The Stanford Park Journal

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

SnowFest 2021: Bringing You the Best Deals on Cutting-Edge Gear

SnowFest 2021: Bringing You the Best Deals on Cutting-Edge Gear

November 4, 2021

Though autumn has only just begun, winter sports devotees are already fantasizing about icy temps and first snowfall. On Sunday, November 14, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., SnowFest 2021 returns to Sports Basement in nearby Redwood City, giving you the chance to peruse and purchase all the latest boards, bindings, boots, skis, apparel, and other gear at deep discounts from top brands like Arbor, Burton, Flux, Helly Hansen, Oakley, Roxy, and many others.

Though autumn has only just begun, winter sports devotees are already fantasizing about icy temps and first snowfall. On Sunday, November 14, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., SnowFest 2021 returns to Sports Basement in nearby Redwood City, giving you the chance to peruse and purchase all the latest boards, bindings, boots, skis, apparel, and other gear at deep discounts from top brands like Arbor, Burton, Flux, Helly Hansen, Oakley, Roxy, and many others. Representatives of more than 40 winter athletic brands will be in attendance to answer all your questions, and you’ll also be able to enter a raffle to win amazing prizes. Athletes of all ability levels will find something to make this season on the slopes that much sweeter. Once you’ve taken advantage of all the wintry deals, head back to The Stanford Park Hotel, where you can kick back and warm yourself with a signature craft cocktail from Menlo Tavern.

Address: 202 Walnut St, Redwood City, CA 94063

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A Visit to the Cantor Arts Center

A Visit to the Cantor Arts Center

October 22, 2021

You know what they say: when in Stanford, do as the students do. This doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the books and writing research papers, though. It means immersing yourself in a space built for study and contemplation. 

One of the easiest—and most exciting—ways to do this is a visit to the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford’s primary hub of artistic appreciation and a home to over 5,000 years of fresh perspectives in art. 

From a renowned collection of Rodin bronze sculptures to paintings from 17th century Italy, the pieces on display at the Cantor Arts Center are as diverse and thought-provoking as they are beautiful to look at. Alongside the year-round collections, seasonal exhibitions curated by the dedicated staff at Stanford provide glimpses into new and exciting frontiers in the art community. The temporary exhibition “Paper Chase: Ten Years of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Cantor” is on display until January 30, 2022 and features a range of never-before-seen acquisitions, including works by major artists from all over the world, from Mexico to Mali.

The Cantor Arts Center is free for all guests and officially open at 100% capacity. Reserve your all-day ticket today!  

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The Charming Cacti of Stanford University

The Charming Cacti of Stanford University

September 2, 2021

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent much of your life thinking of the cactus as a more or less plain stump uncongenial to sitting. 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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Kepler’s Books: A Community-Based Vision for the Future

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

August 6, 2021

Nestled in the heart of Menlo Park, Kepler’s Books is much more than a neighborhood bookstore. It’s a cultural institution and a pioneering vision for the future.

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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The Central Park Summer Concert Series

The Central Park Summer Concert Series

July 5, 2021

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  warm 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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Road Trip Republic

June 4, 2021

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 the 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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Northern California’s Best Open-Air Shopping

May 11, 2021

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 Apple, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Cartier, Coach, Hermes, J. 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 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 8, 2021

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 Year of the Ox

February 1, 2021

Chinatown San Francisco typically stages the most spectacular New Year celebration outside of Asia. The streets resound with the beat of a hundred drums, the sky is aglow with thousands of firecrackers, and more than a million revelers join together to marvel at the procession of costume-clad children, ferocious lion dancers, and the one-of-a-kind 268-foot Golden Dragon, operated by a hundred martial-arts trained experts.

Instead this year, there will be a televised special and a few smaller events open to the public, including the chance to see floats up close and life-size statues of oxen placed around town, similar to the “Hearts in San Francisco” art installation. No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wish you a very happy and healthy Chinese New Year!

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

January 4, 2021

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 exhibits. Check out their website to see what's showing during your stay in Menlo Park. 

Address: 351 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto, California

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Northern California's Ultimate Shopping Destination

November 10, 2020

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 casual at Gourmet Franks, which serves the best tasting all-beef, chicken, and 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 & Wine Bar. And even if you leave your holiday shopping list 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

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Take A Virtual Tour of Stanford University

October 7, 2020

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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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

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

Since 2011, the Menlowe Ballet has dazzled Bay Area audiences with performances that blend traditional and contemporary styles, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the art of dance, from the most ardent lovers of classical ballet to the as-yet uninitiated and even a bit skeptical. 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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Menlo Park’s Family-Friendly Halloween Festivities

October 7, 2019

Every year, on the Saturday before Halloween, Menlo Park hosts Halloween Hoopla, a family-friendly celebration of everyone’s favorite day for ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and of course, candy. 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

A quick 15-minute drive from the Stanford Park Hotel, Dragon Productions Theatre Company of Redwood City has been delighting audiences with bold, innovative performances for years. 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

What could be as quintessentially Californian as a glass of wine or a relaxing drive through the gorgeous countryside? 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

If you’re looking for family-friendly outdoor entertainment this summer, we highly recommend the Central Park Summer Concert Series, which takes place in the nearby city of Fremont against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Elizabeth. 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

Inspired by the art guilds they visited during their European travels, Delight and Garfield Merner were determined to establish a similar guild for the benefit of talented local artists back home in California. 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, sculptures, 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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