Holidays: What's closed, what's open and what to do in Palo Alto

Holiday hours, closures and local activities over Christmas and New Year's

Here is a list of local and regional service closures and changes for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, plus some options for holiday activities.

Some organizations will be open special hours and others are closed during the holiday period.

City services

• Palo Alto libraries: All branches are closed for Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 25, and Monday, Dec. 26, and for New Year’s Day on Sunday, Jan. 1, and Monday, Jan. 2.

• City of Palo Alto: All administrative offices will be closed on Dec. 24, Dec. 26, Dec. 31 and Jan. 2.

• Garbage pickup: There are no collection-day changes for Christmas or New Year's Day since both holidays are on a Sunday this year. The Household Hazardous Waste Station will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 24, and Saturday, Dec. 31. For the four weeks following Christmas Day, holiday trees will be collected curbside. For more information, go to

• Street sweeping: No routes will be affected by the Christmas or New Year's Day holidays.

• Police, fire: Active patrols and response teams are operational; records and administrative services are closed on Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2.


• Caltrain: Caltrain will operate a regular Saturday schedule on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24; a regular Sunday schedule on Dec. 25, and a modified schedule on Monday, Dec. 26. (The modified schedule is the Saturday service with six extra trains in each direction, including one-round trip from Gilroy to San Francisco.)

On New Year’s Eve, Caltrain will be free after 8 p.m. It will run a Saturday schedule with post-fireworks trains at 12:45 a.m., 1:15 a.m., 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. or when full. Caltrain will operate its regular Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day and a modified schedule on Monday, Jan. 2. For more information, go to

• VTA: VTA buses and light rail will operate on Sunday/holiday schedule on Christmas, Dec. 25, and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. Additional hours for two light rail lines and Express bus 180/181 hours will be offered on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. For more information, go to

• SamTrans: SamTrans will run its regular service schedules on Dec. 24-25 and its Sunday schedule on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2. For more information, go to

Federal, state offices

• U.S. Postal Service: Post Office locations nationwide that are normally open on Saturday will be open on Dec. 24, but many will shorten lobby hours and close at noon. Mail will be delivered as usual on Christmas Eve. Post Office locations will be closed on Dec. 26. Priority Mail Express but not regular mail will still be delivered on Dec. 25 and 26. All locations will be open and regular mail delivery will resume on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Post Offices will be open for regular hours on Dec. 31 but closed on Jan. 1-2. All Post Office locations will be open on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Mail will not be delivered on Jan. 1 or 2 except for Priority Mail Express. For more information, go to

Things to do

• Menorah lighting: Chabad Palo Alto will host a menorah lighting on the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday, Dec. 25, at 4:45 p.m. at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. There will also be food, live music, crafts and a raffle. For more, go to

• Hanukkah celebration: The Oshman Family JCC will host a Hanukkah celebration for families and children with music, food, kids activities and more at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto on Thursday, Dec. 29, 5:30-8 p.m.. For more, go to

• Christmas Tree Lane: Palo Alto's famed Christmas Tree Lane on Fulton Street between Embarcadero Road and Seale Avenue will be illuminated from 5-11 p.m. through Dec. 31. For safety reasons, parking is not allowed on Fulton Street while Christmas Tree Lane is open.

• Palo Alto Art Center: The Art Center is closed Dec. 24-26, open Dec. 27-30 and closed Dec. 21 to Jan. 2. Holiday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more, go to

• Cantor Arts Center: Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center is open Dec. 24, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed on Dec. 25; open on Dec. 31, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and open on Jan. 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Junior Museum & Zoo: Palo Alto's Junior Museum & Zoo will be open until 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, but closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. For more, go to


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