The Stanford Park Journal

Notable destinations, events, and happenings in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area.

Take A Virtual Tour of Stanford University

Take A Virtual Tour of Stanford University

October 7, 2020

At Stanford Park Hotel, we’re fortunate to be right next door to the top-tier university that shares our namesake. As one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world, Stanford University not only attracts some of the greatest minds to study in its storied halls; it also provides visitors countless opportunities for intellectual and cultural enrichment.

Free guided tours of the campus are available every day at 11:30 and 3:30 during the academic year, but you can easily take a 360° guided video tour of the Stanford University campus online. During your virtual campus walk amid the exquisite Romanesque architecture and lush greenery, marvel at the dazzling Byzantine designs that adorn the interior of Stanford Memorial Church, or ascend 285 feet to the top of Hoover Tower, where the panoramic view stretches all the way to the San Francisco skyline on a clear, sunny day. Art lovers will be delighted by the two dozen galleries at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, which features major works from antiquity to today, and the Rodin Sculpture Garden will instantly transport you to Paris with iconic sculptures like The Thinker and The Kiss.

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Road Trip Republic

Road Trip Republic

May 4, 2020

Plentiful sunshine and epic outdoor experiences are just a few of the reasons why California is the ultimate state to enjoy by road trip. This summer, consider making your way to Stanford Park Hotel by car.

Embark on an adventure that leads to Silicon Valley, and experience a getaway where the journey is truly part of the destination.

Visit California has created Road Trip Republic, which outlines incredible routes for road trips around the state, with itineraries suitable for anywhere from 1-10 days.

More than one of the itineraries can lead you through Menlo Park. Take a detour to explore Silicon Valley and Stanford’s historic campus from the “Majestic, Magical Highway 1” route, which starts in San Francisco and leads all the way down to SoCal. Best of all, our Bay Area location also puts the Wine Country routes at your fingertips.

Let the open road lead you to relaxation. Pick a route or craft your own, and we’ll look forward to hosting you during your journey.

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The Spiky Specimens of the Arizona Cactus Garden

The Spiky Specimens of the Arizona Cactus Garden

March 2, 2020

Most of us who grew up watching Looney Tunes retain at least one vivid memory of the comical run-ins between Wile E. Coyote and the many cacti intent on thwarting his pursuit of the Road Runner.

In addition to being a great cartoon prop, the cactus is also one of the most peculiar and fascinating plants in the world. If you have a free afternoon during your stay with us, consider a trip over to nearby Stanford University, where you can peruse the surprisingly varied, beautiful, and spiky specimens of the Arizona Cactus Garden. The garden’s 500 or so cacti and succulents cover 30,000 square feet and are arranged according to two main categories: Western Hemisphere, featuring prickly plants from across the Americas, and Eastern Hemisphere, where you’ll find aloes, houseleeks, jade plants, and other succulents spanning Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Arizona Garden is open to the public, free of charge, seven days a week.

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The Anderson Collection: The Art of Post-WWII America

The Anderson Collection: The Art of Post-WWII America

February 3, 2020

Over the past half-century, Bay Area family Harry W. Anderson, Mary Margaret Anderson, and Mary Patricia Anderson Pence have meticulously assembled one of the most breathtaking modern and contemporary American art collections in existence.

At Stanford University, located about 5 minutes by car from the Stanford Park Hotel, you can view this astonishing collection that encompasses a wide variety of media and movements from WWII to today. Acclaimed abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock are particularly well represented, along with groundbreaking contemporary artists like Sean Scully, Terry Winters, and Julie Mehretu. The Anderson Collection at Stanford University is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M., with extended hours on Thursdays from 11 A.M. to 8 P.M. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is always free.

Address: 314 Lomita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305

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Our American Gadgets: 200 Years of Innovation

Our American Gadgets: 200 Years of Innovation

January 6, 2020

Starting in the mid-18th century, the Industrial Revolution reshaped life as we know it, giving rise to new means of manufacturing and a shift toward ever-greater mechanization in the workplace and, later, at home. Though these changes mostly began in Great Britain, the U.S. was quick to follow.

