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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: The so-called “Dirty T” is a gem of a college town, if you get out there and explore it

“The Dirty T.” The moniker given to our fair city of Tucson is one that UA students learn quickly.

For many incoming students, the first view of Tucson is the drive from the airport, where dust and graffiti hesitantly beckon visitors to the Old Pueblo. First impressions are key and the outskirts of Tucson are not exactly a great way to start off the student-city relationship.

I’m an out-of-towner from Texas, so I became aware that maybe Tucson isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing on that very drive in. We’ve all noticed the run-down parts of town and had those conversations about how “sketch” Tucson and its locals, or T-locs, are during our first years living here.

It’s understandable then that the trashy stereotype of this city is so prevalent among students.

It has become the norm around the UA to talk down Tucson like it’s a rathole just because the places immediately surrounding campus aren’t the most upscale and a homeless person might ask you for money every once in a while. It’s accepted that Tucson is grimy and T-locs are creepy.

If your view of the city consists of mostly house parties and an occasional trip to the grocery store, it really can seem like that stereotype holds true. But if you can venture out a little further than Euclid Avenue, you’ll figure out this description might not be accurate.

While it is popular for students to rag on the Dirty T, it simply doesn’t deserve all the criticism. For college students, Tucson is everything you could want in a college town. There is something to do here for students with any kind of personality. With such an eclectic demographic of people living here, there is a thriving culture of diverse activities in which students can engage.

You just have to get out of the house and explore.

Outdoor adventures are one of the most popular activities in Tucson and we have our choice of hiking trails in the Catalina Mountains, Saguaro National Park, and the beautiful Mount Lemmon. Taking a day trip to one of these places gives you a breath of fresh air.

But Tucson isn’t limited to just great hiking. Downtown Tucson is growing quickly and new places to eat and drink are popping up everywhere. The restaurant scene here in Tucson is top-notch and even though it may be a bit pricey for a student’s budget, going out once a month to try a hip restaurant is a fun way to get to know the city.

On top of that, one can admit that even though Fourth Avenue looks a little odd during the day, it is full of quirky shops and fun stores that you probably can’t find in many other cities. At night, the Fourth Avenue bars come alive and it’s always a good time.

To add to the list of Tucson attractions, we have the classy La Encantada, a few museums, the very under-rated Reid Park Zoo, as well as your standard malls and store chains.

All of this just adds to our beautiful campus, which houses our school, our recreation center, a concert hall and, of course, some pretty awesome sporting events.

Tucson is a gem of a college town and if you put a little effort into it, you will quickly find it is a special place that can foster an unbelievable college experience.

Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.

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