Skip Grainger: buzz’s best off-campus study spots

By Jesse Tamayo

Study abroad! Sort of.

Finals are next week and it takes a strong mentality to find the motivation that disappeared weeks prior to this moment. Studying is hard at this time of year, especially with the gorgeous weather, but with the help of some fresh, new places, students will be able to pick up the pieces to get through the end of the semester. Here are some of the best off-campus study spots to make finals a little more bearable.

1. The Sipyard

There is no better place set up shop studying than at the Sipyard, complete with murals and artwork that everyone can appreciate. Located at the corner of Race and Main, the alley is home to the only beer garden in central Illinois where the service comes directly from shipping containers. There are benches and tables, and the atmosphere is peaceful, leading to a productive work session. However, if you do get distracted, people watch or hit up the escape rooms a block over for a break between study sessions.

2. Japan House / Idea Garden

The Japan House and Idea Garden are right next to each other, and with spring finally arriving (hopefully that’s not a jinx) it’s the perfect place to take in nature. Located on South Lincoln Avenue, there are plenty of nooks and hills where you can hunker down and get some studying done. If you need a break, then you could always take a stroll and appreciate the weather that’s upon us, and check out the famous cherry blossom trees. Plus, the chances of spotting a dog are high, and who doesn’t need a little puppy love right now?

3. Boneyard Creek

Boneyard Creek may not have as much nature as Japan House, but that shouldn’t sway students from avoiding the spot completely. Located on Springfield in Urbana, there are plenty of options to choose from when looking for a study spot. Students can spend time at the park soaking up some sun, and when you need a study break, shoot some hoops at the basketball courts. There is also seating near the stream for those who enjoy the sounds of babbling brooks.

4. Hessel Park

This park sits just north on Kirby in Champaign, past the Walgreens on Neil, but it is worth it if you can make it. Not only is Hessel Park a change of pace compared to the campus scene, but it offers a variety of options. There are tennis and volleyball courts, baseball fields and a walking path that circles the entire park. There’s plenty of options for the study break but also plenty of places where you can seclude yourself and prepare for a test while still getting some fresh air.

5. Jarling’s Custard Cup

Located on West Kirby Avenue, Jarling’s has served Champaign-Urbana for the last 69 years. They originally started in Danville, and have since moved closer to campus which is a blessing in disguise. Instead of hitting up the local coffee shops on campus take a trip to get ice cream. It’s a great change of pace and students can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.

6. Maize

How can we forget another hometown campus favorite? Grab a burrito–but don’t spill on those books–and get down to the nitty-gritty. Maize on Green has seating outside and the downtown Champaign location sits right next to a record shop and the pathway leading to the heart of downtown.

Wherever you choose to study, Champaign-Urbana has plenty of options for those looking to get off the beaten path and shake up their finals study spots.