Coffee. Microbrews. Football. Now that's a college town.
Silicon Valley might be the birthplace of famous startup companies and home to the largest technology companies in the world. But every fall, we’re paying way more attention to football, as the Stanford University team takes the field. With Stanford and nearby Palo Alto neatly tucked between San Francisco and San Jose, out-of-towners can have the ultimate gridiron experience and also explore the many attractions around the Bay Area.
Where to stay
Hotel Keen, a boutique hotel, sits right next to the university and is a happy medium if you want to be within proximity to the game, and receive five-star treatment without the price tag. Another solid fixture on the hotel scene is the Courtyard by Marriott, which never fails to please fans looking for great accommodations closer to the game.
Where to eat/drink
Fans are generally skeptical of stadium food, but we swear the offerings here are some of the best in the United States. Before the game or during halftime, seek out these prime eats from sushi and all-beef hotdogs to personal pizzas. We also recommend the “make your own nachos” bar and crazy-good garlic fries. While you might have to keep your cheers to yourself after you eat these tasty spuds, it’ll be worth every delicious bite.
From the game, head to the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto, where fans can enjoy a plate of traditional English pub food and a pint of beer. The Alpine Inn is a classic dive in the area and if you're looking for local nostalgia, this is definitely the place. After a night of fun, CoHo Coffee House on the Stanford University campus has the right vibe to get your morning-after morning started right with the perfect cup of joe. And if you are staying in the area, enjoy a meal at the New Orleans-themed Nola.
Game day tips
If possible, opt for accommodations within walking distance of the stadium. Parking can be a nightmare, and we recommend you avoid the hassle to get as much tailgating action in as possible. The traditional pageantry of the team walk, led by the university marching band, begins 80 minutes or so before kickoff at the Arrillage Family Sports Center. It’s the perfect way to get into the spirit.
What to do
From the art of the play to museum exhibits and a quick drive to the coast, there are plenty of activities to include in your weekend game plan. Start your morning with a stroll around the 3.5- mile walk at the Stanford Dish, named after the nearby radio telescope used by university research facilities. The Rodin Collection at the Cantor Arts Center spans more than 200 pieces of art including the iconic The Thinker, and rain or shine, every weekend you can find a knowledgeable docent eager to give the full scoop on the collection, either Saturdays at 11:30 am or Sundays at 3 pm. You can also get in touch with your inner geek by driving to the Intel Museum in Santa Clara or for a coastal adventure, head toward Half Moon Bay, a bustling little town that’s a favorite vacation spot of Silicon Valley residents. It’s a great place to visit in the fall with gorgeous bluffs overlooking the ocean. The murals painted on side streets are a unique addition to this creative coastal community.