Palo Alto, California

Technology and education make up the core of Palo Alto, California, a city in Santa Clara County near the San Francisco Bay. Palo Alto, with its population of about 64,400 people, boasts some of the most educated residents in the country, as well as a higher cost of living to reside there than in most other United States cities.

The first residents of the Palo Alto area were actually members of the Ohlone tribe, as noted by explorer Gaspar de Portola in 1769. Palo Alto was named for the El Palo Alto redwood tree, a two-trunked tree that still partially exists in El Palo Alto Park. The heritage of Palo Alto is inherently Spanish in nature, and therefore many of the street and area names for different parts of the city reflect that history.Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

One highly unique aspect of Palo Alto is the presence of multiple different kinds of natural habitats, including an oak forest, an estuary and a riparian zone. All of these different habitats can be found in Foothill Park, a city owned area that is the site of many different local celebrations throughout the year.

Like much of California, Palo Alto is situated in a Mediterranean climate. This means the city typically has cool, moisture rich winter months and summer months that are dry and warm. Due to Palo Alto's proximity to the mountains, it is not unusual for a thick fog to cover the sky in the evening and trap heat during the summer months. Also due to its proximity to the Santa Cruz Mountain range, Palo Alto generally lacks in the area of rainfall, receiving only about 15 inches, on average, each year.

Palo Alto is a huge economic center for all of Silicon Valley, and more than 7,000 businesses and shops can be found within its taxing area. Some of the most prestigious businesses in Palo Alto include Tesla Motors, Hewlett-Packard, CPI Industries, Palantir Technologies and Xerox. AOL Inc., BMW Technology, Lockheed Martin, The Wall Street Journal and Groupon also have a large presence with subsidiary locations in Palo Alto.

On the education front, Palo Alto is home to Stanford University, a private research facility that is made up of seven different schools encompassing humanities and sciences, earth sciences, business, education, engineering, medicine and law. Many professors call Palo Alto home, and there are a number of shopping centers, grocery stores and other dining and merchandise establishments to help cater to the huge number of educators and students in the city.


Oakland, California

Oakland, California, the city across the bay from San Francisco, is a tourist attraction in its own right. Oakland is a city rich in history and a haven for well-known personalities.

Oakland, California is a major center for transportation and commerce. The railroad was established in the 1860's and the city grew into a major port, busy shipyards as well as a thriving auto industry made the city what it is now. Today the city is home to some great sports teams, corporate offices and many internet connected companies. The shipping port is the fifth largest in the entire world. The population of Oakland is about 397,000, the 8th largest city in the United States.
Oakland, California
Oakland was claimed by the Conquistadors in the late 1700's. The entire area was deeded by the King of Spain to Luis Maria Peralta. When Mexico won its freedom from Spain the grant was confirmed by the newly formed Mexican government. The area so full of beautiful oak trees was eventually inherited by one of the four sons of Peralta. He opened the area for loggers, traders, and settlers. Many settlers came from San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake to resettle in Oakland.

Oakland has many tourist attractions to draw visitors to their city. The climate of the city is more like a city in the Mediterranean with sunny days most of the year. The fog that rolls in from the ocean gives a cooling to the city in the late afternoon.

Jack London Square is one of the many tourist spots especially for fine dining and nightlife. Jack London Square, considered the cultural hub of the city has many noteworthy places to visit. The First and Last Chance Saloon is a building that leans because of the earthquake in 1906 but still open for business and tremendously popular. Live music is an integral part of the Square and is home to Yoshi's Jazz Club. The Paramount Theater is the picture of art deco grandeur. You will not want to miss Chinatown for ethnic dining and the many shops you will find there.

Stay an extra day to visit the Chabot Space Center. It features a space flight simulator and a 250-seat Planetarium. It has hands on exhibits year round and one of the largest public telescopes in the United States.

Include Oakland, California as a must-see city when you visit the San Francisco Bay Area. You will not be sorry you took the time to see it.


Santa Rosa, California

Located 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, California is the largest city in Sonoma County with a population of 167,000, and it occupies the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Originally home to the Pomo, Miwok, and Wappo Indians, the area was later settled by the Spanish, who were its first European settlers, in the early 1800s. As people rushed to California in search of gold in the mid 1800's, many found that they could find commercial success by settling the area and farming the fertile soils of Santa Rosa. The region enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with wet, cool winters and warm, dry summers.
Santa Rosa, California
Today, Santa Rosa offers a variety of activities that appeal to virtually all visitors. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy a unique local art and culture scene, shopping, beautiful landscape, outdoor recreation, fine dining, festivals, and excellent wineries. With more than 100 parks and recreation areas, Santa Rosa is an excellent destination for outdoors enthusiasts and families. From state and local parks to biking, jogging trails, and lakes, individuals and groups of travelers are sure to find a way to connect with the natural surroundings. Many groups offer biking and even motorcycle tours through the region, and the popular and scenic Pacific Coast Highway is just minutes away. Outdoor adventurists can also enjoy zip line tours and rappelling, and it is even possible to get an aerial view of the less accessible landscape of some of the wineries by helicopter.

