There is so much to love about college. Freedom from parental supervision; taking a sex ed class taught by an actual biologist rather than the high school football coach; new friends; a world of opportunity; beer.

But it’s certainly not a cakewalk. Negotiating relationships, grappling with evolving personal ideologies and figuring out how to cook things other than ramen are all a part of the challenge.

Doing all this in Silicon Valley comes with an added layer of complexity. The South Bay is one of the most expensive places to live, eat and play in the entire country. For those without access to the mom and dad’s Chase Sapphire, this means some serious financial planning.

Consider this the official guide to living large while still pinching pennies. Cohabitate with style and grace, keep your home beautiful and functional, have fun for free—or at least really cheap—and live your best life… no matter how crazy your roomies, professors and minimum wage jobs get.

So raise a red Solo cup to the best four—or five… or six—years of your life. College smacks!

Studious Swag

Frankly, showing up the first day of class with any form of paper and a writing utensil is pretty top-notch preparation. Going back-to-school shopping isn’t like it used to be in your elementary days—but there are still some supplies that’ll make the school year a little more manageable. And fun!

Good Plan Stan
The future is here and it’s… well… kind of impersonal. Yeah, Google Calendar and Trello are great scheduling tools, but it just feels so damn good to physically cross something off a to-do list printed on quality card stock. Erin Condren and Zazzle sell artful and customizable personal planners online, while local boutiques like Petite Galleria in Japantown cary unique paper goods.

Stay Juiced
Batteries die. And when they do, it’s always at the worst possible time. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid submitting that assignment late or finding yourself stranded in the city. Portable energy sources are a long-term, stress-reducing investment. Shop around—the Flux Portable Charger costs $30 and is compatible with iPhone and Android. RAVPower also carries wallet-friendly external chargers and power banks with bigger output for laptops.

Pen and Ink
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
Can you imagine how lonely it is out there in the land of lost pens? Maybe, if writing utensils were a bigger investment, we wouldn’t lose them as much. Everyone knows that one person who hoards their $20 fountains—they might be onto something. At Mitsuwa, the Kinokuniya book store boasts a fantastic array of different pens and the same goes for MaiDo at Santana Row. A good refillable pen that lasts years could be just $10. Who knew Mitsubishi made pens?

VANISHING ACT: Vapur water pouches collapse when empty.

VANISHING ACT: Vapur water pouches collapse.

Water Bottles
Stay hydrated—your cognitive and physiological well being depend on it. The now-classic CamelBak, Hydroflask, Yeti, S’well and Klean Kanteen last practically forever and make hydration an en-vogue venture. Another nifty container, the Vapur Element collapses when empty, fitting right between your books. And it’s just $14. Lifefactory offers sturdy glass bottles for half the price of other big names, and the Thermos Intak lets you track how much water you’re drinking with a rotating intake meter, while the insulation keeps your liquids hot or cold all day.

Easy Living

Let’s be real. The universe is vast, cold and indifferent—at least least according to your eccentric philosophy professor. But don’t despair! The secret to existentialism is understanding that you and you alone are the ultimate arbiter of your own happiness, and one of the best ways to stay happy is to stay organized. So, come on, dude! Get your act together with these simple tips.

However you can get it done, just clean. Disposable bleach wipes are convenient, but they’re costly. Try the age-old method of vinegar and baking soda. It’s cheap, smells sort of like a pastry, and the scrubbing power is A1. Pro tip: when the party’s over, you can use the leftover lemon and lime wedges to cut through the grease on the counters.

Contain Yourself
College living is kind of like camping. Efficiency is key—especially when it comes to eating and storing food. The more efficient you can be with your utensils, the less time you’ll spend washing dishes and the more time you can spend having fun. Glassware is an ideal way to conveniently store, carry and microwave premade meals or leftovers. Glasslock, Pyrex, OXO, Ello and even Rubbermaid are all great brands. French Bull makes sealable ceramics. For space saving vessels, there are no shortage of collapsible silicone containers online. When you’re slipping things into your backpack, it’s possible they’ll leak—that’s one of the only things plastic grocery bags are still good for.

