College can be expensive and living in Palo Alto can be even more expensive. Here is a short list of fun, easy, and free things to do around Stanford University!
1. Head to the lake
Even though Lake Lagunita is currently empty (curse you, drought!), that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to do once you’re there. Grab a blanket and find a place to study. Take a walk around the lake with a friend, or instead of heading to the gym, take a jog around the lag!
2. Check out a game or DVD at the library
The library has an amazing number of fun movies and video games that students can check out any time – for free. On a rainy or cold day, grab a friend and head to Green to play Mario Cart, or to snuggle down and watch a romantic comedy. The library has plenty of screens to watch on and headphones to borrow.
3. Hike the Dish
Hiking the dish is a Stanford must. Not only does it have gorgeous views of the bay area, but you may even get to see San Francisco off in the distance on a clear day. It’s a great hike to do with friends or, for a more intense workout, you can run the dish.
4. Visit Museums
Free for Stanford students, the campus museums have incredible collections. The Cantor Center for Visual Arts (The Cantor Arts Center) houses an incredible collection. Just outside the museum, one of the largest collections of Rodin sculptures sits in the museum’s Rodin Sculpture Garden, including his famous work, The Gates of Hell. Right next door is the Anderson Collection, which houses more modern works by famous artists such as Willem de Kooning. Both museums are incredibly gorgeous and a great place to bring family and friends when they come to visit
5. Attend a Sporting Event!
For the most part, any and all sporting events at Stanford are free to students – you simply have to show your student ID. A great way to show school spirit, sporting events are a way to spend time with friends, meet new people and get a sense of your school. Plus, there are so many different sports happening at different times during the year, you’ll never not have an event to attend. Football games in the fall, Basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, put on your red and white and go cheer for Stanford!
6. Visit the Meditation Center
I know, it sounds like a weird one. But when classes get stressful, work piles up, or you’re just too overwhelmed to do anything, visiting the meditation center is a great way to unwind. Sit and look at the peaceful artwork, listen to the babbling fountains, or simply grab a pillow, close your eyes, and take a nap.
7. Play a game of frisbee at the Oval
Easily one of the most recognizable landmarks at Stanford, the oval is where students go to unwind, catch some sun, and of course, play frisbee. A popular sport (I can say frisbee is a sport, right?) amongst students, it’s a great way to get out of the darkness of a dorm room and into the sun for some vitamin D.
8. Share a Night in with Friends
Sometimes, nothing is needed more than a fun night in with friends. Laugh for hours over funny YouTube videos, or cook up that ramen you’ve been saving for a special occasion. A little bit of R&R at home is really what you need to unwind. Plus, nothing says comfort like you’re own bed and some Netflix, right?
9. Attend an A Cappella show or other free concert
There is never not a free show happening somewhere on campus. Whether it’s your favorite a cappella group or there’s a free orchestra concert at Bing Concert Hall, there’s plenty of music for free. You can even attend concerts like Blackfest in the spring, a concert dedicated to students that is entirely free. See some of your favorite artists plus student performers. It’s an all around win win!
10. Go Fountain Hopping!
A classic Stanford tradition, nothing is more fun on a hot day than throwing on a swimsuit and heading out with friends to jump in some fountains. Hit up the fountain at green library, then mosey your way to White Plaza to hit up the Claw, the most popular fountain at Stanford. Splash around in the fountain outside Memorial Auditorium, or play a round of beer pong at the rectangular fountain behind the engineering quad. For a (larger) water experience, hit up the Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center to swim in it’s fantastic pool. Relax on the lawn before diving in, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen!