Best Podcasts to Start Your Day

So it’s an early morning, and you’re heading to Leo’s by yourself. Should you wander around looking for people to sit and chat with? Should you simply stare off into the distance as you eat off-brand cinnamon toast crunch?

The answer to both questions, as you may have already guessed, is no. We have an answer for you: podcasts. Listen while you eat and while you cook, while you walk to class and while you get ready for the day.

1. Humor: Two Dope Queens

This one is one of the best podcasts for walking down the street or in Leo’s—you will break out into uncontrollable laughter and possibly look like a very strange person. So, I guess it depends on how much you value “people not thinking you’re crazy” whether you listen to it in public or in private. Either way, Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson never fail to make me laugh in this portable comedy show.

2. General Interest: TED Radio Hour

This is a really good one for people who aren’t familiar with the podcast format. You can learn all kinds of topics, in all different contexts from different kinds of experts.

3. Must Listen: Serial

Ok, seriously, if you haven’t listened to this one, where have you been? Serial is a true crime podcast that features Sarah Keonig deconstructing the evidence on the cold case of Adnan Syed, a boy convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, back in the 90s. Was he really guilty? Only one way to find out.

4. If You Like the Twilight Zone: Welcome to Night Vale

Another where-have-you-been-if-you-haven’t-listened-to-this podcast. It’s a fictional podcast in the format of radio broadcasts from the desert town of Night Vale. The town is best described by the host of the radio, Cecil himself, who describes it as “a friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.”

5. Scary Stories: Lore

If you’re already ready for Halloween (like I am), you can try listening to Lore. It’s a creepy selection of well-researched segments about folklore and mysterious stories from the past and today. Just don’t listen to it alone in the dark.

6. To Keep Up with the Zeitgeist: Fresh Air

If you catch me reading any nonfiction books, it’s likely that I heard about it on Fresh Air. Terry Gross has helped me find gifts for my parents and conversation topics for uninterested friends alike. If you want to feel like you’re on the cultural cutting edge (whether you actually are or not), give this one a try.

7. For those Feminist Conversations You're Dying to Have: Strong Opinions Loosely Held

Ok, I had doubts about Strong Opinions Loosely Held at first. It’s a product of Refinery29, maker of many beauty-themed videos I see on Facebook. Not exactly feminist theory cred material. But there are lots of interesting topics discussed on this show—and many of them are not black-and-white.

8. If You've Finished Serial and Don't Know What to Do with Your Life: In the Dark

This one isn’t a secret either—but I wanted to include it because it was so darkly addictive. It is a tale of human error on a high level. It’s an investigative podcast about the Jacob Wetterling case, an abduction that happened back in 1989. In the Dark asks some different questions than you might expect. That’s because we know who did it. The question here is, however, how did it happen that the perpetrator wasn’t caught?

Podcasts are a great way to start your day, take a break, or learn something new, so go ahead and try it.