Don’t Fight The System
The university is a great way to get politically active, but there’s nothing wrong with entrenched organizational systems. Establishing rules and schedules with roommates can be the difference between war and peace—discuss expectations at the very beginning. A waterproof labeling system or a whiteboard in the kitchen is an easy way to track who should be washing what…. laminate some note cards with tape that designate each roommate. When someone has to skirt to class before washing their dishes, they can stake a claim to it.

Chances are, you’ve picked up a thing or two on Etsy. But for real, it’s the ish. Support do-it-themselves artists and small businesses with the decor and gifts you purchase—wallpaper or stencils, wood-burned house signs, hanging shelves, quirky pillows—it’s all there.

Fresh Prince of Dorm-Air
You can only control what you do with your own dirty socks. Block offensive odors with some homegrown air freshening. Potpourri is fun to make, classic orange-and-clove pomander balls are a sprinkle of Christmas year-round and no matter what your science professor might say, if a houseplant can make you feel like your apartment smells better, who cares if it’s actually improving the air quality.

You know… those things your pickles, mayo and pasta sauce come in? They can also hold water, tea and cocktails. Instead of buying drinking glasses, clean them out and refill them.

You’ve won the first-world college jackpot—you own a car. Now… where to park it? With this app, cheap parking can be found in just seconds. ParkStash has partnered with local home and business owners that welcome circlers to end the search and park in their stash—many in downtown San Jose and bordering SJSU.
Figuring out a healthy and efficient email practice: huge. Something nobody can stand—all that damn spam! Break the pesky influx with, which detects what your email address subscribes to so you can ditch the relentless suckers that clutter your inbox forever. And ever.

Crib Notes

Playing the Sims as a kid didn’t really prepare anyone for Bay Area housing prices. There’s really no sugarcoating it—finding “affordable” housing is a complicated venture. The best advice: exhaust your resources. To the patient apartment-hunters go the spoils.

Flex the Network
Honestly, this is and has always been the best way to find housing, jobs, you name it. Networking is scary—until you do it a bunch and realize that most people have a certain baseline of decency. Turns out human beings often want to help other members of their species. Talk to those you know in the area and keep at it until you have what you want. You need a good place to live! Don’t give up. Be assertive, and believe in yourself.

Apartment List
A free app that is… exactly what it sounds like. This one will get you personalized matches, HQ photos, estimations on your future commute, an accessible list of your favorite options and updates on the listings.

Facebook Marketplace:
Yeah, the Facebook news feed is really just for baby pictures and your crazy uncle’s political rants, but the Marketplace will land you some hot commodities. A gorgeous $40 yellow cruiser, that single room that comes with normal roommates, a free bed. Also, it’s a big plus that you can see the person you’re meeting before you arrive. There is no shortage of creeps in this world.

Anything that works 24/7 is bound to be up to date. Whether you want a hot pad or will take literally whatever place you can get, the advanced filters on this app should help you find your way there. Get alerts and keep track of your options—they know that one size really doesn’t fit all.

Fix Up, Look Sharp

Driving around looking for sidewalk furniture works and Craigslist is cool, but how do you know you won’t be getting a family of mice in that ottoman? Here are a few more options for seeking out loveseats and style without leaving the couch you’re trying to replace.

Lucky for you, some people are trying to let go. They have housing options—a feature that isn’t super user friendly or expansive—but their real deals are in electronics, furniture, decor, clothing and even services from local factotums.

There are brands we don’t dare to look at because there’s just… no way. Poshmarks shakes that up—giving you the power to access hot brand name threads and accessories without the brand new price tag. Score quality threads, kicks and shades on the low.

Zillow Rentals
It’s both fun and immensely depressing to see how the other half lives. But Zillow is good for more than looking up real estate prices in tony zip codes. Filter options by location, draw your own lines on the map, sign up for notifications to see when your dream rental becomes available and get in touch with landlords and property managers with just a few clicks.

Use this site to filter housing by price and amenities. Find a place that is fur friendly, with air conditioning and no gratuitous cleaning deposit.

Brick & Mortar

Today’s technology makes it far to easy to become a shut-in. When you’re feeling cooped up and in need of a little retail therapy, check out these local shops to stock up on choice threads, decor and basic necessities.