If you’ve ever felt a sense of awe or insatiable curiosity while staring at the now everyday products of technological innovation—clocks, cameras, TVs, typewriters, radios, and such—then Palo Alto’s Museum of American Heritage (MOAH) is the place for you. Just 10-minutes by car from our hotel, the MOAH is an intimate 11-room museum devoted to all gadgets mechanical and electronic that emerged in the US from the mid-eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century. The MOAH’s permanent exhibits include a fully operational print shop, an early auto garage, and a replica of a 1920s-ear Chicago general store. Through February 16, you can also enjoy the current temporary exhibit, Cointraptions: Classic Coin-Operated Machines. The MOAH is located in the historic Williams House, an impressive example of Tudor Revival architecture designed by Ernest Coxhead and built in 1907 for Dr. Thomas Williams. The enchanting Williams House Gardens are also open to the public.

Address: 351 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto, California

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The Menlowe Ballet’s It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker

December 2, 2019

If you’ll be staying at the Stanford Park Hotel this December, we highly recommend you check out the Menlowe Ballet’s It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker, on stage at the Menlo-Atherton Center for Performing Arts December 13 – 15 and 21 – 22. This adrenaline-pumping performance brings together two Christmas classics, Frank Capra’s family-favorite film It’s a Wonderful Life and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s world-renowned ballet The Nutcracker. The two-hour production is set in the 1940s with spectacular period sets and captivating character-driven drama. The unique score combines Tchaikovsky’s original music with the work of one of the few modern composers truly worthy of his company, the inimitable Duke Ellington. This show is great for kids and adults alike, so bring the whole family down to the Menlo-Atherton Center for Performing Arts, just a 12-minute drive from the Stanford Park Hotel.

Address: 555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

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Kepler’s Books: A Community-Based Vision for the Future

November 4, 2019

Back in the 1950s, peace activist Roy Kepler founded the shop, which quickly became a gathering ground for Bay Area poets, intellectuals, artists, university students and faculty, and other devotees of counter-culture. Musical acts like the Grateful Dead and Joan Baez not only performed at Kepler’s, but also dropped in on occasion to discuss literature, politics, and art with the eclectic bohemian clientele. Since moving to its current location in Menlo Park, Kepler’s almost had to close its doors permanently, but the community would not allow it. Thousands came out to demonstrate in support of the bookstore, which was quickly reopened and revitalized with a plan for the future. Now, Kepler’s is divided into two entities, the community-owned, for-profit Kepler’s Books & Magazines and the non-profit Kepler’s Literary Foundation, which regularly hosts interviews, seminars, workshops, and other special events with authors, artists, and others who seek out new ways to help the arts flourish here in California and across the world.

Address: 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Menlo Park’s Family-Friendly Halloween Festivities

October 7, 2019

Kicking off the festivities at 11 A.M. on Saturday, October 26, a spooktacular parade will make its way through downtown Menlo Park to neighboring Fremont Park. After the parade, kids will be invited to trick-or-treat at participating businesses in downtown Menlo Park and enjoy crafts, carnival games, and a magic show in Fremont Park. You can also drop by the Onetta Harris Community Center of Menlo Park from noon – 3 P.M. for the annual Spooky Carnival, which has been delighting kids for over a decade with snacks, games, face-painting, a costume contest, and much more. Once your little ones are thoroughly exhausted from a day of play, head back to the Stanford Park Hotel, where the kids can enjoy their candy and you can treat yourself to a delicious craft cocktail at the Menlo Tavern.

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Theater for All at the Dragon Productions Theatre Company

September 2, 2019

The theater’s current main stage production, Hickorydickory, runs through September 29 and, as the name suggests, is centrally concerned with a question of time: “What if we all had a literal internal clock that counted down to our time of death?” Protagonist Cari Lee’s internal clock has broken a spring, stranding her interminably at age 17. Meanwhile, her daughter, who has just reached the same age as her mom, faces the opposite problem, as it seems her time is just about up. By turns funny and tragic, Hickorydickory is a touching tale of mortality and family devotion. Dragon Productions Theatre Company prides itself on accessibility, so even if you have mixed feelings about theater-going in general, we strongly recommend you give this extraordinary company a chance.

