Welcome to Tucson, Arizona Wildcats! This Sonoran Desert town is hot, quirky, full of culture, food and hidden gems. Here's our list of all the things you should do in your four (or five ... or six) years at the university.
Try them all and you might just never leave.
On or near campus
1. Actually use the stuff you're paying for
Don't go through college without using resources like the Rec Center or Think Tank.
2. Sit with the rest of the Zoo
The wild ZonaZoo energy is something you should experience at least once, especially during a UA football or basketball game. Support the Wildcats or just go to learn all of the weird hand signals they're doing. Actually use your ZonaZoo pass or buy one here.
3. Tailgate with everyone else
Tucson tailgates super hard. There's a bunch of people, lots of food (and booze) and so much school spirit. If you've never done it before, you've gotta at least once.
4. Go watch another sport
Okay, enough about football and basketball for a hot second. UA is more than just those two sports. If you have the time, watch the gymnastics team do flips and other impressive things.
5. Find Wilbur and Wilma
They're at sporting events, campus events and sometimes just around so find them and take a picture with them.
6. Buy something that isn't a textbook at the UA Bookstore
This bookstore is more than just for textbooks, go in for coffee, makeup (it's actually really nice makeup), UA swag or a book you actually want to spend your money on.
7. Get a milkshake from Steak 'N Shake (where Burger King used to be)
This is the only Steak 'N Shake in Tucson and it's in the best location for hungry college students.
8. Eat in the Student Union before the lunch rush
Watching everyone else wait in the long line for Chick-Fil-A is oddly entertaining.
9. Watch the campus preachers do their thing
Yes, people come to campus just to yell about religion and it's turned into UA students' favorite past-time.
10. Participate in the "college"-y events
11. Become familiar with the Arizona Repertory Theatre
Students are building the sets, they're acting/singing, and running the show. Check out what's going on this season.
12. See a show at Centennial Hall
13. Swim (or at least dip your toes) in the fountain in front of Old Main
The school doesn't encourage this but you have to do it once before graduation — or during grad pics.
14. Hang out on University Boulevard
*Pro tip: We also recommend stopping by Gentle Ben's for beer-battered fries, and a beer when you're old enough. 💯
15. Get a Harry Potter shot at Hotel Congress
You'll want to get a video of the shot and photos of the historic hotel in downtown Tucson. It's perfect for 21st birthdays.
16. Head to the top floor of the Optical Sciences building
It has an amazing view of campus.
17. Find your study spot
For some it's in the Center for Creative Photography and for others it's on the benches by the olive trees.
18. Stay in the main library all night
You won't be the only one. There are so many students cramming for a test or trying to make a deadline.
19. Go to a museum on campus (Arizona State Museum, UA Museum of Art, etc.)
Because you get in free with your CatCard.
20. Hang out with the turtles at the turtle pond
Yes, there are tiny wild turtles living on campus. Find them in the open space across from Caffe Luce along Park Avenue. Go watch them swim around.
21. Keep your bike from getting stolen
This happens more than you might think so make sure you lock up. Avoid this by dropping your bike off at Bike Valet, they'll watch it for free.
Any other problems with bikes can be solved at the totally rad BICAS.
22. Then participate in Tuesday Night Bike Rides
People get together every Tuesday night for a slow ride around Tucson. It's open to everyone, making it the perfect place to meet new people. You meet up around 8 p.m. and it starts by the flag pole in front of Old Main.
23. Let's keep talking about bikes. Go to Cyclovia.
Tucson closes some of the streets so that people can bike with ease just for this event. People come out in bikes (tandem or solo), with their kids or grandparents, or dressed up and we all ride together.
24. Go to Taco Shop at 3 a.m.
Or after you hit the club because there's nothing better than tacos and seeing that person from your biology class. Taco Shop is open all day, every day.
25. Learn something new about the UA campus
The Visitor Center usually hosts campus tours about the art, the history and the student life. Check them out here.
There's more to Tucson than just the UA. Go out and explore because this little city has so much charm and a lot to offer.
26. Go see a saguaro but don't touch it or high-five it
If you're not from here, you've probably never seen a saguaro in person. You can't miss them, they're the big, green desert giants.
27. Take a sunset picture and post it on social media
28. Go to A Mountain to watch the sun set
Because the sunsets are beautiful here (like the one above).
29. Or go to San Xavier Mission
It's the perfect place for Instagram.
30. Get caught in the rain
Rain only comes a few months a year and it's awesome to jump in the river puddles. Learn more about our monsoon season here.
31. Hike Tumamoc
Get in a good view of Tucson and some extra-burned calories. This will easily become your favorite place, trust us.
32. Use the Sun Link Streetcar at least once
We recommend taking the streetcar to Mercado San Augustin for some tamales and tortillas.
33. Head to Fourth Avenue
34. Enjoy the Fourth Avenue Street Fair
There's food, entertainment and lots of shopping.
35. Continue downtown from Fourth Ave.
There's so much to do downtown — with a different vibe than Fourth Avenue — see a show at the Rialto Theatre and enjoy the nightlife.
36. Meet Tucson at Tucson Meet Yourself
Tucson Meet Yourself returns soon (Oct. 13-15) with more food and fun. Don't miss out.
*Pro tip: The locals call it Tucson Eat Yourself.
37. Walk for a loved one at the All Souls Procession
Paint your face and join the community as they make their way through Tucson remembering all the people lost. The All Souls Procession returns in November.
38. Watch the stars at Gates Pass
Enjoy the peace and quiet or take someone up for a romantic evening.
39. Go to the rodeo
We take the rodeo seriously, so seriously that Tucson schools give younger kids a few days off. You should definitely see it at least once. The rodeo returns next spring.
Tucson is recognized for having amazing food. You'll want to eat it all.
40. Get an Eegee
Any local is going to tell you to do this right away. Why? They're amazing and no one else has them. You can also take your eegee's drink to the next level with our simple tricks.
41. Buy yourself a raspado
42. Try a Sonoran hot dog
43. Get tacos that aren't from Chipotle
We have "the best 23 miles of Mexican food" and food writer Andi Berlin knows where you should go.
44. Take your parents to brunch
45. Find a restaurant that speaks to your soul — and stomach
Get out of Tucson
Get your friends together and go on a road trip to see what Arizona has to offer.
46. Cool off on Mt. Lemmon
Watch the saguaros turn into tall pine trees and feel the temperature change. Mt. Lemmon is the best place for a getaway, especially when you're missing snow. It does snow up there.
47. See the Grand Canyon
Now you can see one of the greatest sights in the world. The drive to the Grand Canyon is about six hours but it is worth it. Get your friends together and make it a weekend trip.
48. Go on a ghost tour in Tombstone, Arizona
Yes, Tombstone is haunted.
49. Eat and shop in Bisbee, Arizona
Maybe go to Tombstone and Bisbee the same weekend. We went to Bisbee and it was the best 24 hours ever, check out our experiences here. And yes, Bisbee is also haunted.
50. Go to Mexico
Experience another culture and practice your Spanish in Nogales because you're only a couple hours away. Or go through a program.
Just don't forget to have fun and enjoy our city. Make these the best years of your life by dancing in the rain, doing something unexpected and learning more about your new home. Bear down!