Downtown Palo Alto

Nothing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon and tired of downtown Los Altos? Then Palo Alto is the perfect alternative, with everything from award-winning bakeries to independent movie theaters. Just a relatively short drive down El Camino, downtown Palo Alto has almost anything and everything one could possibly desire.

Red Mango
Red Mango is a new frozen yogurt shop that offers quality, gluten-free yogurt that isn’t too sweet, tart or bitter. The yogurt itself comes in two flavors—original and green tea—but there is a large variety of toppings that are also available, such as strawberries, Capn’ Crunch and almonds. In addition to frozen yogurt, Red Mango also has delicious smoothies, which are a blend of yogurt and three toppings of your choice. Red Mango may be a little on the pricey side at about $5 a cup, but the few extra dollars are so worth it once one tastes the strawberries and Cinnamon Toast combination.
Red Mango is located at 429 University Avenue and is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

The Aquarius
The Aquarius Theatre has been a Palo Alto institution since its opening in 1969. A small theater with only two screens, the Aquarius is a beautiful building with murals of undersea inspired walls and pseudo-Deco décor. The Aquarius usually shows independent and foreign films such as “Juno” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and for such a small theater has a decent collection of candy and soda at the concession stand. The Aquarius also annually holds a Midnight Madness series running from mid-summer to mid-fall, which features “the best in classic, cult and soon-to-be cult films” as well as prize giveaways and games.
The Aquarius is located on 430 Emerson Street. Check
market/SanFranciscoPeninsula/AquariusTheatre.htm for movie show times and events.

American Apparel
American Apparel is a clothing store chain based in Los Angeles that specializes in basics and vintage-inspired fashion. Shoppers can find versatile, basic styles of clothing in every color, fabric and style imaginable. Among the best-selling items in the store are leggings (in over 20 different colors) and short sleeve t-shirts (in over 40 different colors). They also have many innovative items such as the LeSac dress and the Circle Scarf. American Apparel is also perfect for costumes and dress-up type things for events like dances and Halloween. While a little on the pricier side, the clothes are worth the splurge. They are so durable and comfortable that shoppers will not want to ever take their clothes off again.
American Apparel is located at 170 University Avenue. It is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Craving a delicious, quality sandwich but barely have enough for the bus ride home? Then go to Pluto’s Restaurant and enjoy one of their amazing sandwiches, salads or kebabs. For about $6 customers can get a large steak sandwich and add a large array of toppings for a few extra cents. Pluto’s has a large selection of meats and vegetables for any type of sandwich as well as an assortment of fresh baked goods like their Double Fudge Brownies and Saturn Sized Rice Krispies. And for the vegetarians out there, try Pluto’s Homestyle Seasoned Potato Chips, perfectly cooked and seasoned, or one of their delicious salads where one can choose up to seven different toppings.
Pluto’s is located at 482 University Avenue. They are open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Prolific Oven
Tucked away on a side street of busy University Avenue is Prolific Oven, a legendary bakery voted Palo Alto’s Best 10 years in a row. They are mostly known for their excellent American and French style cakes, but also have delicious freshly baked cookies, sandwiches and a full-service espresso bar. The pastries are huge and very fresh, oftentimes just straight out of the oven. Prolific Oven also has a very cozy décor, reminiscent of European cafés and perfect for a rainy or overcast day. The prices are on par with any other independent café, charging $1 to $2 for pastries and cookies and about $4 for a slice of cake. However, full-sized cakes are also available and with prices ranging from $20 to $200.
Prolific Oven is located at 550 Waverly Street. They are open Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.