Updated 10/12/19


See: Palo  Alto neighborhood map


Palo Alto  is a large area with seven zip codes  and THREE train stations (the main station known as “Palo Alto”, California Avenue and on game days the “Stanford” stop).  The City of Palo Alto is located in Santa Clara county. It is about 35 miles south of San Francisco and 14 miles north of San Jose. Palo Alto is a charming mix of old and new.

Palo Alto’s earliest recorded history dates from 1769 when  Gaspar de Portolá  noted an Ohlone settlement.  The name is derived from Spanish for “stick”, and colloquially for “tree” which is combined with “alto” for “tall”; giving the meaning: “tall tree” ~ See: “El Palo Alto: Rooted in History“.

The establishment of Stanford University  in 1885 made Palo Alto home to one of the world’s leading places of learning.

First people came to Northern California for gold (in 1848/49), then they came for a different metal a hundred years later! From the Hewlett-Packard Garage to Fairchild Semiconductors (in San Jose) came about the birth of “Silicon Valley”. Today this region stretches across the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This region that includes, among other noted firms, the headquarters for Google, Intel, Cisco Systems, Adobe, Nvidia, AMD, LinkedIn, eBay, Palantir Technologies, Oracle, Facebook, and Apple! For a full list of companies based in Silicon Valley see this link.

Tech goes hand in hand with venture capital firms! See:  “The First Trillion-Dollar Startup”.

Palo Alto is ranked as  being part of the 10 best places to live in America. You may wish to see the series “Silicon Valley ” from PBS and the portal: San Francisco Bay Area (on Wikipedia).

As of the 2010 census, the city’s total resident population is 64,403. About 39.000 people come into the town daily for work-related reasons. More demographics: City of Palo Alto Population estimates, July 1, 2018 and  Demographic and Housing Estimates .

We turn to the weather:

Generally it is always warmer than San Francisco year round (and has a micro-climate away from the foggy ocean mornings). Speaking of the ocean: It is a short 22 miles from Half Moon Bay and wonderful ocean-side walks and beatiful bike paths trails.



It is known, and so it remains, as a place where people arrive with dreams and end up complaining about endless people walking about texting, rarely greeting one another. Dreams come in many forms. When you first arrive you may expect (which I assure you is unlikely) to run into world-changing power-men and women. This is meeting with the CEO’s of the valley is rare.

At “Town & Country” (founded 60 years ago as a ranch-style “village” of shops) you will hear someone say that she had a “list of people to meet”. The list is short and limited to Priscilla Chan, “Mr. Zuckerberg”, and the right personal trainer.

The Village is located at 855 El Camino Real:

Let us, for a second break from this narative …

The other large outdoor mall is the really lovely Stanford Shopping Center. It is about a mile away from the Town & Country Village:

(…) … ! Check back. Monthly updates to this section. Last updated 9/24/19

Navigation: Palo Alto Tourism


List of historic resources FOR PALO ALTO

(from after the video to here) adapted from: www.cityofpaloalto.org

  • PAST – Palo Alto Stanford Heritage is a nonprofit organization supporting the preservation of the historic architecture, neighborhoods, and character of the greater Palo Alto-Stanford area through informed citizen involvement and education.
  • PAHA – The Palo Alto Historical Association’s mission is to collect, preserve and make available to the public information about the history of Palo Alto.
  • MOAH – The Museum of American Heritage is the Bay Area’s only museum exclusively dedicated to the history of technological innovation from 1750 to 1950.  Originally opened in 1990, MOAH relocated to the historic Williams House in downtown Palo Alto in 1997.
  • Palo Alto History – Palo Alto History is dedicated to the stories and photographs of Palo Alto’s past. Take a look back at the history of the El Palo Alto Tree, relive the political rumble that was the 1967 Palo Alto City Council recall elections, celebrate the history and renovation of Stanford Theatre and much more.
  • The Stanford Theater Foundation – The Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to bringing back the authentic movie-going experience of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  A mighty Wurlitzer theater organ can still be heard during intermissions.
  • Local Architects and Builders
  • Historic Photos
  • Historic Newspapers – The Palo Alto City Library Digital Collection has several searchable, historic newspaper archives and the Stanford Daily has also been archived.
  • Dona Juana Briones de Miranda – Learn more about the life of this significant figure in California’s past.
  • Palo Alto City Library Local History Resources
  • PAHM – The Palo Alto History Museum is a private nonprofit organization that is developing the first history museum for the Palo Alto and Stanford community.
  • SHS – The Stanford Historical Society was founded in 1976 to encourage the study and understanding of Stanford University’s history and the ideals of the University’s founders.
  • A History of Stanford


By the early 1970s, there were many semiconductor companies in the area, computer firms using their devices, and programming and service companies serving both. Industrial space was plentiful and housing was still inexpensive. Growth during this era was fueled by the emergence of venture capital on Sand Hill Road, beginning with Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital in 1972; the availability of venture capital exploded after the successful $1.3 billion IPO of Apple Computer in December 1980. Since the 1980s, Silicon Valley has been home to the largest concentration of venture capital firms in the world.

In 1971 Don Hoefler traced the origins of Silicon Valley firms, including via investments from Fairchild‘s eight co-founders. The key investors in Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital were from the same group, directly leading to Tech Crunch 2014 estimate of 92 public firms of 130 related listed firms then worth over US$2.1 Trillion with over 2,000 firms traced back to them.

Image top left: The Stanford Theatre with Moorish architecture in downtown Palo Alto.

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