Black and Brown
751 W San Carlos St, San Jose
You can buy items from this local boutique, but it’s far better to visit in person. This place is a bit pretty pricey for a second-hand clothing store—but the prices ensure excellent curation.

Crossroads Trading Co
1959 W San Carlos St, San Jose
San Jose has two locations, and Crossroads makes it almost too easy to sell clothes. You can sell on site, use their 24-hour drop-off, wait for consignment or mail clothes in. That influx of clothing means the pickings are awesome.

Goodwill San Carlos
1691 West San Carlos St, San Jose
The Goodwill has always been a good choice for shopping on a budget, but it hasn’t always had the vibe of a chic vintage store. A few years ago, taking cues from hipper thrift shops, this location opened a more curated upstairs section called The Loft.

Tom’s Treasures and Thrift
158 S King Rd, San Jose
This tiny thrift spot boasts a diverse assortment of oddball miscellanea. Vintage baubles and classic threads come at modest prices. You might just find your next outfit for an up-coming ’90s party.

Staying Lifted

It’s important to maintain a positive outlook in life. Yes, the Bay Area is expensive. But living here means snow-capped peaks, rugged coastlines and cool winding rivers are just a short drive away. Oh… And cannabis is legal for the 21-plus crowd.

Bento Delivery
This Oakland-based Cannabis Delivery service is a dispensary on wheels! Bento stocks a large assortment of Cannabis products, including dank buds, tasty edibles, a variety of vape cartridges—and best of all, they’ll come to you. They also have a fantastic deal for students. Present a valid college ID with your order and get a preroll for just a penny.

1695 S 7th St, San Jose
San Jose’s home-grown cannabis heroes, Caliva is a leader in the Bay Area’s legal weed scene. They’ve been lauded their transparency, sustainability and customer service. Best of all, their beautiful dispensary is just a short bike ride from the SJSU campus. Show up in person or order online for free delivery.

PIECE WORK: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

PIECE WORK: Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Also known as the Uber of pot, Eaze is a Cannabis delivery service operating in more than 100 cities across California. An advocate for gender diversity, racial inclusivity and social responsibility in the cannabis industry, they even highlight products from women-owned brands in their online inventory.

Elemental Wellness
985 Timothy Dr, San Jose
Whether you’re a medical patient or just looking for community, Elemental Wellness is a hub for all things cannabis. Not only do they offer a wide assortment of flower, concentrates and vape cartridges, but this dispensary also offers yoga classes and cultivation workshops. Elemental Wellness has sales often, so keep an eye on their Instagram feed.

Breez Mints
Skip the burner breath and pop one of these mints for some warm fuzzies. Delivering a solid yet functional high, these freshies by Royal Garden Society come in a variety of flavors—original mint, cinnamon, citrus—and an assortment of formulations for daytime, nighttime and everything in between.

Paramount Imports
455 Meridian Ave, San Jose
This legendary San Jose head shop has been selling cannabis accessories—from pipes to trippy posters—for more than 50 years. Paramount has shelves stocked with locally blown glass, incense in every scent imaginable and a grand assortment of novelty items. The friendly staff will gladly work with your budget and help you pick out the perfect piece for your needs.

Plus Gummies
These juicy little cubes come in a variety of tasty fruity flavors—including seasonal flavors. And with just 5mg of THC per gummy, dosing is easy for beginners.

Cheap Eats

At least three times a day, food takes center stage, and that can be pretty tough to manage on a rigorous class and work schedule. When trying to make a meal at home becomes impossible or just plain unappealing in the moment, there are some local and delicious options that will make a minimal dent in your bank account.

5 Spot Chivas Grill
869 S 1st St, San Jose
Just south of downtown, on the other side of Interstate 280, the luxury apartments stop and some seriously legit taquerias hold court. Chivas Grill is one of the best. Chow down on their tacos and burritos, sample their bountiful salsa bar and consider getting adventurous with their molcajete—a piping hot stone mortar, filled with bubbling, buttery broth, steak, chicken, shrimp, veggies and fried queso.

A Slice of New York
San Jose & Sunnyvale
New York and Silicon Valley collide at this pizzeria. A co-op—meaning that all employees have the opportunity to get a piece of the financial pie—ASNY is easily one of the best pizza spots in the South Bay.

