Different college campuses all over the country are starting to get busy as another year starts to unravel. The air is buzzing with activity as people come pouring in from different places to embark on another academic adventure. It’s interesting to note that aside from being a place where we can enrich our minds; these campuses are also a good place to check out when you’re on vacation. Today, we’re focusing on ten different places that are not only ideal for students but for tourists and wanderers, as well. For those who are a bit hesitant about getting in the car because you’re anticipating a strictly scholarly tour of these campuses, don’t worry because this isn’t going to be a boring field trip.
The campuses we’re about to show you all possess beautiful natural scenery, historically telling architecture, cultural centers that can compare with the world’s best, and don’t forget the exciting sports scene. Judging by these things in store for you when you arrive, you might even be inclined to swap that fancy, expensive hotel room to a nice cozy dorm room for a couple of nights and relive the good old college days. Here are the ten best college campuses that made it to our destination list.
1. NAME: HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WHERE: CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
Harvard University is a must see destination for travelers who are interested in history, culture, music and food. Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard occupies around 400 acres of land and is home to a number of attractions that would make leaving the campus at the end of your trip kind of hard. The campus has a number of beautiful buildings that boast of incredible architecture; there are also wide parks carpeted by soft, green grass which is an ideal place to just sit and people watch. Visit Harvard Square to get a taste of some action; try the delicious food being served at any of the restaurants in the area; or you can step inside as many book stores as you like and stock up on some reading that you’ve been neglecting these past months. Around you, there is also the occasional group of street performers offering some short lived excitement; while beautiful melodies float in the air as musicians perform.
Harvard is considered to be the oldest college in the country, with a history dating back to over three hundred centuries. This university was actually established back in 1636, way before you or your grandparents were even born. Here, it’s unlikely that you’ll run out of museums that you can visit. For example, you can check out the Sackler Museum (entrance fee costs US 9 dollars) and view their exhibit on Byzantine Art. You can also visit the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (the entrance fee also costs US 9 dollars), opened back in 1866 and dedicated to anthropology. If you’re up for a bit of drama, comedy or other theatrical performances, you can visit the American Repertory Theater. For the bookworms, Harvard is home to the oldest library in the United States, which you can visit during the tour.
2. NAME: RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
WHERE: PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
This campus is an ideal destination for all you artists out there who are looking for a place to unleash their creative souls. The Rhode Island School of Design (otherwise known as RISD), is the leading school in the country when it comes to the arts. It was built over a century ago, way back in 1877. Everywhere you look, you can admire different works of art such as murals, mosaics and also sculptures. You can even browse at the art fairs and search for a piece that you might want to take home with you.
Unlike the other typical campuses that you will find in New England, RISD doesn’t quite have a domestic feel to it; there are no brick buildings and expansive lawns that lead to lush grounds. RISD has managed to adapt to its modern urban setting; a number of buildings dot the different streets near Brown University, with whom RISD shares its facilities.
A good place to check out would be the Fleet Library; it has more than 130,000 volumes of text and around 685,000 holdings that are concentrated on design, art and also architecture. You can also visit the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, otherwise known as Museum of Art (entrance fee costs US 10 dollars) where you can admire over 84,000 pieces of art that include sculptures, textiles and paintings. Then there are the exhibitions being held all over campus promoting works made by RISD students.
3. NAME: THE UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH
PLACE: SEWANEE, TENNESSEE
Sewanee University, as this school is more commonly called, was recently named the Most Beautiful Campus in a survey among students conducted by Princeton Review. Sewanee was founded over 150 years ago, back in 1857. The University sits on a vast campus that measures about 13,000 acres. Collectively, the campus is called the domain; this area includes the buildings inside the University, Sewanee (which is also the name of the local town), and large portions of the countryside surrounding the town.
This unique campus is the perfect place for hikers and those who like to get lost in the countryside. You can follow the trails through the lush, green forest if you want to get some exercise; or you can also venture near the lake for some scenic walks. You can even rent a bicycle in town when you go up the mountains so you can cover more area.
At the main campus, you can behold the striking buildings built in the Gothic style; or perhaps take a short walk along Abbo’s Alley, which is a garden constructed along a ravine. Abbo’s Alley was built by an English professor with the help of some of his students as an example of a labor of love. The All Saints’ Chapel, which was also inspired by Gothic design, was completed more than half a century ago, back in 1950. You might be familiar with the chapel’s tower; it was inspired by the tower at the church in Oxford University. You can even go on a guided tour if you inquire about it to the chapel staff.
4. NAME: STANFORD UNIVERSITY
WHERE: PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA
Stanford University is like a city in itself. This community is able to sustain itself with the help of a fully functioning power plant, its own water system, a local post office, and even its very own lakes (yup, that’s plural). This campus is spread on a vast area measuring about 8,180 acres. Because the campus is such an ideal place for hiking, walking and other tours, Stanford manages to attract a steady stream of over 150,000 visitors every year.
When you visit this campus, you can enjoy nature unspoiled and raw. As you walk along the different paths in the campus, you will come across different types of trees like the redwood, eucalyptus, oak, and even cedar. The buildings display their Spanish influenced architecture through their red roofs. It’s also a good idea to check out the Red Barn; this historical structure is one of the remaining buildings here that was from the original farm dating back to the latter part of the 19th century. You should also go on a tour of the hexagonal Hanna House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Original plans for the Hanna House reveal it to be a residence of one of the professors in the University.
