Enclosed malls are the standard these days in cities and suburbs all over the country. But an outdoor shopping mall, beautifully landscaped and sprinkled and blessed with dappled sunshine, is what makes a shopping trip to a California mall a real pleasure. Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto is a fine example, where University Avenue, a pretty downtown thoroughfare, is an added bonus.
Let’s go to the mall
Stanford Shopping Center is a beautifully landscaped open air mall which takes advantage of local weather conditions: more than 300 days without rain and not an inch of snow for 50 years. It’s located on the doorstep of its landowner, Stanford University. Home to the first Apple retail store and the first Victoria’s Secret, the upscale shopping center has a Stanford University logo shop, free Wi-Fi and a free mobile app to guide visitors to sales, events, and locations. Department and fashion stores include Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s. You can find some great items like thin wallet, fancy bags, stylish outfit and even amazing jewelries. This mall has got it all for you. You can find here almost everything you need. So if you want to go shopping all day, this place is definitely the best for you. Most stores open at 10:00 a.m. six days a week until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. on weekday evenings, until 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and open at 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 noon on Sundays through closing at 6:00 p.m.
When hunger pangs arise
Being a fashionista is hard work and requires a bit of nourishment now and then. Light and casual dining at the likes of La Baguette and Starbucks is handy, or hover close to the shopping floor at Nordstrom’s or Neiman’s own caf├⌐s. Try P.F. Chang’s or Yucca de Lac for Asian cuisine, Fleming’s Steakhouse amp; WIne Bar for American, Chipotle’s for Mexican, or some good old pizza and a froyo.
We can always go downtown
Don’t care for shopping centers? Head for University Avenue, a pedestrian-friendly street, its trees strung with pretty white lights beside plenty of caf├⌐s and restaurants and a few shops. Many are frequented by undergraduate and graduate students, about 15,000 in all attending the nearby university. Yes, of course there is another Apple store; this is the town where Steve Jobs lived. Look for free two or three hour parking in the town lots and garages. California Avenue is Palo Alto’s smaller shopping street with some inexpensive ethnic restaurants located adjacent to the California Avenue Caltrain stop.
How to get there
Palo Alto is about 33 miles from San Francisco, depending on one’s starting point in the city. Two major freeways, Route 101 and Route 280 lead south to Palo Alto. Caltrain stops hourly at University Avenue, where the main downtown shopping district begins on the other side of a pedestrian underpass. Visitors headed for the mall can pick up the complimentary Marguerite Shuttle for the short local journey by bus. Alternatively, the walk is only 10 minutes, but does involve crossing over a busy road at the traffic lights.