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I found myself at home in Palo Alto the other day, involuntarily offline thanks to a wonky broadband connection. So I headed to Coupa Cafe to get caffeine and log onto its Wi-Fi hotspot. And, just maybe, overhear an entrepreneur and venture capitalist doing the Sand Hill Road mating dance. Greylock's David Sze likes to hold meetings there, as does LinkedIn founder and angel investor Reid Hoffman. But it's gotten so popular and so packed, that I wasn't able to find an empty outlet — let alone a seat. What to do?

Say you arrive early for a meeting at Coupa, and you need to find a spot to get some work done. Here's your guide to downtown Palo Alto's alternative hotspots, plus a map from Gridskipper. You may not find as many power players — but at least you'll find a power plug.