Athena Grill
1505 Space Park Dr, Santa Clara
My Big Fat Greek Veg-Out. If a friend takes you here for the first time, you might think you’re being kidnapped. There’s nothing around this place but warehouses and offices. Eventually, however, Athena’s bright blue umbrellas will poke out on the horizon. Here you will find some seriously delicious Mediterranean provisions.

Cafe Rosalena
1077 The Alameda, San Jose
La Victoria is not the only orange sauce game in town. Cafe Rosalena’s rendition is a creamy zest party, smooth and with just enough kick (but that’s subjective, of course). Santa Clara University students are introduced to this place as a right of passage. The breakfast burritos will fuel you through the first half of grueling day.

98 E San Salvador St, San Jose
This super-cheap Vietnamese eatery stacked with options: pho bowls, rice plates and an assortment of Bánh Mì sandwiches, plus various snacks and goodies. Located at the corner of San Salvador and Fourth streets, it’s just a short jaunt from SJSU, and it’s a great place for an affordable breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also share their space with Downtown Poki, so you could pop an appetizer and enjoy your raw fish fill in the same spot.

Greenlee’s Bakery
1081 The Alameda, San Jose
You deserve these cookies, you really do. Hard work usually leads to sugar in one way or another, and these powdered and frosted carbohydrate masterpieces might be just the fix you need.

Iguanas Burritozilla
Various Locations
Just around the corner from La Vic’s is another staple taqueria of Downtown San Jose. Like La Vic’s, Iguanas has been on the scene since the mid ’90s. Their orange sauce is scrumptious in its own right, but its claim to fame is the burritozilla: an 18 inch, five pound monster of a burrito.

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches 
Various Locations
Started in the Bay Area, Ike’s is a California institution at this point. These renowned, sometimes-suggestive and always-delectable sandwiches are worth every penny.

La Victoria Taqueria San Jose
La Vic’s is known first and foremost for their addictive orange sauce. With multiple downtown locations that stay open late, a burrito from this San Jose favorite is easy and delicious.

MOD Pizza
Various Locations
“Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard enough and believe in yourself.” Thanks to Bill Murray, personal pizza is truly inspirational, and MOD is firing reasonably-sized craft pies, quick and cheesy.

Namaste Nepal Food Truck
1288 W El Camino Real, Mountain View
A bit of a cross between Indian and Chinese food, Nepalese cuisine is on the rise in Silicon Valley. Try the momo, chowmein, fried rice or manchurian—balls of meat or veggies, fried in batter and lathered in tangy brown or red sauce.

Peanuts Deluxe Cafe
275 E San Fernando St, San Jose
For an average of $8 a meal from early morning to sunset, Peanuts dishes out greasy spoon favorites—massive omelettes, burgers, grilled cheese, fries and more. They’ll even deliver for a $3 fee.

Pho Little Saigon
855 E Homestead Rd, Sunnyvale
If you’re on the prowl for some soul-nourishing soup to make you feel at home, Little Saigon’s got your back. This pho joint’s reasonably priced and generously-sized bowls of noodle soup will satiate any appetite.

San Jose
These soft and savory pupusas, topped off by a murderously sweet dessert of plantains with condensed milk—horchata in hand—are the Salvadoran cuisine you wake up craving in the dead of night.

SAJJ Mediterranean
San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Menlo Park
Mediterranean cuisine option that stacks up on the vegetables you’re probably not eating enough of. Falafel, shawarma, or pomegranate chicken in pitas, wraps, salads and bowls—all halal.

Sara’s Kitchen
1595 Franklin St, Santa Clara
Some of the most down to earth, warmhearted people (that treat college students like real humans) serving classic breakfasts with a smile. Start the day in this cozy mom-and-pop showp with a delicious Benedict.

Cafe Crawl

Chances are, you’re not far from a Starbucks, Peet’s or Philz… While these shops will give you a jolt and a WiFi hotspot, we encourage you to support a smaller neighborhood java spot. Cramming for finals is always better in a coffee shop with character.

Academic Coffee
499 S 2nd St, San Jose
A recent addition to the SoFA cafe circuit, this artisanal coffee shop is dressed up in classy minimalist digs. Academic slings beans from Sacramento-based Temple Coffee Roasters, alongside quality pastries baked in house.

