The Peet’s Coffee in the James H. Clark Center – home of Stanford’s Bio-X Initiative – is a hidden campus gem which flies under the radar of most undergraduates. We promise the trek up three flights of stairs is quickly forgotten once you set eyes on the views from the third floor, steaming coffee in hand. Sit outside at the steel tables and chairs on the walkway, or get cozy inside at one of the wooden tables or bar top. The best part? You may be on campus but you aren’t likely to run into anyone you know (aka no distractions).

Grab: A steaming cup of coffee
Wifi: Stanford wifi
Outlets: Inside at both far ends of the coffee shop
Best seat: One of the outside tables near the railing that overlooks the center of the building – provides shade and the ability to enjoy a beautiful day while getting some work done (however no outlets.)
Crowd: Always a free table!
Bike time: 5 minutes from Tressider


The Prolific Oven is just around the corner from the Apple Store on University Ave, and has been for over thirty years. Swing by if you’d like some actual lunch fare with a side of studying. The chilled-out vibes will make you want to settle in for a few more hours of work while you digest. When our photographer dropped in to take a couple pictures of the cafe interior, she ended up chatting with a New York Times bestselling-author who suggested – no, commanded – that she try a chocolate chip cookie.

Devour: The chocolate chip cookies!!! Trust Barry Eisler
Wifi: Yes
Outlets: Next to most tables
Best seat: Sit at one of the tables next to the big windows which provide lots of natural light 
Crowd: Always half-full
Bike time: 11 minutes from Tressider


Cafe Venetia is nestled on University Avenue almost across from CREAM and a block away from the popular Hanahaus. It offers charming Italian-inspired outdoor seating for sunny afternoons, and two floors of tables perfect for spreading out your textbooks – or your upper body while you take a nap. This study spot is a smart choice if you want to settle down at a table for a longer chunk of time and check all the tasks off your to-do list because it stays open till 11 pm. The second floor is undergoing some construction right now, but will reopen soon.

Feast on: Any of the pastries and the hot chocolate
Wifi: Yes, except on weekends
Outlets: Plenty in the downstairs area, only one upstairs
Best seat: Set up shop on the second floor, at a table overlooking the rest of the cafe, so you can people watch and monitor the line to time your coffee refills
Crowd: Usually quite busy
Bike time: 11 minutes from Tressider


The Palo Alto Café was recommended to a PULSE member by their philosophy professor. It’s a cozy and quieter spot perfect for getting your reading done. It has the feel of a small-town cafe and is frequented mostly by locals – a nice change of pace from the Stanford campus atmosphere. The large tables are particularly convenient for group meetings or for catching up with a few friends.

Try: A croissant and a fresh juice
Wifi: Yes
Outlets: Only one, charge your devices before coming!
Best seat: Snag the couch next to the old-timey coffee machine
Crowd: A handful of people at a time
Bike time: 17 minutes from Tressider (you can do it!!!)


The Philz on Middlefield is the forgotten not-so-little little brother location of the over-crowded Forest Avenue Philz. Only 2 minutes down the road from the Palo Alto Cafe, it is the perfect spot to make your way to when the sun rears its head. There is minimal indoor seating (about ten stools), but the beautiful landscaped outdoor area has loads of seating space and loads of succulents. You can still get your Philz fix, minus the crazy crowds – you are welcome.

Gulp down: The Mint Mojito iced coffee
Wifi: Yes
Outlets: A few on the inside 
Best seat: Pick a shaded table by the hedge 
Crowd: No guarantee of indoor seating space, but plenty of room outside 
Bike time: 19 minutes from Tressider

By: Margaux Giles
Photography By: Kelli Santos