With the start of school and the return of online classes, schedules have been stacking up fast. Though our agendas may be lengthy, a zoom-based semester means it’s entirely possible to spend the whole day indoors, curled up in sweatpants, so even if you’re having a productive week, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. The solution? Get yourself out of bed in the morning and find an outdoor spot where you can peacefully do your classes and complete your work for the day. There are lots of hidden gems, both on campus and beyond, so start exploring now while the summer weather is still lingering!
The Main Green: I know, I know, so predictable, but definitely worth mentioning. The recent addition of furniture on the main green has rendered it the perfect place to hunker down for the day and focus. The new tables and chairs are comfortable, and spacious enough to bring a few friends to join you. They are also well spread out, making them very corona-safe.
The Quiet Green: If you’re the type of worker who demands absolute silence to be productive, the Quiet Green is your spot. Bring a blanket and some snacks and you’ll be set for the afternoon. Don’t forget sunscreen; Providence sun is deceivingly strong during peak hours!
New Watson: Since on-campus buildings are closed right now, the tables outside New Watson are about as close as you can get to mimicking the experience of working in a Brown indoor study space. With tables and chairs on the lawn, it’s a similar experience to the main green, but far more secluded and intimate.
L’Artisan Cafe & Bakery: This is a wonderful, quaint little spot to seek out if you want to work outdoors on a rainy day. The colored umbrellas outside and the warm, delicious Illy Coffee makes for a delightfully comfy and cozy environment. They also have a great food menu to select from, so leave the Trader Joe’s snacks at home.
Madrid European Bakery & Patisserie: If L’Artisan isn’t doing the trick, take a quick stroll across the street to this absolute gem of a shop. Sipping a coffee and munching on a croissant at one of their outdoor tables will make you feel like a true European scholar. Your classmates will wonder if you’ve picked up and moved across the pond to Paris! (Side note: their chocolate eclairs are to die for).
Wayland Square Diner: This is the type of place to go if you want to have a proper Sunday brunch before unzipping your backpack and starting the grind. Enjoy catching up with a friend while you make your way through a stack of delicious pancakes. And when you’re done, the outdoor table is a great place to get some readings done.
Parks Around Providence
India Point: A serene, stress-free environment is critical for academic success. Get a small, studious group together, pick up some takeout from Tallulah’s, and make your way to India Point Park at sunset for a relaxing evening of work. The park has benches, picnic tables, and lots of grass to set up camp. The outdoor dance and workout classes that congregate by the river will provide some excellent background music.
Prospect Park: The view at Prospect Park is legendary and unbeatable. This is another perfect place to bring some dinner and watch the sunset over College Hill. The stunning landscape provides the ideal backdrop for your studies. (Heads up: it can get a little windy there, so be sure to bring some heavy books to hold your papers in place.)
Point Street Bridge: The area around Point Street Bridge has a few great work spots. Plant City, which is just a stone’s throw away from the river, has some lovely outdoor seating and a calm, pleasant ambience. The concrete benches by the river have a nice view, and even better, they’re right down the street from Wickenden, which has all the best breakfast and lunch restaurants. If you’re looking for some slightly less industrial scenery, snatch one of the seats in the sunflower garden for a truly blissful, nature-immersed experience.