Palo Alto () is a charter city located in the northwestern corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Palo Alto means tall stick in Spanish; the city is named after a coastal redwood tree called El Palo Alto.
The city was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he founded Stanford University, following the death of his son, Leland Stanford Jr. Palo Alto includes portions of Stanford University and shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park. As of the 2010 census, the city's total resident population is 64,403. Palo Alto is one of the five most expensive cities in the United States to live in and its residents are among the highest educated in the country.
As one of the principal cities of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto is headquarters to a number of high-technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Space Systems/Loral, VMware, Tesla, Ford Research and Innovation Center, PARC, IDEO, Skype, Palantir Technologies, Houzz, and Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center. Palo Alto has also served as an incubator and is headquarters to several other prominent high-technology companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Logitech, Intuit, Pinterest, and PayPal.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Ohlone lived on the San Francisco peninsula; in particular, the Puichon Ohlone lived in the Palo Alto area. The area of modern Palo Alto was first recorded by the 1769 party of Gaspar de Portolá, a 63-man, 200-horse expedition from San Diego to Monterey.