Even if you don’t gain admission as a student, earn credentials as a professor, or kick your way into the end zone, there’s plenty to see and do at Stanford University, one of the world’s largest and prettiest campuses. Just 30 miles south of San Francisco, it’s an easy drive to Palo Alto on Route 101 or 280 to the campus known colloquially as “The Farm.” Stanford Stadium, home of the Pac-12 Cardinals, seats 50,000 and is considered a premier sports venue.
The beauty of Stanford
Blessed with sunshine, superb old California-style architecture, stunning vistas, and palm tree-lined avenues, sprawling Stanford University is so large that the U.S. Postal Service has assigned it two of its own zip codes. A dozen years after its 1891 opening, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Stanford, stating, “Now I have come to this great institution of learning and I wonder whether you yourselves fully appreciate the mere physical beauty of your surroundings.” Three years later, Stanford’s buildings suffered severe damage during the 1906 earthquake.
What’s on at Stanford
The Hoover Institution Library and Archives established by President Herbert Hoover has a 14th floor observation deck, the free admission Cantor Arts Center has a large, widely acclaimed collection of Rodin sculptures. Theater performances, concerts, museum going, lectures, and October’s Big Game between the Stanford Cardinals and archrival Berkeley’s Golden Bears, are among the activities that attract visitors to campus. Football season continues through the end of November. Upcoming public events at Stanford indicate a wide array of symposiums, conferences, and even hikes to “The Dish.” Topics range from algorithms to zoology, featuring public and private sector notables, visiting academicians, and experts from Stanford’s seven schools: business, earth sciences, education, engineering, humanities and sciences, law, and medicine.
Get the look
The campus Stanford Bookshop is home to cardinal red apparel and gifts featuring “Fear the Tree” looks and traditional logo items. Or, head for Palo Alto’s University Avenue, a pedestrian-friendly street, its trees strung with pretty white lights beside cafés, restaurants, and shops frequented by undergraduate and graduate students. Stanford University has about 7,000 of one and 8,800 of the other. Here in Steve Jobs’ hometown there’s an Apple Store and another, the world’s very first one, at the upmarket Stanford Shopping Center nearby. Caltrain has a station at University Avenue, where visitors can pick up the complimentary Marguerite Shuttle for local journeys by bus including campus stops and the mall. Campus parking is first come, first served at $1.50 per hour in spaces with a green “P” or an “E” sign, free on weekends.