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Area Guide

Stanford University, Golden Gate Bridge and More at Our Hotel Doorstep

Iconic attractions, fantastic restaurants and a world-class university – it’s all just moments away when you stay at The Zen Hotel, located in Palo Alto, California.

Our tranquil hotel is set at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay area, which makes us the ideal place to stay if you’re traveling for business, leisure or visiting students at nearby Stanford University. No matter why you’re here, you’ll have no problem finding an array of remarkable things to see and do.

Take a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, stroll through the stunning Fioli Gardens or explore Monterey Bay. You’ll also be near an array of fine restaurants and fun bars and nightclubs.

If you have any questions about area attractions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Some of the attractions within easy reach of our hotel include:


Stanford Shopping Center

The Stanford Shopping Center is the Bay Area's premier shopping destination. Located on the north end of the Stanford University campus. This well-known shopping Center features 140 world-class stores, restaurants, and cafes. Discover an exceptional retail mix including Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's and Macy's Men's Store, plus Gleim the Jeweler, Tiffany & Co., Polo-Ralph Lauren, Coach, Bally, Armani, MaxMara, Kenneth Cole and Arthur Beren.


Filoli Gardens

A geometric garden of terraces, paths, pools, lawns, shrubs, trees, and ornamental flower beds, Filoli Gardens is nestled in the foothills of the Coastal Range on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Six Flags® Marine World

Just 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, Six Flags Marine World is the only combination of wildlife park and oceanarium in the country. Animals of land, sea, and air are highlighted in spectacular shows and innovative attractions.

Golden Gate Bridge

The orange towers of the Golden Gate Bridge — perhaps the best-loved symbol of San Francisco — are visible from almost every high point in the city. The bridge, which spans 4,200 ft., had taken only 52 months to design and build when it was opened in 1937.

San Francisco

You will be captivated by the extraordinary charm and character of San Francisco and its many communities - Pacific Heights, Richmond District, South of Market, Nob Hill, North Beach, The Marina, Mission District, Haight-Ashbury, the East Bay communities, and many eclectic neighborhoods. San Francisco offers a diversity of arts, attractions, nightclubs, museums, art galleries, restaurants, festivals, entertainment, and sightseeing tours. Experience all the highlights including Twin Peaks, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, the San Francisco Zoo, Union Square, and the city's cavalier ambiance.

Elizabeth F. Gamble House and Gardens

Located in Palo Alto, this Colonial Georgian house built in 1902 is set on a 2.3-acre estate. Bequeathed by Elizabeth F. Gamble to the city of Palo Alto, it's now a non-profit community horticultural foundation, featuring formal and working gardens.

Shoreline Amphitheater

Experience the country's largest outdoor concert venue, featuring top music artists and concerts, plus the latest technical and visual sound systems.

Paramount's Great America

Experience the exhilarating rides and hair-raising roller coasters at Northern California's most thrilling theme park. Paramount's Great America offers fun and exciting rides, shows, concerts, characters, and beautiful sights above the park on Eagles Flight.

Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

Fun and learning go together for children and their families in the displays and mini-zoo of the Palo Alto Junior Museum. The zoo houses raccoons, bobcats, ferrets, tortoises, geese, and lots of snakes. 1451 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

Hoover Tower

This 285-foot landmark offers views of Stanford University, the foothills, and the Santa Clara Valley. The Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover rooms contain documents and memorabilia from Hoover’s lives and travels.

Stanford University Library

Stanford University boasts a number of unique campus libraries, including the Art & Architecture Library, the Auxiliary Library and the Biology Library.

Monterey Bay

Offering 29 miles of coastline, Santa Cruz is a lively port for fun and exploration — a playground for both sea life and land-kind. Adventure into the vibrant Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the world's largest protected ocean habitat.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)

Stanford University has operated this 426-acre facility since 1962, including a two mile-long linear accelerator, for the U.S. Department of Energy.

United States Geological Survey

Learn about natural science through tours and hands-on experiences. Menlo Park.


Self-guided tours of the Professorville neighborhood are available with the help of a brochure with listings of many of the famous houses and descriptions of various style homes built before 1920. Palo Alto.


Palo Alto Players

The Peninsula's oldest theater company, the Palo Alto Players has been producing quality live theatre in Palo Alto since 1931. Based at the Lucie Stern Theater, built in 1933, the Palo Alto Players produces a season of comedies, dramas, classics and musicals from September to June. Audiences and participants come from all over the Bay Area to be a part of Palo Alto Players productions.

West Bay Opera

Housed in Palo Alto's very own Lucie Stern Theatre, West Bay Opera is the second oldest opera company in California.

The Palo Alto Children's Theater

From its inception in 1932, the Palo Alto Children's Theatre program has provided innovative programming for young people of the community and teaches them the value of performing arts.

