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#Gratitude! 5 reasons to love Palo Alto

kids from Palo Alto's D Farm explore design thinking- cool!

Phew. Thanksgiving is coming at just the right time this year, giving us all a chance to exhale, enjoy time with friends and family and take a much-needed break. Here are five reasons we are grateful to live in Palo Alto.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday and a chance to appreciate all that you are grateful for this Thanksgiving!

5 Reasons We love Palo Alto: #Gratitude
1. Natural Beauty
The Baylands offers unparalleled views and a chance to stroll and unwind. Photo by Trailstompers.

The Baylands offers unparalleled views and a chance to stroll and unwind. Photo by Trailstompers.

From our abundant parks and open spaces, to the gorgeous tree canopy that gives Palo Alto its name, we love how easy it is to connect with nature in Palo Alto.

 

 

Foothills Park offers miles of hiking trails and open space. Photo by Friends of Foothills Park.

Foothills Park offers miles of hiking trails and open space. Photo by Friends of Foothills Park.

A tree walk by Canopy. Photo courtesy of Canopy.

A tree walk by Canopy. Photo courtesy of Canopy.

Palo Alto is known for its beautiful leafy trees but we have to protect them during the drought. Photo courtesy of Canopy

Palo Alto is known for its beautiful leafy trees but we have to protect them during the drought. Photo courtesy of Canopy

flowers bloom almost all year long in Palo Alto.

flowers bloom almost all year long in Palo Alto.

2. Young people who want to make a difference
Summer interns with Palo Alto's Magical Bridge help spread accesible play to new communities. photo by Palo Alto Pulse

Summer interns with Palo Alto’s Magical Bridge help spread accessible play to new communities. photo by Palo Alto Pulse

We are constantly inspired by the Palo Alto teens and youth who are engaged in the world and giving back, from putting birthday party kits together for children at Lucile Packard Hospital, to running a soccer camp that raises money for schools in East Palo Alto, and more. Awesome, indeed.

Happy kids at Kick for Charity's soccer camp. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

Happy kids at Kick for Charity’s soccer camp, run by local teens and raises funds for nonprofits such as water access in Africa and East Palo Alto schools. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

Ember Lin-Sperry, founder of Project Birthday Box. Photo credit: Ember Lin-Sperry

Ember Lin-Sperry, founder of Project Birthday Box, which helps children at Lucile Packard Hospital celebrate their birthdays. Photo credit: Ember Lin-Sperry

Gunn HS student Justin La celebrates with a boy who just received a new wheelchair thanks to the La family's efforts. Photo credit: La family

Gunn HS student Justin La celebrates with a boy who just received a new wheelchair thanks to the La family’s efforts. Photo credit: La family

3. Engaged community that forges connections and gives back
Mary Lynn Fitton, the founder of the Art of Yoga Project, with Rocsana Enriquez, who went through the program as a teen

Mary Lynn Fitton, the founder of the Art of Yoga Project, with Rocsana Enriquez, who went through the program as a teen

Palo Alto is known for its strong sense of community and for its engaged citizens. That’s why we love the ways that people here look for chances to connect with one another, from a sewing circle to a nonprofit that teaches yoga to incarcerated girls or brings nature to kids in classrooms, there are so many ways Palo Altans give back, spark conversation and move issues forward.

a sewing circle is the newest way that Palo Altans find connection. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

a sewing circle is the newest way that Palo Altans find connection. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

Amy Rao in conversation with CNN commentator Van Jones at the JCC in November 2016

Amy Rao in conversation with CNN commentator Van Jones at the Palo Alto JCC in November 2016

Two Leadership Palo Alto fellows at a kickoff event in September 2015

Two Leadership Palo Alto fellows at a kickoff event in September 2015

Palo Alto's My Digital Tat2 teaches kids how to be good citizens online and in the world. Photo by My Digital Tat2

Palo Alto’s My Digital Tat2 teaches kids how to be good citizens online and in the world. Photo by My Digital Tat2

Environmental Volunteer Sue So helps EPACS students figure out what is alive and what is not

Environmental Volunteer Sue So helps EPACS students figure out what is alive and what is not

4. Creativity and innovation
Bouclier founder Lydia Callahan. Photo by Bouclier.

Bouclier founder Lydia Callahan. Photo by Bouclier.

Palo Alto is often heralded as the epicenter of Silicon Valley, and the birthplace of some of the most famous tech companies in the world. But while those big name entrepreneurs are cool, we love finding the less-known innovators who are creating new ideas and products- such as sun visors for bike helmets, wearable jewelry for Apple watches, fun crafts for children, playdresses for moms, a ‘chocolate garage’ for showcasing sustainable chocolates, and more. The energy of these local pioneers embodies the ‘can do’ spirit of Palo Alto.

The Chocolate Garage in downtown Palo Alto supports growers and offers delicious and unique chocolates

The Chocolate Garage in downtown Palo Alto supports growers and offers delicious and unique chocolates

Whitney Lundeen, founder of Sonnet James. Photo by Sonnet James.

Whitney Lundeen, founder of Sonnet James, which makes playdresses for moms. Photo by Sonnet James.

Rachelle Doorley sets up a creative table in her Cubberly studio. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

Rachelle Doorley sets up a creative table in her TinkerLab Cubberly studio. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

DFarm brings kids together to explore design principles and learn to solve challenges through hands on collaboration. Photo by DFarm.

DFarm brings kids together to explore design principles and learn to solve challenges through hands on collaboration. Photo by DFarm.

5. Art all around us

Palo Alto is so fortunate to have the Palo Alto Art Center, the Pacific Art Foundation and abundant public art all around us, which draws many artists to the community. We love the chance to connect with art of all kinds wherever we go in Palo Alto.

How cool that Patrick Dougherty just spent two weeks in Palo Alto building his newest sculpture? Check it out on Embaradero Road.

How cool that Patrick Dougherty just spent two weeks in Palo Alto building his newest sculpture? Check it out on Embarcadero Road.

There is always something new at the Palo Alto Art Center. This piece is by Ria Rodell, "The Birdmen," 2005

There is always something new at the Palo Alto Art Center. This piece is by Ria Rodell, “The Birdmen,” 2005. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

M.A.P artist Peter Foucault at the Cal Ave Farmer's Market. These artists went around town gathering ideas from Palo Altans about public art.

M.A.P artist Peter Foucault at the Cal Ave Farmer’s Market. These artists went around town gathering ideas from Palo Altans about public art. Photo credit: Jim Migdal for Palo Alto Pulse.

Art outside of Mitchell Park Library and Community Center.

Art outside of Mitchell Park Library and Community Center. Photo by City of Palo Alto.

Art Works founder and owner Marci Lamb (photo by Bella Graves)

Art Works founder and owner Marci Lamb. Photo credit: Bella Graves.

The Foster Art and Wilderness Center highlights the beautiful nature paintings of Trevor Burrows.

The Foster Art and Wilderness Center highlights the beautiful nature paintings of Trevor Burrows. Photo credit: The Foster

About the author

Victoria Thorp

Victoria Thorp

Victoria is the founder and editor of Palo Alto Pulse and has lived in Palo Alto since 2007. Victoria's diverse professional background includes working as the editor of GreatSchools.org , as a senior writer for KIPP and Teach for America, and as a radio producer for City Visions on KALW (91.7FM San Francisco). She is a graduate of Leadership Palo Alto and a member of the Palo Alto Partners in Education Advisory Board.

She has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA.

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