Welcome back Wildcats! If you don't know by now, Tucson is a hot, quirky town, 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. 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. Find Wilbur and Wilma
They're at sporting events, campus events and sometimes just around so find them and take a picture with them.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Eat in the Student Union before the lunch rush
Watching everyone else wait in the long line for Chick-Fil-A is oddly entertaining.
8. 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.
9. Go to Spring Fling
Eat funnel cake and go on rides during Spring Fling in April. It's the largest student-run carnival in the nation!
10. Check out TFOB
The Tucson Festival of Books happens the weekend of spring break. There's lots of vendors, activities, performances, food and of course all things books.
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. Study at 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.
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 damn charm and a lot to offer.
26. Go see a saguaro but don't touch it or high-five it
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 a perfect place to learn some of Tucson's early history. Also, it's dang beautiful. We've even put together the perfect day trip for you.
30. Enjoy the balmy winter weather
While you family back home is shoveling snow, you out here trying to figure out what shorts and flip-flops you should wear today.
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 burritos and tortillas.
33. 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.
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.
Run or walk around downtown with your pals every Monday evening. Be sure to check in at Hotel Congress no later than 6:30 p.m. There's also a number of restaurants that offer discounts to anyone who participates — just be sure to show them your hand stamp.
37. Use Tugo and bike around Tucson
The Tugo Bike Share program has 36 stations around Tucson, including campus, where you can pick up a bike and pedal around the city. Discover some hidden gems along bike paths and get to know the place you live a little better. Find pricing and information on passes here.
38. Watch the stars at Gates Pass
Enjoy the peace and quiet or take someone up for a romantic evening.
39. Go to the Tucson Rodeo
We take the rodeo seriously, so seriously that Tucson schools give younger kids a few days off — there's even a parade! You should definitely see it at least once.
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!