Community Connections

5 great things to do in Palo Alto this winter break

Like everyone, we’ve been running around shopping, helping kids with finals, mailing packages and feeling that familiar mixture of excitement and exhaustion that comes with getting ready for the holidays. Given how Christmas and New Year’s fall this year in the calendar, most of us are facing a long break from school and work in the weeks ahead.  That’s why we put together a quick guide for what to do this winter break. Enjoy and see you the new year!

1. See some cool art

Anderson Collection: Nick Cave Soundsuits

Interdisciplinary artist Nick Cave challenges conventions on what it means to be a visual artist, a performer, a crafter, and an educator. His Soundsuits are full-body sized sculptures, made of everything from collected and repurposed buttons, to wooden sticks, beaded baskets, doilies and sequined fabric. The Anderson Collection at Stanford University’s exhibit features eight Soundsuits along with three video works by Cave, as well as a recently completed documentary on the artist. This will be cool for kids and adults of all ages!

A Nick Cave Soundsuit. Photo credit: Anderson Collection Stanford

A Nick Cave Soundsuit. Photo credit: Anderson Collection Stanford

The Anderson Collection is located at Stanford University and is free for all visitors. For more information, check out the Anderson Collection website.

Whiplash: visit, snap shots and enter to win through #whiplashwillow

Patrick Dougherty’s new sculpture was completed on November 18th and is now ready for exploring at the Palo Alto Art Center. It’s a great place for kids and dogs to run around and get some fresh air. And to motivate the teens in your house to visit, there’s a contest for the best snaps taken at Whiplash! Share your photos of the new sculpture on Instagram using #whiplashwillow through January.  Winning photos will be featured in a special community gallery exhibition in March.

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 Embaradero Road.

Palo Alto Art Center: Art from the 1970s

The Butterfly Effect: Art in 1970s California looks back at the rich and noisy decade in which the Palo Alto Art Center (the then Palo Alto Cultural Center) was founded. This metamorphic era gave form to the technological advances that created Silicon Valley and the resulting phenomenal growth in population of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The polymer-on-cotton-canvas work "A Figure of Our Times," by Roy De Forest, is part of the "Butterfly Effect: Art in 1970s California" exhibit opening soon at the Palo Alto Art Center. Image courtesy of the Palo Alto Art Center

Image courtesy of the Palo Alto Art Center

 

The Palo Alto Art Center is located at 1313 Newell Road in Palo Alto and is free for visitors. For more information, visit the Palo Alto Art Center website.

2. Volunteer and give back

It’s not too late to sign up for a holiday volunteer opportunity. We’ve listed a few below. For more ideas, check out Family Holiday Helpers, a website created by a Palo Alto parent to help families find ways to give back in the Bay Area.

Family Giving Tree is looking for people to help sort gifts and work in their enormous warehouse that prepares presents for thousands of children every holiday. This experience is incredibly enjoyable and is a perfect opportunity to bond with your family and friends while giving back to the community.

Eucumenical Hunger: This local organization supports families in need in East Palo Alto with clothes, food and more. They are looking for people to help with gift cards, food distribution, and more.

Volunteering at the Family Giving Tree is fun! photo credit: Alpha Kappa Psi

Volunteering at the Family Giving Tree is fun! photo credit: Alpha Kappa Psi

 

3. Get outside and explore nature

There are so many great local parks and outdoor spaces around Palo Alto! We love Foothills Park, Arastradero Preserve and the Baylands. Stuff all the wrapping paper in the recycling and find a local trail with your dog and kids…the clean up can wait (see #5 below…)

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.

 

4. Jump start your resolutions with a cool exercise class

We love local business uforia on Ramona Street for its fun classes and welcoming spirit. From hip hop to spin and more, uforia has exercise options for everyone. Of course there is also Soul Cycle at the Stanford Mall and always popular Orange Theory at Edgewood Shopping Center.

uforia Revolutions instructor in the cycling studio. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

uforia Revolutions instructor in the cycling studio. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

 

5. Clean out your closets!

By the time Christmas is over around our house, we’re ready to throw out the kids along with the tree. If the “urge to purge” comes upon you during this holiday break, don’t throw away those clothes, donate them with a great local service called WOVIN.

WOVIN will come to your house, pick up what you want to donate and text you a receipt. They are working to keep textiles out of landfill and to support local nonprofits.

WOVIN offers free home pick up and a great new way to donate clothes

WOVIN offers free home pick up and a great new way to donate clothes

 

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.