Alto, California Avenue. Call the attractions and restaurants ahead of time to confirm current hours of operation.

List of 20 Things To Do In Palo Alto CA Today

1. Cantor Arts Center

Cantor Arts Center
Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University Ave, located on Lomita Drive at Museum Way, is a 130,000-square-foot art museum that opened in 1894. The museum, formerly known as the Stanford University Museum of Art, is well-known for its outstanding collection of sculptures by the French artist Auguste Rodin; there are 199 Rodin sculptures on display, many of which are in the B San Jose.

Rodin Sculpture Garden by Gerald Cantor. One of the best Palo Alto attractions is the Cantor Arts Center. The Thinker, one of his most famous works, is on display in the center. The museum also displays works by other artists and from other parts of the world.

Stanford, CA 94305-5060, 328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way San Jose, 650-723-4177

2. Stanford’s Dish

Stanford's Dish
Stanford’s Dish

The Stanford Dish, located on Reservoir Road in the Stanford foothills, is a landmark radio telescope with scenic paved trail loops.

The 150-foot diameter (46 meter) dish was built in 1966 by the Stanford Research Institute and funded by the United States Air Force to study the composition of the atmosphere. The dish became a powerful means of communicating with satellites and spacecraft due to its unique construction, which included a separate receiver and transmitter.

The dish’s communication range is so strong that it was able to send signals to NASA Voyager spacecrafts on the solar system’s outskirts. Runners and joggers enjoy the 3.5-mile trail that circles the dish.

650-723-2560, 400 Reservoir Road, Stanford, CA 94305

3. Nature Preserve of the Palo Alto Baylands

Nature Preserve of the Palo Alto Baylands
Nature Preserve of the Palo Alto Baylands

The East Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, at 1,940 acres, is the largest remaining area of marshland in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a mix of freshwater and tidal habitats.

The preserve is a critical habitat for migratory shorebirds and one of the top things to do in East Palo Alto, California. Many people believe that this preserve provides the best bird watching on the West Coast. The preserve’s highlights include fifteen miles of multi-use trails, the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center, the Baylands Athletic Center, baseball and softball fields, and the Palo Alto Duck Pond. Beaches in California

Palo Alto, California, 2775 Embarcadero Way, 650-329-2506

4. Palo Alto, California’s Junior Museum & Zoo

Palo Alto, California's Junior Museum & Zoo
Palo Alto, California’s Junior Museum & Zoo

The Junior Museum & Zoo is a science and nature center on Palo Alto Junior Museum Middlefield Road. The zoo is full of interesting things for children to see and do, including many interactive educational exhibits and a wide range of live animals; there are over 200 animals representing 50 species.

As part of the museum and zoo’s outreach program, many of these animals are brought into classrooms in local schools. Bats, birds, bobcats, ferrets, fish, hedgehogs, raccoons, and turtles are among these animals. If you’re looking for things to do in Palo Alto with kids, this is a great place to go. The zoo welcomes school field trips and can be rented for private events such as birthday parties.

Palo Alto, California, 1451 Middlefield Road, 650-329-2111

5. Palo Alto, California, Stanford University Tour

Stanford University Tour
Stanford University Tour

The Stanford University Tour, which starts at the Stanford Visitor Center on Galvez Street and lasts 70 minutes, is free. The tour is guided and narrated, and it allows visitors to learn about the campus’s buildings as well as the university’s history.

The Main Quad, Engineering Quad, Memorial Church, and White Plaza are among the tour’s highlights. The one-hour Humanities and Arts Tour, which is guided and led by student volunteers, is another special tour in American Heritage.

Palo Alto, California, 295 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305, Phone: 650-723-2560

6. Palo Alto, California’s HP Garage

California's HP Garage
California’s HP Garage

Hewlett-Packard is now a global technology leader that inspires entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. It all began in 1939, when Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, two Stanford University friends, began working in Dave’s parents’ garage. They began developing innovative products with limited resources, such as audio oscillators, which were used by many sound engineers at American Heritage.

