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Stanford Park Staff Picks

  • Ballerina in white tutu with bent knees and arm extended above head against blue lit stage

    It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker: A Menlowe Ballet Original

    From Friday, December 15, through Sunday, December 17, the Menlowe Ballet is proud to present four performances of It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, just a ten-minute drive from the Stanford Park Hotel. It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker combines elements from two different holiday favorites, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s masterful 19th-century ballet The Nutcracker and Frank Capra’s 20th-century cinematic hit It’s a Wonderful Life. You’ll marvel as lighter-than-air dancers glide and arc across the stage to music that blends Tchaikovsky’s original orchestral score with jazz riffs composed by the inimitable Duke Ellington. Don’t forget to pack the tissues: with the themes of It’s a Wonderful Life threaded through the production, this show really tugs at the heartstrings. The performance, which runs around two hours and includes a fifteen minute intermission, is appropriate for adults and children age 5 and up.

    Address: 555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

  • Gray ruins of Medieval castle rising out of green and lavender vegetation

    Hamlet: Expanding the Bounds of Our Philosophy

    One of the most popular narratives in all of Western literature, Hamlet is a story of otherworldly hauntings, guilt, intrigue, and revenge. You’ve probably seen or read Shakespeare’s version of the play, but you’ve never seen it staged in quite the way that Stanford University’s [wit] has planned for you on November 16. As an organization dedicated “to elevating female and non-binary voices in theater,” [wit] encourages “alternative-gender casting, works written by gender minorities, small-scale shows, and workshops to facilitate discussions about gender.” This contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic, a Capstone project for a cast of talented Stanford thespians on the cusp of their professional careers, promises to be as compelling and innovative as [wit]’s philosophy suggests. [wit] invites you to join them for an evening in Medieval Elsinore, where “something rotten in the state of Denmark” inspires a shockingly fresh theatrical experience and proves that, indeed, “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Address: Elliott Program Center, 589 Governor's Avenue, Stanford, CA 94305

  • Basket with pumpkins fall flowers leaves painted jack o lanterns

    A Terrifyingly Good Time

    Now that fall has arrived, the air is crisper, the days shorter, and the nights spookier. For those guests interested in family-friendly Halloween fun, we recommend the following celebrations, all just a short distance from the Stanford Park Hotel:

    Halloween Spooky Carnival

    This carnival has entertained Menlo Park children for a decade now. Hosted at the Onetta Harris Community Center, the event promises games, candy, face painting, and a costume contest. October 26, 4 – 6 P.M. 100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025

    Halloween Hoopla

    Put on your scariest costume and join revelers as they march through downtown and on to Fremont Park, where bags will be provided to all the kids so they can trick-or-treat at participating downtown businesses. With games, crafts, live music, and magic acts, this communal celebration is not to be missed. October 28, 11 – 2 P.M. The parade kicks-off at the Maloney Street parking lot behind Cheeky Monkey.

    Monster Bash

    Pioneer Park hosts an afternoon of games, crafts, and costumes. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the open-air screening of a classic Halloween film. October 28, 1 – 3 P.M. 1146 Church St, Mountain View, CA 94041

  • Head of golden Thai dragon with muticolored background

    A Night at the Theater

    Theater companies abound in the San Francisco Bay Area, but few are as committed to fostering individual artistic achievement and creating substantive, lasting bonds with the community than the Dragon Productions Theatre Company. Located in nearby Red City, just a short 15-minute drive from our hotel, the Dragon Theatre’s intimate performance space accommodates 65 spectators, ensuring that every seat offers the perfect view of the action (which often extends beyond the confines of the stage and into the audience). Starting September 15 and running through October 8, the Dragon Theatre will present a new play, Cirque Exotique du Monde, which chronicles the lives of a hodgepodge team of circus players in 1936 Berlin whose freewheeling performance space becomes a crucible of political and personal turmoil when Frau Magda Goebbels takes a keen interest in their show. In addition, from now through December, the theater will stay up late one Friday per month for their Late Night Series, bringing sketch comedy, improv, stand-up, and music to the 21+ crowd.

