East Palo Alto (abbreviated E.P.A.) is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. It is situated on the San Francisco Peninsula, roughly halfway between the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. To the north and east is the San Francisco Bay, to the west is the city of Menlo Park, and to the south the city of Palo Alto. Despite being called “East” Palo Alto, the city is directly north of Palo Alto. While often incorrectly assumed to be part of the city of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto has always been a separate entity since its founding as an unincorporated community and its incorporation in July 1983.
East Palo Alto also includes a small piece of land across the Bayshore Freeway (U.S. Route 101) from the shopping center, a roughly triangular area between US 101 and San Francisquito Creek, formerly the site of a two-block-long retail business district known as Whiskey Gulch. The name dates back to the time when Stanford University, on the other side of Palo Alto to the west, was dry and prohibited alcohol sales within a radius of one-mile from the campus. Whiskey Gulch, which was just outside these limits, became home to a number of liquor stores, bars, and music venues.