The Top: 5 Reasons Why UCR is a ‘Pokémon Go’ Paradise

How to successfully navigate the popular smartphone app on the UCR campus

Wild Pokemon have been spotted at UC Riverside. Photo by Kelly Duarte (@Kellayyyyyyy)

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Each issue, we present a list of UCR staff and faculty favorites — from walking spots to gardens to events.

After the release of the widely popular smartphone app, “Pokémon Go,” it is not uncommon to see crowds of people with their eyes glued to their phone screens at UC Riverside. The game sends players to specific locations in the real world as they attempt to catch as many of these virtual creatures as possible. And it just so happens that UCR is swarming with these “pocket monsters” all throughout campus. 

While playing though, safety should always be the priority, said UC Police Assistant Chief John Freese. In a campus-wide note he advices Pokémon players to remain alert:

“UCPD would like to take a moment to ask players to heed the warning displayed at the start of the game: Remain aware of your surroundings. That Charizard is certainly rare and is an amazing find, but it will mean nothing if you are hit by a vehicle because you stepped into the roadway in your attempt to catch it. Be aware of your surroundings; we understand how absorbing the game can be, but please do not allow yourself to become so absorbed that you put your physical safety in jeopardy.”

In your quest to “catch ‘em all,” be safe, Highlanders! 

1. UCR is a Pokéstop Heaven

The blue squares represents Pokestops on the UCR campus. Photo from

The blue squares represents Pokestops on the UCR campus. Photo from

“Pokéstops” are locations that provides players with resources and tools to capture more Pokémon in the game. Identified as blue markers on the map, Pokéstops are found at select monuments and historical landmarks in the real world. UCR, a campus full of building and art installations, is chock-full of these Pokéstops.

“When I first downloaded the game, I was surprised at how there’s so many Pokéstops on campus,” said Kevin Zhang, a summer 2016 UCR graduate and economics major. “It’s not like this at other campuses. I went with my friends to CalState Long Beach and Fullerton and there were a lot less.”

2. UCR is Home To Multiple Gyms

No, we are not talking about the Student Recreation Center (SRC). We’re talking about Pokémon gyms! Although, check out the SRC’s Pokemon Go related video above!

Pokémon gyms are the battle arenas of the game, where players fight other players’ Pokémon in order to claim the territory. On campus, be sure to walk towards the Soccer Stadium, UCR University Theatre and Orbach Science Library to find some Pokémon gyms.

3. UCR Offers Diversity At All Levels


Photos of Pokemon spotted on campus.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pokémon Trainer Ivan Lopez finds a Dratini at the UCR Extension Center.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pokémon Trainer Kelly Duarte sees a Growlithe on campus.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pokémon Trainer Stephanie Do catches a Poliwhirl at University Village.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pokémon Trainer Lien Huynh spots a Persian near the HUB.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pokémon Trainer Ivan Lopez finds a Venonat underneath the Rivera Arches.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Pikachu is spotted in front of UCR Printing & Reprographics.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Growlithe admiring the UCR bell tower.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Diglett hides in the planter in front of Costo Hall.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Weepinbell in front of the Student Affairs Office.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    A Pidgey was captured by Pokémon Trainer Ivan Lopez.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Meowth relaxes at the Highlander Union Building tables.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    A UCR student spots a Clefairy while making a transaction at the ATMs on campus.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    A wild Zubat in front the UCR letters.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Sandshrew taking a stroll near the Humanities Building.
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Eevee is found walking around Pentland Hills Residence Hall. Photo by UCR Housing
  • 'Pokémon Go' at UCR

    Geodude makes a visit to UCR Education Abroad's new office at Surge 321. Photo by UCR Education Abroad

UCR is widely recognized for its diverse student population. So it’s no surprise to see that UCR’s diversity extends to Pokémon as well. Just take a look at our slideshow above!

In the game, each Pokémon is categorized into different “types” based on its characteristics and natural habitat; at UCR you can find ground types, psychic types, normal types, grass types, fire types, bug types and lots more! Although, the “water type” is a rarity here in the Inland Empire.

4. UCR is an Al-LURE-ing Campus


See all those pink clusters? Those are all activated lures on the UCR campus.

As denoted by the pink clusters around the blue Pokéstops on the map, lures are designed to increase the chances of a Pokémon to appear. A lure module can be dropped by players at any Pokéstop. If someone decides to activate a lure, it doesn’t just benefit the one player; it can be detected and enjoyed by players in the surrounding areas as well.

At UCR, lures are dropped constantly. “It’s ridiculous,” exclaimed anthropology student Brenda Garcia. “It’s not uncommon to see lures every hour at UCR.”

5. UCR Has a Community of Educated ‘Pokémon Go’ Players

Here are some tips from wandering Pokémon Trainers on campus:

  • “People usually set out lures anywhere there’s seats so at the HUB or around the bell tower would be a good place to chill and wait for Pokémon to spawn. I have the advantage of living on campus so I actually like to head out around 9 to 10 p.m. when the weather is cool and the sun isn’t creating glare off the screen.” —Stephanie Do (’18), UCR creative writing major
  • “Inside of Rivera Library is actually a really good place to play ‘Pokémon Go’ on campus. You wouldn’t expect it, but there are a lot of strong Pokémon there. I saw a Snorlax there once…And there are three Pokéstops  at Rivera!” —Tatiana Oropel (’16), UCR economics major 
  • “There’s always something to catch at UCR. I keep the game on at all times because you never know when a Pokémon is going to pop up. So be sure to bring an extended battery!” —Brenda Garcia (’17), UCR anthropology major 
  • “Go towards the crowds because the more people, the more lures will be sent off. The HUB is the most popular place on campus.” —Mike Lopez (’16), CalState San Bernardino
  • “I try to maximize catching Pokémon while walking to class…Starting from where I live in the UV (University Village), I walk through the HUB because that’s where three Pokéstops are at once. Then, I walk through the Geology building to get to my class in the Physics building.” —Kevin Zhang (’16), UCR economics major 

Caught a rare Pokémon on campus? Have a tip to share? Share your “Pokémon Go” expertise and photos with us by emailing!

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