You can almost feel the smarts when you visit this elegant, red-tile-and-sandstone campus. Stanford is the academic home of 22 living Nobel laureates, 5 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 3 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Not bad for a place nicknamed “The Farm.” Fortunately, mere mortals are welcome to enjoy Stanford’s riches, and a bike ride around the large, mostly flat campus to uncover some wonderful finds. Start with a visit to Hoover Tower; on clear days views from its observation deck on the 14th floor can stretch for miles.
Next, take in the exquisite mosaic tile work fronting Memorial Church, a popular wedding spot for alumni. See 20 original Rodin bronzes in the sculpture garden outside Cantor Arts Center; there are roughly 170 more works by Rodin on view inside, along with other international treasures. Time your visit to catch a performance at Bing Concert Hall, a $111.9 million masterpiece on the campus’s north side. First-rate scholars show they are first-rate athletes at Stanford too, with outstanding teams in intercollegiate soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming and diving, water polo, and more. As for that nickname, it comes from founder Leland Stanford’s original horse farm. The original Red Barn, a soaring Victorian structure that has been restored to its late-1800s glory, is located in the hilly western side of the campus, just north of the campus golf course. Oh, and those Stanford links? That’s where a promising collegiate named Tiger Woods played.