Pacific Arts League

Since 1921, the Pacific Arts League has been a gathering place and source of inspiration and instruction in fine arts. The Pacific Arts League's mission is to promote the understanding, appreciation, and creation of art as a means to enrich the lives of our communities and to make art a part of the fabric of society.

Palo Alto Arts Festival

This community-friendly, high-art event in late August attracts over 100,000 people every year from throughout the West Coast.

Stanford University

Built in 1891 in memory of Leland Stanford, Jr., Stanford University covers 8,180 beautiful acres, centered around the "quad," a complex of classrooms and offices in early-California style.

Stanford Lively Arts

Stanford Lively Arts believes in exploration, creativity, and passion. Now in their 34th year at Stanford University, they invite audiences to explore a full season of classical and world music, dance, and spoken word performances by world-famous artists as well as astounding newcomers.

Museums And Collections

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts

After its 10-year closure by earthquake damage, the Cantor Museum at Stanford has been renovated, expanded, and reopened as the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts.

Intel Museum

At the Intel Museum, visitors are immersed in the micro-miniature world of computer chips as they learn how they are designed, manufactured, and placed into thousands of products in our everyday world.

The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation is an educational resource established to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives, and to inspire the young to become innovators in the technologies of the future.

Museum of American Heritage

351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto. Experience a visual exploration of technology's past. MOAH features rotating special exhibits as well as permanent displays, including a kitchen of the early 20th century, a doctor's examining room, early 20th-century general store, print shop of the 1920s-'30s, radio shop of the '40s, and historic gardens undergoing preservation.

Palo Alto Art Center

1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto. A nationally recognized visual arts center presenting approximately 12 exhibitions annually, the Palo Alto Art Center focuses on a wide range of concepts; contemporary fine art, craft, design, and new art forms.

USS Hornet Museum

Visit the San Francisco Bay Area's most unique museum, the USS Hornet, a ship that affected the course of history. The aircraft carrier USS Hornet is a national treasure, having participated in World War II and the Apollo 11 manned space mission.

Children's Discovery Museum Of San Jose

The Children's Discovery Museum opened its doors in June 1990. Since then, the Museum has welcomed over 2.5 million visitors and has offered new interactive exhibits each year that respond to children's diverse educational needs, nurture their cognitive development, and celebrate their role in our lives.

Wineries Sonoma County Wineries and Wine Tours

Just one hour north of San Francisco, home to vineyards, redwood groves, and the wild Sonoma coast, Sonoma County features beautiful regions, award-winning wineries and wine-tasting tours, and gourmet food.

Napa Valley Wineries

Vineyards and wineries in these regions offer excellent vine varieties, wine-tasting tours and sightseeing excursions, tasting rooms, spas, shops and wine festivals.

Napa Valley Wine Train

One of the world's most enchanting rail experiences - a 3 hour scenic adventure through the heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country. From the moment you enter the Wine Train's Station, you begin a threefold adventure - a return to the gracious era of elegant rail travel with distinguished service, deliciously crafted cuisine and a complete wine experience. A champagne brunch, gourmet lunch and an exquisite full-course dinner offer you a delicious and relaxing journey through the heart of Napa Valley's picturesque vineyards and past award-winning wineries.

Fogarty Winery

Thomas Fogarty Winery invites you to experience "the flavors of the fruit" from its beautiful mountain winery.

Byington Vineyard & Winery

Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains with weeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Byington provides the perfect setting for sipping wines or celebrating special occasions.


San Francisco Giants

Catch Giant fever! Spend a day enjoying America's favorite pastime with the defending National League West champions a hot dog for good measure.

San Jose Sharks

The exciting San Jose Sharks play 41 season games. Having taken San Jose by storm, the game of hockey and the hometown team combine for the ultimate "powerplay."

AT&T Park

With its breathtaking views and classic design, AT&T Park received rave reviews throughout the country as one of the smash hits of 2000.

Stanford University Athletic Department

No athletic department in the country can boast the kind of success that Stanford University has accomplished since the 1980s - NCAA team champions, NCAA individual champions, and Olympic medalists. The Stanford University Athlete program has achieved victory throughout the world capturing championships.

Golf Courses

Palo Alto Golf Course

The Palo Alto Golf Course is located east of Highway 101 at 1875 Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto. The golf facility consists of a recently renovated 18-hole championship length course, lighted driving range, full-service restaurant and bar, fully stocked golf shop, practice putting green area, and golf carts with canopy tops.

Shoreline Golf Links

Located adjacent to San Francisco Bay in the City of Mountain View, California, Shoreline Golf Links is an eighteen-hole, championship-level golf course.

Stanford University Golf Course

The Stanford University Golf Course was designed in 1930 by renowned golf course architects William Bell and George C. Thomas, Jr. Located in the foothills above the Stanford University Campus, the golf course is consistently rated one of the finest courses in the world.