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Even if you’re not one of San Diego State University’s estimated 500,000 living alumni, chances are you’ve visited campus for an Aztec concert or game. If not, now is a great time to take the College Avenue off-ramp when you see the SDSU freeway sign on Interstate 8.
San Diego’s oldest institution of higher learning officially kicked off a 600-day celebration of its 125th anniversary on March 14.
Once founded in 1897 as a training school for aspiring elementary school teachers and located above a drug store in what is now the Gaslamp Quarter, SDSU is today an internationally renowned academic and research powerhouse. which provides billions in annual economic impact to San Diego and communities around the world.
Away from the high-tech labs and lecture halls on campus, you’ll find hidden gems like public art, a turtle pond, and peaceful gardens. And with SDSU Mission Valley – a new stadium, Snapdragon Stadium, opening soon – there will be even more places to visit. Here is your cheat sheet:
Coming Soon – SDSU Mission Valley and Snapdragon Stadium
Snapdragon Stadium, SDSU Mission Valley’s first feature, will open Sept. 3 for the Aztec Football Team’s home opener against the University of Arizona Wildcats. The 35,000 capacity stadium will feature dining options from local restaurants including Hodad’s, The Crack Shack, Cali BBQ, Best Pizza and Brew, Everbowl, Gaglione Brothers, The Taco Stand and Batch & Box. In addition to SDSU soccer, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, and men’s soccer, the venue will host the San Diego Wave Futbol Club, the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team, and the San Diego Legion, the home team. of Major League Rugby (MLR). .
Approximately 80 acres of community park and open space, including a 34-acre river park scheduled for completion in 2023, will also be a centerpiece of SDSU Mission Valley. Construction of the SDSU Mission Valley Innovation District where SDSU researchers will work alongside public and private partners, as well as a residential community including affordable housing, will also begin as early as 2023 (next year!).
Did you know?
SDSU generates more than $5.6 billion in annual economic activity in the San Diego area, according to the most recent estimate.
-Approximately 75% of San Diego County’s public health workforce are alumni of the SDSU School of Public Health
-Former Ellen Ochoa was NASA’s first Latin astronaut in space and director of its Johnson Space Center
-Other well-known alumni include: Rubio’s Coastal Grill founder Ralph Rubio, film producer Kathleen Kennedy, The Mandalorian actor Carl Weathers, Blenders Eyewear CEO Chase Fisher, the late legendary concept artist John Baldessari and the former San Diego mayors Kevin Faulconer and Jerry Sanders. Two more from the world of sports: Major League Baseball pitcher Stephen Strasburg and NBA star Kawhi Leonard, who both won playoff MVP awards in the same year (2019). And, of course, the greatest Padre of all: Tony Gwynn.
-US President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Eleanor Roosevelt have all delivered speeches at SDSU.
-Lady Gaga, Ella Fitzgerald, Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Joan Baez, Fleetwood Mac and Rihanna all rocked SDSU halls.
Must-see places on campus
If you haven’t been to campus in a few years, you’ve never seen the newest landmark: the Native and Indigenous Healing Garden. One of the newest features of the SDSU landscape is just steps away from the original Main Quad buildings.
Developed in early 2020, the garden recognizes both the university’s Aztec identity and its location on historic Kumeyaay lands. It’s a place that embodies the symbols and plants of life and healing – physically, mentally and emotionally – and also features a 60-foot, student-designed mural that captures the importance of plants for life. indigenous to the region of the Aztecs. . Learn more about SDSU’s Healing Garden.
Headlining performances under the stars
Come see a concert at SDSU’s Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater (upcoming shows include Interpol, April 29; New Kids On The Block, May 26; Tenacious D, June 26; David Gray, July 31; Alicia Keys, Sep. 9) – stay for the great meals and scenic spots. For a list of upcoming events and concerts, visit the CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theater page.
For even more botanical delights, head to the Mediterranean Garden, between the Physical and Life Sciences Buildings and Hepner Hall. This peaceful enclave, developed in the mid-1990s, features plants from five continents and a Baja California fountain, a gift from the senior class of 1997. It’s a popular place to catch up with friends or enjoy a a picnic before catching a show at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater.
Relax, meditate and watch — but please don’t touch or feed the locals. The koi and turtle pond outside Scripps Cottage (another campus treasure) is widely considered the most peaceful spot on campus.
Arriving on campus by tram? Before leaving the only metro station on the MTS Green Line, look above and below at two pieces of public art: the “TapRoots” descending from the station’s ceiling and 60 granite stones with symbols representing the disciplines SDSU academics.
Prior to the station’s opening in 2005, Carlsbad artist Anne Mudge worked with a design team and the Metropolitan Transit System on a variety of striking artistic components, bringing full attention to its underground location as a station showcase of the green line. Its stainless steel “TapRoots” descend from the station’s ceiling as if connected to trees planted above. Beneath her feet, she designed 60 granite stepping stones with symbols for SDSU’s academic disciplines: comedy and tragedy masks for theater; a formula of glucose for chemistry.
Who needs publicity when you can turn a bench into a work of art? The student-designed and painted benches, part of Arts Alive SDSU, can be found all over campus, along with some historic benches from the administration of progress from the previous century. See the art benches slideshow
Aztec Lanes is SDSU’s bowling and gaming center open to students, faculty/staff, and community members located on the first floor of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Enjoy 12 bowling lanes as well as a games lounge with big screen TVs, billiards, table tennis and game consoles. Aztec Lanes offers a host of services including bowling lessons, social leagues, reservations and special events.
Families can enjoy Kids Bowl Free all summer long from May 14 to August 21 (register today)!
For rates, reservations and more information, visit Aztec Lanes here.