After four years living and studying and working on this beautiful university campus of mine, I've done my fair share of exploring and adventuring. We are very lucky to have our own land outside of the official city limits of Vancouver so that everything in the vicinity is dedicated primarily to use by university students. UBC is located on First Nations land, is surrounded on all sides by the Pacific Spirit Forest and on three sides by the Pacific Ocean - so it's pretty stunning. If you are ever in the city or are lucky enough to study here, here's 22 of my favourite things to do all year round.
1. Explore the Nitobe Japanese Memorial Gardens
UBC features a 2.5 acre Japanese garden, one of the most authentic in North America established in honor of Japanese diplomat Nitobe Inazo (1862-1933). The gardens are stuning all year-round and provide a quiet place on campus to read in or to wander through.
2. Take in the view from the top of The Cliffs
There's a secret trail between the stairs to Wreck Beach and Tower Beach. At the driveway where the yellow barrier is, follow the road until you see a trail leading into the forest on the left side. Follow it to the fence, which you then have to hop. Make your way down the dirt path to the most incredible view over the Tower Beach, especially at sunset.
3. Experience the nudist culture of Wreck Beach
Yes, you read that right. UBC is home to its very own naked beach. Come here and join in, or observe the copious amount of nudity from the safety of your t-shirt and shorts.
4. Wander through the Museum of Anthropology
Located on the end of the UBC campus surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Spirit Forest, the MOA houses a stunning collection of world arts and cultures, with a specific focus on the works of the First Nations whose land UBC is built upon.
5. Catch a sunset over the Pacific Ocean
Surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, UBC is home to some fantastic sunsets. Best spots include the Rose Garden, Wreck Beach, Tower Beach and The Cliffs.
6. Take in the view from the top of Buchanan Tower
You can see almost all of campus from the top floor of the tower dedicated to the Faculty of Arts. Just pretend you're off to hand in a paper, or something.
7. Attend the annual Apple Festival
If you're as obsessed with Autumn as I am, make your way to the annual Apple Festival, a weekend-long event celebrating apples, pumpkins, orange leaves and everything fall.
8. Visit the UBC Lookout
Along Marine Drive as you make your way onto campus is the beautiful UBC Lookout offering pristine views over the ocean and walking trails along the coast.
9. Take in the iconic view of the Rose Garden
Nestled at the end of UBC's campus is the Rose Garden. Sitting with a dreamy backdrop of the oceans and the mountains, this is a student favourite.
10. Visit the Blue Whale at Beaty Biodiversity Museum
UBC is home to a complete Blue Whale skeleton, and it hangs in the grand museum on Main Mall, home to many other fascinating species.
11. Hang out in the Nest
The new Student Union Building is called the Nest, and within the Nest is another neat hanging Nest. This is the central spot on campus to find food, student services and study spots.
12. Enjoy authentic Italian pizzas from Mercante
Of the many, many restaurants on campus at UBC, one of my favourites is Mercante. Authentic pizzas are made in a gigantic stone hearth oven, and no sharing is required!
13. Walk one of the many trails of the Pacific Spirit Forest
On the one side not surrounded by ocean, UBC is separated from the rest of Vancouver by the luscious Pacific Spirit rain forest. Perfect for trail running and hiking, there are numerous trails winding all around.
15. Watch a varsity game
Get in the school spirit and watch any one of many ongoing varsity games. UBC is home to multiple varsity teams, so no matter what sport sparks your interest, there's something for everyone. A personal favourite is the annual Homecoming football game, where the whole campus comes together to cheer for the Thunderbirds!
16. Wander through the treetops at the Botanical Gardens Greenheart Treewalk
To escape into the treetops, head to the Botanical Gardens where a beautiful canopy of walkways making up the Greenheart Treewalk guides you through the rain forest allowing you to peer down on the growth from above.
17. Wander through the cherry blossoms in Spring
UBC is home to some beautiful cherry blossom trees, with some streets bursting into full cherry blossom heaven during the Springtime.
18. Appreciate the colors of Main Mall in Autumn
My favourite season is Autumn, but I say that every season. Campus is transformed with all the vibrant colours of the fall palette and my fingers can't Instagram them fast enough.
19. Walk through untouched snow
While this doesn't happen every year, sometimes when Vancouver has a particularly obnoxious bout of snow, UBC is covered and turns into a winter wonderland. The best is when classes are cancelled and uni-wide snowball fights are scheduled instead. Trust me, it's happened!
20. Spend 24 hours in Irving K Barber Library during finals season
During final exams, IKB Library stays open 24-7, and some students take the liberty of moving in with their sleeping bags and stash of snacks to brave the storm.
21. Drink a beer with your Prof at Mahoney's
In my last ever class of my undergrad, I had the coolest Prof. Part of lecture was to host a model-Paris Climate Change Convention, and when we finished and saved the world, we all celebrated (Prof included) at the local on-campus pub.