It’s getting warmer outside: We have five underrated outdoor spots for you to check out.

Temperatures are going up, but it’s still a pandemic. That means people are flooding the East End, the tables outside of the DUC and the picnic tables near the Clocktower. On a sunny weekday, sometimes it feels like you can’t find a chair outside anywhere on campus. We’ve got you covered.

Here are five underrated places on and near campus for those trying to get out of their dorm and enjoy the nice weather.

The Plaza Between Brown and Goldfarb Hall

On those rare occasions, I find myself studying outside my dorm room, I almost always sit at the ornate gray tables at the plaza between Brown and Goldfarb Hall. I wouldn’t be surprised if the location doesn’t ring a bell—I hardly ever see another person here. And, honestly, its characteristic of being relatively unknown (or at least unused) is one of the things I like most about this plaza. That mostly guaranteed privacy means that I can study without having to put up with the mortifying ordeal of being perceived while I curse out my chemistry assignments. This place has other great perks to take advantage of as well. Because there’s hardly ever anyone there, the area is very quiet, perfect for those like me who need complete silence to get their work done. Additionally, because it’s nestled between two buildings, the area is covered in constant shade, which is great for my laptop’s battery since I don’t need to crank up the brightness in a futile effort to outshine the sun. This place has it all, at least for me, and even if it does start getting used by more people as the weather gets warmer, I’m sure it won’t lose its charm.

– Ryan Ricks, Staff Writer

Kaldi’s on Skinker

Whenever I build up enough energy to go farther than the walk from my dorm room to the Bear’s Den, I grab my backpack and my appetite and head to Kaldi’s. Right on the corner of Skinker Blvd. and Forest Park Parkway lies the lovely establishment, just steps off of campus. Most times I hop on the circulator shuttle, and on rare occasions, I take the walk because I know that what’s waiting at the end of the voyage will be worth it. Small grey round tables with green chairs populate the space right outside Kaldi’s. It’s the perfect place to get work done and run into friends and compare lattes. Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back for making the journey and tackle those lectures you’re probably behind on. (Editor’s Note: They also have a very good breakfast burrito.)

– Aashna Parameshwar, Contributing Writer

The Moorlands

My favorite place to walk through the trees is right outside my door––the beautiful Clayton neighborhoods in the Moorlands. Tall sycamores, mighty oaks and flourishing gingkos flank the winding roads. It is the perfect place for a morning stroll, or an evening stroll, or an afternoon stroll, or really a stroll of any kind. It is beautiful in summer when the trees have all their leaves, in autumn as they all turn and in winter when their skeletal branches are stripped bare. A walk through the Moorlands can leave you lost in minutes, but you will not want to find your way out.

– Thomas Humphrey, Staff Writer

Mudd Field

I know Mudd isn’t a “hidden gem” or anything close to that, but I think it deserves a little hype-up this year. Mudd represents the closest thing to normalcy during the pandemic that Wash. U. students can get. On a dry, sunny day, Mudd is filled with students throwing frisbees, studying and picnicking. Block out the masks and large white testing tent and one could almost imagine that this year is like any other. For maximum enjoyment of the field, take off your shoes and socks to feel the warm grass. Lay down and photosynthesize to your heart’s content. Bake for at least one hour (remember sunscreen!) and take in the noise of happy college kids around you. Trust me, the brief illusion of life as it was/should be is truly blissful.

– Olivia Poolos, Staff Writer

The basketball hoop behind Jackson Park Elementary School

I really shouldn’t even be giving away my favorite spot to unwind, but I will––for StudLife. With the Wash. U. rec center closed, I’ve needed to find new basketball courts to practice my jump shot. At this point, I know about a needless amount of outdoor basketball courts in the area. My favorite is the one behind Jackson Park Elementary School in University City. It’s not perfect. There are no nets, the ground is cracked and it’s a 5-minute drive from campus. But it does its job. For me, it’s just nice to be somewhere new, to break away from the Wash. U. bubble. You should bring your friends too, who can hang out on the field next door. The school is elevated, so if you go in the evening, the sun will set over the houses, making for a pretty backdrop.

– Benjamin Simon, Senior Scene Editor

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