When I think of Auburn, I think of a busy Toomer’s Corner amongst the excitement of football season. I think of a concourse full of passionate students, and I think of a campus where there is quite literally always something going on.
But when I think of Auburn during the summer, however, the words “ghost town” are typically some of the first that come to mind. Without the buzz of a full student body and a busy sports schedule to keep you constantly entertained, its easy to feel a bit bored during Auburn’s summer.
So, what is one to do when the heat is too hot and SkyBar has begun to lose its luster? It’s a question I have found myself asking in excess recently, and in an effort to prove Auburn is the loveliest place to be regardless of season, I have compiled a list of seven fool-proof boredom solutions.
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1) Visit a farmer’s market with your pals
The Market at Ag Park is held every Thursday (during summer only!) from 4 to 6 p.m., right by the Red Barn on Auburn’s campus. The market is hosted by the Auburn University College of Agriculture in partnership with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. In addition to featuring delicious fresh fruit that you can buy straight from farmers, it’s a great place for a summertime photo opp.
2) Meet a friend at one of Auburn’s local coffee shops
Iced coffee season is a very important season. Luckily, Auburn is brimming with cozy coffee shops that are the perfect place to catch up with that freshman year roommate you haven’t see in a while. Or hey, if you can’t find a friend then it’s the perfect place to enjoy that book you’ve been meaning to read.
Just stepping into Mama Mocha’s, Prevail Union or CoffeeCat will make you feel like you’ve entered into a whole other whimsical little world full of twinkle lights and delicious, wonderful coffee. Also check out: The Bean. Because they have desserts too.
3) Rent a bike and take a ride for free with Auburn’s War Eagle Bike Share
To use one of those fun, little Auburn-colored bikes you might have seen on campus, all you have to do is download the app Social Bicycles and make a quick account. The bikes have front and rear lights, which means you can rent them at night when the heat is a little less brutal. Bike riding is a fun way to get yourself moving, but I promise it only feels like exercise on the uphill parts.
Although, fair warning: You may get laughed at by Camp War Eagle campers if you happen to fall while riding.
4) Rent some adventure gear and head to Chewacla
Okay, I get that this one seems a little obvious. Chewacla State Park isn’t exactly a secret at Auburn. In fact, spending the afternoon taking artsy pictures with friends near the little waterfall has actually become a bit of a cliche these days.
But regardless, this park is a great place to get a little outdoor adventure in this summer. A lot of people don’t know Auburn’s Recreation and Wellness Center offers bike, paddle board, kayak and even Eno rentals on a day, weekend or weekly basis. You do have to be an enrolled student to use the rentals, but with most rentals coming in at no more than $14 a day, it’s worth looking into.
5) Explore the antique shops in Historic Downtown Opelika
For some unknown reason, it took me until my junior year of college to discover the gem that is Downtown Opelika. It is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from campus, and the main street is worth checking out for its Southern charm alone. During an afternoon stroll among the shops, I witnessed the store owner of Ronald’s Thrift Shop give a young girl a record for free because she didn’t have the cash, got ice cream at a parlor-style ice cream shop, Town Ice Cream, and talked about life with Opelika’s Heritage Gifts and Gourmet store owner, Joyce Newland. The town itself has a whimsical feel and plenty of character to keep you entertained.
6) Check out the local Red Clay Brewery and John Emerald Distillery
If you are of age and feeling a little thirsty after all of that shopping, then I would highly recommend stopping off at Opelika’s own Red Clay Brewery and John Emerald Distillery. They are located side-by-side in downtown, and both offer tasting and tours. The staffs at each location are friendly and authentic, and it’s the perfect way to pretend to be an expert on craft beers and fine spirits for an afternoon.
7) Relax and reflect
At the end of the day, despite its occasional slowness, Auburn in the summertime is something special. Aside from the reduced traffic downtown, Auburn summers can give us all a chance to slow down and recharge. Sweet Joyce Newland said it best when she said, “Every once in a while it’s nice to pause and reflect. And it’s even nicer to reflect over a nice cold bottle of beer.”
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