The average undergraduate only has four years at DU to experience all it has to offer. That’s downright impossible, but a few items should appear on every DU bucket list.
Carol the bells under the famous gold dome
Ascend the narrow, winding staircase to the top of the Williams Tower to find a mesmerizing, unobstructed view of campus, the Rocky Mountains and the Denver skyline. The Ritchie Center’s iconic gold-topped tower shelters a grand carillon, featuring 65 bells, the largest of which weighs 6 tons. Those looking to dabble can take advantage of occasional open houses while the more serious (with a musical background) can sign up for carillon lessons. Also: check out the summer and holiday recital series.
Chow down at the original Chipotle
Before it was a “burrito empire” and pioneer of the fast-casual restaurant concept, Chipotle was a tiny storefront on Evans Avenue. And though a photo of the original hangs in all 2,485 U.S. locations, all you need to do is stroll down Evans Avenue to grab your own picture and chow down.
Join a club
This one’s not hard. Seriously. It’s not a cliché to say there’s a campus club for every student, whether you want to explore passions like sustainability or debate, create camaraderie in the Greek system, or find a home in groups like the Black Student Alliance or the Student Veteran Association. Just check out the full, 100-plus organization list from Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence. So do a little homework and don’t miss the Involvement Fair this fall.
Make a dash for the Crimson Classic
Suit up and stretch those hammies at the yearly 5K fun run/walk around campus, which complements DU’s annual Homecoming celebration. Food, fun and games are always included!
Hang a hammock and relax on a green
DU’s strategic plan, DU IMPACT 2025, brought a bunch of nifty hammock stands to campus. No assembly required, meaning there’s more time to relax on one of DU’s many green spaces during one of Denver’s famously sunny days.
Catch a campus exhibit at the Myhren Gallery
The Vicki Myhren Gallery on campus features work from DU’s art students as well as regionally, nationally and internationally known artists of all media. Don’t miss the distinctive set of marble lips that are located just north of the Shwayder Art Building, which houses the gallery. The work, known as “Whispers” is the creation of former professor Lawrence Argent, who also created a number of Denver landmarks you may have seen before.
Stargaze in Observatory Park
Just a few blocks from campus, the Denver Astronomical Society hosts a regular schedule of events at DU’s historic Chamberlin Observatory, which was built in 1894. On one of the many public nights, visitors can peek through the Clark-Saegmuller 20-inch refracting telescope for views of the moon, stars, planets and more.
Discover a new culture abroad
Few things make members of the DU family as proud as the University’s global presence. About 70% of DU students take the time to visit another country during their college careers, which is why DU routinely is recognized as a national leader in study abroad education. The Office of International Education offers full-quarter and longer options to make the experience as accessible and impactful as possible. And University Academic Programs offers shorter “interterm” experiences between quarters.
Welcome Denver’s winter wonderland
Celebrate the first snowfall (of at least an inch) of the season with hot cocoa, coffee, snacks and swag. Snowmen and snow angels tend to show up, too, weather permitting. Expect the unexpected: Though the first flakes tend to fall in the middle of October, Mother Nature can be a bit temperamental around here.
Pitch a tent for hockey tickets
Maybe you’ve heard: We’re pretty good at that sport on skates. (Check out our, ahem, eight national titles for proof.) There are few atmospheres on campus more electric than when the puck drops at the Ritchie Center. Get in on the excitement early by camping out with your classmates and you could receive free hockey tickets to all home games. Don’t miss the annual battle with archrival Colorado College. The winner takes home the coveted Gold Pan.
Hit the slopes during Winter Carnival
One of DU’s longest-standing traditions pushes the fun off campus and onto the fresh powder of nearby ski slopes. Heavily discounted prices on transportation, lift tickets, lessons and other winter activities help students make the most of a weekend at a mountain resort. On campus, the days leading up to the celebration feature a chili cookoff, carriage rides and more.
Visit the ghost of Mary Reed
It’s not exactly clear why the late philanthropist and DU donor Mary Reed haunts the building that bears her name, but she obviously doesn’t need a reason. While it may take certain circumstances to experience any supernatural activity, anyone can gaze upon her portrait in the Renaissance Room on the second floor. Just try to avoid her pursuing eyes.
Summit a Colorado “Fourteener”
It’s impossible not to associate Colorado with its picturesque yet imposing mountain ranges. And while there are countless trails around the state for outdoorspeople of all ability levels, only a select few hikers earn a coveted badge of honor. The fourteener (a peak that rises to an elevation above 14,000 feet) is a symbol of the state’s alpine authority. The 53 options offer different levels of difficulty, but all provide a reward that will make your Instagram followers jealous.
Applaud a performance at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts
The home venue of the Lamont School of Music offers front-row seats to an assortment of artistic student expression: jazz, theater, opera, dance, classical music and so much more. But the Newman Center also welcomes an impressive lineup of top-tier talent through its Newman Center Presents series, for which students can usually score free or discounted tickets.
Take a time machine via the DU Archives
Remember that time DU went (quite literally) to war with the Colorado School of Mines? How about when students ran cables between the towers of Sturm Hall and rappelled? Or when DU had a football team? The University Archives, located in the basement of Anderson Academic Commons, has the pics to prove they all happened. Flip through old yearbooks and preserved pages of the DU Clarion for a history lesson unlike any other.
Celebrate diversity at CultureFest
With 35 years of tradition, DU’s global “hi, how you doin’?” consistently attracts a crowd, curious to explore the cultures, cuisines and customs that make the campus community great. At CultureFest, international students, faculty and staff set up booths to share their heritage, while a feature presentation of entertaining performances highlights DU’s global diversity.
Create something new in the Innovation Lab
Descend into the basement of the building housing the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science — where creative opportunity awaits. DU’s Maker Space, powered by Ritchie and Project X-ITE, contains a collection of 3D printers, laser engravers and a CNC router. A woodshop lies steps away in the Metallurgy Building. It’s the perfect place to build a prototype or play around with emerging technologies. No experience necessary! The Innovation Lab offers training courses all year long, regardless of a student’s program of study or interest.