Cantor Arts Center


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  • The cafe was closed today, Monday. Anyone know the hours?

    Cantor A.

    Cantor A. of Cantor Arts Center

    Business Owner

    Hello Emily, Sorry that they cafe was closed. It is open Wednesday - Sunday from 11am-5pm and open until 8pm on Thursdays. Unfortunately our visitor traffic is too light on Mondays. Were the hours not posted? Let me know if this was the case and I can look into it. Best regards, Chris Alexander Digital Media Manager Read less

    Hello Emily, Sorry that they cafe was closed. It is open Wednesday - Sunday from 11am-5pm and open… Read more

    11 months ago
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  • 5.0 star rating
    • 1 check-in

    Donation based museum in local Palo Alto with an extensive collection ranging at least two millennia to contemporary.  There's several exhibits at any one time, and they have art from around the world.

    For example, when we went, we saw an exhibit of modern African art juxtaposed with classical pieces to better understand the context.

    There's also quite a bit of East Asian art along with an upstairs contemporary gallery with some small interactive exhibits and a lovely library.  I skimmed through a text on color, which I never would have encountered otherwise.

    In addition, the museum's architecture is gorgeous.  It blends classical elements like ornate pillars with more modern ones, such as sharply geometric skylights.  Fitting, since the museum's exhibits span  millennia and the globe.

    Finally, outside is the Rodin sculptural garden and the famous Gates of Hell.

  • 5.0 star rating
    • 1 check-in

    An impressive and eclectic museum -- where you can spend a day exploring many diverse collections -- ranging from Egyptian - to Modern - to Native American - to specialty shows (like Russian Revolutionary art) to an extraordinary selection of Rodin sculptures located both inside the museum and outside in the Rodin sculpture garden.

    The building itself is impressive -- built in the late 19th century and rebuilt several times since -- owing to the effects of earthquakes and such.  Lots of marble and vaulted ceilings.  

    Interestingly -- the original architect had the foresight to use reinforced poured concrete for the main structure -- which of course preserved most of it through two earthquakes -- and allowed for the addition of several wings over time -- with further strengthening.

    If you are in Stanford -- make time to view the Cantor collection.  It is first rate and the staff is eager,  polite and knowledgeable.  Ask them for insight into the collection -- they enjoy sharing.

    Top Tips:  Admission is free -- but parking is not.   Numbered spots are metered and ubiquitous throughout the Stanford campus.  You self pay via electronic kiosks -- the system can text/email you when your time is almost up.  

    I parked in the Galvez lot a few blocks away from the museum -- which was empty on a Friday -- and  we took in an enjoyable stroll to and from the Center -- along nicely manicured and well marked walking paths and very fragrant groves of Eucalyptus trees.

    Oh -- but keep an eye out for bicyclists, Segway's and all manner of human powered locomotion.  Speeding students almost waffled me a few times.  I guess the mad rush to invent the next new new thing around here can be pretty darn energizing.


  • 5.0 star rating

    Museums aren't free and less crowded like they used to be, so this place was definitely a breath of fresh air! Parking is free also in the visitor spaces on weekends I believe.

    I love how Rodin's art decorated the front of the museum.  Definitely pay the sculptures a visit before going in. The museum is bright and quiet, which is bliss for me. There were a lot of different styles of art at this museum, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The front desk staff here are very friendly as well. The security people were a bit daunting as they were staring at every single person.

    Overall, I am super glad that a museum like this exists in the South Bay!

  • 5.0 star rating

    As a proud Cal alumnus (go Golden Bears!), I find nothing more satisfying than bragging to my friends about how much better UC Berkeley is than Stanfurd. However, if there is one thing that I have to concede time and time again to this private school across the Bay, it's that Stanford University has a world-class collection of art.

    Recently, my girlfriend and I were looking for indoor "adult" activities to escape the weekend downpour. While searching through Yelp, we came across Stanford's Cantor Arts Center. Seeing that the museum was 100% FREE, we immediately decided to go. After 2 hours of adventuring and edumacating, I hate to admit that the Cantor Arts Center is a MUST-VISIT.

