Breaking free from boredom on a budget

(photo by Stefan Carlson)

On a small campus like Elmhurst’s, it can be difficult to find things to do during your free time that won’t break the bank. Parties are usually reserved for weekends and if you don’t know the right people, they can be hard to find. If you’re not napping, eating, catching up on homework, or binge watching Netflix, you might not know what to do.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few things you can do on campus and in downtown Elmhurst to help cure your boredom on a budget.

On Campus: 1.) Founder’s Lounge:

The sitting area located on the main floor of Elmhurst’s student center, The Frick Center, is a great place to kill time. Founder’s includes a Starbucks, a fancy fireplace, rotating art exhibitions, and lots and lots of comfy chairs.

Student organizations are always meeting in Founder’s, and it’s not difficult to find at least one person from Greek life sitting at the tables near the coffee shop.

If you’re looking to join a club but are unsure of what the clubs actually do at Elmhurst, hang out in the Founder’s Lounge and catch a glimpse of what they’re actually like when they think no one’s watching, which might be pretty entertaining in and of itself.

2.) AC Buehler Library:

The library on campus is a great place to kill time, whether you’re catching up on homework that’s due Monday or chatting over coffee with a friend between classes in the library’s café. The library also has one of the best Wi-Fi connections on campus, which means you are free to binge-watch Netflix to your heart’s content if your dorm’s Wi-Fi just isn’t cutting it.

The upper and lower floors are designated quiet study floors, so make sure to stay on the main floor if you forgot your headphones or feel like talking. Please don’t be the douchebag that breaks this rule. Your peers trying to cram for a test or finish a paper will appreciate it.

3.) Faganel Hall

Do you feel sluggish and exhausted? Have you been eating nothing but pizza and bacon burgers from the cafeteria? Did you just top it all off with a weekend of hedonistic binge drinking at some senior’s house off campus?

If this sounds like you, or if this sounds like your plans for your first weekend at Elmhurst, then you might want to take the next weekend off and stop by Faganel Hall instead. Faganel Hall offers a wide range of both strength training and cardiovascular equipment. There’s also basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts available for student use.

4.) Irion:

The tight corridors of Elmhurst’s music building are home to Elmhurst’s most musically gifted students who practice during all hours of the day. If you’re looking for a free concert, find a nice seat outside of Buik recital hall or one of the practice rooms and take in the music.

Off Campus:

1.) Elmhurst Public Library:

The Public Library offers students a place to get coffee and enjoy the impressive modern architecture of the library. With a large selection of books, movies, and a cozy coffee shop, the library is a perfect place to sit, relax, and have some alone time.

2.) The York Theatre:

You can enjoy the latest mainstream releases at the local cinema without having to go far as the York Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Elmhurst. If the normal ticket price of $9 is a bit too steep for your pockets, the theatre offers tickets for $5 all-day every Tuesday.

3.) Brewpoint, Elijah’s, and Pilot Pete’s

Owned and operated by locals, these mom-and-pop coffee shops offers a cornucopia of caffeinated beverages, pastries, snacks, and sandwiches.

Brewpoint offers special event nights, which can range from knitting to a board game night.

Elijah’s embraces its local roots by always keeping its walls packed with upcoming Elmhurst events. The community reciprocates by devouring its homemade scones, a local favorite.

Pilot Pete’s may look small, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. From its quaint

shop in Elmhurst’s Metra station, owner “Pilot” Pete Thomas has been brewing up specialty coffee for commuters since 2011.

4.) Portillo’s:

If you’re not from the Chicagoland area, you might not know about this regional fast food franchise. Portillo’s offers hot dogs, burgers, beefs, fries, and legendary chocolate cake at arguably reasonable prices. (It’s a bit pricier than McDonald’s, but not as expensive as traditional restaurants.)

Eating at Portillo’s at least once is regarded as a Chicago-land right of passage, but chances are you’ll be coming back here again and again to forget about just how bad months of nothing but cafeteria food can be. Luckily, Elmhurst’s Portillo’s is just a 10 minute walk from campus.