Welcome Guide to the Area

Grocery Stores

Many people shop at the following grocery stores (online resources further down):


Trader Joe’s

Next to the main shopping street Santa Cruz in Menlo Park (closest to school), Town and Country in Palo Alto, San Antonio Shopping Plaza in Mountain View, San Carlos and two San Mateo locations. Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi and they are high quality, low cost, and match a European taste. They are very limited in the variety of items they carry. They do not carry name brand items, and this is part of their formula to keep prices down. They routinely win local best tasting contests when supermarket products are tested. They are all the same size stores, but they generally carry the same items except I notice cheese varieties can be different.



This is a membership club that sells in a large warehouse. They sell in bulk, but with your family, you will find this convenient. The basic membership is approx. 50 dollars per year. There is also an executive membership which costs approx. 100 dollars per year. The executive membership allows you to go into the store one hour earlier than the basic membership. The store opens at 10 a.m. for executive members and 11 a.m. for basic members.  Also, executive members get a 2 % rebate at the end of the year for all the purchases they make, so usually the executive membership does pay for itself. The Costco stores are different sizes and do carry different products depending on the location. You might live near the newest and biggest Costco, which is on Middlefield Road in Redwood City (which also has a gas station).  



A large grocery store chain. There is a large and fairly new Safeway grocery store in Menlo Park on El Camino Real, near the Palo Alto city line, Redwood City, Belmont has 2. Definitely get a Safeway membership card (it offers discounts on your products) and use that store to supplement some of the name brand products that you and your family are used to.  



Whole Foods 

One of the more popular and more expensive grocery shopping chains. It is an organic grocery store that has incredible food. Nearest to the school is in downtown Palo Alto (corner of Homer and Emerson streets). There is another one in Redwood City on El Camino Real and one in San Mateo at Hillsdale right off Hwy 101. They also offer a large variety of food for people with special dietary needs, e.g. vegan, gluten free, dairy free, etc. A bigger Whole Foods is in Mountain View by the San Antonio Shopping Center. But the biggest one West of the Mississippi River is in Cupertino, and is well worth visiting.


Esther’s German Bakery-Los Altos

They have a nice selection of German bread, Bretzel’n, Brötchen, pastries, cake, etc. They also have a store/cafe in Los Altos on San Antonio Road, which also serves German breakfast and lunch and has a small Biergarten.


Dittmer’s German Deli – Los Altos

In a strip mall at the corner of San Antonio Road and El Camino in Los Altos (near the border of Palo Alto and Mountain View, across the street from Esther’s). They are truly excellent, and many families from the school shop there.


Haus Staudt – Redwood City

Great store for German groceries, (anything from Bionade to baking supplies), Dr. Oettker etc., as well as a beer garden in the back for lunch and dinner.


Draegers – Menlo Park, Los Altos, San Mateo

Food market, with lots of German chocolate, Wiener Wuerstchen, Schnitzel, and German Beer.


Cost Plus World Markets

Supermarket with international food corner and other houseware goods


Sigona’s Farmers Market

Also at the Stanford Shopping Center as well as across the street from the Redwood City Costco on Middlefield is a great little grocery store called Sigona’s Farmers Market.  Lots of fresh local fruits and vegetables, meat, wine and good food. 


Münchner Haus – Rita’s German Deli – Fremont

For more than 30 years, Fremont’s Münchner Haus (House of Munich) has provided San Francisco East Bay residents with fine, authentic German foods.

Enjoy your favorite German style sandwiches, salads, soups, and dinner plates with a glass of cold German beer, or a cup of rich German coffee. We have a cozy indoor dining area, as well as patio seating outside.

Join us for Happy Hour every Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 4PM!


Bay Area Farmers Markets

You really can’t go wrong with farmers’ markets. They’re a great way to support local businesses, find cheap produce, and get fresh food, so we put together a list of some local farmers’ markets all over the Bay that got your grocery needs covered. Plus, most of these spots feature local artists, artisanal product vendors, food trucks, coffee shops, and more, which turns shopping into a whole *experience*.



For general shopping, the Stanford Shopping Center is the place to visit.  

It has a Macy’s, Nordstroms (great for kids shoes and adults shoes and clothes – plus you can return anything, no questions asked), Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales. These are high end department stores, but there are also many smaller stores including Pottery Barn Kids, Gymboree, GAP, Tiffany’s, J. Crew, a kids’ shoe store, etc. 


Many do their shopping at Walmart and Target, both of which are at the San Antonio Shopping Center. The bigger Target store is also in Redwood City on El Camino Real. You can find anything from housewares, clothes, small appliances, toys, electronics, groceries, etc.

There are also other indoor shopping malls nearby like the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, which has an H&M and the Santana Row in San Jose (next to the famous tourist attraction Winchester House).

In addition, the downtown of Burlingame has a lot of small boutiques, restaurants and a stride rite store for kids shoes. 

Sports Basement – Sporting Goods of all kinds – Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Walnut Creek, Presidio

Be sure to sign up for their Basementeer program. They will donate 10% of your purchase back to our school. Sign up at the store!!
https://shop.sportsbasement.com/ – Website with locations

New Generation Shopping and Services

More so than in Germany, a lot of online shopping services have established themselves in Silicon Valley, here is just a short list of the many, ever changing choices:




Same day delivery of diapers and anything kid-related.


