My favorite college football team (North Dakota State University) played the University of Arizona in September. The game fell on my birthday weekend, so my wife and I decided to visit Tucson. We met up with some family members — and about 12,000 other Bison fans!
The NDSU Foundation arranged room blocks at several hotels in the Tucson area. One of them was The Graduate Tuscon, a boutique hotel near campus.
We could’ve stayed somewhere else and simply used points. But my family booked The Graduate, so we wanted to be close to them. Plus, we figured it’d be a blast hanging out with our fellow Bison fans. We decided to spend the $180-ish and enjoy the experience.
Everything was great. But there was a shooting near the property late at night. (Details on that later.)
Here’s our experience!
Where is The Graduate Tucson Hotel?
You’ll find the hotel at 930 E 2nd St, Tucson, AZ 85719.
It was a 15-ish minute walk to the tailgate parties (University Blvd. and N. Campus Ave.) and Arizona Stadium. It seems like a relatively safe neighborhood (except for the, y’know, isolated shooting incident.) There’s a lot of partying about a block or so away at University Blvd. The Graduate is situated between that stretch and some campus apartments; you may encounter some partying students if you’re up late.
Most of the ones we saw were simply having a fun time. A few were obnoxious and drunkenly “taunted” us following Arizona’s victory over the Bison. “Hey, where is North Dakota anyway?” they repeatedly asked. (Let’s hope they aren’t geography majors.)
Checking In to The Graduate
The entire hotel bears a distinct southwestern vibe. Here’s what greeted us in the lobby.
The front desk rep was pleasant and checked us in with no problem.
The room keys are faux University of Arizona student ID cards — complete with notable alumni! One of our keys featured former Golden State Warriors basketball player and current ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson. The other displayed former Major League Baseball player and current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona.
The Graduate King Bedroom
The hotel’s southwest motif carried over into our room.
My wife pre-ordered chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of Pellegrino to help celebrate my birthday!
The bathroom was pleasant enough — though it featured wall-mounted toiletries in the shower.
The Graduate features a rooftop pool — a great place to relax and cool down during the hot summer months.
A server was available for food and beverage orders. One of my stepbrothers selected an “Adult Capri Sun.”
His review? Kind of fun at first — but then the sweetness became a bit much.
Late Night Shenanigans: a Shooting?
The Graduate is a block or so away from University Avenue, which features several bars and restaurants. The area was quite busy around midnight, which is when we returned after the game.
A couple of folks were overserved and decided to cause trouble near the hotel. (Frankly, when you mix alcohol, sports fans, and college kids, something like this is hardly surprising.) Hats off to The Graduate: a couple of security guards quickly appeared and de-escalated the situation.
One of my stepbrothers and I stayed up late, enjoyed a couple of beverages, and chatted about the travel industry (he works in the business). Around 2:30 AM, we heard six “POP”-ing sounds. We turned to each other and said, “Gunshots?”
I guess there was some trouble at one of the student apartment buildings. (US News says two teens were treated for injuries that weren’t life-threatening.) A suspect was later caught.
So, that was our excitement for the stay. But, again, it sounds like an isolated incident.
We were quite pleased with our stay at The Graduate Tucson. The proximity to campus is fantastic. The rooms are nice, the staff is great, and the hotel’s character in general is fun. The area seems relatively safe — but like all places, be aware of your surroundings. Things seem to get a little interesting as you wander north.
I’d stay at The Graduate Tucscon again. Have you been to this hotel? What do you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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