Big Mug Coffee Roaster
3014 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
True to its name, this coffee house pours drinks into large house mugs, and the cafe itself can play host to a good-sized crowd. Usually open until 11pm, except for Sundays, it’s a great study spot. They’ve goåt some food, too, including waffles topped with Marianne’s ice cream.

Caffe Frascati
315 S 1st St, San Jose
Come for the cappuccino, stay for the beer and wine. This SoFA hangout is a sanctuary for young creatives, who can be found inside—or out on the terrace—painting, writing poetry or tinkering on the house piano. Frascati also hosts open mics on weeknights which attract sizeable crowds.

950 and 1202 The Alameda, San Jose
A hit with college students, Crema has two locations on The Alameda—just a few blocks apart from each other. Crema’s coffee is roasted in house in small batches.

Dana Street Roasting Company
744 W Dana St, Mountain View
Dana Street has all the caffeinated essentials, and then some—like thai coffee, root beer floats and banana mochas. They occasionally have live music in the evenings. It’s cash only—but their prices are worth the hassle of carrying paper money.

Grocery Stores

No one enjoys coming home to an empty fridge or pantry. Groceries are going to be one of the bigger line items in your budget, and learning to shop smart for these essentials means more money for fun on the weekend. Then again, your body is a temple and it is often worth the extra dollar or two, if it means you’ll be eating fresh, unprocessed food.

Farmers Markets
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be an endless, draining errand. Farmers markets are timeless and serve as an essential tie to the local agriculture and community. The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) has a list of year-round farmers markets near you, including the Alum Rock, Berryessa, Creekside, Evergreen, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Santa Teresa, San Jose, Santa Clara and Palo Alto markets. Make a trip to the farmer’s market a weekly or monthly errand, and you’re sure to be eating fresher, healthier, tastier produce. You could discover a life-altering chorizo street burrito, pick up a bouquet for your mom or stumble upon the ripest, sweetest strawberry the world has ever known.

The Forge Garden
1051 Sherman St, Santa Clara
The Center for Sustainability at Santa Clara University has a magical, chicken-coop-and-honey stocked garden at the corner of Sherman and Benton streets. It holds Farmstands on Fridays from 11:30am-1:30pm. Get there right at the beginning, because they’re out quick. Stock up on fruits, veggies, flowers, honey and spices that are quite literally right off the vine. The system is based on suggested donations—which is awesome and inclusive for a reason—but give what you can. Places like this can’t survive for free.

S&S Market
502 S 10th St, San Jose
Groceries aren’t cheap—but they’re cheaper at S&S.

Santa Clara Produce Market
805 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara
Get your daily serving of fruits and veggies at this market. In addition to produce, they carry pantry staples like like sauce, rice and pasta, as well as other refrigerated goods.

Mitsuwa Marketplace
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
You could literally stay in Mitsuwa forever and have everything you’d ever need. Besides the stacks on stacks of Japanese groceries, there’s a great Ramen shop, a sushi joint and café, delicious sweets, beauty supply and even video rental section (if you feel like going old school).

Who Gives A Crap
Adulthood means maintaining a steady flow of TP in your household. With a subscription from this company, you’ll never run out or have to run to the store, and it’s economically practical to split the cost between roomies. The rolls are made without trees—from recycled goods or bamboo—and come in colorful print packaging. Bonu: 50 percent of the profits go toward building clean sanitation facilities around the world.

Grocery Outlet Bargain Market
Various Locations
With locations in downtown San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and beyond, there’s bound to be a Grocery Outlet near you. Those in the know may refer to this chain as Gross Out, but that’s a term of endearment. This is one of the best places to do your grocery shopping on a budget. Full stop.

San Jose Flea Market
1590 Berryessa Rd, San Jose
The advent of Amazon in no way makes these places obsolete. Just because you can get everything at the click of a button doesn’t mean that’s always the best option, and the flea market features hundreds of vendors that are selling just about everything. Tools, furniture, art, clothing, cosmetics, party decor, supplies for your animal friends, electronics—it’s possible to find some wicked steals. And, you can grab some grub while you shop. Way better than the mall, it’s an experience.

