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It is possible to take the train down to Palo Alto from SF, rent a bike from the bike share system, take a leisurely ride down Palm Drive and around Stanford campus (2-5 miles along bike paths) and then back to Palo Alto for coffee (or something else tasty). Coupa Cafe is a good place for coffee, as ulfw mentioned.

If you want to tour one of the big companies, find a friend/acquaintance/recruiter, and catch lunch. These companies compete on quality of meals...

Also, if you're going to rent a car, I highly recommend visiting some Redwoods. The best around are in Big Basin about an hour south of SV. There are also some just north of SF in Muir Woods.

I'm not averse to cycling, I just didn't think it would be too scenic around the Valley.

Unfortunately I have no contacts in these big companies.

That's a good shout on the redwoods, I had no idea this was on offer near the SF area, thanks.

We're planning a family vaca to California for the first time this summer and planning on Muir park.

Also if you end up renting a car you may want to check out Yosemite (3-4 hr drive). That is on our list.

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