I. College events
Dine in college
If you know someone who is a member of an Oxford college, try dining in college. Perhaps the formal dinner sitting. It can be quite an experience. Interesting setting, conversation, ambience and food. You will also get a sense of what it is like being a student in college.
College bops or parties are usually colourful themed parties organised by college students. If you are not a member of the college, you would need to be invited by someone.
Evensong/college choir performance
Most of the larger college chapels have excellent choirs. Some of these widely acclaimed choirs and conductors have recorded albums and been on tour. Evensongs (or evening prayers) at around 6pm on most days are often open to public. Some of the choirs worth mentioning are the New College choir, Magdalen College choir, Christ Church choir and Merton College choir.
II. A short stroll and a nice pub
Port Meadow, Godstow, Trout Inn, Wytham and Wytham Woods
A pleasant walk (~1 hour) across the scenic Port Meadow will bring you to The Trout on the bank of a little stream. This pub was frequented by many famous literary giants like CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll as well the Inspecter Morse in Colin Dexter's novels. En route you will also pass canal boats, rowers, wind surfers, the Godstow lock and the ruins of Godstow Abbey/Nunnery. A short walk west along the road in front of the Inn will take you to the tiny Wytham village and a short detour will take you up a steep hill to Wytham Woods. This route can be covered both on foot and by bike across the Meadow. You can also catch a bus from the city centre to Trout Inn and Wytham.
Thames Path, Iffley, Iffley lock and Isis Tavern
You could start with a drink at the Head of the River pub and head off along the Thames path that hugs River Isis (River Thames in Oxford) from Folly Bridge. A short walk (~30 minutes) will take you past college boathouses to Isis Tavern. Nearby you will also find the Iffley lock and Iffley village. This route is also very popular among rowers and some of the famous annual races
are held here.
III. Watch a graduation ceremony
The scholar's gown, the commoner's gown, the graduate's gown and many other colour higher degree gowns can be spotted at the graduation ceremony that happens most other Saturdays in the Sheldonian theatre. The ceremony is conducted in Latin. The actual event is only open to the graduands and their guests, but one could watch the procession as it leaves the college and enters the Sheldonian, and of course the celebration that follow. The Encaenia, or the annual honorary degree ceremony, is another famous Oxford University ceremony that usually occurs on a Wednesday in the latter part of June. You will get to see the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Heads of Colleges and many others in a procession that heads to the Sheldonian Theatre. This is quite a spectacle.
IV. Blackwell's bookshop
Originally started as a little bookshop on Broad Street, Blackwell's is an institution in Oxford. They published J.R.R. Tolkien's first poem and a series of cheaper and accessible Shakespeare for everyone. Expansion in the 1960s saw them build an undergound room, called the Norringdon Room, under the grounds of the adjacent Trinity College. This room has over 3 miles of shelves covering and area of 10,000 square feet holding over 150,000 books!
V. Day trips from Oxford
You could also go on several day trips from Oxford
if you are tired of visiting colleges, gardens and museums. The Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace are highly recommended.