By Janelle Polcyn
While the campus atmosphere is good for downtime between classes, students and faculty alike need a place away from academia to unwind.
Rather than spend time at home, a walk, bike or a bus ride away are several spots for hanging with friends. From the natural serenity of parks and gardens to the aroma of mocha or the smell of fresh tortillas next to a steaming plate of Tex-Mex favorites, there is a place for fun and relaxation.
The Japanese Tea Gardens are just 2 miles from this campus.
Music sophomore Kyle Chappell visits the gardens to relax, exercise and enjoy nature.
“My favorite place of all time to go — I’ve gone there plenty of times — is the Japanese Tea Gardens,” Chappell said. “My favorite part is the koi fish. I turn into a cat; I just stare at all the fish. I definitely go with someone; that’s always a requirement.”
Entrance is free and open to the public. The gardens, 3875 N. St. Mary’s St., are open from dawn to dusk.
When looking for a cozier activity, just a mile up the road is Local Coffee at Pearl Brewery.
“Mornings are a little slow, so this time is good for a quiet place to study,” political science freshman Arieious Revonhart said. “Later in the evening, more people are present and this time is better for socialization.”
Local Coffee at the Pearl Brewery, 302 Pearl Parkway, Suite 118, is open seven days a week with espresso, slow-pour and decaf drink options with an industrial interior and proximity to the San Antonio River.
Other coffee options include Candlelight Coffee House, La Taza and Starbucks.
Other student favorites are Main Street Pizza & Pasta, Landry’s and Sparky’s Pub and Café.
Finding a new favorite hangout can happen at any moment.
“I found most of these by driving around, recommendations from friends or a web search,” Revonhart said.
Mary Schlabig, administrative services specialist, recommended the office of student life, located in Loftin Student Center, as the hub for campus clubs and events. But she acknowledged some students do prefer off-campus hangouts, too.
“Student life provides the center for (students) while they’re on campus,” she said. “If they’re just attending school here and not participating in any of the activities, they do need (another) place.”