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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Living like a local

Patrons of the original Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix enjoy drinks along along with classic arcade games.

Editor’s note: This article was produced as part of the Daily Wildcat‘s 2018 Campus Guide — the perfect resource for any incoming Wildcat. Whether you’re trying to find important dates, looking for a club to join or are interested in UA history and traditions, we’ll be there to help you get through your first semester. Welcome to the University of Arizona!  

Between classes, homework, extracurricular and jobs, college life is hectic. Everyone needs a little rest and relaxation once in a while, lest they go insane. 

Not everybody can make the trek halfway across town every weekend, but, luckily for students at the University of Arizona, there is plenty of fun stuff to do near campus. This is your personal guide to the world around campus.

           RELATED: A new Wildcat’s guide to campus events

Fun and Entertainment:

Cobra Arcade and Bar (63 E. Congress St.):

This arcade bar is a new edition to the Tucson entertainment scene but will no doubt become an integral part of downtown. 

The newest location of Cobra Arcade and Bar (from Phoenix) features over 50 arcade games and pinball machines across two stories, as well as classic arcade games like the infamous Mortal Kombat.

On the weekends, local DJs play for patrons.

The arcade bar is meant for a crowd of drinking age (as most bars tend to be), but it’s something to look forward to when students finally turn 21.

D & D Pinball Arcade (331 E. 7th St.):

In the age of video games, pinball fever is making a comeback.

D & D Pinball is the largest pinball arcade in Arizona, with wall-to-wall pinball machines reverberating nostalgia like the pinging and dinging of the metal ball.

The arcade is fun, loud and a great place to go with friends. It features a massive collection of old and new machines, including classic themes like the Addams Family, the Simpsons and Star Wars.

A couple of quarters can have students entertained for hours, making it the perfect getaway for broke college kids.


Antigone Books (411 N. 4th Ave.):

Downtown Tucson wouldn’t be complete without a feminist family bookstore.

“We’ve been on Fourth Avenue for, like, 45 years,” said Melissa Negelspach, a new co-owner of Antigone Books who spent 10 years as an employee. “There’s a lot of fond memories [of this store] within the community.”

Named somewhat appropriately after a great heroine from the dramas of Sophocles, Antigone Books once only offered feminist literature but has since expanded to almost every genre. It even offers a plethora of eccentric and fanciful trinkets, locally made thingamabobs and an assorted collection of decorated sketchbooks and journals.

The Book Stop (214 N. 4th Ave.):

In the age of online shopping, e-books and television, the genuine scholarly pursuit of reading for the sake of education is a rarity, and book stores that cater to the old soul bibliophiles of America are even more rare.

“It’s a public space. It’s where all kinds of people get together,” said Tina Bailey, the owner of The Book Stop for the past 25 years. “With people doing everything online now, public spaces are really important.”

The Book Stop, opened in 1967, is a small store on Fourth Avenue that sells used, rare and out of print books, most of which look like they belong on the village bookshelf from “Beauty and the Beast.” There are small halls of drawers filled with old maps, unique photos and historic letters from people long gone.

RELATED: A Guide to UA restaurants, bars and cafes

Old Town Artisans (201 N. Court Ave.):

Old Town is a small marketplace in downtown Tucson with several shops and small restaurants with an al fresco dining courtyard utilized by La Cocina, a restaurant and cantina that offers a variety of food and drink from many global cultures. The courtyard is filled with trees, flora and a stage for small entertainers, and the marketplace is ivy-covered and decorated like a garden made of recycled glass and metal.

The marketplace harbors local artisan shops like Barrio Bella, which sells recycled and upcycled fashions, and La Zia, which specializes in handcrafted Native American items.

The outside of Old Paint Record Shop.
The outside of Old Paint Record Shop.

Old Paint Records and Books sells an extensive collection of vintage vinyl records and nerdy comic books and t-shirts.

The Gypsy’s Emporium appropriately sells trinkets and treasures of all kinds. It vaguely resembles Ariel’s collection of found things from “The Little Mermaid,” if the princess found herself at an estate sale.

Fanny’s Cocina offers freshly made, organic, locally sourced produce and grocery items for all kinds of healthy diets and lifestyles. It’s a great place to acquire vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free meals, as well as sweet smoothies and raspados. 

Old Town is an eclectic, wholly Tucson experience everyone can enjoy.


Campus Candy and Yogurt (910 E. University Blvd.):

Campus Candy is the top Tucson destination for any college kid with an insatiable sweet tooth. 

With over 400 assorted candies and almost 120 different flavors of frozen yogurt, Italian ice and gelato, anybody could get cavities from simply breathing in the shop from outside its doors. It’s like a gift shop from a miniature version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. 

They even sell retro candies from the 1920s onward, like Abba Zabba and Turkish Taffy, if anyone wants a get a taste of prohibition. 

Isabella's Ice Cream shop on 4th Ave. in Tucson, Ariz.
Isabella’s Ice Cream shop on 4th Ave. in Tucson, Ariz.

Isabella’s Ice Cream (210 N. 4th Ave.):

In Tucson, ice cream never goes out of season and neither does living sustainably.

Isabella’s Ice Cream began as an electric Ford Model-T food truck in 2010 and eventually expanded to be sold at many social venues, marketplaces and restaurants around Tucson. In 2016, they opened their own store right on Fourth Avenue, just a short walk from campus.

Isabella’s Ice Cream offers all natural, locally sourced ice cream and vegan sorbet in a variety of artisan flavors like organic lavender, desert honey and Madagascar vanilla bean, as well as other cool treats, espressos and other coffee drinks.

The ice cream is all handcrafted at their own creamery, made from fresh milk from a local dairy  and fresh ingredients that are all non-GMO certified.

For a hot day swamped with studies, students can order Isabella’s ice cream online and get it delivered with Tapingo. The packaging is 100 percent recyclable and comes with biodegradable wooden spoons.

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