Given its small size and residential location, Santa Clara offers few nightlife options for students. "Going out" usually consists of attending small house parties or bar hopping around campus, and while there are occasionally frat parties, they don't happen as consistently as at larger schools. Santa Clara nightlife comes most alive during spring quarter when the weather gets nicer and students tend to have lighter courseloads. To take advantage of the beautiful weather, most "nightlife" activities are bumped up to afternoon "day parties" hosted by fraternities or off-campus houses.
Because it's hard to get in to small parties if you don't know many people, partying regularly as a freshman often requires befriending older students or joining Greek life. For students ages 21-and-up, there are a few bars close to campus, but clubbing requires a cab ride to San Jose or a Caltrain trip to Palo Alto or San Francisco. The bars near campus are only one to three blocks away and are pretty inexpensive; some even offer weekly events such as drink specials or live music featuring SCU student bands.