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The 5 best spots on campus to people watch

We all do it. Whether it’s intentional or not, we all people-watch. If you don’t know what people-watching is and are having a hard time figuring it out by the name, people-watching is essentially the practice of idly watching people go about their day in a public setting. It’s a great pastime when you have nothing to do, and if you do it right, it can be a lot of fun. Here are the best spots on campus to people-watch and some fun games to play with yourself as you do it.

5. The fifth floor of Baker

Though it’s often overlooked or not thought of, there is in fact a fifth floor to Baker Center. Up there you will find a few couches – perfect for sitting and watching the people below you, as chances are, there aren’t a lot of people hanging out on the fifth floor unless they too are people-watching. From this view, you can watch all the people enter Frontroom Coffee House to get their caffeine fix. Want to spice things up? Keep track and count how many people leave with a refresher versus a coffee. You could also keep track of how many customers leave with a venti-sized drink versus a grande or tall. 

4. Bench on College Green

It seems this campus was built for people-watching! College Green has a plethora of benches – perfect for sitting and taking a breather to people-watch. Another great thing about the location of the benches is that they allow you to not only watch other people but squirrels, too, because the campus doesn’t seem to have enough. While sitting on one of the benches on College Green, take notice of how many squirrels you spot. Bonus points if you happen to spot other wildlife like deer or birds. 

3. Emeriti Park 

Emeriti Park, right outside Baker is a great spot to immerse yourself fully in nature and people-watch. Do you know what else Emeriti has? Trees. Lots and lots of trees. Perfect for what? Hammocking of course. While you’re lying down relaxing in your hammock, take note of the people that walk by. Are they groups of people on their way to Boyd dining hall for some tacos? Are they couples in love? Keep track of the type of people you see! Make up names and stories for them to make things even more creative for yourself.

2. The Courthouse stairs 

The courthouse steps, conveniently located on Court Street, are the absolute perfect spot to watch people. Go on a Friday or Saturday? You’re all set. What better day to people watch than when Court Street is at its busiest? You could also play the rainbow game: First find someone wearing a red shirt, then an orange one, then yellow and so on until you have completed the full rainbow. This game is a great one to play to keep yourself grounded in the world around you. It keeps you observant and attune to your surroundings, which can leave you feeling peaceful. 

1. Picnic tables outside the top of Baker

It’s like the picnic tables outside of the top of Baker are there specifically for the purpose of people-watching. Going in and out of Baker can be quite the traffic-heavy space on any given weekday with students going to and from classes. Though not the best spot to people watch when the weather gets chilly, you really can’t go wrong when the weather starts to heat up again. 

So why should you people-watch? As mentioned above, people-watching can ground you in your present moment of being and make you more mindful. By taking in the actions of those around you, you become self-aware and more zoned in as a person – not bogged down by your busy head and thoughts. You are simply there, watching every soul walk, run, jump, skate or dance by you. It doesn’t get more tranquil than this.


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