Welcome to Palo Alto, CA!

A Brief Introduction to Palo Alto

Palo Alto is a city of approximately 58,575 people, located about 35 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara County. It is a part of the San Francisco Bay metropolitan area, which has a population of five million. The city's boundaries extend from San Francisco Bay on the east to the Skyline Ridge of the coastal mountains on the west.

The City was named for a tall redwood tree under which an early Spanish exploration party camped in 1769. The town of Palo Alto was officially named in 1892. When the city was incorporated in 1894, its 370 residents were governed by an elected board of trustees. Palo Altans adopted their first charter in 1909, when the city's population was 4,000. It provided for an elected City Council of 15 members. Chartered cities may establish their own laws and regulations as long as they do not conflict with those of the state. Palo Alto's municipal code supports its charter.

Palo Alto is a unique residential community with about 25,000 housing units. Its schools, parks, recreational and cultural facilities are outstanding. The city has over 25 parks totaling more than 3,300 acres, two community centers, six libraries, a municipal swimming pool, Cultural Center, Community Theatre, Children's Theatre and Junior Museum. The Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center is dedicated to nature education and preservation of the city's salt marsh. Palo Alto is also a major employment center with about 75,000 jobs. The high technology industry has its roots in Palo Alto, partly because of the presence of Stanford University adjacent to the city.

The City of Palo Alto participates in the International Sister City Program and has sister city relationships with Oaxaca, Mexico; PALO, Leyte, Philippines; Enschede, The Netherlands; Linkoping, Sweden; and Albi, France. Neighbors Abroad is the community organization that administers the Sister City Program for Palo Alto.

Town of Palo Alto

Chamber of Commerce