Imperfect Produce
There are plenty of grocery subscription services these days. While the weekly price tag may seem daunting at first, it’s a fantastic way to budget when you’re splitting it with roommates. Imperfect Produce delivers fruits and vegetables deemed too ugly or flawed for grocers as well as farmers’ surplus, tackling food waste at a reduced price. They also donate produce to food banks nationally—subscribing with them has an impact that goes beyond your own kitchen.

Zanotto’s Markets and Fruitdale
San Jose and Sunnyvale
The cozy Italian grocery market you never knew you needed. With three groceries in San Jose—plus the store in Sunnyvale—this place is worth a visit (or a hundred after that). Pick up your groceries, make a salad, munch on crispy cannolis or get a fresh sandwich that’s worth every penny.

Ethnic Markets
Various Locations
Stores like Dai Thanh in downtown San Jose and the Cardenas chain of Mexican markets are essential to anyone looking for ingredients Safeway doesn’t carry. They are also often cheaper than the national chains.

Barts & Nightlife

There are just a few good things about getting older. People take you a bit more seriously, curfew doesn’t exist—and turning 21 means you can legally buy booze (and cannabis). Nightlife is now unlocked in a way it’s never been before, unless you’d already bought your way in with a license from Wyoming. Having a big night out can get expensive, but with our help, you can party smart.

4th St. Pizza Co. 
150 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
With its daily happy hours and a weekend pre-midnight special known as the “Power Hour,” this is a magnet for the college crowd. On Thursdays from 11pm to closing time—as well as Friday and Saturday from 11pm-12am, wells, Hamm’s, Crown and Fireball are $5 or under. There’s a different special on drinks every day of the week, and on Tuesdays, pizza, salad, wells, wine and certain beers are half-off.

Cafe Stritch
374 S 1st St, San Jose
This SoFA live music venue is the cornerstone of San Jose’s jazz scene. There are performances Thursday through Saturday from Bay Area’s jazz heavyweights, as well as vinyl-spinning DJ sets on Wax Wednesdays. Cafe Stritch also boasts a full bar with a large assortment of craft cocktails.

The Caravan Lounge
98 Almaden Ave, San Jose
With live music, DJs and comedy almost every night of the week, there’s always something going on at The Caravan. Drinks are cheap and strong, too. Cash only.

69 E San Fernando St, San Jose
Just a block and a half from SJSU, this venerable establishment offers some of the cheapest and strongest drinks in town.

The Continental
349 S 1st St, San Jose
Clubs often have a pretty steep cover and crazy drink prices. While The Continental’s cocktails aren’t exactly cheap, their covers are reasonable (when they have one at all). The DJs are always solid, the dance floor is large and the back patio is a great place to cool off.

The Hut 
3200 The Alameda, Santa Clara
Freshly re-opened by a Santa Clara grad’s father, The Hut is now a barbecue restaurant and bar on the same corner of Franklin and The Alameda where the iconic Bronco Hut once stood. They serve lunch and hold happy hour from 2-6pm, Monday through Friday.

LVL Up & AFKgg Gamer Lounge
400 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
LVL Up is the area’s OG arcade bar—craft cocktails, pinball and all—and AFK just moved into the downtown Campbell space this summer. Happy hour is Monday through Thursday 3-6 pm, and Friday starts at noon.

Off The Rails Brewing
111 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale
Happy hour seems… endless here. Every single day, 11am to 6pm gets you $2 off beers and social plates. If you throw enough back before prices normalize, you might not need to spend buckets later on. Definitely not a pro-tip, but an idea. Remember to eat dinner.

O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub
25 N San Pedro St, San Jose
Grab some pub grub to split with your pals in the classic ambience at one of San Jose’s most Irish establishments. Wednesdays at 8pm, you could be the smartest person in the room during O’Flaherty’s trivia night. For the talented, bravehearted or too-far-gone, karaoke starts at 9pm on Sundays and Mondays. Tuesdays, live Irish music sets the mood for a jolly good jig.

The Ritz
400 S First St, San Jose
The Ritz is dedicated to good live music, and it’s one of the only places you can find free admission and small suggested donations on a regular basis. General admission is usually reasonable, although prices go up when a bigger name act rolls through town. Check out their calendar—one of the many slotted artists could turn out to be a new favorite.