Offering an array of malls, boutiques, and outlets, Santa Rosa appeals to a wide range of shoppers. In the downtown area, consumers can peruse three shopping districts that offer a retail experience with a charming historical ambiance. Bargain hunters can find numerous deals at shopping centers, thrift stores, and discount outlets throughout the city. For travelers wishing to enjoy the arts, Santa Rosa offers a theater, numerous galleries, a local symphony, and art center. Families may enjoy skating at the ice arena or seeing wild African animals while touring the Safari West theme park.

With its attractive climate, diverse history, and exciting recreational and cultural offerings, Santa Rosa is an enticing destination for travelers of all ages.


San Jose, California

There are many exciting things to see and do while visiting Northern California. The region offers visitors warm summers and mild winters. It also offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy mountains, forests, cities, and the ocean. One popular destination is the city of San Jose.

San Jose is the largest city in the Northern California region. It is located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area. San Jose is the third largest city in the state and was the original capital of California. It was founded in 1777 as the first civilian town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California. The local townspeople and farmers supplies the local military bases with food and other necessities.
San Jose State University, California
This beautiful and historical city has much to offer its visitors. There are a variety of exciting adventures waiting to happen. People who enjoy outdoor activities can find a wide array of things to do. These activities include hiking, biking, and various watersports. Zoos, aquariums, and gardens are also located around the city to enjoy as well.

People who enjoy shopping, dining, and sightseeing can also enjoy a wide array of things to see and do. The city is home to hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and bistros. There are also hundreds of stores, shops, and boutiques to browse and shop in. Santana Row is a popular destination for shopping and dining.

There are also several museums, theme parks, and other exciting places to visit in San Jose. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium is a popular destination for many visitors. The Tech Museum and Museum of Art are also popular destinations. San Jose is also home to California’s Great America. Visitors can also enjoy several theaters, the Opera, and the Ballet while visiting the area.

Traveling to, and through, San Jose is another reason why the area is so popular. There are three major airports in the Bay area, including the Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport. There are also three commuter rail lines that pass through this area. San Jose is also a popular city for people who enjoy walking and biking as means of transportation.


Napa, California

Napa, California is the Napa County seat, making it the de facto co-capital of California’s wine country. Sonoma in Sonoma County shares the honor. In this two-county Wine Country, there are 400 wineries. Organized tours and private cars crowd the roads during summer weekends, but there are times when the County seems more like the quiet area that it was once. Once, wineries simply made wine. Now they attract tourists to see the vineyards and the wine-making process up-close. Wine tastings are common attractions. Top chefs and up-and-coming gourmet cooks prepare meals at wineries, spas, resorts and restaurants.
Sunrise at a vineyard in Napa, California
Outdoor activities are favored in the gentle climate. These include hiking, biking and sightseeing among pygmy forests, petrified forests and other unique wildlife habitats. Hot air ballooning is a favorite activity due to the unique landscape. Many guests come just to relax at the resorts or the spas with natural hot spring baths.

Napa County is the home of the volcano Mount Saint Helens. It is at the north end of the county in the Mayacamas Mountains. Robert Louis Stevenson State Park offers a 5-mile hike to the mountain summit. A popular link is the Napa Valley Wine Train which runs between the city of Napa and the town of St. Helens. Passengers can enjoy expert wining and fine dining while seeing many vineyards and wild areas from the comfort of a train. The Missimer Wildlife Preserve in northern Napa County seeks to protect many rare flowers that are native to the area.

Napa is home to 75,000 of the 125,000 residents of Napa County. This population is somewhat small by California standards. The city is over 18 square miles. The Napa River and Napa Creek wind through the area and end up in the Napa Sonoma Wetland along San Pablo Bay. This rare natural marsh provides refuge to many migratory birds including endangered species. Boating, kayaking and fishing are common activities.

Like the coastal areas just a county away, Napa County boasts a Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm and dry with temperatures in the 80s and occasional 90s. Winters are cool and wet with temperatures ranging from the high 30s to the high 50s. This is a wonderful grape-growing climate. Napa wineries tend to make more red wines, due to these warm summers, while Sonoma County, which enjoys lower summer temperatures, tends to make white wines.


Half Moon Bay, California

Away from the hectic urban life of San Francisco Bay Area lies a true slice of heaven. Half Moon Bay, California is the epitome of seaside living, filled with unparalleled scenery, history and quaintness. This jewel of the West shows its visitors the finest that California has to offer.

One of the first locations in San Mateo County to be developed, Half Moon Bay was, at first, grazing land for animals from a San Francisco mission that was founded in 1776. It was not until the 1840s that land grants were handed out, and the area became known as San Benito. It was quickly renamed Spanishtown due to the large number of Mexican and Spanish-speaking settlers. The gold rush brought large numbers of Americans to the west coast, and, in 1874, the town was renamed again due to its location on the Pacific Ocean’s inlet. Many immigrants moved into the area creating a very diverse population. Half Moon Bay was thriving in the early 1900s because of the Ocean Shore Railway construction, but by 1920 poor financial management forced the railway to cease operation. During Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, Canadian rumrunners found the area’s landscape and sometimes foggy weather perfect for setting up operations. Steady growth from that point forward occurred, and, in 1959, Half Moon Bay was incorporated as a city.Beach at Half Moon Bay, California

The city’s past has been preserved along historic Main Street and is a clever mix of antique shops, boutiques and old and new restaurants offering something for everyone. Farms still occupy much of the acreage in Half Moon Bay, and there is much green space for residents and visitors to enjoy. The breathtaking ocean beaches and vistas are like no other, yet the opposite border along the Santa Cruz mountains and redwoods offers hikers the perfect location to explore. The best of all worlds seems to come together here.

