Students' feelings about Palo Alto range from neutral to unsatisfied. It’s a yuppie town with restaurants and activities to match. Students are happy with the food offerings and the safety of Palo Alto, but they don’t think of it as a college town. Campus is large and isolated, so you either need access to a car or the patience to endure public transportation in order to explore. Still, if you manage to get out of the bubble, the Bay Area has a lot to offer. There’s San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Jose, as well as many beautiful nature preserves. People also venture to Tahoe or Yosemite National Park.
As freshmen, most students are happy with the local atmosphere. Going into Palo Alto is a special treat reserved for a couple times a month. You’ll be happy eating most of your meals in the dining hall and finding your fun at campus events. Plus, the standard freshman experience involves trips to San Francisco, Tahoe, Yosemite, Half Moon Bay, and other areas. Despite the natural beauty and pristine cities of the Bay Area, many agree that the region is currently experiencing a downturn. Any time of day, you will notice huge amounts of traffic. The region is so nice that everyone wants to be here. There were plans to make BART (the region’s subway system) come all the way down and around the Bay. This would do wonders to help the traffic problems, but in Silicon Valley, and especially around Palo Alto, local pressure has prevented these developments.