Eastern Entrance: Campbell Ave. and 3rd St., Tucson
Western Entrance: Park Ave. and University Blvd., Tucson
Since it was founded in 1885 as the first institution of higher learning in the Arizona Territory, the University of Arizona’s fate and that of its host pueblo have been inextricably linked. It’s difficult to imagine what Tucson  would be without the shady central campus.
A “Public Ivy” land-grant school that has educated countless Arizona leaders and citizens, UA has nearly 37,000 students (more than the number of residents of most Arizona towns) and is active in the U.S. space program, specifically in Mars exploration.
Not surprisingly, the school is world-renowned for its arid land research, and has an allopathic medical school founded by best-selling healer-doctor Andrew Weil. It’s also the place where anthropology, archaeology, and many other disciplines were revolutionized through the discovery of tree-ring dating.
The university is also becoming known for contributing to space exploration in a big way. Check out the displays on the HiRISE Mars Camera, the Phoenix Mars Lander, and Cassini mission to Saturn at the Sonett Visitor Center (northwest corner of University Blvd. and Cherry St., 520/626-7432, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.).
On campus you’ll find a number of museums and galleries, and the entire campus itself is an arboretum. Indeed, the green central campus claims to be the “oldest continually maintained green space in Arizona.” Flora enthusiasts can stroll around the campus and take in a cactus garden, a collection of rare tropical trees, and various arid land species that have been brought to UA from all over the world.
If you want to learn more about the campus’s natural wonders, go by the Campus Arboretum at Herring Hall (520/621-7074, http://arboretum.arizona.edu , Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.). Don’t miss the Joseph Wood Krutch Cactus Garden in the center of the campus’s long, grassy mall.
There are also numerous public art installations on campus. One that should not be missed is the hulking border commentary called Border Dynamics, created by artists Alberto Morackis and Guadalupe Serrano. It’s not always easy to find parking on campus, and it’s impossible during sporting events. Visitors can pay to park at the Park Avenue Garage at the corner of Park and Helen Street, and at the Main Gate Parking Garage at Euclid Avenue and East 2nd Street.