Stanford University has the distinction of being one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the entire United States. U.S. News & World Reports ranks Stanford number 5 of all national universities, placing it in the elite company of Princeton, Harvard and Yale.
Stanford University also has the distinction of having the largest campus. Located about 30 miles from San Francisco, the 8,180 acre campus is so large that it spans six jurisdictions including Palo Alto, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Woodside and Portola Valley.
Set in the Silicon Valley, surrounded by foothills, small mountains and the East Bay, the beautiful campus features Romanesque and Mission architecture. Students and visitors alike can drive along the 46 miles of roads, cycle along the extensive network of bike paths or just walk amongst the lush foliage are more than 43,000 trees.
Area residents from San Francisco and Santa Clara to Mountain View and Menlo Park, often find their way to the campus to spend a few hours or even the entire day. You do not have to be a student or a professor to find fun things to do at Stanford University. If you are visiting Silicon Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to make the short trip to the University. Following are some of the many fun things you can do at Stanford University.
A great place to begin your visit is from the top of the tallest structure on campus. Once the elevator doors open to the observation deck, you will be able to see for miles in every direction. The panoramic views are breathtaking. You will get an idea of the vast size of the campus as you look down over the structures and out to the foothills off in the distance. To get an even more fulfilling experience, take advantage of the free student-guided tours at Hoover Tower.
Your guide will show and tell you about the sights you can see and some of the most popular points of interest. Named after our 31st President, Herbert Hoover, a former student at the university, the Tower is a landmark in Palo Alto. It is part of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. A carillon of 48 bells that were cast in Belgium and installed in 1941, helps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stanford University. The largest of the bells bears the inscription “For Peace Alone Do I Ring.”
Stanford Memorial Church
Of all the structures standing on the grounds of the university, none is more beautiful than the Stanford Memorial Church. Located in the heart of the campus, the church was built back in 1903 in honor of the founder, Leland Stanford. The beautiful Romanesque architecture includes a mosaic of scenes from the Bible as well as impressive stained glass work. The church still holds regular services and welcomes visitors to come and explore the art and architecture. Guided tours are offered each Friday as well as on the last Sunday of the month.
As one of the most impressive university museums in the country, the Cantor Arts Center is always bristling with visitors. The museum boasts a permanent art collection of more than 32,000 works and has a number of exhibits that are displayed throughout the year. The 24 galleries feature works from the permanent collection as well as a number of temporary exhibitions.
Running now through January 5, 2014, is the work of a nationally recognized contemporary artist and photographer.Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of photography and Video. encapsulates the American Experience on issues such as race, gender and class. This thought-provoking retrospective is a must see. From Stanford, the national tour continues with a showing at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th Century Art features 74 works from major European and American artists including Salvador Dali, Margaret Bourke-White and Piet Mondrian. On loan from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this exhibit will make you think about creative artists who developed their own unique style in the art community.
Family Sundays are scheduled throughout the entire 2014 calendar year. You and your children will have fun taking a family tour and getting to experience art hands-on. Enjoy a Sunday of art filled with story telling, book readings and movie screenings.
You can not go to the Cantor Arts Center without taking a walk through the Rodin Sculpture Garden and Galleries. The outdoor Garden includes 20 impressive bronze sculptures by the Master and there are three indoor galleries that display more of Rodin’s work.
Enjoy a fabulous day of culture both inside and outside of the museum. Admission is free at the Cantor Art Center.
Built in the 1930’s as the home of Jean and Paul Hanna, the Hanna-Honeycomb House is a fine example of the design of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Self-guided tours are available, but, due to the great interest in seeing the house, you do need to submit a tour registration form at least six weeks in advance of your visit.
Collegiate sports are a large part of the University’s overall appeal. Football is always a popular spectator event and, depending upon the time of the year, you can enjoy baseball, basketball, track and field gymnastics and a host of other sporting competitions.
A day on the Stanford University campus is always fun no matter what you do. It is a treasured part of the Silicon Valley that welcomes visitors from near and far. You can walk around the grounds on a nice cool day in January or stay inside at the Cantor Art Center on a rainy day in early May. Have lunch, ride a bike, say hello to some of the students.
You may be well beyond your school years to apply for admission as a student, but you are never too old to enjoy the many fun and free things offered to everyone who visits the campus.
*Photos Courtesy (museum.stanford.edu)
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