College isn’t only about living your life on campus. Even if the nearest town is quite a bit away, you may still find yourself in the town more often that you expect. It’s a good idea to get the most out of your college town during the years of your attendance. Who knows - you may move back after college! These are a few tips to safely explore your college town while having fun and getting some fresh air.
1. Get to know a native (if you’re not already one).
This a sure fire way to get to know the best parts of your college town. A native will know where you can go safely at night, where you can go to avoid tourists or the best pizza spot in town. Someone who lives close to or in the college town could also own a car and may provide you easy transportation. It’s also nice to gain a native’s perspective on events in the town if you are new to the region.
2. Remember points of interest from orientation tours.
Orientations Tours can sometimes be cheesy and boring, but from time to time can provide a lot of information about your college’s surrounding city. You might remember a cool fair trade coffee shop, a store where you can buy cozy scarves or a local dog park. Go to those places alone or with friends. Some restaurants in town may also accept your “Dining Bucks” or the currency that comes with your meal plan. Establishments such as these love college patronage and can be common hangouts for some of your college peers.
3. Befriend an outdoorsy type.
An outdoorsy friend can find the best spots to watch the stars or scenic waterfalls to dive off of in your free time. It’s a plus if they’re native to the area because they can guide safe passage to the town’s prime nature spots. This tip can be applied to any type of person. For example: if you befriend a music person, they can find the best shows or venues in town. If you befriend a foodie, they can find the best eateries and so on and so forth.
4. Drive or walk around.
The best way to explore your college town is to be in it. You can do this through car, bus or walking. Most colleges allow their students to have bus passes in order to traverse the town for free. This may be the best and most cost effective way of exploring town. Walking or biking around is also a great alternative. Remember to be careful and aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Walk around to see all the cool shops, restaurants and hangouts in town. Maybe stop in to see if it fits the scene and atmosphere that you enjoy. If you’d like a quick tour of the town; bike around, ride the bus or drive to do a little sight seeing.
5. Consult the cork boards.
Around campus there are boards with useful information, campus and local events. Check these boards periodically to find interesting events happening in your town. These can range from open mic nights to house shows. If you’d like to find a community that you identify with whether it be queer or local house builders, the cork boards are good for that too. Student groups also post on the cork boards for meet-ups which can sometimes be off campus. This is an opportunity to meet great people while safely explore all your college town has to offer.
Always be safe when walking at night or conversing with strangers at some of the local hangouts. Above all else, have fun and never be afraid to explore different facets of town. Travel in groups, alone or whatever you are comfortable with. Don’t forget to experience nature because sometimes your dorm room isn’t the most conducive place for happiness. Have fun and happy adventuring.
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