Welcome to Palo Alto

Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, or to attend a conference or other event at Stanford University, you will quickly discover the unusual blend of intellect, innovation, culture and natural beauty that makes up Palo Alto and the rest of the Midpeninsula.

Palo Alto is home to Nobel Prize winners, Silicon Valley CEOs, venture capital firms, Hewlett-Packard and one of the most renowned universities and medical centers in the world. Though Palo Alto developed as a sleepy college town, the emergence of Stanford University in the 1970s as the nation's leading high-technology research center paved the way for hundreds of startup businesses with connections to Stanford professors and their inventions. Thus, Palo Alto became known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley and attracted engineers and others from all over the world to pursue their dreams.

The Stanford campus itself is the biggest visitor attraction, and visitors could easily spend a day or longer exploring the beautiful campus. But at a minimum any visit should also include a walk or drive through the tree-lined residential neighborhoods (among the costliest in the nation), a walk in the foothills or Baylands, and some great shopping and eating in the handful of nearby business districts, including ones in Menlo Park and Mountain View.

Check out the Attractions section for places to visit, our Top Ten Picks list, or the Best of Palo Alto. Plus download our biannual Visitors Guide, which is distributed through all local hotels, Stanford event organizers and many other locations.

Enjoy your visit!