It’s been a while since we’ve all been on campus. I know, we were technically back in person at the end of the winter semester last year. But, between the COVID-19 restrictions and having to move online for the first couple months of the winter semester, it was a weird year.
So, I don’t blame you if this year is your first on campus and you don’t know the best places to hang out with your friends yet. Or maybe it’s just been a while since you’ve had the chance and you’ve forgotten your favourite spots.
Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered. Here is my list of the top five places to hang out with friends on campus!
Nothing makes the quintessential U of A student experience quite like post-midterm drinks at Dewey’s. From the fun cocktails and the mac and cheese triangles, Dewey’s has plenty celebration snacks. The industrial feel gives Dewey’s a great ambience all day long, from early morning coffees to late afternoon get-togethers. Reasonable prices, friendly staff, scattered couches, and comfort foods make Dewey’s one of the places I’m most excited to get back to. Honestly, did you even go to the U of A if you didn’t play pool or go to trivia night at Dewey’s with your friends at least once?
2. Central Academic Building (CAB) basement
Though it tends to be really busy during lunchtime, the lower level of CAB is a real gem in the early morning or late afternoon. There’s just enough chatter to give it a coffee shop feel, and enough cozy chairs that you can get comfortable. It’s big enough that there’s almost always an available table, but still small enough that it’s easy enough to find your friends. With the two Tim Hortons upstairs, Remedy and other restaurants in the basement, there is no shortage of places to grab a bite to eat in CAB. For an area that used to be the university’s cafeteria, it’s a great place to grab a snack, study, or just hang out.
3. Fifth Floor Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS)
The upper floor of the CCIS building is a great place to have a little hangout. Contrary to the busy main floor of CCIS, the upper floor is usually pretty empty, except for maybe some grad students and professors. The glass walls that characterize the lower floors of CCIS continue up to the ceiling, making it super bright during the day. It can even be warm when the sun is out. Additionally, the CCIS observatories are open Thursday evenings for students, making for an easy and cheap night out for the friend group. Although, last year, their hours were greatly impacted by COVID-19, so be sure to check hours before visiting!
4. Education Students’ Lounge
Though the education buildings are dated and a little dreary, the fourth floor education students’ lounge contrasts the rest of the building. Large windows, indoor street lights, and vaulted ceilings surprisingly give the lounge a cozy, airy feel. The lounge itself has an abundance of couches, tables, and chairs, so it’s great for both hanging out or studying. Additionally, the Education Students’ Association provides microwaves, coffee (for members), and water fountains, making this a great place to just drop in for lunch. It’s busy enough that it feels welcoming, but quiet enough that you can focus, making it truly a hidden gem of the university. It’s a great place to hang out with your friends on those days where you just need a little peace.
5. Students’ Union Building (SUB) stairs
A classic, tried and true. When in doubt about where to meet your friends, the SUB stairs are always a good place to start. Filled with new bean bag chairs, and just a few steps away from many food options such as the Daily Grind, Subway, Hula, Opa! and more, the SUB stairs are the ideal place to meet up with friends. Typically, SUB tends to be one of the louder buildings. So, you and your friends won’t feel guilty for having a spirited conversation at this spot on campus.