Stanford University

Stanford University, one of our country's most esteemed schools, is located in the Bay area, approximately 35 miles from San Francisco in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, known as The Peninsula. The impressive 8,180-acre campus is home to just over 7,000 undergraduates and over 9,000 graduates who come from all over the world for the challenging academics, beautiful California weather, and the chance to study and interact with an engaged student body and dynamic faculty. Although the University is practically a village unto itself, it calls the City of Palo Alto home. Downtown Palo Alto is a short walk from campus with an eclectic array of hotels, shops, and restaurants. 


Stay: The Clement |  Breakfast: Mayfield Bakery

Lunch: Coupa Cafe  | Dinner:  Local Union

Visitor Information: Tour Stanford

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Insider Tips: Sign up way in advance for the Golf Cart Tour, there are a limited amount of time-slots, and they book up quickly. It’s a fun way to see more of the spacious campus and includes areas covered on the walking tour, such as the Main Quad, Memorial Church, the science and engineering buildings, and student activities area, but also includes more of the surrounding area including The Stanford Arts District and Athletic fields.  (There is a $5.00 fee for this tour, and the cart accommodates only five people) Whatever tour you choose, wear comfortable shoes, this is a sprawling campus, there’s a reason you’ll see everyone getting around on bikes. Want to rent a bike? The Campus Bike Shop is located in the Tresidder Union near the center of campus. 

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Transportation: Three major airports serve the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco International (SFO)San Jose Mineta International (SJC), and Oakland International (OAK). Located 35 miles south of San Francisco and 20 miles north of San Jose, Stanford is roughly equidistant from the San Francisco and San Jose airports. Although San Francisco is the largest of the three area airports and offers the most options, some visitors find that San Jose’s smaller size makes it an easier alternative, especially for domestic flights. The local transit hub for bus and train services at Stanford is the Palo Alto Caltrain Station, located near the main entrance to campus. If you are traveling from San Francisco or San Jose, Caltrain is your most convenient option.

Stay: Stanford’s location adjacent to Palo Alto and Menlo Park offers an abundance of hotel options. We recommend staying at the Palo Alto Sheraton, the Westin Palo Alto, or the boutique Clement Hotel, all located next to each other, just a 5 minute walk from the Caltrain Station. From any of these hotels, it’s a short walk (10 minutes) to downtown, a 5-minute walk to Town and Country Village and a 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive to the Stanford Visitors Center where tours begin. We also really liked The Nobu Epiphany Hotel in the heart of downtown, within steps of all the best spots to eat and also within walking distance to campus. (As we said above, bring your comfortable shoes!)  Rooms are modern, luxurious and stylish—all creamy whites and yellows, and there’s a Nobu restaurant off the lobby.  Another good choice downtown is the Garden Court Hotel. The university has two properties close to campus in Menlo Park, the resort like Rosewood Sand Hill, one of the area’s most luxurious accommodations set on 16 acres with views of the Santa Cruz mountains and The Stanford Guest House, a more economical choice, on the grounds of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Check for special rates for Stanford visitors when you book your stay. Both properties are a short drive from campus. 

Coffee: There’s a Starbucks in the Tresidder Union, but we suggest heading to one of the four locations of Coupa Cafe on campus.  Most central, we like the outdoor kiosk by the Cecil H. Green Library, close to the Hoover Tower. The daily menu features not just specialty coffee drinks, but everything from pancakes and waffles to soups, salads, paninis, and other Coupa specialties--making this a perfect all day spot. Peets, on Campus Drive, is another student favorite, with a second location in Town and Country Village. 

Breakfast: A good place to start your day is at popular Tootsies at the Stanford Barn; a short drive from campus--grab a seat outdoors and enjoy the beautiful California weather while savoring their delicious ricotta pancakes. Downtown Crepevine specializing in sweet and savory crepes and egg dishes is a busy neighborhood spot while BARE Bowls is Palo Alto’s health food eatery for smoothies and açaí bowls.  

