We were staying in Palo Alto because that is where my brother (and, coincidently, another friend of mine) lives.
It is a very nice little university town, and is perfectly situated as a home base for day trips - between hwy 101 and hwy 280, easy access to SF, in the middle of the valley, and surprisely close to wilderness, the coast, and incredible scenery. Some of the wilderness shots in my trip gallery are practically on the city limits!
On the downside, rents are very high, and East Palo Alto is apparently the cheese cake murder capital of the world. Also, the place totally shuts down at 10pm.