Often times, living in — or visiting — one of the highest priced zip codes in America does not allow for as much adventure as one would hope. Unfortunately, popular, low-budget activities tend to lose their appeal as the thrill of hiking the Dish dies down and Chipotle student discounts are no longer worth it after eating the same burrito for a week straight.
But, contrary to popular belief, $20 is sufficient to enjoy a day out despite Palo Alto’s expensive reputation.
While enjoying a cup of coffee and simultaneously completing a task is an ideal weekday activity, paying over $5 for a 12 ounce latte is not. Luckily, Coupa Cafe — which has establishments not only in front of Green Library, at the GSB and at Y2E2, but also off-campus on Lytton Avenue and Ramona Street — sells coffee for less than $5. Students can even treat themselves to a large coffee without breaking the bank. In fact, much of Coupa’s menu including salads, crepes, and sandwiches is under $10, making it the perfect spot to get some work done while enjoying a reasonably-priced meal.
Another exciting cafe stop is the Stanford Coffee House (CoHo) at Tressider. Every Monday night, CoHo hosts a Jazz Jam, free and open to the public. Stop by, grab a coffee or a pastry and enjoy some live music.
If you are looking for more of an adventure than people-watching in a cafe, Stanford students are only a 15 minute drive from Shoreline and its variety of activities. Rent a four-person paddle boat at the Shoreline Boathouse for $25 an hour: grab three friends and it is only $6.50 per person. The boathouse also has a cafe, but I would recommend a picnic lunch by the lake.
On the other side of Shoreline you can find the amphitheater, which tends to have multiple concerts every week. Lawn tickets are always available and can be as inexpensive at $18, so even if the only Charlie Puth song you know is “Attention,” attending his show could be an exciting way to spend a Friday night — and you can do exactly that on August 17!
Palo Alto is filled with photogenic scenery to practice photography. One popular place to do so is the Pace Art Gallery, where new exhibits are always on display. The well known Art and Technology exhibit provides amazing light displays creating an ideal photo backdrop.
A classic and potentially costless activity is weekly farmers markets. Closest to Stanford’s campus, the downtown Palo Alto farmers market is open every Saturday starting at 8 a.m. Freshly grown produce is always available for purchase along with flower bouquets, food trucks and occasionally live music.
If you are less concerned about money than you are about being completely bored this summer, escape rooms are a great way to get your mind working with friends or family. Recently, escape rooms have been popping up all over the Bay Area. Escape rooms are hour-long activities that consist of many locks and secret codes that players search for throughout the room while trying to achieve an overall goal. Players typically begin in one room and slowly find their way to another. In Mountain View, Ryptic Room Escape and Myst Escape Room have some intense hour-and-a-half long escape rooms with exciting themes such as “Escape the Mad Hatter” or “Ghost Ship Escape Room.”
As intimidating as the high prices of Palo Alto can be, you need not spend your summer stuck inside while trying to save money. A little bit of searching can lead students to discover a variety of exciting activities without spending a fortune.
Contact Nicole Fuller at nicole.fuller2001 ‘at’ gmail.com