Just 30 miles from the bustle of San Francisco and approximately 17 miles from San Jose is beautiful Palo Alto, one of the Bay Area’s most captivating, influential and affluent charter cities. Although Palo Alto stretches just 24 square miles, it’s known as a mecca of intellect and ingenuity—afterall, it is the home to Stanford University and the birthplace of the famed Silicon Valley. But academics and innovation aren’t the only attractions in Palo Alto; the city also has an incredible array of highly rated restaurants, excellent cultural spots, a charming downtown shopping district (and the upscale Stanford Shopping Center) and stunning displays of natural beauty (try a free Sunset garden tour one afternoon for a real treat).

With such beautiful surroundings, Palo Alto is also filled with recreational opportunities. Stanford’s 3.5-mile “Dish” loop is a popular spot for walkers and joggers, offering some stunning views of the Peninsula and—on a clear day—great views of San Francisco, San Jose and the East Bay, as well. Other great hiking and biking spots include the 1,940-acre Baylands Nature Preserve and the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, both teeming with gorgeous scenery and plenty of protected wildlife roaming the hills.

Palo Alto’s allure is far from a secret when it comes to homebuyers with the population increasing over 13% in the last decade. The average listing price of a home in the city is approximately $1,710,000 with some of the most sought-after neighborhoods being Downtown North, Crescent Park, Old Palo Alto, Palo Alto Hills and Evergreen Park. In fact, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg owns a 5,000 square foot home in Crescent Park (and recently bought four more properties nearby) and Google’s Larry Page, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and the late Steve Jobs of Apple all called some of these beautiful neighborhoods home.

An interesting side note for those seeking newly built homes in Palo Alto: a new law was passed in December of 2013 requiring all newly constructed homes to include circuitry for electric vehicle charging, This bold moves attempts to make Palo Alto “the most electric-vehicle-friendly city in the world”—a distinction that is definitely in line with the city’s forward-thinking legacy.

If you’re considering a trip to Palo Alto, here are a few ideas to help you make the most of your visit.

See: The Cantor Arts Center and Rodin Sculpture Garden. Stanford University’s museum is one of Palo Alto’s greatest attractions, with a truly impressive collection of art spanning 4,000 years. Whether you gravitate towards modern and contemporary or ancient Asian art, you’ll be dazzled by both the permanent collection and evolving exhibitions. Also, don’t miss the three Rodin Galleries and Rodin Sculpture Garden. Note: The Rodin Bronze collection at Cantor Arts is among the largest in the world (outside of Paris) and includes the famous “Gates of Hell.” Admission is free.

Do: Visit the Hoover Tower. The 285-foot Hoover Tower is a Palo Alto landmark, giving visitors spectacular views of the Stanford campus all the way to the San Francisco Bay area. Completed in 1941, the top of the tower features 48 bells (a gift of the Belgian-American Education Foundation) and at the base, visitors will find memorabilia from former President Herbert Hoover and his wife, both of whom are Stanford alumni. The cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children under 12, which includes the expertise of a tour guide on the observation tower.

Eat: Evvia Estiatoria. For close to 19 years, Evvia has remained one of Palo Alto’s most treasured restaurants—treating foodies to the true pleasures of fine Greek food. Using fresh seasonal ingredients sourced both locally and from the Mediterranean, Evvia serves up their own signature dishes as well as local interpretations of traditional Greek food that is, quite simply, fabulous. From appetizers to desserts, devoted fans rave about their menu, which includes favorites like the Moussaka (Greek casserole with eggplant, lamb ragout and béchamel sauce), the Arnisia Paidakia (grilled lamb chops) and for dessert—the Galaktoboureko (phyllo wrapped vanilla bean semolina custard with pistachio ice cream). Reservations are a must.  420 Emerson St., Palo Alto • 650.326.0983

Stay: Garden Court Hotel. The elegant Garden Court is downtown’s only “luxury boutique hotel” with 62 guest rooms and an ideal location near all of the city’s best restaurants, spas and shopping. Each  guest room is spacious, uniquely designed and gorgeously appointed with every convenience you could imagine. Whether you go with the lovely 300-square foot Deluxe Queen or the fabulous 1,000-square foot Penthouse, you can expect nothing less than the most refined touches. From down duvet pillows and wall-to-wall marble baths to private balconies and beautiful views, you will relish every moment of your stay. 520 Cowper St., Palo Alto • 650.322.9000

Live:  A magnificent English Tudor that spans 5,337 square feet with seven bedrooms and seven and one-half baths. This beautiful property is designed with solid eucalyptus hardwood and stone flooring, soaring ceilings and a gourmet kitchen with 48-inch Viking appliances. Outside, you’ll find a spacious covered patio (perfect for al fresco dining) and beautifully manicured greens. Priced: $4,798,000.

Photographed by Blu Skye Media

759 E Meadow Dr.
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Have you visited Palo Alto? Let us know what you love about this beautiful Bay Area city.