In the 11 cities that are home to the universities of the Pac-12 athletic conference, there’s more than just college life (not that there’s anything better than that). Whether you’re cheering on a visiting Buffs team, working or playing, here are some fun tidbits to jumpstart your adventure.
- Founded: 1851
- Population: 724,745
- Home of: University of Washington
- Mascot: Harry the Husky
- Fun Fact: Seattle is the home of Pike Place Market, said to be the oldest continually operating farmers market in the U.S. and the location of the original Starbucks. Check out the market’s spooky side with a nighttime tour of the remnants of several graveyards, a former brothel and the nation's first mortuary.
- Things to Do: Visit the Space Needle, explore historic Pioneer Square or take a ferry to Bainbridge Island.
- Founded: 1888
- Population: 33,354
- Home of: Washington State University
- Mascot: Butch T. Cougar
- Fun Fact: In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek chose Pullman as the “Best Place to Raise Kids” in Washington. Also notable, the elusive 3-foot-long giant Palouse earthworm — the inspiration for many business names in the area — was first discovered here.
- Things to Do: Visit the Lawson Gardens or attend the National Lentil Festival in August, which has taken place since 1989.
- Founded: 1845
- Population: 57,961
- Home of: Oregon State University
- Mascot: Benny Beaver
- Fun Fact: Home to Juicy’s Outlaw Grill, which holds the Guinness World Record for largest commercially available hamburger (777 lbs).
- Things to Do: Explore Benton County’s wineries or visit Bruce Starker Arts Park.
- Founded: 1862
- Population: 168,916
- Home of: University of Oregon
- Mascot: Oregon Duck
- Fun Fact: In 2014, Eugene became one of the first cities in the nation to place climate action goals into its city code.
- Things to Do: Visit the oldest Black Tartarian tree in the U.S. at the Owen Rose Garden or the landmark Skinner Butte.
- Founded: 1878
- Population: 122,324
- Home of: University of California, Berkeley
- Mascot: Oski the Bear
- Fun Fact: The city was named after the Irish philosopher and poet George Berkeley.
- Things to Do: Explore the University of California Botanical Garden or Indian Rock Park.
Los Angeles, Calif.
- Founded: 1781
- Population: 3,999,759
- Home of: University of California, Los Angeles; University of Southern California
- Mascot: Joe Bruin the Bear; Traveler the Horse
- Fun Fact: According to the History Channel, independent film producers first started moving from New York to Los Angeles to avoid the Motion Picture Patents Company, which Thomas Edison helped create in 1909.
- Things to Do: Visit Griffith Observatory on the south side of Mount Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier or take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Stanford, Calif. (unincorporated area in Santa Clara County)
- Founded: 1885
- Population: 13,809 (2014 est.)
- Home of: Stanford University
- Mascot: the Cardinal, the Stanford Tree (both unofficial)
- Fun Fact: There’s a long history of fountain hopping at Stanford — jumping in water fountains around campus.
- Things to Do: Visit the Computer History Museum in nearby Mountain View, walk the salt marshes of Baylands Nature Preserve or explore adjacent Palo Alto.
Salt Lake City, Utah
- Founded: 1847
- Population: 200,544
- Home of: University of Utah
- Mascot: Swoop, a red-tailed hawk
- Fun Fact: The Salt Lake Temple, the largest Mormon temple in the U.S., took nearly 40 years to complete.
- Things to Do: Visit the Great Salt Lake or Antelope Island State Park.
- Founded: 1894
- Population: 185,038
- Home of: Arizona State University
- Mascot: Sparky the Sun Devil
- Fun Fact: Tempe is home to a thriving music scene. Bands such as the Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and the Refreshments all started there in the ’80s and ’90s.
- Things to Do: See a comedy show at the Tempe Center for the Arts or rent a kayak, pedal boat or paddle board at Tempe Town Lake.
- Founded: 1775
- Population: 535,677
- Home of: University of Arizona
- Mascot: Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat
- Fun Fact: One of America’s sunniest cities, Tucson gets more than 350 days of sunshine annually.
- Things to Do: Pedal on the city’s 1,000-plus miles of bikeways or explore Saguaro National Park.
- Founded: 1871
- Population: 107,125
- Home of: University of Colorado Boulder
- Mascot: Ralphie the Buffalo
- Fun Fact: America’s happiest city, according to National Geographic (2017)
- Things to Do: Spin past the new Google campus at 30th and Pearl, eat hydroponic greens grown at Williams Village Dining Hall, hike to the Royal Arch in Chautauqua Park.
Illustration by Barry Falls