Although Palo Alto is technically in Santa Clara County, its proximity to Menlo Park and San Mateo County is reason to include it here. Just 35 miles south of San Francisco and 14 miles north of San Jose, it is best known as home to Stanford University.

The campus is the biggest attraction, but there is much more to explore in Palo Alto. The city was established by Leland Stanford, who founded the university contemporaneously. A preponderance of high-tech companies are headquartered here, including Hewlett-Packard, Tesla and Space Systems/Loral. Palo Alto has a 31-mile dark fiber ring for ultra-fast internet access to meet the expectations of its tech-savvy residents.

As a hub of technology, employment, innovation and education, Palo Alto is also a transportation hub. Two major freeways, Highway 101 and Interstate 280, Caltrain, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the busiest single-runway general aviation airport in the nation all offer accessibility. In addition, almost 10 percent of its residents bicycle to work, one of the Bay Area’s highest percentages.

With all its notoriety in the world of technology, Palo Alto still maintains an abundance of charm and and its citizens enjoy great pride of place. More than 26 square miles of open space and 34 parks are in the mix, and an array of neighborhood organizations benefit the city’s prosperity. A tour of the tree-lined residential streets includes some of the costliest real estate in the country.

Other distinguished points of interest include Frenchman’s Tower on Old Page Mill Road, the Digital DNA egg-shaped sculpture downtown and David Packard’s garage, the historical birthplace of Silicon Valley.