Information for Visitors   Return  to John Mitchell's home page

Finding Stanford and the Computer Science Department

Here are links to a map of Stanford Campus and ascii directions to the Gates Computer Science Building.

If you manage to get to the building, this is the side of the building that is called the front. My office is on the fourth floor, in the left-rear corner. (That is the one corner that is not visible in this picture.)

Stanford parking

There are a few areas with pay parking on campus. See map. Otherwise, parking lots are restricted to permit holders during normal working hours (8-5, M-F). Parking enforcement varies. I do not think parking tickets are given after 4PM, but I may eventually be proved wrong on this.

The closest meter parking to the Gates Building is in the parking structure on Campus Drive, across from the Hospital and toward Palo Alto from Gates. There is also meter parking on the "Oval", which is the part of Palm Drive closest to the Main Quad.

Stanford Faculty Club

The Faculty Club is located on Lagunita Drive, next door to Tresidder Student Union. 

Driving Directions: Take Campus Drive East to Mayfield Avenue (4-way stop). Turn north on Mayfield, go one block to stop sign. Turn left (the only option), go one block to next stop sign. Turn right on Lagunita Drive. There is a visitor parking lot on the left. Follow Lagunita as it circles past the parking lot. Pass Tresidder Student Union on the right. The Faculty Club is next, also on the right, immediately past Tresidder. Entering from the street, you are on the upper level. Once inside, take the stairs to the lower level. 

Faculty Club Parking: There is a row of hourly parking spaces with meters across the road from the Faculty Club. Parking charges start at 8:00 A.M. (some people like to take their chances with the meters!). Bring lots of quarters. If you have a Stanford "A" parking sticker, there is an "A" lot behind the metered spaces.

Transportation information for non-local visitors

This is suburban California. The three most reliable forms of public transportation are Hertz, Avis and National. There is taxi service in Palo Alto, but you cannot go out and wave down a cab. If you call a day ahead, you can get a taxi to come pick you up.

For airport transportation and other occasional longer trips, there are airport limousine and car services. An inexpensive option is one of the van services, either SuperShuttle or South and East Bay Shuttle. These run $16-25 to/from the airport. If you arrive at the airport and want a van, just go out to the station and a dispatcher will find a van for you. You may have to wait 15 minutes or so; you should get to Stanford within 45 minutes.

Conventional cab fares from San Francisco ($80)and San Jose ($60) airports are not competitive.

Bicycles of varying quality can be rented at the Campus Bike Shop (on Stanford Campus), the Bike Connection (on El Camino just South of Campus) and probably several other places. It is possible to rent a good bicycle, suitable for riding on country roads through the foothills west of Stanford or along the bike paths along the bay. It's also possible to rent roller blades on University Avenue in Palo Alto.

Restaurants in Palo Alto

Here are a few places. For more information, check the Palo Alto Online listing.

L'Amie Donia 530 Bryant Street "A full service Parisian style bistro, serving simple French inspired cuisine." Generally good food.

Beppo, 329-0665, 643 Emerson St., Palo Alto. Parody of all those Italian restaurants in Boston's North End, etc., with pictures of celebrities on the wall, etc. Noisy and informal. Dishes are huge so share. Food is not that great but some people get a kick out of this once.

Caffe Verona 236 Hamilton 326-9942. Coffee place that also serves wine, sandwiches, quiche and salad. If  you are in Palo Alto for a few days, stop here at least once.

California Cafe Contemporary but casual California cuisine with pasta and seafood specials. 700 Welch Road, Palo Alto (in the Stanford Barn). 325-2233 Not a lot of charm, but reasonable food.

Empire Grill 651 Emerson 321-3030 Not great food, but excellent patio seating for a group when weather is good. Reasonable beer selection.

Gombei Japanese, 329-1799, 1438 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; dinner 5-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 5-9 p.m. Sun. Cash only. Japanese noodle dishes, teriyaki, limited sushi menu.

Good Earth 185 University Avenue 321-9449 Moderate -- Good Earth specializes in vegetarian cuisine, although they do offer food with meat. Their menu has lots of variety ranging from salads, to vegetarian burritos, to hot casserole meals. They also offer takeout baked goods. They are open for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is usually crowded, and you might have to wait for a table.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. Modern micro-brewery. Decent food. 640 Emerson Street 323-7723

Hunan Home's, 965-8818, 4880 El Camino, Los Altos. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily; dinner 5-9:30 p.m. daily. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more. Vegetarian specials, Hunan-style dishes, seafood and Peking duck served daily.

Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana 520 Cowper Street Palo Alto, CA (650) 853-3888.

MacArthur Park. The kind of place to take someone from the midwest who wants a steak. Good for large groups since it is a big place. Can be comfortable to sit outside in back if weather is nice. 27 University Ave. 650/321-9990.

Osteria. Relatively small restaurant serving decent upper-end Italian food. White table cloths. 247 Hamilton St. at Ramona Palo Alto, Tel. 650.328.5700

Peninsula Fountain and Grille. A yuppie version of the standard corner soda fountain. Burgers, fries and shakes. 566 Emerson St. at Hamilton Ave. Palo Alto

Siam Garden. Thai cuisine. 1143 Crane St., Menlo Park. 853-1143

Sushiya University Avenue. Small, friendly Japanese restaurant with good sushi.

Zibibbo California-Mediterranean, with dishes from the south of France, Italy, Greece, Morocco and Spain. Open kitchen, some good seafood, roasted chicken. Décor is intended to be slightly hip. 430 Kipling Street, Palo Alto. 328-6722


When making reservations, please indicate that you are visiting Stanford. This sometimes entitles you to a reduced "Stanford rate" at more expensive nearby hotels.

The Sheraton and the Stanford Terrace are within walking distance, especially if you enjoy walking. Stanford is perfectly flat so a half mile is an easy walk, although it might take some time. The Stanford Park is the nicest of the nearby hotels. The Sheraton has a better location for those who wish to walk to downtown Palo Alto restaurants and cafes. For a downtown location, you can't beat the Cardinal Hotel, which is a little funky but gets good ratings from past guests.

Decent Hotels Near Stanford

625 El Camino Real
(650) 328-2800
(650) 327-7362 (FAX)

Stanford Park Hotel
100 El Camino Real
(650) 322-1234

Stanford Terrace Inn
531 Stanford Avenue
(650) 857-0333

Special Mention

Hotel California (Inexpensive bed and breakfast with kitchen access.)
2431 Ash Street
Palo Alto, CA
Phone: 650-322-7666
2 miles from central campus


Best Western
2300 El Camino Real West
Mountain View, CA 94040
Phone: 1-800-785-0005 or 650-962-9912
2 miles from central campus

Country Inn Motel
4345 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: 650-948-9154
Fax: 650-949-4190
2.5 miles from central campus

Cardinal Hotel
235 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: 650-323-5101
Fax: 650-325-6086
Downtown; 2 miles from central campus

Creekside Inn
3400 El Camino Real
(650) 493-2411
(two miles south of central campus)

Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel
4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
650/ 857-0787
Fax: 650/ 496-1939

Dinah's Garden Hotel
4261 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: 650-493-2844 or 1-800-227-8220
4 miles from central campus

Oak Motel
4279 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA
Phone: 650-493-6644
Fax: 650-493-3593
3 miles from central campus

Nearby Attractions

San Francisco is a beautiful city, with cultural attractions and a surprising park and beaches along the ocean west of the Golden Gate. (It will take some time to get there from the bay side of the city). Be a tourist at Fisherman's Wharf, eat burritos in the Mission District (e.g., El Toro at the corner of 17th and Valencia), or take a cable car if you are an early riser and are willing to wait a long time in freezing rain. Mark Twain once said he never suffered a colder winter than August in San Francisco. Take warm clothing and prepare for fog. (Generic visitor information)

Santa Cruz has one of the few remaining boardwalks on the west coast. The boards have been replaced by cement, but the tacky atmosphere and a historic roller coaster persist. Eat lunch or dinner at Riva Fish House on the pier and watch the gulls, pelicans and surfers.

Napa Valley, where they produce all that expensive California wine (some of it very good), is about a two-hour drive from Stanford. Some wineries charge only a few dollars for a wine-tasting session. Calistoga is a nice place for an overnight stay, with natural hot springs and many motels featuring mud baths, steam rooms, and warm outdoor pools.

Yosemite Valley National Park is a rock climbers paradise, and generally overcrowded. But very beautiful. Go if you have time and love the mountains. Or visit the Lake Tahoe area. Both are about a four hour drive from Stanford.

The Monterey Aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in the U.S. It is two hours south of Stanford.

Stanford is in Northern California. Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Disneyland are all about 500 miles (800 km) south of here. You can fly for the day, but forget about driving down for the afternoon.