Lunch:  On campus, the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week and brunch and dinner on the weekends, the one Stanford dining hall open to visiting families. Everyone raves about the burgers, the salads, and fries at Gott’s, located at Town and Country Village. Downtown for a quick bite customize your salad at Sweetgreen or order the Mozzarella Moon Sandwich at Pluto’s. There were happy cheers when San Fran’s beloved Pizzeria Delfina  opened in Palo Alto; in addition to the signature pies the menu has plenty of veggies, salads, and larger plates to enjoy on the lovely outdoor patio. There’s always a line at for Ramen Nagi, but fans say its worth the wait. From a small taco stand at the Farmers Market, Tacolicious has grown into a proper sit-down establishment offering a variety of tequilas and delicious tacos.

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All Day Dining:  Right near campus in Town and Country Village, Mayfield Bakery and Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a bright open kitchen space with a focus on locally sourced Californian cuisine. The attached bakery opens at 7 am and is a great place to grab a coffee, pastry or a salad and enjoy a quick meal on one of the indoor or outdoor tables. (Town and Country Village is a charming, open-air mall with tons of restaurants, shops and work out studios such as The Bar Method just on the edge of campus.) 



Casual: In Palo Alto Oren's Hummus serves some of the best Mediterranean around—it’s busy all day starting at 11 for hummus bowls, chicken kebabs and other Israeli favorites. Popular at lunch or dinner for Neapolitan pizzas, Terun showcases modern Italian fare with a California twist. Another downtown haunt for either lunch or dinner Local Union 271 serves farm to table fare with a global bent in a cool industrial space. Located at the Stanford Barn across from Tootsie’s, Vina Enoteca brings the rustic charm of Italy to the Silicon Valley.


A Step Up: Chef Robbie Wilson's Bird Dog, in downtown Palo Alto, focuses on local cuisine. Students say Zola is a parent favorite for seasonal French fare. Fans rave about the grilled lamb chops and whole fish at upscale Greek, Evvia Estiatorio, from the owners of San Francisco’s standout Kokkari. Flea Street Cafe from local legend Jesse Ziff Cool is located in nearby Menlo Park a mainstay for sustainable California cuisine. You will find elevated, inventive Vietnamese dishes at Tamarine. For an outstanding dining experience book a table at The Sea (from the team of Alexander’s Steakhouse) for an innovative, high-end seafood feast.

Late Night Snack: In Town & Country Village, Tin Pot is a must visit. Try one of the unusual, inventive flavors like Cinnamon Snickerdoodle or Roasted Banana Fudge Ripple. For late night pizza, students head to Pizza My Heart.

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Local Attractions: A must visit, The Cantor Arts Center is open six days a week and features more than 100 Rodin works in their permanent collection. We were in awe of the Rodin sculpture garden, adjacent to the Center with 20 major works, the largest in an American museum -- it alone justifies a stop. While there, refuel at the museum’s The Cool Café, it overlooks the Rodin garden and features artwork by Stanford students. Interested in viewing more art? Stop by the Anderson Collection, home to modern and contemporary American art. Another campus landmark, the Stanford Memorial Church stands at the center of the campus, an architectural jewel, one of the earliest, and still most prominent, interdenominational churches in the West. See the Stanford campus from the top of the Hoover Tower Observation Platform. The 285-foot tower is a landmark for students, alumni, and the local community. Nature lovers don’t miss the on-campus cactus garden or walk The Dish, a scenic 4-mile loop with great views of the school and the San Francisco Bay. The well-paved trails are popular with both students and locals from Silicon Valley.

Touring Stanford


You might not know it, but Stanford sports teams are consistently among the best in the nation—Stanford has won the Division I Director’s Cup the last 20 years. It was exciting to follow the men’s soccer team all season long in 2015 culminating in winning the National Championship!
— Theo
Studying with some of the brightest students in the world challenges me to work harder. Stanford offers tons of interesting classes and my professors overall have been stellar. You really can pursue whatever you are passionate about.
— Jordyn
While it’s nice to have Palo Alto nearby for movies, restaurants and shops, it’s not a college town and with the tech bubble it has become quite expensive. Life revolves around campus and I love the proximity to San Francisco.
— Sylvie





The Stanford Tree

School Colors


Acceptance Rate

4.7% (2016)

Common Application


Supplement Essays


Early Action/Decision

Early Action



SAT Average


ACT Average



7,000 Undergraduate




Admissions Office

Montag Hall 355 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6106

(p) (650) 723-2091
(f) (650) 723-6050

Sports Divisions

NCAA Division I

Greek Life


Noteworthy Alumni

Reese Witherspoon
John F. Kennedy
Larry Page
Susan Rice

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