Living in the Bay

Stanford is an exceptional place to go to school. It goes without saying that the university is home to world renown scholars, nationally recognized athletic teams, and distinguished artists and musicians. Beyond that, however, Stanford is situated in the heart of the Silicon Valley, a short drive from San Francisco, and an even shorter drive from state parks and the Pacific Ocean.  Stanford is in the part of the Bay Area known as “The Peninsula.”

Graduate students often live close to campus, commuting to school by bike or car.  According to a recent survey of the current Stanford Sociology graduate students, the department estimates:

  • 30% of our doctoral students live in Stanford graduate housing on campus; 70% of our doctoral students live off-campus (most live in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Redwood City).
  • 60% of our doctoral students own a car; and 40% ride their bike as their primary form of transportation.
  • 30% of our doctoral students live in a one-bedroom apartment; 70% share living costs with a roommate or partner/spouse.
  • One-third of our doctoral students estimate their living expenses (rent and utilities) at $1000 or less; one-third estimate their living expenses are between $1000 and $1500.


The links below are organized to into two groups:

  • The Living section is meant to provide resources for new graduate students as you prepare to relocate before school begins.
  • The Enjoying section offers resources for exploring and experiencing the natural beauty and cultural diversity of the bay area.




  • Stanford Parking and Transportation
    Buy your parking permit, Cal Train “Go Pass,” register your bike, and more.
  • Bicycling
    A great resource for people who bike for transportation or recreation.
  • Cal Train
    The public train that runs from San Francisco through Stanford/Palo Alto (and other towns) down to San Jose/Gilroy; and back.
  • Sam Trans
    Public transportation in San Mateo county
  • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
    Local busses (many that serve the Stanford community) and light rail
  • BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
    Public transportation serving San Francisco and the East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland, etc.)
  • Muni Metro System
    San Francisco buses, subway, and streetcars.

Free Shuttle Services

  • Stanford Marguerite Shuttle
    Free Stanford shuttle with multiple lines to take you from point A to B on campus, to downtown Palo Alto, and also many local shopping areas.
  • Palo Alto Shuttle
    The local free shuttle


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Local and Regional Museums and Related Institutions

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