    The Cantor Arts Center is one of several such installations on the Stanford campus. This museum is gorgeous, grand, and diverse in its collection of art. When we went, there were at least 14 different exhibits on display - about half of which were continuing and the other half were new. I just loved the fact that each exhibit was totally unique, beautiful, and mystifying in its own way. For example, Nina Katchadourian's Curiouser taught me to appreciate sound in a more light-hearted way. And Rodin's sculptures - even though I've seen them before at the San Francisco Legion of Honor (…) - showed me the power of expression and posture. My favorite though had to be Duane Hanson's Slab Man. This life-sized replica of a working man looked SO REAL!

    Regardless of how much you like art, I guarantee that you will appreciate how aesthetically pleasing the Cantor Arts Center is. From the gigantic marble staircase at the entrance to the relaxing viewpoint on the second floor, every inch of this two-story museum is going to be absolute eye candy. Even if you just ignore the art and spend all your time taking pictures of the scenery, you can definitely get lost here for hours; that's how big the museum is!

    When planning your trip, note that the art museum is located near Stanford's main quad at the circle. The really nice thing about this spot is that it blends in flawlessly with the campus; you can easily stop by while touring around the school. I recommend coming on the weekends because parking is free and traffic shouldn't be too bad since students aren't roaming around. We drove in around 2pm on a Saturday and immediately found a spot next to the museum.

    Out of all the activities I have done in the Bay Area, visiting Stanford's Cantor Arts Center has to be near the top in terms of getting the most "bang for your buck." I mean, it's not even a competition because you can literally spend an eternity here FOR FREE! Even now, I'm still surprised Stanford has such a beautiful and massive collection of art that's so accessible to the public. But hey, I guess that's the benefit of all the private funding? Thank you Stanford for showing me again that you're not as bad as I thought. I give your Cantor Arts Center an "omg, I'd travel two, no FOUR HOURS for this" rating. You bet I'll be back to check out the Anderson Art Collection and Rodin's Sculpture Garden.

    Have fun and prosper,

  • 5.0 star rating

    I've been here before way back in 2011, so I thought it would be great to revisit it with my boyfriend as a little date. He's not one to enjoy museums, but he had a good time. There's lots to see so take your time and have some fun. We came around 3:30 and they closed at 5 that day so it was just enough time for us to walk around and enjoy spending time together looking at artwork.

  • 5.0 star rating

    This place is amazing and it's free... I honestly would compare it to the De Young in San Francisco without the admission; however, it is smaller. Plan to spend about a day to visit all the museum has to offer. The only concern I had was there doesn't seem to be a division of exhibits, for instance, there were Meso-American artifacts bunched together with ancient Chinese sculptures and Native American pottery. Not much of a complaint.

  • 5.0 star rating
    • 1 check-in

    I made a visit here with a friend. It was free entrance Sunday we went. It is great to appreciate art once in a while. I am definitely not the artist of the family, so I can appreciate experts at their craft. I must say this a great place to take pictures.

    The Cantor arts museum is definitely worth a visit. It is beautiful and grand inside and they have a nice selection of art- paintings, sculptures, from different cultures. It has an air of freshness. There is a good mix of modern art and ancient art. I look forward to seeing Cantor grow and getting more displays.

  • 5.0 star rating
    • 2 check-ins

    I suppose if you're familiar with this area you may know about the hidden treasure that is the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford Campus.  Inside you'll find a collection of works acquired from the Stanford family's world travels, all free to the public!  They intended this to be a place for the people.  Which I guess is good considering the misguided cut to funding of the arts in the latest budget.  Thankfully, you won't be seeing garish portraits of 45 here.  Instead you'll be treated to masters of sculpture, surrealism, as well as Dutch, Asian and Native American art.  

    I saw Magrittes, Miros, Lichtensteins, Picassos, Warhols, and an amazing collection of Rodins.  It reminded me of strolling the sculpture lined grounds of the Musee De Rodin on the outskirts of Paris, which is a splendid place to spend an afternoon.  The Cantor's extensive collection (nearly 200 works in all!) featured many of my favorites: the kiss, the thinker, Balzac, the Bulgers of Caleigh, the three shades, and eternal springtime.  I particularly geeked out at the bronze statue of Count Ugolino, whose torment in hell I recently read about in Dante's Inferno.  We concluded our visit in the outdoor sculpture garden where the massive Gates of Hell stand flanked by Adam and Eve.  Here you'll see many smaller reproductions of his other works blended together in his epic vision of hell.  

    I loved this museum and greatly appreciated the generosity of the Stanford family that made it free for all visitors.  Nothing better than those with much giving back to the many!

