Palo Alto

Home to Stanford University, this elegant and affluent community offers a lively blend of college-town and Silicon Valley appeal.

1. Palo Alto Hills
2. Green Acres
3. Barron Park
4. South Palo Alto
5. Midtown
6. Ventura
7. College Terrace
8. Old Palo Alto
9. Green Gables
10. Crescent Park
11. Community Center
12. Professorville
13. Downtown

History and Setting:
The original “palo alto” was a tall redwood tree that served as a living landmark for late-1700s Spanish explorers and still survives today, complete with its own rain-forest misting system to keep it healthy. Today, Palo Alto is a diverse mixture of high-tech and locally owned companies and more than 26,000 homes. The town’s historic main street – University Avenue – begins with a parade of architecturally stunning estate homes, segues into a vibrant downtown rich with world-class restaurants and boutique shopping, and culminates with Stanford University’s massive arched gateway. The town stretches from San Francisco Bay to Skyline Ridge in the coastal range, offering a wide variety of richly individual residential neighborhoods as well as 30 parks, including a 1,400-acre preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains that is reserved for the exclusive use of Palo Alto residents.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the city hosts major high-tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Syntex, and Varian, and was the first city anywhere to have an Internet home page in 1994. As a result, many residents work nearby, and commuting is effortless via Caltrain and easy access to major Peninsula highways. Many cultural events are held at Stanford University, as well as Division 1 football and basketball. Stanford Shopping Center and the downtown area represent major shopping destinations for the entire Peninsula, also presenting street fairs and free outdoor concert series throughout the year.

Schools: (click here for schools information)
Top-ranked Palo Alto Unified School District offers 13 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 2 exceptional high schools: Gunn High and Palo Alto High. The entire school district consistently scores very high on standardized tests and many students take advanced classes. Palo Alto High School has won an Excellence in Education award and was honored by the White House.