Task Rabbit

You can get help with anything from furniture assembly to accounting, pet sitting, shopping, etc.



Get groceries delivered to your door in 1 hour. Shop online from stores like Whole Foods and Costco. 


Food to Eat/Cook Delivery Services:

Blue Apron

“Food to door to cook service”.



Get the food you want, from the San Francisco restaurants you love, delivered at Uber speed.



Food Delivery from your favorite restaurants.




In East Palo Alto, very close to the ALTO campus off of Hwy 101 and University Ave.


Room and Board 

Much more high end than IKEA, but their style appeals to many Europeans, and their furniture is of great quality. They have a showroom in San Francisco, but they also have a catalog and deliver all over the Peninsula



Local Activities

There are countless activities in the area, but below is just a small selection to get you started. Some offer annual passes that are recognized at other locations as well. 

If you have younger kids (2-6 yrs old) they would enjoy a visit to Happy Hollow. It is owned by the city of San Jose and is only about 25 minutes from school. It has a zoo, and a wonderful amusement play area with puppet shows and is a real treasure. You might want to become a member, as you will visit this place often if you have young children. The park is for very young kids, and not for kids much older than 8 or 9 years old. http://www.hhpz.org/

Another great place to visit and join is the San Francisco Academy of Sciences. It is located in Golden Gate Park in the city of San Francisco and is a 40 minute drive (traffic allowing) from our area on Highway 280 to the park. Admission is expensive (25 dollars per adult), so a family membership is a good deal, as this place is worth many visits. It has an aquarium, a planetarium, and a tropical rain forest.



Local Public Pools

Burgess Park in Menlo Park http://www.menloswim.com/ 

Rinconada Park in Palo Alto http://www.rinconadamasters.com/ 

Peninsula Covenant Community Center Redwood City https://pcamastersswimteam.shutterfly.com/aboutus 

Swim schools 

Burgess Park in Menlo Park http://www.menloswim.com/ 

La Petite Baleen in Redwood City/Atherton, San Mateo http://www.swimlpb.com/ 

Peninsula Swim School Redwood City http://peninsulaswim.com/ 


Gymnastics (and other) classes

Burgess Park in Menlo Park.



Palo Alto Children’s Museum




Palo Alto Children’s Theater

Theater productions by kids for kids – very fun, you can sit outside on the laws when the weather is good and eat hotdogs and corn and watch the show.


Safari Run 

An indoor playground in San Mateo; however, it gets really crowded on rainy days 


La Petite Playhouse

An inside playhouse with climbing structure, slides, etc. Open during the week to the public and on weekends for birthday parties. It’s good to check them out on facebook on a rainy day to make sure they are not full.


Bay Area Kid Fun

For a listing of child friendly activities, events, museums, parks, camps and much more check:


Local publications

Many stores and doctor’s office have free local publications, such as Bay Area Parent https://www.bayareaparent.com/ and M https://mdigitalbayarea.com/ ! These publications are a great resource for family events, finding gym classes, summer camps, and much more.

SF Zoo

Nestled against the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Zoo is an urban oasis. It is home to over 1,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species and lovely peaceful gardens full of native and foreign plants.


Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo is the perfect destination for a day trip with your family. Learn about wildlife conservation, see amazing animals, or attend one of our many interactive and educational programs.


Children’s Discovery Museum Sausalito


Monterey Aquarium

Huge and famous Aquarium that is great for a day/weekend trip!


Exploratorium SF

The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity.



Gilroy Gardens – Family Theme Park



San Jose Discovery Museum



Curiodyssey at Coyote Point in San Mateo

Little exploratory museum, some local animals and down the road a nice playground. Can get chilly, as it is net to the bay.




Healthcare is a little more complicated in the U.S. Which doctor you can see depends on your health care program, which is different for many people. Still, many doctors and dentists do take many different insurance programs, and particularly with dentists, many are starting to not take any insurance and will work out a payment plan with you.

For serious emergencies you would usually go to the emergency room at a local hospital: Stanford Hospital Emergency Room. They also have a children’s hospital, Lucille Packard, there as well. There are also several other hospitals in the area, such as Sequoia Hospital and Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City, and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.

Here are some clinics along the Peninsula:

Menlo Medical Clinic (which is affiliated with Stanford Hospital) and located in Menlo Park.

1300 Crane Street

Menlo Park, CA 94025

Palo Alto Medical Foundation (main clinic is on El Camino Real in Palo Alto): They have doctors for most specialties here, including pediatrics, radiology, sports medicine, OB/GYN, etc.


795 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Main phone: 650-321-4121

With the doctors, you have to call and see if they are taking new patients.  You should have a list of which clinics your health insurance allows.

Kid-friendly Restaurants and Cafes (there are too many to list)


Cafe Zoe

Near Silicon Valley International in Menlo Park



Milagros (Mexican Cuisine)

Good food and one of the few places where you can sit outside.


Amicis Menlo Park

American style Pizza, easy with kids.


Dutch Goose


Cafe Borrone

Downtown Menlo Park, VERY popular cafe, right next to Kepler’s bookstore.


If you are looking for anything specific that you can not find on our list, please do not hesitate to contact me.