The California Avenue business district is bounded by El Camino Real, Park Boulevard, Sheridan and Cambridge avenues, just a few blocks from the Stanford campus. This 6-block wide by 3-block long area is Palo Alto's most historic shopping district, established in 1855 as the town of Mayfield, and annexed to Palo Alto on July 6, 1925. The district offers a wide variety of retail and professional businesses, and is home to many outstanding and diverse restaurants, including coffee shops and comfort food establishments, from the casual to more upscale establishments.
Mom and pop businesses abound. Four generations of the same family own the cobblery. There is a stationery store, a ladies clothing boutique, a yoga studio and two day spas, a jewelry store, the largest consumer and professional camera store in the south bay area, a beloved natural foods/vitamin store, two grocery stores (one noted for its kosher food selection,) a popular wine sales and tasting shop, and more. California Avenue hosts a year-round Sunday morning farmer's market, rain or shine!
Living up to its original motto, "Small town shopping in the heart of the city", the district also boasts 14 pieces of public art, a collection that began in 1996. So to locals and art aficionados from around the world, California Avenue is also known as "Palo Alto's Avenue of the Arts". The collection includes several prize winning pieces, among them "Sun Flowers", first prize winner of the prestigious Northern California Chapter Institute of Architects, for Green Design and another for Urban Design. It is an elegantly crafted tables and chairs grouping in front of Country Sun Natural Foods.