Welcome to Palo Alto
The upscale and affluent city of Palo Alto lies within the northwestern corner of the San Francisco Bay Area, known both as a thriving college town and a booming business center. This prestigious area is one of the best places to live in California.
While today, Palo Alto is renowned as a business hub in the heart of Silicon Valley, the city came from humble origins. Discovered and explored in 1769 by a Spanish horse expedition, the land developed slowly over the next few centuries and eventually became established when Stanford University was built on its ground.
In typical fashion for the Bay Area, Palo Alto homes tend to be extravagant and pricey. Sprawling mansions, cozy ranch homes, and modern contemporary residences can be found throughout the area.
What to Love
- Beautiful scenery
- Exciting nightlife
- Thriving business center
- Spectacular school system
People & Lifestyle
There’s a suburban feel to Palo Alto, with a lively population of Stanford students, educated young professionals, and people who are just starting a family. It’s a casual city that maintains its prestigious reputation as home to some of the finest schools and most successful businesses in the nation.
Palo Alto’s population is one of the most educated in the country, with over 50% of residents holding advanced degrees. Families love Palo Alto for its fabulous school system and welcoming, walkable neighborhoods. Young and upwardly mobile professionals are also attracted to the area due to the wealth of job opportunities available.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Many prominent companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Logitech have called Palo Alto home. Residents love the area not just for its fantastic reputation as a tech hub but for its phenomenal nightlife, including shopping and dining.
There are plenty of shopping opportunities available along University Avenue and downtown. The Stanford Shopping Mall
is the best place to find all of your retail favorites, from Bloomingdale’s to Cartier. The mall also has a Drybar salon for all of your hair styling needs, several gourmet eateries, and a SoulCycle for invigorating workouts.
Things to Do
Palo Alto is known for being the cultural epicenter of Silicon Valley. With plenty of events, educational opportunities, and art, there’s always something to do here.
Locals love attending the Palo Alto Festival of Arts
, which has been running for over 35 years and features fine art exhibits, performing musicians, and fun arts and crafts activities for the kids. Every year, Native American culture is celebrated at the Annual Stanford Powwow
, with musical and dance performances, food, and informational sessions. As well, Stanford University
regularly offers events like concerts and talks on campus.
Visit the Cantor Art Center
, an art museum on the grounds of Stanford University, for stunning exhibits and speaker programs. To get outside and enjoy the beautiful coastal air, check out the Baylands Nature Preserve
, where visitors can walk, hike, or bike along 15 miles of stunning trails.
Along with Stanford University, Palo Alto is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- Palo Alto Unified School District: Includes top-ranked Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School
- Silicon Valley International School: PK-8, independent school offering bilingual programs in Mandarin Chinese-English and French-English
- Castilleja School: 6-12, private independent girls’ school