Address: 2120 Broadway, Redwood City, CA 94063

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AutoVino: A Uniquely Californian Experience

August 5, 2019

AutoVino, a one-of-a-kind facility here in Menlo Park, combines these two defining aspects of California culture—fast cars and fine wines—in an experience like none other. Behind AutoVino’s curiously industrial façade, you’ll discover one of the most celebrated wineries on the West Coast, with a tasting room to please your palate every Saturday and Sunday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. Delicious wood-fired pizza, prepared onsite, provides the perfect culinary complement to these exclusive vintages. So that accounts for the vino—what about the auto? In addition to being a world-class winery, AutoVino is also a storage facility for collectible cars, which means you’ll have the chance to peruse Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris, and more as you sample the fruits of elite California viticulture.

Address: 205 Constitution Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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An Evening of Music in Central Park

July 1, 2019

This summer’s roster includes Caravanserai, a soulful Santana tribute band (July 11); Jukebox Heroes, which covers a wide array of billboard hits from across the decades (July 18); Joel the Band, bringing you all the classics of the one and only Billy Joel (July 25); Rachel Steele, an acclaimed local country music singer-songwriter (August 1); Long Train Runnin’, which pays tribute to the hits of the Doobie Brothers (August 8); and East Bay Mudd, the nine-piece R&B/soul ensemble that’s thrilled Bay Area audiences for more than 15 years (August 15). All concerts are free and are held on Thursdays from 6 – 8 P.M. Pack a blanket and picnic lunch, and get ready for an invigorating evening of music by the water.

Address: Central Park, next to 40204 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538

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The Allied Arts Guild: An Oasis of Art in Menlo Park

June 3, 2019

This vision became a reality when, in 1929, the Merners purchased 3.5 acres on the outskirts of Menlo Park and very quickly transformed them into the thriving Allied Arts Guild that welcomes you today. During your visit, you’ll marvel at the architecture of this bohemian oasis, adorned throughout with tiles and other objet d’art imported from Spain, Morocco, and Tunis. Stroll through three authentic Spanish gardens: The Court of Abundance, which greets you as you approach the main building; Cervantes Court, which boasts a dazzling mural of the eponymous author; and The Garden of Delight, or The Blue Garden (Delight Merner felt blue was the ideal color for exterior decoration, as it perfectly complements the verdant foliage). The guild comprises more than a dozen shops and studios dealing in one-of-a-kind handmade items crafted by local artists and artisans. You’ll peruse paintings, drawings, sculpture, etchings, jewelry, clothing, furniture, and much more. Savor a healthy, organic lunch at the Blue Garden Café, and be sure to drop by the Artisan Shop, where proceeds benefit the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University.

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

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Northern California’s Best Open-Air Shopping

May 6, 2019

Just a five-minute drive from our hotel, the Stanford Shopping Center is NoCal’s premier open-air shopping and dining destination. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to explore 140 unique stores, including Ann Taylor, Apple, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Cartier, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermes, Jay Crew, Kate Spade, Kiehl’s, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Tesla, Tiffany & Co., and many more. Flagship department stores include Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. If you work up an appetite while shopping, they’ve got you covered there too, with eateries ranging from the ultra-casual to high-end. After you grab a bite, you can get right back to shopping or instead stroll through the gorgeous gardens with their pristine fountains and inspirational sculptures.

Address: Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304

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Back to School at Stanford

April 1, 2019

We highly recommend taking advantage of Stanford’s guided tours, which are free and offered daily at 11:30 and 3:30 during the academic year. Your tour will introduce you to several of the best-known and most beautiful spots at the university, including the Main Quad, which is the historic center of campus, and the Memorial Church, whose interior Byzantine design is utterly breathtaking. You’re also welcome to stroll at your leisure, marveling at the pristine Romanesque architecture, exploring art from antiquity to today at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, contemplating existence alongside The Thinker and other iconic statuary in the famous Rodin Sculpture Garden, or ascending 285 feet to the observation platform of Hoover Tower, where on a clear day you can see as far as San Francisco.

