Stanford University is about forty miles southeast of San Francisco and twenty miles northwest of San Jose. The closest major city to this private university is Palo Alto, part of the high-tech corridor in northern California. That helps to make clear Stanford's reputation for programs in business, engineering, and science.
Known as “the farm,” the campus offers five different kinds of organized tours, both on foot and in golf carts. You'll also find the Cantor Arts Center on the campus, live theater and musical productions, and the nearby Hanna House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design that was restored and opened for tours in 1999 after it was damaged in a severe earthquake. The Stanford Cardinal teams compete at everything from lacrosse to rowing.
Getting to Stanford
As with the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University has extremely limited parking on-site. If you absolutely must drive to the campus, you will need to get a “special event” daily permit or park in one of the metered spaces that accept cash or credit cards. If you want to get a permit in advance via the Internet, go to
Public transportation is much easier. There are several ways to get close to the campus:
BART train system
Caltrain commuter rail service
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) buses
SamTrans buses, which connect to San Francisco International Airport
Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) trains
Dumbarton Express trains
AC Transit service, which runs a special Line U Stanford Express route on weekdays
If you're not sure which mode of transit is best from your starting point, go to the helpful planning Web site
Once you're at your chosen line's closest stop to the Stanford campus, you can make use of the university's free shuttle bus system, the Marguerite Shuttle. It runs year-round Monday through Friday, and it offers evening and weekend service from September through June (when school is typically in session). For schedules and stops, go to
If you plan to visit the city of Palo Alto in addition to the Stanford University campus, your best bet is to park your car in the city and use the city's Free Shuttle, a bus service with two separate lines to get you around town. The Palo Alto Free Shuttle connects to the university's Marguerite shuttle line at the Palo Alto Transit Center, so you can get to and from the campus for free without having to worry about parking.
Guided walking tours of the Stanford campus are offered nearly year-round, twice a day, seven days a week. They depart at 11
If you prefer to walk instead of ride, you can take a golf cart tour of the campus. Tours leave at 1
Museums and Cultural Events
Stanford hosts a lot of one-night-only events featuring everything from lectures to concerts. There are seminars about subjects such as clean energy as well as faculty readings of books and other works. For an up-to-date list of events taking place during your planned travel dates, go to
JUST FOR PARENTS
Stanford Lively Arts has many productions that are open to children and adults alike, but some performances are specifically noted as being suitable for adults only. In addition, the box office requests that you notify them about children who will be attending when you purchase your ticket so they can help you make the best possible seat selection depending on the child's age and level of attentiveness during longer performances.
Stanford Lively Arts
Lively Arts brings three or four dozen performing artists to the Stanford campus each year. You can see everything from jazz pianists to dance troupes at five venues: Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Frost Amphitheater, Memorial Auditorium, Memorial Church, and Pigott Theater. Some recent noteworthy offerings included “An Evening with Spike Lee,” the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, and Roseanne Cash. There are graphics depicting each theater and its seating sections at the Web site
Cantor Center for Visual Arts
There are twenty-seven galleries at the Cantor Center, some of them featuring works by world-famous artists such as Jasper Johns and Georgia O'Keeffe. You can see the largest collection of Rodin bronze sculptures outside of Paris, take a tour with a museum docent, or sit in on gallery lectures.
Admission is free, and the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, including Easter Sunday and the Fourth of July holiday. You can view lists of special seminars, lectures, and changing exhibitions at
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hanna House is located just off campus and served for years as the home of the university's provosts. It was designed in the 1930s for Paul Hanna, a university professor who needed a home for his family of five. Today, Hanna House is a National Historic Landmark with tours available by appointment on the first and third Sunday or the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Tours take an hour, you must wear soft-soled shoes, and children younger than twelve are not allowed to attend. The cost is $10 per person, plus $5 for parking. Learn more at
Unlike most colleges and universities, Stanford does not have an official mascot. The Stanford Cardinal is a reference to the school color of red. There is a tree on the school's logo, which is an “S,” but the tree is a redwood that is also part of the city of Palo Alto's logo. According to the university, the tree is not a mascot but instead is a member of the band. There's no word on what instrument the redwood plays.
The Stanford Cardinal teams have their own Web site, gostan