They founded the company, the first and original Silicon Valley startup, inspired by their early success. The garage where it all began is now a symbol and inspiration to all similar dreamers, and the garage, which has been meticulously restored and renovated, is visited daily by a large number of other entrepreneurs who hope that one day their small startup will grow into a global behemoth at redwood city.

The garage is not open to the public, but you can walk by and take photos of the place that proves dreams can come true. The HP Garage is a National Register of Historic Places listing.

 Palo Alto, California 367 Addison Avenue

7. The Stanford Shopping Center

The Stanford Shopping Center
The Stanford Shopping Center

The Stanford Shopping Center is an open-air shopping mall on the Stanford University campus. The original shopping center, built on the former vineyards of Leland stanford and Jane Stanford in 1954, consisted of nine buildings and 45 businesses spread across 8,800 acres of land.

The outdoor center now spans 1.4 million square feet and houses over 140 upscale retailers and specialty stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Burberry, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and many more. In addition, there are numerous restaurants in the center, ranging from European to Mexican, Asian, and others. More vacations in California.

Phone: 650-617-8200, 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, California

8. The Stanford Theatre, Palo Alto, California

The Stanford Theatre, Palo Alto, California
The Stanford Theatre, Palo Alto, California

The Stanford Theatre, located on University Avenue, is a historic and well-known independent movie theater in Palo Alto. It was constructed in 1925 as a movie palace in the neoclassical Moorish and Persian architectural and design styles. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation purchased and restored the theater in 1987.

Today, this popular establishment shows classic films from 1910 to 1970 and hosts numerous film festivals honoring directors and actors such as Betty Davis, Cary Grant, and Alfred Hitchcock. The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ is one of the theater’s most well-known features. If you’re looking for romantic date ideas in Palo Alto, visitors can enjoy the experience of watching a moving picture in a traditional movie theater setting, as films were intended to be seen at memorial church.

Phone: 650-324-3700, 221 University Avenue, Palo Alto, California

9. Palo Alto’s Hoover Tower

Palo Alto's Hoover Tower
Palo Alto’s Hoover Tower

The Hoover Tower, located on Serra Mall on the Stanford University campus, is a 285-foot-tall structure that houses the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. This collection, which dates from before Herbert Hoover became President of the United States, is related to early twentieth-century history.

The tower was built in 1941 by Arthur Brown, Jr., and its architecture was inspired by the cathedral tower in Salamanca, a historic city in northwestern Spain. A 46-bell carillon is housed within the tower. The bells were manufactured in Belgium and the Netherlands. Exiled writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn used to live on the 11th floor as a temporary residence.

Palo Alto, California, 550 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, Phone: 650-723-2053

10. Palo Alto Art Center is number ten.

Palo Alto Art Center
Palo Alto Art Center

The Palo Alto Art Center, located on Newell Road in Palo Alto, is a multi-purpose art center. The Palo Alto Art Center, founded in 1971 and owned by the city, hosts a variety of temporary art exhibits in its exhibition galleries. These exhibitions highlight the work of San Francisco Bay Area artists.

Tours of temporary exhibits led by trained art docents are known as Art Dialogues. The art center is also well-known for its outreach programs and educational activities, which include special event days and weekly art classes for adults, teenagers, and children.

Phone: 650-329-2366, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, California

11. Palo Alto, California’s Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden

Palo Alto, California's Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden
Palo Alto, California’s Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden

The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is a 2.5-acre garden on Waverley Street that includes a historic home, a carriage house, and a tearoom. Elizabeth F. Gamble, one of the original owner’s daughters, donated the property to the city of Palo Alto in 1971 after it was built in 1902 for the Gamble family. The original formal herb and rose gardens were restored, and irrigation, lighting, and paths were added.

The existing buildings were also repaired, and a gazebo was added. The garden is open every day, and docent-led tours of the garden and house are available Monday through Thursday. Weddings and other special events can be held on the property.

