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College Campuses Turned Tourist Attractions: 5 Places That Will Make You Feel Smarter

This blog post was updated on October 5, 2018.

As back-to-school season gets underway with school supply advertisements circulating at all times and fluorescent-colored dorm sections in stores, I can only reminisce about the joys of school supply lists and dorm organizing.


While my collegiate years are long since past, I have learned on my travels, education can still come through wandering around a college campus.


Whenever I am in a new place or city, I try to seek out the college campus. People-watching and architectural interest are some of the benefits of turning your fanny pack and camera to the place where students supposedly expand their minds.


Throughout my travels, here are a few of my favorite college campuses. Find cheap tickets to these destinations and you will feel smarter in more ways than one.


Harvard University (Boston, Massachusetts): Once you make your way to Harvard University, located in one of America’s oldest cities, you will know it instantly. Brick walls surround an imposing gate as students wear only one shade of red, crimson. Step inside this Boston house of higher learning and you can instantly feel a bit smarter. Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest college in the United States. Plenty of presidents and Nobel laureates have received degrees here. If you look the part of smart, a fellow tourist might just ask where some buildings may be (as they did to me.) Make sure you have penciled Harvard into your Bean Town itinerary before you go searching for flights to Boston.


Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland): Easily Ireland’s most famous university, Trinity College sits right in the center of Dublin. Like Harvard, Trinity features intimidating walls and gates to enter its campus. However, once you do, you will find college students dodging the tourists to get to class, not in the finest of fashions, but in simple sweatpants. The tourists are here to see the Book of Kells in the Old Library, one of the most intact illuminated manuscripts on the globe. Be sure to visit the Long Room in the Old Library, bewitching for its vaulted ceiling and sheer volume of ancient manuscripts. Established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, there is more to see on this campus besides the Book of Kells. Squares and regale buildings provide the perfect subject matters for park bench parking. Intrigued by the history of Trinity? Explore it further with cheap flights to Dublin.


Saint Mary’s College of California (Moraga, California): While you will often find lists encouraging you to visit Pepperdine or Stanford while in California, you probably haven’t heard of Saint Mary’s College of California. Set in a small town, but around 30 minutes from San Francisco, Saint Mary’s is a hidden, collegiate paradise. Amongst rolling green hills that resemble broccoli dotted by cows and bambi-looking deer, the architecture is cohesively Spanish in design. The contrasting white buildings to this green landscape make for a setting you could go back to school for, more akin to what a teenager’s dream of summer camp might be.


Oxford University (Oxford, England): The oldest university in England, Oxford University boasts a history dating back to the 11th century. Like Harvard, it prides itself on its graduates, covering a full range of occupations from saints to actors, kings to inventors. It is no wonder this picturesque campus has produced such a wide range of professions for it holds 39 colleges in total. Magdalen College Hall could be the setting for the next wizard/werewolf movie. The cobblestone paths of Oxford weave throughout nothing short of collegiate perfection.


Rice University (Houston, Texas): In Houston’s Museum District, Rice University fulfills cravings for green spaces in the middle of metropolises. Much of the campus takes on a Byzantine style with archways and columns.  The neighborhood surrounding Rice presents grand homes down streets you can’t believe to be Houston streets. If you aren’t athletic or into academics, on one of the University’s green fields, you might think differently with book or football in hand.


What is your favorite college campus you have discovered on your travels?

About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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