Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

How and why to visit the Arizona State University campus

If you're interested in Phoenix history, like I am, you know that Arizona State University has been there, in Tempe, for over 100 years. And that means there there are buildings that range from 1890 to modern day, and just about every decade in between. And also, if you're a tree-hugger, like me, it's one of the few places in the Phoenix area where you can see plantings that also span over 100 years, beautifully cared-for. So, it's worth a look. But if you're elderly, that is, over 30, you may not know exactly how to behave. I've been there with a few friends and I think I understand the challenges. Here are a few stray thoughts that should make you more comfortable:

• Plan on walking. This is a big campus, so consider it an urban hike. Comfortable shoes, some sunblock, maybe a hat. And if you're afraid that you will look silly to the students on campus, consider that...

• To the students, you are invisible. Believe me, if someone over age 30 walked on campus while I was going to ASU, I would have never seen them. If I noticed them at all I probably thought that they worked for the school, as teachers, or something like that. Not that I ever really noticed them.

• Leave the students alone. They are not tour guides, nor do they want to hear about the big game you saw back in the day. In fact, show respect for the students - try to visit the campus when there are no classes, like Spring or Winter break. The information is available on the web, use it.

• Don't take photos of random people. That's just creepy. This is the era of the internet, of Facebook, of people not wanting their photos appearing without their permission. There are already a lot of photos of the ASU buildings available. Instead of taking photos, experience it in real life.

• Find a legal parking spot. There are a lot of cars in Tempe, and parking laws are strictly enforced. If you went to ASU, you learned that. If you've forgotten, remember it.

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The entire campus of ASU is a beautiful arboretum, and boasts some of the most interesting architecture to be found in Arizona. If all you've ever done is go to football games and then to a restaurant, you are missing a lot. Take a hike around ASU.

Image at the top of this post: Old Main in the 1950s. It's still there, although you can't drive up to it nowadays. University Drive just east of College Avenue, Tempe, Arizona.

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