Phone: 650-329-1356, 1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto, California

12. Farmers Market in Downtown Palo Alto

Farmers Market in Downtown Palo Alto
Farmers Market in Downtown Palo Alto

The Palo Alto Farmers Market, located between Gilman Street and Hamilton Avenue behind the downtown Palo Alto post office, is open every Saturday from May to December. Founded in 1981, the market is dedicated to providing fresh produce to the community from approximately 45 local farmers from nearby areas such as Capay Valley, Fresno, Hollister, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol.

Cheese, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, flowers, olive oil, and many other items are available. Aside from market items, there are artisan foods and events such as live music concerts. Soloists, instrumental groups, and youth instrumental ensembles are examples of musical performers.

Phone: 650-427-9253, Gilman Street and Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California

13. Town and Country Village

Town and Country Village
Town and Country Village

The Town & Country Village is an upscale mall on Palo Alto’s El Camino Real. The mall is made up of several buildings that house boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, specialty stores, and other businesses. Gardens and pedestrian paths connect the various buildings that comprise the mall.

Cafes and restaurants such as the Asian Box, Douce France, Howie’s Artisan Pizza, and others, as well as clothing and shoe stores such as Francesca’s Collections, Tennis Town & Country, and others, are available. There are also home accessories and furnishings stores, specialty and gift shops, and spas and salons for health, beauty, and wellness.

Phone: 650-321-3005, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California

14. Terun from Palo Alto, California

Terun from Palo Alto, California
Terun from Palo Alto, California

Even when they’re making pizza on the other side of the Atlantic, Italians take their pizza seriously. Terun pizzas are authentic southern Italian pizzas, as evidenced by the restaurant’s pedigree and papers from Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana.

Terun’s pizzas are authentic in every way, from the meticulous preparation to the use of the freshest ingredients. That means crisp, thin, fire-baked pie with delectable toppings for us. San Daniele is a great example, with Prosciutto San Daniele, cremini mushrooms, arugula, mozzarella, shaved Parmesan, and truffle oil. Terun also serves authentic and rare Neapolitan dishes like baked cauliflower au gratin with light parmigiano cream and bread crumbs.

Their wine list is extensive and includes some outstanding Italian wines. The restaurant is small, sleek, and modern, with a beautiful, bright, and spacious patio.

Palo Alto, California, 448 S. California Ave., Phone: 650-600-8310

15. Hanna House

Hanna House
Hanna House

The Hanna House, located on Porter Drive on the Stanford University campus, was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first design and construction project in the San Francisco area. It was Wright’s first and best example of a non-rectangular hexagonal design, and it began in 1937.

The house, which is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, is designed in the shape of a honeycomb, with many six-sided figures, tiled terraces, and built-in furniture. The house was built for Jean and Paul R. Hanna, both Stanford University educators. It is also known as the Hanna-Honeycomb House.

16. Preserve of Monte Bello Open Space

Preserve of Monte Bello Open Space
Preserve of Monte Bello Open Space

The Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is a 3,436-acre mitchell park or byxbee park with dense forests, rolling grasslands, and breathtaking views. The preserve, which stretches from Monte Bello Ridge to Skyline Ridge, is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the region, with abundant wildlife. There are several hiking and biking trails that can take visitors to the preserve’s most beautiful areas. The Stevens Creek Nature Trail is a three-mile loop that is suitable for people of all fitness levels.

The loop takes about three hours to complete. Canyon Trail runs through the Monte Bello Preserve and is very popular with bicyclists. Monte Bello is an excellent place to observe bird migration, take in the scenery, or simply relax.

Phone: 650-691-1200, 330 Distel Cir., Los Altos, Palo Alto, California

17. Mandarin Roots in Palo Alto, California

Mandarin Roots in Palo Alto, California
Mandarin Roots in Palo Alto, California

Mandarin Roots is not your typical Hunan restaurant in Chinatown. While its roots are in China, its branches and leaves can be found all over the world: there are Latin quesadillas, Italian mozzarella, Vietnamese banh mi sliders, Mongolian BBQ, Laotian chili aioli, and other intriguing additions.

