They say the key to long-term relationships is keeping things spontaneous.
So for Stanford-Cal's 116th Big Game, let's spice it up with some new traditions, using the sunny weather and downtown bars and beds just steps from the Caltrain station for something more than beer pong, funnels, and blackouts.
Here are your components for a car-free weekend of carousing... and possibly a Palo Alto #partyinthebackfield.
For a new kind of pre-game training, try the revamped Arastradero Trail with improved access to Pearson-Arastradero Preserve and trails branching out from Palo Alto and the Stanford campus. Cyclists on the preserve’s Redtail Loop Trail will find gritty 15 percent slopes that lead to sweeping South Bay views.
After tailgating and trail riding, don't just sleep it off like usual. Take the edge off with the Men’s Winter Wellness Package, a detoxifying full-body treatment at Immersion Spa. The Himalayan salt brick-lined mineral sauna and a heated red clay room will ease even the most brutal of hangovers.
$150. 3990 El Camino Real, Palo Alto (650-855-9080).
No more friends' couches or twelve-person Airbnb's. For a modern option, huddle up conveniently close to Stanford Stadium at the stylish Hotel Keen. Rooms here are outfitted with tech-friendly conveniences like free Wi-Fi, in-room white boards, phone docking stations, and even Nintendo Wii rentals.
From $162 per night here. 425 High Street, Palo Alto (650-327-2775)
Two miles south of Stanford, The Zen Hotel is a stylish gem with eco-friendly accents and a cool, contemporary design. Spacious suites offer kitchen facilities and some have whirlpool tubs for blissed-out contentment.
From $159 per night here. 4164 El Camino Real, Palo Alto (650-493-4492)
Nope, no lining up for pizza at Patxi's this time. With an open kitchen where busy chefs wave woks over dancing flames, Steam is the perfect spot where you're refueling post-game or post-bar. Big tables accommodate the whole gang, and the menu satisfies all tastes with cooked-to-order Cantonese dim sum and an array of rice and noodle dishes.
209 University Ave., Palo Alto (650-322-1888)
Head to Palo Alto Grill for happy hour snacks (avocado corn dogs, anyone?) followed by lamb chops stuffed with merguez sausage and couscous. The downtown restaurant puts a creative spin on seasonally sourced ingredients and serves up seriously good wine and cocktails. And none of them in Solo cups.
140 University Ave., Palo Alto (650-321-3514)
Cal vs. Stanford
Saturday, Nov 23
625 Nelson Rd., Stanford
Tickets: $27 here
Nearby: Gott's Roadside; The Patio; Nola