Transportation on Campus and Beyond
Getting around Caltech’s roughly 120 acres of campus really isn’t much of a challenge at all. You have the main north side of campus that has all of the housing, most of the classes, and all of the eateries. It’s the bigger side, and traversing this part of campus between opposite ends via walking takes roughly 10 minutes, 15 max. The southern side of campus has some classes, the mailing offices, and all of the athletic facilities. It’s roughly another 10 minutes to traverse this fully. As you can see, it isn’t too bad as it is. However, bikes are allowed and you can store them relatively easily at your place of residence. Biking cuts your max travel time down to a few minutes. However, keep in mind that you’re going to have to keep track of it wherever you go. I prefer skateboarding as the board is easy to manage. It can be just as fast and much less of a hassle. When I bring it to class I can just stick it under my seat, and when not using it, store it in my room. Campus is small enough that things like public transportation and cars are really not needed to get around.
A map of the Pasadena area
When it comes to moving around Pasadena and other places, it really depends on what’s available and what you’re willing to do. On Lake Avenue there are plenty of restaurants and places to eat, but it can be a 20+ minute walk each way. Places like Target and other stores can be 30-40 minutes of walking, plus you have to keep in mind that you’re transporting materials on the way back. Skating and biking can get you places quicker, but you’d have to navigate the sidewalk in Pasadena. There is a bus system that Caltech supplies students passes with. Referred to as the metro system, the buses can take you all over Pasadena in a reasonable amount of time and gives you the ability to take objects with you. Metro Micro is a rideshare service local to LA county that is a significantly cheaper alternative to Uber or Lyft (both of which are still definitely options). If you’re looking at places farther than an hour away and don’t want to pay for an expensive ride, carpooling and using personal cars are pretty much the only way to get that far. Fortunately, if you don’t have a car, there are plenty of people from the local area (and a few that are not) that go to Caltech that have cars on campus. Getting a ride isn’t too difficult when one of your friends has a car.
That’s pretty much it for transportation! If you’re nervous about coming to Caltech and having difficulty getting around to places, I’d remind you that at the end of the day, everyone pretty much figures it out. You’re going to this school, you’re smart enough to find a way to Target. You have plenty of options and you will be just fine!