If you are unable to attend one of our official tours but would like to visit our campus, please feel free to use the information below to take a self-guided tour. You can reference the stop numbers on our Self-Guided Tour Map
Finally, please be sure to check-in on foursquare during your visit! A Campus Tour List has been created that details a number of Vanderbilt's iconic buildings and park-like green spaces included on your scheduled tour – let your foursquare friends know you've seen them all.
Estimated Tour Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Start: Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1) Alumni Lawn
Alumni Lawn provides the site for Rites of Spring, concerts, movie showings, and commencement. It is a popular place for students to study and play. Surrounding Alumni Lawn are the upperclassmen dorms Vanderbilt/Barnard Hall, McGill, and Tolman. All students (except residents of Davidson County) are required to live on campus. Additional buildings around Alumni Lawn include Alumni Hall (which houses the Writing Studio and the Learning Center), Neely Auditorium (which houses the Vanderbilt University Theatre), and the Sarratt Student Center/Rand Dining Hall.
2) Kirkland Hall
Kirkland Hall is an administration building. It houses the office of the Chancellor, the College of Arts and Science, the Graduate School, and other administrative offices. Kirkland Hall is one of the original buildings on campus, though a fire destroyed a great deal of the building in 1905. Before the fire, the library had been housed in Kirkland Hall. With help from students, 4,000 volumes were saved. The Clock Tower Bell rings on the hour. The statue of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt is located on the lawn in front of Kirkland, near West End Avenue. In 1873, he donated one million dollars, with the encouragement of Bishop Holland McTyeire, to found the University. The first class at Vanderbilt was comprised of 307 students, and tuition was $35.
Looking from the steps of Kirkland, you can see the upperclassmen dorms of Kissam Quadrangle, as well as Wilson Hall (which houses the Psychology Department).
3) Benson, Calhoun, Garland, and Furman
Standing in the circle between Benson and Furman, you can see all four of these buildings. Benson houses the History and English departments; Calhoun houses Economics, Communications, and Political Science; Garland houses Anthropology, Sociology, Religious Studies, and Women and Gender Studies; and Furman houses the Humanities departments including Foreign Languages, Classical Studies, and Philosophy.
Behind Benson Hall, in between Benson and Rand, is Bicentennial Oak, an oak tree which predates the Revolutionary War. Vanderbilt is a nationally recognized arboretum and has every tree indigenous to the State of Tennessee represented on the University's 330-acre campus.
4) Library Lawn / Jean and Alexander Heard Library
The Jean and Alexander Heard Library is the central library on campus. There are seven additional libraries on campus: Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, Peabody Library, Eskind Biomedical Library, Sarah Shannon Stevenson Science Library, Walker Management Library, Alyne Queener Massey Law Library, and Divinity Library. The Special Collections and Television News archives can also be accessed through the library system. The Vanderbilt library system has more than 2 million bound volumes and subscribes to 17,450 periodicals.
Benton Chapel and the Divinity School are to the left of the library. Directly across the lawn from the library is Buttrick, and to the right of the library is Stevenson Center. These buildings will be covered later in the tour. Walk past Frist and in between Godchaux and MRB III to get to the next stop.
5) 21st Ave South / Pedestrian Bridge
The pedestrian bridge is the most common thoroughfare for students traveling between Peabody Campus and Main Campus. From the bridge you can see many dining facilities, some of which are included in Vanderbilt's Taste of Nashville off-campus dining options.
6) Peabody Esplanade / Commons Lawn
Peabody Campus contains both Peabody College and The Commons. Surrounding the lawn are both academic buildings and first-year residence halls dorms. The Peabody Library can be found at the base of the lawn, and at the end of the lawn is the Wyatt Center (the domed building) which serves as a main academic building for Peabody College.
7) Commons Center / Lower Quad
The Commons Center was completed in the summer of 2008 and serves as the main student center to first-year Vanderbilt students. It has a dining hall, workout center (this is not the main Student Recreation Center, which can be found on 25th Ave. S), market, multiple study lounges, mail center, and student organization offices. The Commons Center is LEED certified, a national certification that demonstrates a building's adherence to energy saving and beneficial environmental design.
From the Lower Quad you can see many of the dorms associated with The Commons, Vanderbilt's first year living/learning experience. All first-year students are required to live on The Commons, which is made up of five new and five renovated co-ed dorms (Hank Ingram, Murray, Stambaugh, Crawford, Sutherland, Memorial, Gillette, East, West, and North). All first-year student dorm rooms are doubles and have communal bathrooms on each hall.
Now return to Library Lawn. Estimated walking time: 10 minutes.
8) Stevenson / Featheringill Hall
Looking from Jean and Alexander Heard Library, you will see Stevenson Center to the left. Stevenson is made up of six buildings, all of which are connected. On the map, each building is labeled by its department (Math, Chemistry, Science and Engineering, Physics and Astronomy, Molecular Biology, and the Lecture building).
Directly across from Science and Engineering is Featheringill Hall, home to many classes in the School of Engineering. Feel free to go inside Featheringill and see the main atrium in the middle of the building.
Head towards Buttrick Hall and enter through the doors closest to Featheringill Hall. Buttrick was renovated from 2003-2005 to expand its area from 38,000 to 90,000 square feet. It houses many undergraduate classes in the College of Arts and Science.
9) The Wall / Sarratt Student Center / Rand Dining Hall / Bookstore
Upon leaving the opposite side of Buttrick Hall, you will find yourself at this location, which is a high traffic area for students during the day. The brick wall that runs adjacent to the Bookstore and Rand Dining Hall is called The Wall and is commonly used by student organizations to increase campus awareness during the lunchtime hours. Feel free to stop by the Bookstore if it's open and purchase a Vanderbilt sweatshirt, as they are always in style (regardless of season).
Rand Dining Hall is one of two dining halls on campus (the other is the Commons Dining Hall). On the other side of Rand Dining Hall is the Sarratt Student Center which you saw from Alumni Lawn. The Sarratt Student Center is home to many student organizations, The Pub (an on-campus dining option), the main post office, and a full-size cinema.
From the Sarratt Student Center you can return to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by heading across Alumni Lawn.
This is the end of the self-guided tour.