Things to do nearby

Silicon Valley Semester students live adjacent to Stanford University near Sand Hill Road on the border of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, CA. This neighborhood in Palo Alto is a mostly residential area that lies between San Jose, the second largest city in California, and San Francisco. Palo Alto and Menlo Park are known for their tree-lined streets and for being the home of many well known Bay Area companies, including Facebook, Tesla, Hewlett Packard, and VMWare. The nearby town of Atherton is particularly notable for its large, gated mansions that are home to some of Silicon Valley’s most notable celebrities, including Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Steph Curry, and Paul Allen.

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You will have no shortage of outdoor spaces to explore and things to see here. Below are some recommendations for things to see and do in the area. We encourage you to explore beyond this list, but here are some suggestions:

Where to get groceries

Safeway (15 min walk)

This is the largest grocery store in the area and it will almost certainly contain all that you need. It’s similar to Kroger and a good one-stop shop for all your basic needs.

Safeway (30 min walk)

This Safeway is larger and some items are priced lower than the location listed above, but this one is farther from the student apartments.

Sigona's Market (20 min walk)

A great store for fresh produce located in the Stanford Shopping Center

Trader Joe’s (35 min walk)

Popular store with many frozen options and a cheap selection of unique groceries. Students and residents in South Bend complain that there’s no Trader’s Joe’s near them, but you can go any time you want and rub it in their faces!

Draeger’s Market (30 min walk)

A great local store with many unique artisan goods and premade foods. It’s definitely not an ideal place to spend your money on a college student’s budget, but check it out for an occasional splurge.

Whole Foods (40 min walk)

A good place to shop if you’re looking for a store with a robust selection of natural and organic items.

Downtown Palo Alto Farmers’ Market (40 min walk)

Open every Saturday morning with a large selection of fruits, vegetables, and handmade goods from many vendors. Many local celebrities have been spotted at the market, including Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg.

Where to walk

Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton, are acclaimed for their walkable tree-lined streets and well-designed bicycle paths. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but merely a starting place for exploring your neighborhood. Please note that many streets in Menlo Park and Atherton do not have traditional sidewalks. You are required by local ordinance to walk/jog against traffic in these situations, never walking with more than 2 people in a row when traffic is oncoming. If you are riding a bike, always ride with traffic and use designated bike lanes whenever possible.

Suggested Walking Routes

Stanford University walking routes

City of Palo Alto library walking routes

Hiking around Palo Alto

Palo Alto historic walking routes

Menlo College Campus Map

Menlo Park Safe Routes to School

This great program is intended for students seeking safe routes to school on streets with well defined sidewalks and bicycle lanes, it can serve as an excellent guide and inspiration for walking routes throughout the town.

Where to get a cup of coffee

Coupa Cafe

Local cafe with multiple locations. Royce Branning ‘18 recommends the Palo Alto-Ramona location, where startup founders and tech entrepreneurs can often be seen working on their next products and overheard making deals.



Peet’s Coffee

Where to eat

Palo Alto


Curry Pizza House

Ike’s Sandwiches (ND favorite)

 Local Union 271

Oren's Hummus

Salt and Straw (ND favorite)



Menlo Park

Cafe Borrone

Celia’s (Mexican)

The Dutch Goose (pub fare)

The Refuge (sandwiches and pub fare)


Where to shop

Stanford Shopping Center

Sharon Heights Shopping Center

Where to worship

St Raymond Catholic Church

Catholic Community at Stanford University

St. Dominic’s Catholic Church

Congregation Etz Chayim

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

Palo Alto Buddhist Temple

Sunnyvale Hindu Temple and Community Center

Yaseen Foundation, the Muslim Community Association of the Peninsula