Visitors to Stanford are often surprised by the area’s mild climate. Protected from the chilly summer coastal fog by the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Palo Alto enjoys summer daytime temperatures typically in the 70s and low 80s, with an occasional brief heat wave. Fall is also quite temperate. Winter daytime temperatures are usually in the 50s and 60s. Rain is rare during the summer; the “rainy season” usually begins in the late fall and continues into the spring.
Dress casually—and for the weather! Be prepared for sunny and warm days during the summer. If you’re taking a tour, it’s a good idea to bring a water bottle and a hat and/or sunscreen. You can’t go wrong with “layering” in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Some backup rain gear is advisable for November through March.
Stanford has an open campus that you are welcome to explore at your leisure. If you would like to take a guided tour, the reservation process may vary depending on the type of tour that you would like to take. More specific information about each of these tours can be found at the Campus Tours section of our website.
Campus Tours are conducted in English. Visitor Information Services has brief self-guided tours available in French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, and Korean that cover the primary historic areas of campus.
Stanford’s main mailing address is:
Stanford, CA 94305
If you are interested in mailing something to Stanford University, we recommend that you address your mail to a specific department or individual. Each building and department has its own specific street number and mailing code that should be included to ensure that your mail arrives at its destination. For example, an envelope or package intended for the Visitor Center should be addressed to:
Visitor Information Services
Stanford Visitor Center
295 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6104
Be aware that an address searched on these sites might not be accessible to vehicular traffic. Quite often buildings are accessible to pedestrians only. Visitors may need to park in one of our visitor lots and walk to their destination.
See Maps & Directions for basic driving directions to the Visitor Center in Memorial Auditorium from surrounding locations.
For security reasons, few locations on campus will hold large bags or other parcels. Visitor Information Services cannot store these items. The Arrillaga Alumni Center provides small lockers for Stanford alumni. The Cantor Arts Center has limited storage facilities for visitors to the museum. Open, unsecured shelves are available for storing smaller bags and backpacks while viewing the museum, and paid lockers are available to store small carry-on suitcases.
Many buildings on campus are not accessible to vehicular traffic. Many Stanford University community members walk or bike to get from one campus location to another. Additionally, the Marguerite Shuttle is a free bus network with several routes that service locations both on and off campus. Key locations served by the Marguerite Shuttle include Tresidder Union, the Main Quad, Memorial Auditorium, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Palo Alto CalTrain Station, downtown Palo Alto, the Stanford Shopping Center, and the San Antonio Shopping Center. If you are interested in biking around Stanford, the Campus Bike Shop located at Tresidder Union rents bicycles to visitors.
A great way to see the campus is on a Golf Cart Tour conducted by Visitor Information Services. This tour is offered at 1:00 p.m. daily. You can also reserve a wheelchair for the day through Visitor Information Services by calling (650) 723-2560. All buildings on campus are wheelchair accessible. Should your party have any questions or concerns, please contact the Disability and Access Center at (650) 725-0326 (voice), (650) 723-1216 (TTY), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it may be possible to visit Stanford and an additional school in the same day, our experience has found this itinerary to leave visitors pressed for time.
Internet access is available at Green Library during library hours and at Wallenberg Hall in Building 160 of the Main Quad during regular business hours. Please note that the hours at each location vary depending on the academic calendar.
If you are a prospective undergraduate, you may want to consider making a reservation for our Discover Stanford program. This two hour program consists of a walking tour of the campus followed by an information session with an admission representative. The program is intended for high school juniors and seniors and their parents. Reservations are required, and can be made online.
During the academic year, the Visitor Center or office of Undergraduate Admission can provide a list of classes open for observation by prospective students. This list is normally available one week after the start of classes each quarter.
If visiting a class is a high priority for you, be advised that those courses that allow prospective students to observe generally have a lecture-based format, are offered on the hour on weekdays, and last for approximately one hour. To ensure that you will be able to sit in on a course in an academic area of your interest, be sure to coordinate your intentions and itinerary when making reservations for other tours or programs. Also, ensure that you are visiting while classes are in session and not during finals or academic breaks. Stanford University operates on the quarter system, and our class calendar can differ significantly from those of other institutions. See the Stanford Academic Calendar for holidays and dates of instruction.
Observing a class during Summer Quarter is not possible, as course options are limited and often cater specifically to summer camp or conference audiences.
Current students and recent alumni are on staff at the Visitor Center and welcome your questions. In addition, Stanford students typically enjoy talking about their experiences, and you are welcome to ask questions of any student that you see walking around campus.
Last update: January 8, 2014 4:18 PM