University of Arizona Campus at sunset

Top 10 Experiences at Arizona

Your Wildcat journey is what you make of it. Take this opportunity to create friendships and memories that will stay with you for years to come. These 10 experiences make the University of Arizona like no other.

University of Arizona campus bonfire

1. Join a Century of Traditions — Bear Down!

“The thing that I love the most is the tradition and sense of pride Wildcats have,” says 2005 graduate Casey Mundell (whose parents are also Arizona alumni). “I’ve traveled all over the country and globe — for Arizona games, for work and just for fun — and I’m amazed at how many of us are out there repping the University of Arizona, on a Tuesday in Colorado, or New York, or Ireland. We love being Wildcats and we love seeing other Wildcats!”

2. Be Part of Cutting-Edge Science

Love science? Get a closer look at the solar system at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium and learn how students are working on University-led NASA missions at the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory. If living laboratories are your thing, Biosphere 2 is the place to wander through the rainforest, walk across an ocean and explore a coastal fog desert while researchers address global challenges related to water, environmental and energy management through model ecosystems.

Visitors at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

3. Make Your Voice Heard Through Student Government

Engage with everything from university politics to event planning through the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA). “The University of Arizona community, both on and off campus, is filled with passionate people coming from different cultures and backgrounds who are all willing to build you up and point you in the right direction,” says Rocque Perez, an at-large senator for ASUA. “Arizona has had my back, and I will always return the favor for others when the chance presents itself."

4. Explore the American Southwest

Take advantage of Arizona’s one-of-a-kind desert landscapes through its statewide national parks, some as close as Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park. Arizona’s equally rich cultural history, shaped by Native American, Mexican and American societies, can be discovered at the Arizona State Museum on main campus and historic buildings surrounding the city. “I had a ton of fun exploring the world around Tucson,” says 2018 Honors College graduate Michelle Jaquette, who toured cultural landmarks and landscapes with her peers through the Honors Student Council.

Wilbur Wildcat crowd surfing over Zona Zoo

5. Join the ZonaZoo

“Some of my best college memories stem from being a part of ZonaZoo,” 2011 Arizona graduate Kyndra Countryman says about the largest student sports section in the PAC-12. “The time I spent connecting with other students while waiting in line for basketball games is something I’ll never forget. The diehard fans who’d get in line hours early, just like me — they were my people! Even to this day, if I yell ‘Bear Down!’ to someone wearing red and blue, it’s reciprocated, and we’ll immediately chat about being students and favorite games attended.”

6. Connect with Wildcats During Homecoming

We take being “Wildcats for life” to heart. Every year, tens of thousands of people celebrate Homecoming Week, beginning with the annual lighting of the big white “A” on “A” Mountain — a tradition that began in the 1940s. Throughout the week, join former students and their families who flock home to enjoy alumni barbecues, the Friday-night bonfire and pep rally at which the Homecoming king and queen are crowned, and the game-day parade and Wildcat for Life tailgate party. 

University of Arizona student dancers

7. Get Out and About: Tucson Hotspots

Many “must do” activities expand beyond proper campus and into the surrounding streets at Tucson stores, restaurants and bars that host parades and parties. “When I go back to visit, I always make it a point to go to Hotel Congress — breakfast at the Cup Cafe is the best! — Cafe Poca Cosa and Eegees,” says 2009 BFA graduate Meagan Shoots. “All of them bring back great memories of when I would frequent them during my time at Arizona.”

8. Experience the Arts Up Close

We’re not just home to world-class scientists; Arizona also a hub of artistic activity. Check out the Center for Creative Photography, one of the world's finest photography archives; dance performances at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre; a rotating world-class lineup of musicians and performers who participate with UA Presents at the university’s Centennial Hall, and student performances onstage at the College of Fine Arts.

9. Create Your Community

“Being involved in a sorority meant that I had a ‘home base’ on campus, a group of women who shared my values, and an opportunity to gain leadership experience,” says Leslie Cole, a 2016 graduate of the Eller College of Management. “The friends that I made through Greek Life are still my best friends. Though we live across the country, we talk often and plan annual trips to visit each other. Our shared experience at Arizona is a bond that we carry with us.”

10. Laugh, Eat and Scream: Spring Fling

For one weekend every April, the University Mall transforms to host Spring Fling, the nation’s largest student-run carnival. Founded in 1974, Spring Fling has become an iconic event that attracts some 32,000 guests, brings more than 40 rides and games to the Mall and offers a selection of carnival treats ranging from corn dogs to crab puffs. The event is organized by eight ASUA student leaders who rotate out each year to give other students a chance to bring one of Tucson’s most popular (and fun!) traditions to campus.

University of Arizona Spring Fling