10 overlooked places to sunbathe on campus

April 9, 2017, 11:47 p.m.

After ten weeks of rain and sub-60-degree temperatures, spring quarter has finally arrived, and with it, an onslaught of temptation to spend your days drinking up sunlight. It’s time to toss a few textbooks in your backpack and fool yourself into believing you can work outside. However, an essential part of this façade of outdoor productivity is a bit of seclusion, or at least the pretense of it. Rather than camp out by the crowded pool with your laptop, check out a few of these often overlooked spots on campus for all of your sunbathing and studying needs.

1. Inner quad of the Lagunita dorm complex

This manicured location provides prime access to Lakeside Dining just in case all that studying (read: lying out with a solid Spotify playlist) works up an appetite. The semi-hidden quad has the added benefit of being set back from busy, noisy road-side pathways, making it the ideal spot for getting some reading done. Bonus: It’s rarely ever crowded.

2. Hills of the Dish

The specific legality of going rogue and straying from the paved path of the Dish hike is a little unclear, but rules be damned — those rolling, grassy hills are just waiting to host your study session with a decent view of the distant bay to inspire you.

3. Terraces on terraces on terraces

McMurtry terrace. Lathrop terrace. The multitude of terraces ringing the buildings of the engineering quad (especially Y2E2 third floor). The Law School terrace. Each terrace has its own merits, such as proximity to art, hidden outlets for laptops running low on charge, hanging greenery and unique bird’s-eye views of the campus life passing below.

4. Grassy knolls in the engineering quad

So long as you don’t mind the occasional tourist stopping to marvel at the quintessential image of a Stanford student studying outdoors, the scattered grassy hills in the engineering quad are the perfect islands in the sun for a bit of solitary productivity.

5. Cantor lawn

The lush lawn of the Cantor Center is an underrated oasis from the hustle and bustle of campus. Camp out here for an excellent view of Stanford’s collection of Rodin sculptures to get your creative juices flowing. Bonus: It’s right in front of the Cool Café for when you need a midday pick-me-up in the form of one of their delicious salads or sandwiches.

6. Wide grass-covered steps leading down into Huang

Another serene space in the engineering quad, these terraced steps provide a sunken escape from passersby commuting to class and tend to have plenty of space for you to lie out with your p-set while soaking up some much-deserved sunshine.

7. Terman

Although Terman fountain and its surrounding lawns can get a little crowded on occasion, this West Campus gem is a great place to get work done during the class day at any of the open benches and picnic tables.

8. Secluded patio behind Sapp

An unexpected patio behind Sapp, the formerly Old Chemistry building now known as the Sapp Center for Science Teaching and Learning, contains tables and beach chairs in a little-known area of seclusion. Perfect for some much-needed fresh air after lab.

9. The Stanford Mausoleum

If the thought of hanging out near a tomb is off-putting, this may not be the place for you. However, for those who might find inspiration in proximity to the historical remains of the Stanford family, the open space surrounding the Mausoleum is often empty and offers equal parts sunshine and shade from plentiful trees.

10. Roble Field

Keep an eye out for newly constructed Roble Field opening up this spring. It appears to be a pretty standard field, but there’s something to be said for the experience of being among the first to plop down with a textbook and a beach towel.


Contact Cecilia Atkins at catkins ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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