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Top Rated Attractions in Palo Alto

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Stanford Theatre

This throwback to old Hollywood cinemas and glamor is a great place to see a film just like it was intended to be viewed, in a big theater with a large audience. Stanford Theatre with its neo-classical Greek/Assyrian architecture picks a classic film between the 1920s through the 1960s every week. The movie watching here becomes more of an event than your typical cinema experience.

Bryant Street Gallery

Bryant Street Gallery offers for sale a variety of paintings, sculptures and photography by local Bay Area artists in addition to other American artists. They occasionally hold artists' receptions when new exhibits are installed so visitors can meet the artist. Even if you aren't in the market to purchase a work of art, visitors are welcome to just browse. The gallery also offers framing services.

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden

The Elizabeth Gamble Garden is a 2.5-acre (one hectare) property that includes a historic Victorian home, carriage house, tea house, a gazebo, and formal and demonstration gardens. The garden is home to fruit trees, a herb garden, several varieties of irises, perennials, roses, wisterias and a Mediterranean garden. If you come at just the right time of year, you may even see the garden at the peak of its cherry blossom season! Home gardening classes taught by master gardeners are offered throughout the year, and tours are available for groups of eight or more who call in advance; the property is also a popular site for weddings and wedding receptions. Admission is free to the public every day during daylight hours, though the office is only open during weekdays.

Enid Pearson-Arastradero Preserve

A fabulous mix of undulating savanna grassland and evergreen forests, Enid Pearson-Arastradero Preserve teems with wildlife and natural bounty. Hugging the Arastradero Lake, the grassy knolls and hills make way for forested areas and nature trails. Much favored among bikers and hikers, most of the trails in the park are open through the year. Mountain lions, bobcats and deer are found aplenty here, so are many species of birds that flock around its pristine water bodies.

Baylands Nature Preserve

The Baylands Nature Preserve is known for its birdwatching and is considered one of the best birdwatching areas on the West Coast, offering both tidal and fresh water habitats. This park boasts of a total of 1940 acres (785 hectares) of swampland, which is the largest tract of undisturbed swampland remaining in the Bay Area, and 15 miles (24 kilometers) of trails. Besides birdwatching, visitors can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking or windsurfing in the ponds and lakes. Educational signs have been put up in place to educate visitors about natural habitats. Kids will love Baylands too as it is home to the Palo Alto Duck Pond and the trails too vary in difficulty levels. This park is open daily from 8a till sunset.

Palo Alto Children's Theatre

The Palo Alto Children's Theatre is run by the City of Palo Alto as part of the Lucie Stern Community Center. The program began in 1932 as part of the Mayor's Committee for Unemployment Relief. Today, the theater is both a performance venue and educational space for young people aged from four to 24 to enjoy and learn about theater arts. During the summer, the theater runs an outdoor series entitled Hot Dog Suppertime Shows, where families can enjoy an hour-long show and bring a picnic or purchase hot dogs and other barbecue items. Their shows appeal to a wide variety of audiences, from young to old, musical or dramatic. Past productions have included Hansel and Gretel, Charlotte's Web, Lord of the Flies, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. For information about current shows, call the box office or check their website.

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