Editor's Note: This story was featured in The Plainsman's special print edition for 2021 Camp War Eagle. You can check out an online version of that edition here.
Most students are familiar with the restaurants and shops in downtown Auburn, but some may forget about the vibrant and growing downtown Opelika scene. In the past few years, new stores and renovations have turned Historic Downtown Opelika into a gem in the area.
Whether you’re interested in clothes, arcades, vinyl records, restaurants, fun shops or simply walking around and taking pictures, Opelika has something to offer.
Some businesses in Opelika have deals for students, making them a great place to go and hang out with friends.
Cyberzone, an arcade on 9th Street, offers weekly specials and $6 laser tag to students. Cyberzone contains the largest laser tag arena in the Southeast, and with new games and redemption prizes, Cyberzone is a great spot for a first date or just a night out with friends.
Cyberzone is a locally owned business, and the owners, Simon and Elaine Bak, are part of a community of business owners that are improving and expanding the downtown Opelika area.
“Opelika is expanding, and there are so many things to do on 1st Avenue,” Elaine Bak said. “There are lots of cool restaurants and fun things for college students. It’s also a great place to just walk around and take pictures.”
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Along with Cyberzone, there are boutique clothing stores like Griff Goods and Fringe Consignment Boutique that offer stylish clothing for a good price. Many of the other stores offer unique items that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the area.
10,000 Hz is a record store on 1st Avenue that has a large selection of vinyl records in almost any genre, from rap to rock. Browsing 10,000 Hz is a fun way to find new music. Almost Anything also has a selection of records as well as vintage games and clothing.
Along with these shops are many unique local restaurants like Zazu Gastropub and Eighth and Rail. Zazu Gastropub is consistently ranked one of the best restaurants in the area on multiple review websites and sources its produce locally.
Walking around downtown and visiting all of the interesting shops and restaurants is a nice way to spend a day and helps support the vibrant local business scene.
Downtown Opelika often hosts live music and local artists, and when combined with all the things to do in Auburn, leaves students with quite a few options for good times off campus.
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