Palo Alto, California
We asked Peter Walters, front office manager at Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, to gather the savviest sightseeing suggestions he could find—not just his own but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel. Home to Stanford University and a prime location for technology companies, Palo Alto also offers a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities. Vintage architecture, fine dining and shopping, and a vibrant arts community are all part of the local scene.
The Santa Cruz Mountains give Napa Valley healthy competition by boasting a number of fine wineries. Among them, Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards produces Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Merlots and Cabernets, and Ridge Vineyards has an impressive Zinfandel collection and a classy Monte Bello. Both offer amazing views. Sample many local wines at downtown Palo Alto’s Vino Locale, a restaurant dedicated to locally produced wines (with tastings) and food.
Cielo and Blu, two sister boutiques next door to each other on collegiate University Avenue, have a selection of hip, fashionable clothing for women. Guys: Head for Zegna at the nearby, beautifully landscaped Stanford Shopping Center to get your suits lined with outrageous fabrics. Find all things authentically French for bed, bath and table at très elegant (and wonderfully fragrant) Yves Delorme in Menlo Park.
Night on the Town
Joya Restaurant is a perfect place to begin your evening. Sip their signature sangria in a large lounge area with a heady see-and-be-seen atmosphere. Nola captures the fun-loving Big Easy vibe with colourful décor and its signature Hurricane (a killer rum-and-fruit-juice concoction). And for late-night dancing, check out The Patio at Rudy’s.
For chi-chi French cuisine in a cosy bistro ambience, head to Palo Alto’s Café Brioche; try the house-made duck confit or succulent boeuf bourguignon—or if you’re in the mood for authentic French crêpes and a café au lait, you’ll want Bistro Maxine (one dish pictured) downtown. In nearby bucolic Woodside, The Village Pub features fresh, local ingredients from 17-acre (6.5-hectare) farm SMIP Ranch, a few miles west of Woodside, as well as a great wine list and special pub fare. Stanford students and other locals hang out at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, with its sunny terrace and delectable array of coffees, sandwiches and pastries.