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

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The Charming Cacti of Stanford University

March 4, 2019

And while it’s undeniably true that you should never confuse a succulent with a settee, these desert plants are anything but plain. At the Arizona Cactus Garden, located on the nearby campus of Stanford University, you can explore a marvelous variety of cacti and succulents, some of which have been imported from far-flung corners of the world. The approximately 500 specimens in 58 beds are divided into two main categories: Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere. The Eastern Hemisphere plants include jade plants, aloes, and various succulents native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Western Hemisphere plants comprise cacti from regions spanning the Americas. The Arizona Garden is free and open to the public every day. One visit and you’ll never think of these prickly plants quite the same way again.

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The Golden Dragon Soars in San Francisco

February 4, 2019

If you missed the Chinese New Year’s Eve celebrations, fret not. On Saturday, February 23, in sunny San Francisco, just a scenic hour’s drive north of our hotel, over a million people will throng the Golden City’s Chinatown to attend the most impressive annual Chinese New Year Parade anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. You'll marvel at the sight of costumed school children, spectacular stilt walkers, lithesome lion dancers, elegant acrobats, and some of the most delicious food vendors ever to fry a dumpling. The air will explode with the sound of hundreds of thousands of firecrackers as the drummers below pound away to the beat of ancient Chinese songs. As if that weren’t enough, bringing up the tail of the parade will be the famous 268-foot Golden Dragon, powered by a hundred agile men and women dancing in tribute to the new year.

Location: Chinatown, San Francisco

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Reawaken Your Childlike Sense of Wonder at the Museum of American Heritage

January 7, 2019

We’re guessing that, like them, many of you once gazed in wonder at common gadgets like radios, TVs, typewriters, toys, cameras, or clocks and asked yourself, “How does that work?” Whether you’ve kept that childlike curiosity aflame over the years or would like to rekindle the spark, the Museum of American Heritage is the perfect place to visit during your stay with us. Located in the historic Williams House, just a quick 10-minute drive from the Stanford Park Hotel, the Museum of American Heritage fills 11 rooms with fascinating gadgets electrical and mechanical from the 1750s through the 1950s. Six rooms are devoted to permanent exhibits, which include an early 20th-century kitchen and general store, an early auto workshop, and garage, and a fully operative print shop. The other five rooms are dedicated to the museum’s rotating exhibit Vintage Toys: It’s Child’s Play!, on display now through February 17, 2019.

Address: 351 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto, California

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It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker Returns

December 3, 2018

This brilliant and heartwarming production combines key themes and motifs from two Yuletide favorites, Frank Capra’s cinematic sensation It’s a Wonderful Life and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker. Dancers pirouette, glide, and leap across the stage to a musical arrangement that effortlessly blends Tchaikovsky’s exquisite original score with the out-of-this-world jazz stylings of the masterful Duke Ellington. Prepare to laugh, gasp, and cry as your heart is warmed as only true holiday cheer can. The whole show runs about two hours, including one intermission, and is perfect for both kids and adults.

Address: 555 Middlefield Rd, Atherton, CA 94027

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Kepler’s Books: A Literary and Cultural Institution

November 5, 2018

Roy Kepler founded the store in 1955, and within a few years, it had become the literary hub for Stanford faculty and students and other community intellectuals. Joan Baez and Jerry Garcia liked to hang out there in the 1960s to discuss books, art, and political action with like-minded revolutionaries, and over the subsequent decades, the countercultural vibe continued to thrive. Today, Kepler’s is divided into two complementary entities, the shop itself, which is community-owned and for-profit, and the Kepler’s Literary Foundation, a non-profit entity that brings together artists, authors, and other innovators to give lectures, interviews, workshops, seminars, and more for the benefit of anyone interested in the arts, sciences, and current events. See what literary or cultural luminary is scheduled to visit during your stay with us, or just drop by to browse the eclectic collection of quirky and hard-to-find titles you never knew you couldn’t live without.

Address: 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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