Best Museum/Art Gallery Virtual Tour
Cantor Arts Center
When the pandemic forced the Cantor Arts Center to shut down in-person visits, the museum used new technology to put 3D renderings of its extensive art collection on its website, enabling viewers to virtually walk through much of the center's 130,000-square-foot campus, and with the click of a button, zoom in on each piece of art. The museum also pushed out new exhibitions online and offered a large library of artist talks, learning guides and tours virtually led by docents. And now that the museum is fully open, these digital programs have become part of its regular offerings.
328 Lomita Drive, Stanford; museum.stanford.edu; 650-723-4177
Best Virtual Theater Performance
Despite unexpectedly having to shutter overnight on the eve of its 50th anniversary due the pandemic shutdown in early 2020, TheatreWorks never went completely dark. The Tony Award-winning nonprofit theater company pivoted to online programming, creating new works with creative teams across the country and streamed recordings of favorite performances from past seasons. The company plans to safely reopen for in-person performances in the fall.
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View; Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; [email protected];
Best Outdoor Escape
Palo Alto Baylands
Bounded by Mountain View, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, the 1,940-acre Baylands Preserve is one of the largest tracts of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. The preserve offers 15 miles of multi-use trails, access to a unique mixture of tidal and freshwater habitats and one of the best areas to bird watch on the west coast.
2775 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto; [email protected]; 650-617-3156
Best Wi-Fi Hot Spot
With its free Wi-Fi and casual setting, Coupa Cafe is more than a place that serves organic fair-trade coffee and food. Since opening in 2004, the family-owned business has evolved into a landmark destination for entrepreneurs looking for an informal sit down outside the office: The cafe has served as a testing ground for more than 20 products from local startups. (It is even referenced in the 2010 film "The Social Network".) The cafe offers tableside ordering, curbside pickup and outdoor dining. During the pandemic, it expanded its services and now offers groceries that can be ordered online.
538 Ramona St., Palo Alto; coupacafe.com; 650-322-6872
Best Virtual Classes/Lecture Series
Palo Alto Library
Palo Alto Library has long been recognized as one of the only places where you can study, work or simply scroll your social media feeds for free while also checking out great books, music and movies. Since the pandemic, it's also become the place to find a plethora of online classes, livestream lectures and other digital events. The Library shifted much of its programming online after the shutdown forced it to close its doors. From author talks, origami workshops and filmmaking classes to cooking demonstrations, family yoga hour and dance lessons, the library has something for just about everyone.
City library locations are listed at cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/lib/default.asp