Arizona is home to an abundance of excellent colleges and universities. All the schools have their own rich history and traditions. Each fall, a new influx of students comes to Arizona seeking a great college experience. But what does that entail? Whether you’re bar-hopping from Tucson to Tempe or catching a football game, these activities are perfect for any local college student.
For U of A students, turning 21 meant one thing: Getting your beer card. At Tucson’s Frog & Firkin, it's common to see many Wildcats attempting to complete the 75 imported beers listed on the elusive card. On game day, the pitchers and pub fare flow freely on the packed patio. Needless to say, Frog has a special place in the hearts of Arizona students and alumni.
Every year, ASU freshmen show off their school pride by painting the 'A' on 'A' Mountain. The rest of the year, 'A' Mountain is busy with students looking to conquer the Tempe landmark. The .9-mile hike is part of Hayden Butte Mountain and offers scenic views of Tempe, Tempe Town Lake, and the rest of the valley.
Dirtbag's was established in 1982 and has been a late-night destination for Arizona students ever since. On any given weekend night in Tucson, Dirtbag's is packed to the brim with college students looking to get in one last round before closing time. This dive bar is a quintessential addition to the Dirty T. Dirtbag’s…A Part of Growing Up.
Ever since 1899, the hated rivals from Tempe & Tucson square off in a battle for bragging rights. The winner gets the vaunted Territorial Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in the NCAA. Regardless of their records, this annual rivalry game is one of the most heated in college football. The Sun Devils and Wildcats alternate hosting but each environment is equally hostile. The all-time record belongs to the Wildcats, who lead the series 48-40-1.
McKale Memorial Center in Tucson is regarded as one of the best college basketball arenas in the country. Lute Olson turned the program around in 1983 and began a streak of 23 NCAA tournament appearances. Under the stewardship of Sean Miller, the Wildcats have remained a national powerhouse. Regardless of your team loyalties, seeing a game at McKale Center is a must for any college basketball fan.
One of the perks for local college students is Arizona's lenient alcohol laws. Alcohol can be legally purchased from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. every day. NAU students take full advantage during the annual Tequila Sunrise. In honor of homecoming, thousands of students flock to the local bars to imbibe at first light. The ensuing debauchery is a daylong bacchanalia that rivals any ASU or U of A party.
Salt River tubing in Mesa is one of the few places to beat the heat in the valley. Students are known to flood the river after finals to unwind. The float trips range from two to four hours. After renting tubes, students are bused to a drop point and can link up with their friends and float down the cool river.
Going to Devil's Advocate in Tempe is a rite of passage for any ASU student. This Sun Devil hangout has remained popular with its mix of good food, happy hour, and late night crowd. It's a packed house on game day and the Thursday night specials make this a Thirsty Thursday must.
Also known as "The Greatest Show on Grass." The Waste Management Open has some of the most raucous crowds on the PGA Tour—the rowdiest of which post up at the legendary 16th hole. Last year, the Waste Management Open attracted crowds of over 200,000 in a single day. The event culminates nightly with the Bird's Nest, an all-out party with some of music's biggest stars.
Flagstaff gets a lot of snow. For NAU students, that means some after school skiing and snowboarding at Arizona Snowbowl. Located a few miles away from campus, this ski hill accumulates about 260 inches of snow each winter. Students from around the state come for the 777 acres of fresh powder and the full terrain park.
Located in the heart of Mill Ave. in Tempe, Cue Club is one of the most popular spots for ASU students. This billiards hall is notorious for their World Famous Long Island's. They claim to have served over 2,000,000 Long Island's over the past 20 years. It's even college budget friendly.
Tucson's staple menu item is the Sonoran Dog. This hot dog is wrapped in bacon and infused with pinto beans, jalapenos, mustard, and onions. On a given night, 4th Avenue is lined up with food trucks serving up Sonoran Dogs to hungry students at closing time. However, El Guero Canelo is the reigning king and is regarded as having the best Sonoran Dog in Tucson.
Four Peaks is the largest craft brewery in Tempe. Over the years, it has grown from a hole in the wall into a mandatory destination for any beer lover. ASU students come for the mix of beer, pub food, and energetic crowds. Recommended pints include the 8th Street Ale, peach ale, and the signature Kilt Lifter.
Centennial Hall is a historic landmark that was built in 1937. This auditorium has a capacity of 2,526 and hosts the “UA Presents” performing arts series. Shows range from Broadway musicals to concerts and even comedy shows. Located in the middle of campus in Tucson, it's a great date spot for students looking to take in a show.
Tailgating is a time-honored tradition among college football fans. In Arizona, a typical tailgating experience involves grilling, drinking, and playing games in the beaming sunshine. There are several tailgating spots surrounding Sun Devil Stadium, including the eastern parking lots and the bars of Mill Avenue. In Tucson, students join at the U of A mall—a long strip of grass in the center of campus and tailgating headquarters.