Editors’ Picks: Best Underrated Spots on Campus

Carolina Garibay — buzz Editor

The Illini Union’s South Lounge

The University of Illinois campus is full of underrated spots, many of them hidden in areas of campus students might not visit frequently. But one of campus’ best and most underrated spots is actually not so hidden. Located on the south side of the Illini Union is the South Lounge, the big room that overlooks the Main Quad and connects the east and west sides of the building. Though students pass through this room all the time, not many students have actually sat down and studied there.

Not only does the South Lounge offer a silent spot for working, overthinking or napping, it also gives you a gorgeous view of the Main Quad and has a ton of natural light to motivate and energize you. If you’re looking for a place to cram for an exam, write an entire essay in one sitting or just vibe for a few minutes in between classes, the South Lounge is perfect. You’re usually guaranteed a spot, as the room is never full with people filtering in and out going to classes. 

Besides the perfect mix of tables, comfy chairs and couches, the South Lounge is also super close to the Union Starbucks, so you can use your study session as an excuse for quick Starbucks run.

The South Lounge also has a piano that’s open for people to play, so if you’re lucky (or unlucky depending on your preferred level of noise), someone might be playing the piano, which can be a really nice background for studying.

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Photo Courtesy of wabisabi2015/Flickr

Sydney Wood — buzz Assistant Editor

Office of Student Financial Aid 

Nestled between the Turner Student Services Building and Illini Hall is the Office of Student Financial Aid. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why are you recommending a student services building as one of the University’s most underrated areas?” That’s a fair question, but it’s not the building itself that’s underrated but rather the area surrounding it. 

On the north side of the Office of Student Financial Aid is a miniature amphitheater, complete with a small grassy area and a few steps for people to sit on. If you don’t want to sit on the steps, there are also a few benches in the area. Now, I’m unsure what the purpose of this area is, but my friends and I go there often to vibe and have late-night conversations. At night, the area is a nice place to stargaze, and it’s relatively quiet because of its secluded location. Though it’s near Green Street, I’ve spent many nights there where only one or two people pass through the area. 

You can access the area via the sketchy-looking alley on South Wright Street near the Career Center or the area between the Turner Student Services Building and Illini Hall. Also, there’s at least one rabbit that’s always in the area, so keep an eye out for it. Though I’d love to gatekeep this area, the pseudo-amphitheater remains one of my favorite underrated campus locations to vibe at night. 

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Madeline Pierce

Olivia Rosenberg — buzz Assistant Editor

Krannert Art Museum

Out of the numerous hidden gems in C-U, my favorite underrated spot would have to be the Krannert Art Museum. Located on the corner of Sixth Street and Peabody Drive, the museum is home to a diverse collection of art pieces from around the world. It is easy to get lost within its galleries as they are a tranquil escape from campus. 

Whether you have a free 15 minutes or two hours, Krannert Art Museum is filled with enough pieces, exhibitions and programs to keep you engaged for your entire visit. The museum has 10 galleries both indoors and outdoors; my personal favorite would have to be the Bow Gallery. The collection consists of 10,000 works ranging all the way from the fourth millennium B.C. to 2021. Pieces from notable artists like Andy Warhol, Charles Burchfield and Gabriele Münter can be found on gallery walls. 

With free admission, students and community members are welcome to visit Krannert Art Museum at any time during its open hours. On Tuesdays through Saturday, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on Thursdays when the hours are extended till 8 p.m. during the academic year. 

Personally, I think this the perfect place for anyone looking for a place to wind down and enjoy some artwork unique to the C-U community. It’s quiet, creative appeal makes it one of the best underrated spots on campus. 

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