If you decide to come to Caltech, be sure to bring your walking shoes. Pasadena and the Los Angeles area as a whole are not very big on public transportation. There are buses, Amtrak, and taxis, but none of them are useful for day-to-day grocery trips. Using your own personal car or bike is the best way to get around Pasadena. Of course, not everyone has a car, so friends with cars are advantageous. Caltech is conveniently situated close to grocery, pharmacy, and coffee shops. Students are often seen walking around with grocery bags, and they are known to bike back with backpacks full of food. Caltech is very small, and a walk from one end of the campus to the other takes about 15 minutes. There are bike racks all over campus for those in a hurry or those who dislike walking. Students also use skateboards or Rollerblades to get around campus. Since Pasadena has such beautiful weather, walking, biking, and skating are viable modes of transportation 95 percent of the time.
Getting around outside of Pasadena is more of a challenge. Since there are no taxis or a commonly used metro system, getting from one place to another can involve switching numerous stations and/or different modes of transportation. However, students do occasionally go to downtown LA or other nearby places via public transportation. There are many shuttle companies that have pick-up and drop-off services to and from the airport for a reasonable charge. The local airports, Burbank Airport and Ontario Airport, are also used and have similar shuttle services. Students usually just need to get to and from the airport and around Pasadena, both of which are pretty simple things to do, even though public transportation in Southern California is practically a nightmare.