The city of Palo Alto has greater than 4,500 acres of parks, perfect for enjoying time in the sun and shade. These well-appointed parks provide something for everyone, so regardless of the activities you like, you will be sure to enjoy at least one (if not more) of the parks in Palo Alto.
There are 28 neighborhood parks that each offer unique attractions, ranging from a communal vegetable patch at Eleanor Pardee Park in the Crescent Park neighborhood to live donkeys at Cornelis Bol Park in Barron Park. Of course, many standard park amenities can also be found, such as tennis and basketball courts, picnic tables, and playing fields. Parks in Palo Alto are essential to the beauty and appeal of the city; they are as much a part of the DNA of the city as Stanford University, or downtown’s exciting University Avenue.
Palo Alto has recently approved a new plan for Palo Alto’s parks which is going to make the park system even better. The new plan is called the Parks, Trails, Natural Space, and Recreation Master Plan, an initiative that will be implemented over the next 20 years. Features that vary from dog runs to pickleball courts will be added to many of the parks around the city, enhancing the ever-growing charm of Palo Alto as a place where you can live, work, and raise children.
There is, however, one part of the plan that will affect some people in a less expected way. Companies that would like to rent a park for any period of time will now have very limited options. This comes along the heels of a community uprising after Palantir, a large company based in Palo Alto, leased sections of Cubberley Community Center for a company function. The action in turn made parts of the park off-limits to residents for a 17-day period. Residents were upset, and changes have ensued. Now there are two very strict rules for any corporation that would like to rent park space in Palo Alto:
1. Spaces cannot be rented beyond a maximum of five consecutive days.
2. The community must be notified 14 days in advance.
Other improvements of the plan include adding new parks to the city (especially in underserved areas), creating better sporting fields, upgrading Rinconda Pool, and adding new public restrooms, among many others.
Adrian’s Park Spotlights
El Camino Park
El Camino Park, located at 155 El Camino Real, is directly across from one of my favorite shopping destinations: the Stanford Shopping Center. This park is approximately 12 acres and has a gorgeous, newly renovated synthetic soccer field and a lighted softball diamond with bleachers. I play soccer to stay in shape, and there are many leagues and pick-up games there that occur on a daily basis.
El Camino Park is actually Palo Alto’s oldest park, and was created in 1914 because the then-leaders of Palo Alto wanted to create a beautiful entry into the city from El Camino Real. Of note are several redwood trees that were planted in the park to honor Olympic-medal winners who were residents of the Palo Alto community.
Eleanor Pardee Park
Eleanor Pardee Park, located at 851 Center Drive along Channing Avenue, is a sprawling 10-acre park. More than 50 percent of the park has been developed into picnic areas and playgrounds, and the rest consists of community gardens. The amenities of the park are excellent, and it forms a wonderful place to integrate yourself with the community and just spend some time with family and friends in a beautiful setting. The namesake of the park, Eleanor Pardee, was dedicated to the giver’s daughter, who died of typhoid in the late 1800s. All 10 acres, including a house, were deeded over to the city in 1920 and subsequently created into a park.
Please reach out to anyone at DeLeon Realty if you would like more information about parks, or the city of Palo Alto in general. Many of us (including myself) live and work here, and we would love to share that insider knowledge with you!