The MHM Blog

Hit the Books and Chill: 8 Best Study Spots and Hangouts at UIUC

Posted July 25, 2023
Close Up of Person Studying

With a lively campus full of people, it can be hard to find a quiet and serene study spot to call your own or even a place to hang out that is not your dorm or the bars. The library is always the obvious choice for studying, but what if you want a little more scenery or a relaxing spot not filled with students? Check out our shortlist of the best study and hangouts on the UIUC campus. 

Grainger Engineering Library

Grainger Library is a hub for Engineering and STEM students with resources surrounding those majors, but on any given day is filled with students from all fields of study. Grainger offers a modern study option in a new building filled with comfortable places to sit and study rooms available in advance. Located in the center of campus, it’s near everything and is a favorite of many. 

Main Library

When you want to study, your instinct may be to go to the main library, and that’s for a reason. If you’re looking to study with a view, the main library is one of the biggest libraries in the United States and features stained glass windows that make it iconic. It has spaces for everything you need, including quiet areas and computer labs. 

Espresso Royale

If your vibe is more cozy, the Espresso Royale has some of the best spots for relaxing with the best cup of coffee on campus while getting some work done. Or not! With comfy seating, free wifi, and a central location, this popular spot is great for hanging out or academic endeavors. 

The Illini Union

Looking to study as a group or spend some time together while you read? The Illini Union is a social hub on campus with tables and seating to hang out and catch up with your friends while studying. Featuring the Union Bookstore, this location gives you the best of both worlds – quiet in the bookstore with plenty of space to host group learning and the general Union, where you can migrate over to and catch up in a social space after.

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

With many incredible programs and UIUC, it comes as no surprise that the performing arts center is a hub for after-class events that bring people in from every major and all over the city. Throughout the year, the center features theatre, music, and dance performances that will give you a nice break from academics while getting to experience and appreciate the joys of art. 

Alma Mater Plaza

When you picture a vibrant, buzzing quad at any college, the Alma Mater Plaza emulates exactly that. Being the pinnacle of community and pride, the statue there represents all students past, present, and future who will enjoy their time at IUIC. Throughout the year, the plaza also features events like performances, concerts, markets, showcases, and more. There is always something going on! This is a hot spot to lay in the sun, socialize with your peers and enjoy your school pride.

Krannert Art Museum

UIUC is lucky to be home to an excellent art museum with a huge collection of modern and contemporary work to older historical artwork. This is a great place to hang out, take a stroll through the hallways, and enjoy a break from studying. Their website calls the museum “a cultural destination and a virtual presence that strives to enrich the human experience by inviting visitors to make connections through the visual arts between the past and present, between what is understood and what is unknown.” Make sure to take a brain break and visit! 

The University of Illinois Arboretum 

The University of Illinois Arboretum deserves a special spotlight. A favorite of everyone in the area, making time to stop by and enjoy all of its cool features will make you grateful you spent time outside and visiting this season. There are many things to do and see here – you just have to pick where to start. If you’re looking for a chill, scenic day – pack a picnic and a blanket (or utilize one of their picnic tables!) and enjoy the breeze and the view.

If you are looking for a little more adventure, the gardens are the spot for you. The Hartley Garden is massive and is what the arboretum has become known for. With the nice weather and season, now is the perfect time to visit. The flowers are in bloom, and the smell as you walk through is unbeatable. 

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