If you want to have your breath taken away by the amazing view of the foothills, go up the Hoover Tower Observatory (entrance fee of US 2 dollars). You can also visit the amazing Rodin Sculpture Garden; which features the biggest collection of pieces by Rodin made in bronze that is outside the city of Paris.
5. NAME: TULANE UNIVERSITY
WHERE: NEW ORLEANS
This prestigious university which was established 176 years ago back in 1834 attracts a crowd that is made up not just of students, but also tourists. The campus is situated along St. Charles Ave. and sits opposite the lush Audubon Park. When you enter Tulane University, you will be greeted by its oldest building, the Gibson Hall; this structure has a history dating back to 1894. The campus itself occupies an area measuring about 110 acres that is dotted with huge, majestic oak trees; and is home to about 80 different buildings each showing off an eclectic design.
If you’re a history buff, there is no way you can miss a trip to the Newcomb College Institute, which holds the distinction of granting the first college degree for women in the United States. If you’re particularly interested in art, you can pop by the interesting Newcomb Art Gallery and admire their collection of pottery; or perhaps swing by Carroll Gallery and see the latest exhibitions mounted by students and faculty. Music buffs can visit the Archive of New Orleans Jazz to check out their collection of books, pictures, and of course, jazz recordings.
6. NAME. UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY
WHERE: COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
In the United States, there are almost 80 different bases scattered all over the country; the U.S. Air Force Academy is the single Air Force base that keeps its doors open to visitors. The campus is located around 55 miles away from Denver. Thrice a week, you can watch the cadets as they march out to lunch under the noonday sun; an aircraft buzzes overhead and all around you is the lush, green base of the Rocky Mountains.
If you get a map, you can even go on a tour around the campus by yourself, which is sprawled over an area measuring about 18,500 acres. If you want to go hiking, feel free to explore the Stanley Canyon. You can also climb up the hill to visit the vast Pike National Forest and feast your eyes on the fantastic view of the campus grounds. The Cadet Chapel, which measures 150 feet tall, is the hallmark of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The chapel is open every day, plus you don’t have to pay an entrance fee to go be able to go inside and stare in awe at the 17 spires that rise from the chapel.
7. NAME: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
WHERE: ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
This campus enjoys a high popularity rate among book lovers and jocks alike mainly because it is home to the biggest football stadium that you will find in the entire country, and the extensive libraries that house volumes and volumes of books on worldwide topics. If you want to take a tour around the campus, you can arrange for one at the Hutwell Visitors Center. However, if you’re the curious type, poke your nose inside the 543 buildings situated inside the campus, and satisfy your curiosity about the school’s history and architecture.
You may come across a number of buildings showing off very different designs: some buildings have gargoyles hanging from the top; others are draped in ivy; while glass and also steel were the main choices in the construction of the Ross School of Business.
The football field, which is also known as the Big House (tickets start selling at US 60 dollars), will reveal its new look this season after undergoing a renovation that cost a whopping US 226 million dollars. The renovation made it possible to accommodate 2,000 more people inside the stadium.
8. NAME: UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
WHERE: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA
A part of why the University of Virginia is special is because of its association with Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers. Jefferson was deeply involved in the conception, design and construction of this particular university. It was founded almost two hundred years ago back in 1819. Back in 1987, the area was designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO; this singular distinction also sets the University of Virginia apart from the rest of the lot.
Every year during Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, the university celebrates its foundation day. The festivities usually include a ceremony where a tree is planted; an awarding ceremony where honorary medals are given to people who best embody and exemplify the ideals of the President.
Throughout the year, guided tours are being conducted at the Lawn and also the Rotunda. If you pay a visit to the Art Museum, you can view their exhibits on prints that came all the way from Asia, Europe, and even Africa. Best of all, admission to the museum is absolutely free.
9. NAME: UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
A good time to make your way to the University of Washington is during the autumn football season. This way, you can knock yourself out by tailgating on a boat and mingling with other Husky fans as you float around Lake Washington and start the party to signal the impending kickoff. This is the only other university in the entire United States aside from the University of Tennessee that lets you tailgate, so better make the most of the experience while you’re here.
Once you’re back on dry land, you can visit Schmitz Hall and inquire on how to sign up for the tours being held around campus. If you sign up for the tour, you get to check out the Suzzallo Library and also Henry Art Gallery, which is the first art museum in Washington State that was open to the public. The museum houses pieces of Japanese art including pottery, textiles, and also costumes.
During the spring, the area turns into a magical pink wonderland reminiscent of Japan, as the cherry blossoms all come into bloom at the same time. If you’re up for a bit of a challenge that promises a good reward, climb the outdoor rock in the campus and treat yourself to a stunning view of the peaks of Cascade Range.
10. NAME: YALE UNIVERSITY
WHERE: NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Yale University is located in New Haven, between the bustling city of New York, and Boston, which is home to Harvard. This institution has a history that dates back to 300 years and boasts of some famous people in its list of alumni. Out of the last six presidents that held office in the United States, four of them actually went to Yale.
The first stop on your Yale adventure will be the Mead Visitor Center; here you can gab a couple of brochures and learn about the university’s rich history. Campus tours are regularly being conducted by students, but if you want to tour the place on your own, you can download an audio walking tour on your MP3 player for free. Imposing buildings inspired by Gothic style is usually set against the contrast of a peaceful and spacious garden. If you long to browse through manuscripts that you won’t be likely to find anywhere else in the world, go ahead and visit the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
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