The Rose & Crown
547 Emerson St, Palo Alto
The garlic and cheese “chips” (note: fries) and those classic samosas might lighten the blow of paying tuition at Stanford—or anywhere—for the evening. As an English food and ale house, reverie, food and drink flow freely here.

Get Active

Tired of hanging out in parking lots and hotboxing the minivan? Even if you aren’t in the 21-and-over crowd, there is plenty to do after the sun goes down. Here are just a few ideas for all-ages fun in the South Bay.

Art Boutiki
44 Race St, San Jose
Small venues breathe a lot of life into the music scene, and the artists are no less talented than those down the road at SAP. At Art Boutiki, bands from the area and around the world play in an intimate comic-book-store-turned-music-venue space. It’s quirky, and quirk is good.

San Jose and Milpitas
Bowling is the childhood birthday party that breaks fingers, and the adult night out that gets more competitive than it should. Bowlero has some pretty awesome deals throughout the entire week.

Cinelux Theatres
San Jose and Campbell
Unfortunately, going out to the movies is one more thing that’s gotten outrageously expensive. Fortunately, some theatres still sell tickets for a price that isn’t laughable—Cinelux is one of them. Student tickets are $8, matinee (before 6pm) is always $6.50, and Tuesdays truly are Terrific for a whopping… $5.

San Jose, Sunnyvale and Milpitas
Mini golf will never die. Ever. With multiple locations around the South Bay, Golfland has some solid deals for putt-putt, arcade and laser tag—especially on Monday nights, when family pricing promos get you and the rest of your “family” in for under $10.

The Hammer Theatre
101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose
Music, theatre, dance, live music, film screenings and performances that combine art and technology—it’s all waiting for you at the Hammer, San Jose State University’s nationally acclaimed theatre. Show your student ID and get an exceedingly good deal on many of their amazing programs.

Hakone Estate and Gardens
21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga
Students get in for $8 at the beautiful Japanese gardens just down the road in Saratoga. Every detail matters—take in the silence and slow down to a more meditative pace. It’s a great place to just be.

Montalvo Arts Center
15400 Montalvo Rd, Saratoga
Another Saratoga refuge of natural beauty. Parking, hiking and picnicking on the lush grounds is absolutely free. Follow picturesque trails through the woodland, wander through the many gardens and check out their concerts, arts and writers series for scheduled entertainment and events.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Avenue, San Jose
Your childhood innocence isn’t the only thing that’s been mummified. Just one block from San Jose’s charming Rose Garden, the Egyptian museum is a good time-a-half if you like to learn outside of school. From tombs to alchemy, this place provides the chance to become more informed about the ancients, their beliefs and discoveries. You might find some things in common with the early civilization on the Nile. Students get in for $7.

Scenic Overlooks
City lights and stars are still the cheapest form of evening entertainment. If you or someone you know can acquire a car, cruise down Skyline Drive (aka CA-35) or shimmy up a local hill trail to watch the sunset. Mission Peak in Fremont and Communications Hill in San Jose are particularly popular locales.

South First Fridays
5 East San Salvador Street, San Jose
The first Friday of the month, San Jose’s SoFA District becomes an odyssey of creative expression. The art walks here are a fantastic place to enjoy exhibitions and live music, as venues open invite the public in and community members come together to eat, drink and be merry.

Stanford University
450 Serra Mall, Stanford
Living near one of the most prestigious universities in Northern California—and the world—comes with perks. Stanford University has an endless calendar of cool events, from big names in music at Frost Amphitheatre to fascinating lectures, film screenings and night markets. Not only that, the campus is crawling with beautiful things to see, like the free Cantor Center for Visual Arts, which features a Rodin sculpture garden.

Triton Museum of Art
1505 Warburton Ave, Santa Clara
Santa Clara is home to a small but impressive free museum. Visit every few months to experience world-class art at no cost. A lunch along the nearby El Camino Real or a picnic post-museum at one of the several neighboring parks would make for a wholesome weekend plan—they’re open Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm.