However, the roots are important, and the Chinese elements are new, delicious, and inventive. Try their delicious Peking Duck Fried Rice, which is made with roasted duck, caramelized onions, spring onions, pickled onions, and fresh cucumbers. The restaurant is lovely, with blooming bougainvilleas and cheerful Chinese lanterns in a cozy, attractive garden setting. Their Happy Hour is very popular, thanks in large part to the Chinese tapas that they serve with drinks at any foothills park.

Phone: 650-565-8868, 3345 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California

18. Curry Up Now, Palo Alto, California

Curry Up Now, Palo Alto, California
Curry Up Now, Palo Alto, California

If you’re sick of chasing your favorite Indian food truck through Palo Alto’s streets, Curry Up Now now has a “brick and mortar” location on Hamilton where you can satisfy your craving for hot naan, butter-dripping samosas, or spicy and flavorful curries.

The restaurant is a counter-service cafeteria-style restaurant that is unpretentious and utilitarian, with most customers ordering to go. The menu is a Westernized version of Indian street food that maintains all of the authentic flavors with a simple change in form – naan now serves as a burrito wrapper or in place of chips for dipping, many dishes are vegetarian and gluten free, and everything is fresh and bursting with delicious spicy juices. Remember to get your mango lasi, an addictive Indian soda at nature interpretive center.

Phone: 650-300-4690, 321 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, California

19. Rinconada Park, Palo Alto, California

Rinconada Park, Palo Alto, California
Rinconada Park, Palo Alto, California

Rinconada Park, located on Embarcadero Road, is a 19-acre city park that houses Palo Alto’s municipal swimming pool. Rinconada Park, established in 1922, is the city’s second oldest park, following El Camino Park. Rinconada, Spanish for “corner,” was originally called Waterworks due to its proximity to a reservoir and a well. It is set in a landscape of redwood and live oak trees at Great America.

Picnic areas with barbecues, two children’s playgrounds, jogging and walking paths, six lighted tennis courts, and three non-lighted tennis courts are all available at the park. A children’s theater, a community theater, and community meeting rooms are located near the park.

Palo Alto, California, 777 Embarcadero Road, Phone: 650-463-4900

20. Patxi’s Pizza 

Patxi's Pizza 
Patxi’s Pizza 

Patxi’s Pizza transforms the dining experience of going out for pizza. The restaurant is not your average pizza parlor; it is pleasant and spacious, with modern understated décor, and it is ideal for bringing a family or a group of friends for a meal.

Most nights, the place is packed, possibly due to their deep-dish pizza, also known as Chicago-style pizza. Just don’t tell the Italians about it. Other items on the menu, including thin-crust pizza, are available, but the star of the show is their signature deep-dish pizza. It has a flaky, buttery crust and a whole-wheat version is also available. Every day, they make their own tomato sauce from scratch.

The toppings are simple, with only one or two options, but they are tasty, such as prosciutto, garlic, and fennel sausages or artichoke hearts of visual arts. All of the ingredients are fresh and seasonal, and the pizzas are made to order.

Palo Alto, California, 441 Emerson St, 650-473-9999

FAQs About Palo Alto Attractions

What makes Palo Alto famous?

Palo Alto is known as the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley” and is recognized as a global leader in cutting-edge technological development. Palo Alto is an extraordinary tourist destination because of its exciting blend of tradition and innovation.

Is there anything to do in the area around Stanford?

Plan a weekend trip to see the iconic Stanford Dish radio telescope, the Cantor Arts Center, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hanna House. The Junior Museum & Zoo, the Palo Alto Art Center, and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve are among the best things or fun things to do with kids in Palo Alto, California.

How far away is the beach from Palo Alto?

Half Moon Bay, located on the Pacific Ocean and only 22 miles from Palo Alto, is an ideal place to sunbathe, surf, or simply walk along one of the many spectacular beaches that full of fun things activities. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails.

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