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For those visiting Northern California and looking for a nice laid-back city to explore, Palo Alto is the perfect option. Smack in the heart of Silicon Valley, famous for being the birthplace of Google and Facebook, and the location of Stanford University, Palo Alto is one of the few places in the area — apart from San Francisco — that is truly walkable. It is also very easy to get to Palo Alto by car, as travelers can reach it from both the 280 and 101 highways. There are also trains to the city from San Francisco and other cities. Here are some notable places to see while in Palo Alto.

Downtown Palo Alto

Downtown Palo Alto is known for having plenty of great restaurants and shops, most of which are conveniently located right on University Avenue. While visiting there it is also possible to visit the famous Hewlett Packard garage. For those who want to support the local community, every Sunday there is a farmer’s market right on California Avenue.

Stanford University

No trip to Palo Alto is complete without visiting the world-famous university. Their visitors are free to hang out on its gorgeous lawns and visit its museums. Visitors can also view the campus church, which is impressive in its own right.

The Stanford Shopping Center

For those who would like to do some shopping while they are visiting Palo Alto, the Stanford Shopping Center is a great place to check out. It has nearly 150 shops, plus large department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. There are also many restaurants as well as a market that offers fresh produce.

Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center is a great place to go for those who want to spend a day perusing fine art. There are more than 20 art galleries in the facility as well as gardens, courtyards, and terraces. Some consider the museum as good as anything in New York or San Francisco. The best part of it all? There is no admission charge.

The Stanford Theater

A visit to the Stanford Theater is like going back in time. Their visitors can view a movie theater that has changed little from its original structure in more than 100 years. The theater also shows double features of classic films. Admission is very affordable, and so is the popcorn!