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.


Graduates Bryanna Comilang, right, and Julia Mellinger, scream and cheer while they take in the closing fireworks show.

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

Unfortunately, tailgate season is over but it'll be back in the fall when football starts back up again. 


Fans in the Zona Zoo section cheer as the Wildcats run onto the field before a game against UTSA at Arizona Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, Tucson, Ariz. Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

4. Go watch another sport

UA is more than just basketball and football. 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 The Cellar (bottom floor of the Student Union)

It's open late and their Oreo milkshake is delicious.

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 but it's a way to pass the time.

10. Participate in the "college"-y events

Go to the Homecoming events in the fall and eat funnel cake at Spring Fling in the spring. 

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

Some pretty big productions make their way to campus. Check out what's in store here.

13. Swim in the fountain in front of Old Main

The school doesn't encourage this but you have to do it once before graduation.

14. Hang out on University Boulevard

It's a nice way to get away from campus. Some fun stores and restaurants: OOO! Outside the Ordinary for jewelry, Kababeque for tikka masala, and Pasco for the Father Kino cocktail.

*Pro tip: Get the beer-battered fries at Gentle Ben's.

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.

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. 

*Pro tip: Drop your bike off at Bike Valet, they'll watch it for free. 

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's by the flag pole by Old Main.

23. 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. 

24. 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.

Experience Tucson

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.

25. 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 look like people with their arms up and they're everywhere.

26. Take a sunset picture and post it on social media

27. Go to A Mountain to watch the sun set

Because the sunsets are beautiful here (like the one above).

28. Or go to San Xavier Mission

It's the perfect place for Instagram. 

29. Get caught in the rain

Rain only comes a few months a year and it's awesome being able to jump in the puddle rivers. Learn more about our monsoon season here.

30. Hike Tumamoc

Get in a good view of Tucson and some extra-burned calories.

31. Use the Sun Link Streetcar at least once

We recommend taking the streetcar to Mercado San Augustin for some tamales and tortillas.

32. Head to Fourth Avenue

There is coffee, bars, shops, good food and art. There's a lot to see and do, so bike, walk or streetcar over and unleash your inner hipster.

33. Enjoy the Fourth Avenue Street Fair

The next street fair is from March 24-26 and there will be food, entertainment and shopping.

34. Continue downtown from 4th 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.

35. Meet Tucson at Tucson Meet Yourself

Couldn't make it to last year's festival? Tucson Meet Yourself returns later this year with more food and fun. Don't miss out.

*Pro tip: The locals call it Tucson Eat Yourself.

36. Walk for a loved one at the All Souls Procession

Paint your face and join the community as they make their way through Tucson in remembrance of all the people lost. The All Souls Procession returns in November. 

37. Watch the stars at Gates Pass

Enjoy the peace and quiet or take someone up for a romantic evening.

38. 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 on Feb. 18, 2017 until Feb. 26, 2017.



Andi Berlin eats her way through the menu at Taqueria Pico de Gallo on South Sixth Avenue. 

Tucson is recognized for having amazing food. Don't miss out.

39. 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.

There are two near campus: Speedway Boulevard and Tucson Boulevard, 2510 E. Speedway Blvd. AND Grant and Campbell, 2470 N. Campbell Ave.

40. Buy yourself a raspado

Raspados are the snow cone's cool cousin, there's real fruit and ice.

Andi's pick: Oasis on St. Mary's, 1002 W. St Mary’s Rd. and Sonoran Delights, 921 W. Congress St.


Before you get fancy, start off with this strawberry raspado at Michoacán Taquería Raspados, 3235 N. Flowing Wells Road. Con lechera y nieve for $6.48. 

41. Try a Sonoran hot dog

It's a hot dog wrapped in bacon, lots of veggies and a sweet bun. That's all you need to know.

Andi's pick: Ruiz Hot Dogs on South Sixth Avenue and 22nd Street. 

42. 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.

Andi's pick: Taqueria Pico de Gallo, 2618 S. 6th Ave. Check out more of her suggestions here.

43. Take your parents to brunch

Take them to Prep & Pastry for mimosas and dossants.

44. Find a restaurant that speaks to your soul — and stomach

There are so many places to choose from and there is sure to be something that you life. We have Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, fancy, greasy, fattening, healthy and so much more.

Get out of Tucson


View up Main Street in Bisbee in 2011.

Get your friends together and go on a road trip to see what Arizona has to offer.

45. 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.

46. 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.

47. Go on a ghost tour in Tombstone, Arizona

Yes, Tombstone is haunted.

48. Eat and shop in Bisbee, Arizona

Maybe go to Tombstone and Bisbee the same weekend. Food writer Andi Berlin tells you where you should eat, sleep and drink. Check it out here.

49. 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

50. Have fun and enjoy our city

Enjoy the weather, try something new and learn about your new home.

I like to tell you what's going on in and around Tucson.