COLUMN: How to keep yourself busy in Auburn this summer

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With campus and downtown practically empty, Auburn might seem unappealing in the summer. Here is a list to keep busy during the hottest season on the loveliest village on the plains.

1. Take a summer class

This one may seem a little off-putting and obvious but since you’ll already be in Auburn, why not knock some of those credits off your list and get a head start for fall. 

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It’s not too late to sign up for summer courses. Take an interesting class like Beverage Appreciation offered by The College of Human Sciences. 

The class is being held in both the first and second mini-mesters of the summer. Students get the chance to taste and learn about a selection of beverages such as beer, wine, whiskey, tea and coffee.

2. Give back to your community and volunteer

Not only will you be doing some good but you can earn some volunteer hours to fluff up your resume. 

There are many opportunities to volunteer at the East Alabama Food Bank and their hours, Monday–Friday 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., are easy to work around a busy schedule.

The Lee County Humane Society also takes volunteers during the week between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

Some of the tasks include dog walking and playtime, cat socialization and bathing dogs. If you’re an animal lover, this will hardly feel like volunteering at all.

3. Experience Auburn like a tourist

Take advantage of the thin crowds and reduced traffic and treat yourself to all things classic Auburn. Grab your friends and pick up some Toomer’s Lemonade or a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants downtown. 

Be unashamed of your selfies on Samford Lawn as you soak up summer without worries of a test the next day.

While you’re downtown playing tourist, summer is the time to treat yourself with some shopping. A new shop called The LocAL Market will open later this summer.

Run by Lauren Duncan, an Auburn High School teacher and painter, the shop offers all things locally made. From soaps and candles to mugs and jewelry and original artwork, there is something for everyone.

There are also summer art workshops offered. Some included are Ceramics for Kids, Mommy and Me Art + Music, Wine Down Art Nights, and even a calligraphy class.

4) Explore Auburn’s Parks

Chewacla State Park is a popular attraction for many, but there is a reason it gets so much hype. With its many hiking trails and amateur photo shoot opportunities, it’s a local favorite to spend a summer day.

If you’re an Auburn student, Auburn’s Recreation and Wellness Center offers adventure gear for rent and even Enos. The park also offers canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks for rent seven days a week between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $7 per hour.

If you’re tired of Chewacla’s scenery check out Town Creek or Kiesel Park. Both places are perfect for picnics or dog walking.

5) Fill up on fresh produce

Summer in Auburn means the return of The Market at Ag Heritage Park. The Market is held every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. Pick up some fresh fruit and veggies and make a picnic for a day at the park or a peaceful afternoon on Samford Lawn.

6) Venture out to Historic Downtown Opelika

Before I fell in love with Auburn, Opelika was where I spent all my weekends growing up. Downtown has changed substantially over the years, and their rustic and southern vibes are home to some real gems.

Start the day early with a cup of coffee from Side Track Coffee, where you get to name your price for your drink. 

Walk the main street and take advantage of some of the more interesting and colorful buildings for a photo opp. with friends before exploring some of the shops.

Pop into Almost Anything and fulfill your vintage video gaming and comic book needs. Everything from Star Wars collectibles to Pokémon cards, it’s a fun little shop to explore.

If you’re of age, end the day with some drinks at the Red Clay Brewery or John Emerald Distillery.

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