  • 5.0 star rating
    • 1 check-in

    Best free museum I've ever been to. Man, Stanford is S-P-O-I-L-E-D! ;)

    I've heard of the Cantor Arts Center before and was intrigued that the university had a FREE museum on campus! Previously, I'd walk by the museum but never had the time to explore inside-- I mean, I'm working the whole day!

    However one day, I decided to leave work early (after coming in early, I ain't no cutter!) because the event, The Daughters and Sons of Hippocrates and Apollo: Why Doctors Write, was happening at 5:30PM inside the Cantor Auditorium.…

    Decided to peruse around before the event and I am so glad I did! The whole museum itself is quite a large maze. However regardless of where you started, you can be sure that you'll be able to explore and maneuver through the whole museum seamlessly and effortlessly. I started with the Asian exhibits and drifted through European, Mexican/Latin, Native American, and lastly, Modern art exhibits. Most of the artwork was donated to the museum and although there aren't big name artists everywhere, they do have some eye-catching exhibits such as Andy Warhol (loveee), Hope Gangloff Curates Portraiture, Spencer Finch, etc. My faves had to be the European Renaissance and Ancient Asian/Buddhist artwork :) Modern was pretty mindblowing too.

    Current Exhibitions:…
    Europe & America
    Modern & Contemporary
    Prints, Drawings, & Photographs
    Native Americans
    Stanford Family Collections

    If you're hungry, they have a cafe there too. But Palo Alto has solid food, so I'd pass. Additionally there are docent tours and events at Cantor constantly. Easily one of my favorite places at Stanford! Place of zen and serenity to appreciate aesthetic beauty and deep meaning in human expression.

  • 5.0 star rating

    Well curated, wide range of art, very large facilities. And of course, it's free to everyone. The Russian temp exhibit that's currently on is pretty cool. Free parking on Sundays + Holidays which is great. Definitely worth a stop if you're touring Stanford.

  • 5.0 star rating

    What a beautiful museum!  I really enjoyed the variety of exhibits that were on display.  I would highly recommend a visit if you're looking for something local and fun to do.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/17/2017 Updated review
    • 1 check-in

    A fantastic art museum located in the heart of Stanford campus, that is free to the public. The lobby is beautiful with marble columns and staircases. I also like the Stanford Family room, which has detailed descriptions of the Stanford family and the origins of the museum. They have a lot of great artwork, notably the Dutch prints with many prints by Rembrandt, and the Rodin sculpture garden. The current rotating display is a Surrealist exhibit which features a lot of interesting artwork. The museum itself is quite small, but features a huge variety of artwork from Polynesian art to Asian art to Contemporary art.

    The only downside is that parking is expensive if you come before 4PM on the weekdays ($2.50 per hour), and it can be hard to find a spot. However, parking is free after 4PM on weekdays and on the weekends. If you are new to Stanford, I recommend checking out the museum, and then walking 10 minutes to the main Quadrangle to see Memorial Church and the Clock Tower.

    4.0 star rating
    6/18/2016 Previous review
    This is a great art museum located right inside the Stanford campus. There is plenty of car and bike… Read more
  • 5.0 star rating

    Shoooot everyone who lives around here should go... I mean even if you don't really appreciate art, I think it's a great place to just enjoy your day.
    The museum is completely free but they accept donations. Parking is only free on the weekends or the holidays. We went on a saturday morning, and there weren't that many people but when we were coming out we noticed a lot of people starting to crowd the place. It's a pretty good size and you can spend at least an hour here just soaking up different pieces of art. Rodin... good job!
    After we were done with this museum we just walked around Stanford because it's gorgeous. Such a beautiful campus!

  • 5.0 star rating
    • 4 check-ins

    A FREE art museum... what more can I say? Just because it's free, they have a great collection of art pieces from Rembrandt to Picasso, abstract to realism, and statues to paintings. There was one gallery showing comic strips, another gallery focused on etching, and another gallery filled with Pacific Northwest artwork. It's a very diverse collection, and I'm simply amazed that access to such artwork is free. Heck, it's even open on the weekends which is rare for most university run museums.

    The outside building caught my eye while we were driving around Stanford campus, so I thought we'd check it out - can't believe I've never heard of this place before. The building itself is beautiful - marbled structures and wide open gallery spaces with pleasant lighting.  There are statues and columns on the outer building to enjoy as well.