Pro-tip: Nike is really onto something. Just do it. But here’s the catch—don’t compare your fitness regimen to other people’s. Just do something. It doesn’t really matter what that is. The doctor isn’t exaggerating. Cognitive function and mental health correlate with your physical wellbeing, so, for real, be good to your body. It’s you, after all.

The Studio
396 S First St, San Jose
It seems like the whole world is climbing now … and it’s not that fun to watch all of your roommates head to the boulders without you. A student membership at The Studio in downtown San Jose costs $58 a month and buys you access to the many rad classes and features—yoga, core, suspension training, aerial silks, gym equipment and new climbing routes every few weeks.

Local Gym Memberships
24 Hour Fitness might be the way to go, financially speaking, with its under $40 a month option, but there are other gyms in the area that have around the same monthly charges. Anytime Fitness also starts at $40 a month and Westca breaks down to just $49 monthly when you buy an annual membership.

The Call of the Wild
The great outdoors is everywhere, and getting into the natural world doesn’t have to be a day trip. Take a bike ride down the Guadalupe River Trail, visit Lake Cunningham for the skate park or a hike, and head to Los Gatos, Almaden and Alum Rock to bask in the natural beauty of the South Bay. Along the edge of the South Bay’s waters, loops like Cooley Landing, the Sunnyvale Baylands or Alviso Marina meander through marshes, and Santa Cruz is just a short drive or bus ride away.

Mental Health Resources

You’ve heard the statistics—our mental health crisis is brutal and surging. In the most serious sense, everyone copes with some sort of trauma. Stigma is bullshit, psychological wellbeing is everything. If you need help, you can get it.

Your School
It seems like counseling in schools sometimes gets a bad rap, but it can’t hurt to try—these people have dedicated their lives to helping others. They should know what they’re doing. Also, it might be possible for someone at your institution to connect you with outside resources. Most psychological service offices should have a social worker who’s in the know and can get you where you need to go.

Besides publishing lots of interesting articles, this online resource, will direct you to therapists in your area based on your insurance and mental health concerns, and can show you the clinicians that are familiar with certain backgrounds, such as faith tradition, other languages and the LGBTQ community.

Some people say technology is contributing to the mental health crisis itself, but it’s also serving as a resource. You can try online therapy with apps like Better Help and Talk Space, and there are others like What’s Up, Moodnotes and MoodKit that actually implement Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other psychotherapy techniques to help establish healthier thought processes and coping methods. You can also download something like Headspace for meditation guides and practices.

Living Well

It is expensive to live sustainably. But sometimes, it’ll pay for itself. Take reusable, long-lasting products—it’s painful to make that first purchase, but you won’t have to budget for that item anymore in the future. Cut out unnecessary waste and stop buying the lie that you have no agency as a consumer. You might have to drop $75 for a stainless steel, refillable razor, but it’ll theoretically last until the day you die, and the blades cost like 50 cents. Just don’t lose it or let TSA nab it from you.

Package Free
This company, started and run by environmental activist Lauren Singer, is committed to providing ethical, environmentally sound goods—free of plastic packaging. They sell Zero Waste kits for eating out of the house, cleaning, shaving and travel, and other must-haves for the kitchen and bathroom. Their subscriptions include ongoing shipments of shampoo bars, deodorant cream, mouthwash tablets, aftershave balm, etcetera.

The Source Zero
60 N San Pedro St, Ste 30, San Jose
San Jose has its very own stop for ecologically and ethically dependable goods, plus do-it-yourself personal care workshops. You can stock your kitchen, bathroom and home with products that are… well, less trashy (as close to zero waste as possible). Think stainless steel Solo cups, reusable boba straws and utensil sets. We’ll repeat that: stainless steel Solo cups. Flip cup will never be the same.

FLIPADELPHIA: Stainless steel Solo cups.

FLIPADELPHIA: Stainless steel Solo cups.

Vitamins and Supplements
Some health tips might be urban legend—getting all the nutrients and elements you need to thrive is not, especially when your brain and body are under constant strain (and this is college in Silicon Valley). Order quality supplements online at sites like Natural Healthy Concepts without shelling out the Shaklee prices. And, if you’re thinking of becoming a vegan or vegetarian but are worried about the nutrition—you’ve got this. Take your B12 and get some nutritional yeast. Don’t skirt your body’s needs.