3945 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: (650) 493-3141
Fax: (650) 493-6313
Arts & Museums
You have to pass through Printers Cafe on California Avenue to visit the Gallery House in Old Palo Alto. Established in 1958, this gallery features the best works of contemporary art by local artists. Featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions of paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures and much more, all year round, Gallery House is operated by a tight community of artists from different parts of the Bay Area. All art-pieces displayed here are for sale, many of them are also available on rent. Check their website for more details on exhibitions hosted.
Located right next to the picturesque Professorville neighborhood, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo has been a reliable source of family fun since 1934, when it was established as the first children's museum west of the Mississippi. The zoo houses around 200 species of animals, including snakes, reptiles, tortoises, sharks, raccoons, bats, a red-tailed hawk and two bobcats. A total of 14 hands-on museum exhibits are designed to educate children about physics, earth science and math. It is also a popular destination for field trips and birthday parties.
Located on the Stanford University campus, Hoover Tower offers a small museum at its base and excellent views of the Bay Area at the top at an extremely reasonable price. Visit the museum and then take an elevator ride to the top while a guide tells tidbits of trivia about the tower's history. At 285 feet (87 meters) tall, the tower is a must-visit attraction. Be sure to check out the carillon of 48 bells housed at the top of the tower. Stanford students get in free with ID!
Constructed in the 1860s, Rengstorff House is one of the oldest homes in California's Mountain View. The structure is noted for its beautiful Italianate and Victorian architecture. The house belonged to Henry Rengstorff, a German immigrant, whose family occupied it till the 1950s. The City of Mountain View purchased the home in 1979 and, following extensive restoration, the house was opened to the public in 1991 as a museum. It measures 3955 square feet (367.43 square meters) and features 12 spacious rooms with vintage furnishings. This is also an ideal location for weddings, ceremonies and receptions. The weather the can play tricks on you but the beauty of the Victorian home and garden makes everything worth it.
Founded in 1990 from the private collection of Frank Livermore, the Museum of American Heritage is housed in the historic Williams House, a 1907 Craftsman-style home right across from scenic Heritage Park. The museum's exhibits display technology and inventions from the 19th and 20th Centuries in an era-appropriate setting. Special exhibits rotate through the gallery several times a year highlighting certain historical artifacts, from toasters to toys. The museum also offers children's summer camps and several special events throughout the year. Another plus: admission is free, though donations are welcome and appreciated. For your tiny tots the Lego Exhibit is worth a watch, there is also a pretty garden at the back of the museum. A visit to Museum of American Heritage will make you ponder over how life used to be 100 years ago.
In 1994, a group of ten artists from the inland Sepik River area in New Guinea spent five months at Stanford carving 40 sculptures of this wonderful garden. The wood and stone sculptures, most of which depict people and animals, highlight traditional New Guinean myths and creation stories while keeping in mind their context within an American university; everyone finds a story they can relate to in these sculptures, because they express the common emotions of humankind. On the third Sunday of each month at 2p, there is a free, docent-led tour.
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University at Stanford University is a historic art museum incorporating pieces from the original private collection of Leland Stanford himself. Known widely for its assemblage of over twenty bronze statues in the Rodin Sculpture garden, the museum is the third largest Rodin collector in the world. The Cantor Arts Center also exhibits many diverse visual art displays varying from California artists to international cultural pieces. Visitors can also enrich their educated palette and refresh themselves in the charming museum cafe.
A part of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Rodin Sculpture Garden makes for an interesting visit. Open from Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11a, this beautiful garden was established in 1985. Originally designed by Robert Mittelstadt, the garden is themed around a similar garden that B. Gerald Cantor Rodin had designed in Paris; unfortunately it suffered heavy damages on account of the earthquake of 1989. Restored to its former glory in 1991 by Thomas Seligman, the garden features gorgeous masterpieces like the Gates of Hell and Burghers of Calais.
The Computer History Museum traces the growth of the information age. Opened in 1996, this museum houses an impressive collection of computing artifacts and software, some of which date back to the 1950s. Exhibits, photographs and films on the history of the computer industry are a great insight into the technological revolution and its role in shaping society. The Software Arch, Revolution exhibition, PDP-1 minicomputer and Cray-1 supercomputer are the museum’s highlights.
The EcoCenter is managed by the Environmental Volunteers, a non-profit institution that spreads awareness about science and nature among the general public. Acting as the headquarters of this organization, the EcoCenter has been constructed using non-toxic and recycled material, green design principles and eco-friendly practices. This center has interactive exhibits and touchscreen displays through which visitors can learn about climate change, the sky and earth. It conducts tours of the building to educate visitors about sustainable methods of construction and maintenance and also conducts numerous summer camps, classroom and school programs. Boasting of some of the best educational activities in Palo Alto for kids and adults alike, the themes covered include bird watching, hiking, programs and lectures on nature art and natural sciences as well as research training in which visitors generate data that actually helps scientists. Nature lovers can also volunteer at this center or donate money to support its endeavors.
The Old Woodside Store on Tripp Road is actually a wooden cabin that was once used as a dentist clinic, a general store and a post office. Tracing its history to October of 1849, the charming old wooden structure is now home to authentic historic artifacts that chronicle the lumbering history of Woodside, CA. Although admission to the cabin is free, a donation of 2 USD is suggested. There are many educational programs hosted here that provide fun activities for the entire family and shed light on the local history and culture. As such, the Old Woodside Store is often sought for field trips and school picnics.
Located inside Levi's Stadium, the 49ers Museum celebrates this Bay Area football team. The 20,000 square-foot museum explores the 49ers past and present with historical team memorabilia as well as the latest information on the current players. Step inside the museum's Morabito Theater to learn about your team and see some of their greatest game plays. Take a picture next to a life-sized statue of your favorite player in the Hall of Fame. You can even interact with exhibits, including touchscreens and a passing and kicking simulator.