    I must say, I was more impressed with this museum than the San Jose Art Museum in DT SJ... and I had to pay admission for that one! They have a more diverse collection of art that can appeal to many groups. The building also seems way bigger than the San Jose Art Museum and parking is more convenient as well. Parking is free on the weekends and there seems to be a lot of it in front of the center. It's also an easy walk to the main campus area near the tower and church, in case you wanted to explore more of Stanford's gorgeous campus.

    There is a policy not to bring in backpacks and purses (there are cubbies to store them), but I did not see this strictly enforced as I was able to carry my purse without issues. Backpacks may be more problematic as you're more likely to accidentally hit something when turning around. There are also bathrooms in the museum, which were quite clean.

    Highly recommend this museum if you're interested in an afternoon enjoying some artwork... then you can head to University Ave for a nice place to eat!

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/6/2017 Updated review
    • 2 check-ins

    Walked to the Cantor Arts Center from Stanford Mall, it's only about 1 mile so an easy walk.

    Since I've been a few times I just went to see the Surrealism exhibit which was fine and the Dutch art - some tiny pieces, some bigger in dark rooms.

    Had to see The Thinker and Gates of Hell.

    Worth a visit.

    5.0 star rating
    9/25/2014 Previous review
    Went to the Cantor Arts Center on Thursday because they stay open until 8PM on Thursdays!  FREE… Read more
    5.0 star rating
    3/15/2009 Previous review
    Went again to the Cantor Museum.  It's Great cuz it's FREE.  We went after our guided tour of Hanna… Read more
    5.0 star rating
    8/25/2007 Previous review
    I love this museum.  It doesn't get enough press but it's GREAT and FREE.  I don't go here often… Read more
  • 4.0 star rating

    Nice little building in the heart of Stanford university. Good expositions, great history of the Stanford family. I love the grounds around here - park-like setting, great area to take a stroll and relax.

  • 5.0 star rating

    This place is amazing and free, a great place to hangout with friends, and check out the art.
    It's so close to where I live, feel like my personal museum.

    There is "the thinker" sculpture; and also art from renaissance; divine!

    Easy to find parking too.

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/23/2017 Updated review
    • 21 check-ins

    The museum is awesome as always. The exhibits are constantly rotating so each time you go there is something new to see and I can look at the extensive Rodin exhibits and see something new every time. As I noted in previous reviews this large art museum is Free!

    The docents and informative but unobtrusive and they will often have hands on activities for kids in the open outdoor areas. There is an adjacent eatery (The Cool Cafe)  that I will review separately.

    There is also several outdoor installations other than the Rodin Garden (like the giant snake etc) that are worth spending time looking at.

    Recently the adjacent Anderson Collection opened up as well and its worth a look.

    This is really a hidden gem here on the Peninsula. While not as extensive as say the Getty in SoCal, it worth spending a few hours here.

    5.0 star rating
    6/27/2011 Previous review
    Great extensive collection of art here on the Peninsula. There are alot of collection in rotation… Read more
  • 5.0 star rating
    • 1 check-in

    I was extremely impressed by this art museum. The architecture is beautiful. There is an extensive range of types of art... everything from pottery to old-style paintings to modern art to sculptures to ancient artifacts. It is not too small and not too big, so you can do a quick 30 minute brisk walk-through, or spend several hours soaking up each room. On top of that, it is free! Admission to the museum, museum tours, and access to the sculpture garden are all free. Therefore, it can be an enjoyable place for both art-enthusiasts and the not-so-obsessed alike. It's a great spot for visitors who might be interested in exploring the Stanford campus as well.

    Some minor cons that did not bother me but are worth mentioning are:
    1) it is closed on Tuesdays.
    2) it closes kind of early (5pm on MWFSaSu and 8pm on Thursday).
    3) the cafe is closed on Monday.
    4) parking is $2.50/hour in visitor spaces before 4pm on weekdays (but free on weekends, even in permit parking spaces).

  • 5.0 star rating

    A beautiful (and free!) art museum on Stanford's campus. The lobby is a gorgeous marble masterpiece in itself.

    Big enough to explore without being bored, but small enough to see everything in a day. Parking is a little challenging; paid permit required Mon-Sat before 4pm, but free after 4pm and on Sundays.