    Address: 2120 Broadway, Redwood City, CA 94063

  • Red Ferrari in front of yellow building facade with man in yellow shirt

    Fast Cars and Fine Wines in Menlo Park

    There are few experiences as characteristically Californian as a leisurely drive along the gently curving mountainside, the ocean waves lapping against the shore below, the sun shining warm above as you make your way to some of the world’s most celebrated vineyards. The Bay Area may not be Napa Valley, but at AutoVino, right here in Menlo Park, you can enjoy two key elements of that quintessentially Californian fantasy: fine wine and fast cars. Despite its curiously industrial exterior, AutoVino houses one of the best wineries around. Stop by any Saturday or Sunday between 11 A.M. and 4 P.M. to be treated not only to an assortment of choice vintages, but also to the scrumptious wood-fire pizza prepared fresh onsite. What about the cars, you say? AutoVino is not just a winery. It’s also a storage facility for high-end luxury and sports cars, which means your wine and gourmet pizza will be served with an up-close look at Bentleys, Aston Martins, Ferraris, and more.

    Address: 205 Constitution Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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    The Central Park Summer Concert Series: Music Therapy for the Soul

    We know you work hard, and that often means sitting in an office all day. So when you come to a place as beautiful as California, you just want to kick back and let the mild California sun rejuvenate your mind and body. This July we recommend taking in a free outdoor performance at the wildly popular Central Park Summer Concert Series in nearby Fremont, just a short drive from our hotel. Thousands of revelers will sprawl out with friends and family on the lush grounds of the Central Park Performance Pavilion to hear groups like Caravanserai, the Santana-tribute band that’s now garnered its own cult following; Pop Fiction, a group that will have you singing along to all the greatest pop hits from Frank Sinatra, to Michael Jackson, to Katy Perry; and Jukebox Heroes, a Bay Area sensation that’ll get you on your feet and dancing like a maniac in no time. And that’s just a small sample of what’s in store Thursdays from 6 to 8 P.M., now through August 3. The Performance Pavilion is located in Central Park, next to 40204 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538.

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    The Allied Arts Guild: Menlo Park's Hidden Spanish Gem

    When Delight and Garfield Merner purchased 3.5 acres of land on the cusp of Menlo Park, their ultimate goal was to establish an arts guild in California that would celebrate the work of world-class local artists in a pristine setting. In just a few short years, that vision had become reality in what is today known as the Allied Arts Guild. Visitors to the Guild can roam through three authentic Spanish gardens: The Court of Abundance, The Garden of Delight (or, the Blue Garden), and Cervantes Court. Enjoy lunch prepared from fresh, local ingredients at the Blue Garden Café and chose from over a dozen shops and studios that craft and sell items like handmade jewelry, couture clothing, furniture, paintings, etchings, sculpture, and more. And remember, all purchases made at the Artisan Shop help fund the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

    Address: 75 Arbor Rd at Cambridge Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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    Northern California's Ultimate Shopping Destination

    In addition world-class universities and wine country, the Stanford Park Hotel is also located within easy driving distance of Northern California’s number 1 open-air shopping and dining destination, the Stanford Shopping Center. With over 140 world-class shops, including high-end retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus as well as many local favorites, the Stanford Shopping Center has something to suit everyone’s taste. Dining options also cover a wide range: you can keep it ultra causal at Gourmet Franks, which serves the best tasting all-beef, chicken, or turkey hotdogs this side of the Rockies, or you can opt for a more elegant lunch experience at Terrain Garden Café, brought to you by James Beard Award winning Chef Marc Vetri. Dinner favorites include Cantonese Asian fusion restaurant Yucca de Lac and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. And even if you leave your wallet at home, you’re still sure to enjoy the gorgeous gardens, fountains, and sculptures that make Stanford Shopping Center a unique and memorable experience. 

    Address: Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304

  • Stanford_Memorial_Church-5943b9802e464.jpg

    The Old World Meets the New

    During your stay at the Stanford Park Hotel, we highly recommend that you borrow a Linus bike and ride down to the university campus that shares our namesake. Student-led tours are offered every day at 11 and 3:15, but you can just as easily make your way around unaided, save for a small campus map. The manicured lawns and pristine Romanesque architecture would in themselves be enough to merit a morning or afternoon strolling the grounds. In addition to the natural beauty of the campus, however, there’s also the Stanford Memorial Church, whose Byzantine details and elaborate mosaics recall the cathedrals of Venice. Climb to the top of Hoover Tower, where you can take in awe-inspiring views of the surrounding area. Or head over to the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, where you can choose from 24 different galleries. And before you leave, you must see the Rodin Sculpture Garden, where you’ll come face-to-face with such sublime works of art as The Thinker, The Kiss, and even Dante’s infamous Gates of Hell.

    Address: Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305