Though Caltech's atmosphere is quiet and serene, it's central location allows students to visit most of LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, and more. Caltech is in the more affluent section of Pasadena, neighboring mostly large estates and expensive houses. Pasadena also has numerous coffee shops available to Caltechers to help them stay awake. The Rose Bowl, a tourist site for many, has been an American sports landmark for more than a century, and one would be hard-pressed to find a wilder celebration on New Year's Day than the Tournament of Roses Parade. PCC (Pasadena City College) is located across the street from Caltech. PCC and Caltech students do not interact on a regular basis, but students from these schools have been known to hook up and/or date on occasion.
Pasadena is also a mere 30-minute drive from the California coastline. Malibu, Puma, and Ventura beaches are all easily accessible if you have a car or the money (and patience) for public transportation. Malibu is also the home of Pepperdine University. For sports fans, the Staples Center is a must-see. Downtown LA also has the La Brea Tar Pits for all you pre-historic buffs. Downtown is the home of USC (University of Southern California) and Occidental College. USC and Caltech collaborate on research projects, and every now and then, we have mixed a cappella concerts. For more distant ventures, Pasadena is also about two hours away from Tijuana and San Diego (home of the world's greatest zoo, Sea World, and Legoland). Also, Vegas is only a four-hour drive away. Caltech students have the privilege of doing something different every weekend—that is, if they have the time!