Nature lovers will find Half Moon Bay a rural paradise. From whale watching expeditions on the ocean to bird watching some 300 different species all over the city, visitors will delight in all there is to experience. Visit the wharf and buy fresh fish and seafood right off the fishing boats. Markets can be found everywhere featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables. Ecotourism is thriving here. Farm and winery tours showcasing modern organic methods of operation can be part of your Half Moon Bay adventures.

If you still need another reason to visit, then consider the magnificent climate. Day temperatures rarely rise above 90 and night temps usually do not dip below the mid-50s. Sunshine is prevalent with an occasional misty day from the ocean.


San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California is home to approximately 7.5 million people. It is part of the San Francisco Bay area and is located at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. The Golden Gate is to the north of San Francisco. San Francisco is often called the “Golden City by the Bay”, and is one of the most interesting places to visit.

If you prefer to fly, you can catch a flight directly into San Francisco International Airport, or you can fly into Oakland and take a cab or rent a car. If you are traveling on a budget, you can take the Bay Area Rapid Transit train to get to the city faster and cheaper.
Collage of San Francisco, California
When you get to San Francisco, there is no need to worry with transportation. There are many options to traveling around the city. If you choose to walk around the city, take some comfortable shows and be prepared. San Francisco is a city full of hills so be ready to climb. There are also ferries, electric mini buses, light rail, Segways and the subway system for traveling. Don’t forget that you can always jump on one of the iconic cable cars in San Francisco.

In just a day’s time, you can experience the natural beauty of San Francisco. You will see the beauty that captured the imagination of the world since the Spanish explored California many years ago.

The lovely scenic drive through Monterey is 17 miles long and gives visitors a breathtaking view through the winding coastal mountains. You will ride through several different famous locations. Some of the most spectacular waterfronts are seen from the City by the Bay. You will pass through Santa Cruz and Carmel. While visiting Carmel, take a bit of time to do some seaside exploring, shopping and some of the other various activities here.

The lovely wine country of Sonoma and Napa Valley are a must see when visiting San Francisco. A big contrast from the rugged coast, here you get to see the tall grassy land and rolling hills. The vineyards extend out as far as one can see, which tells you a winery is close by. During your visit, touring the wineries and tasting the excellent wines is something you must do. To complete your tour, take a relaxing cruise right across the bay, missing all the traffic to end your special day.

If you want some relaxing time away from home visiting a place that allows you to join in the fun, hustle and bustle of a big city, come to San Francisco, California.


San Francisco Bay Area, California

The San Francisco Bay Area, California is a collection of cities and metropolitan areas that include the city of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. The Bay Area consists of the East Bay which includes the Port of Oakland, Berkley, Richmond, Alameda, and Contra Costa. The North Bay is the area north of Golden Gate Park which includes Marin County, Sonoma County, and Napa County. The Peninsula includes the city of San Francisco extending to Silicon Valley and includes San Mateo County and Santa Clara County. The actual city of San Francisco is surrounded by water to the north, east, and west and is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States.

Bay Bridge, San Francisco Bay Area, CaliforniaThe economy of San Francisco is vibrant and flourishing. San Francisco is the 4th largest city in California. The Silicon Valley is one of the most technologically advanced regions in the world and includes major companies such as Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, and Hewlett Packard. The San Francisco Bay Area is highly liberal and is perhaps one of the most liberal cities in the United States. The weather of the Bay area is mild for most of the year with cool summers and rainy winters.

Coastal San Francisco is wild and rugged with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. There are countless activities to do along the coast including windsurfing, kayaking, trail walking, biking, and boating. The beaches of the Bay Area include Pebble Beach as well as Half Moon Bay, both of which are located in San Mateo County. Baker Beach and Ocean Beach are lovely places to read a book and soak up some sun. Muir Beach Overlook is also an attraction and is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

The city of San Francisco is bustling with energy. The magnificent Golden Gate Bridge is a sight to see. The festive nightlife and internationally renowned restaurants offer a distinctly urban flair. Visit Fisherman's Wharf for shopping and seafood and then ride a cable car through the downtown area. Visit Alcatraz and see where notorious criminals such as Al Capone were imprisoned. The Haight Ashbury District hosts exceptional architecture while Union Street boasts beautiful Victorians. San Francisco is home to some of the finest museums and galleries in the world. Chinatown is authentic and hosts the largest urban population of Chinese people outside of China itself. San Francisco is rich with culture and history and is a city just waiting to be explored.