If you are new to the University of South Carolina or simply in need of a fresh spot to chat with a friend or study in peace, finding a quiet place around campus can be tough.
While places such as Russell House and Cool Beans Coffee Company are popular and convenient choices for studying or coffee, other spots around Columbia can offer more of a calming atmosphere to de-stress away from the crowds.
Here are four places to visit that are less crowded and more calming than the usual college campus hangout or study spot.
Lower Levels of Thomas Cooper Library
Taking the elevator down a few floors into the underground levels of the Thomas Cooper Library may not be a good plan for a chat with a friend, but it is a good idea if you want to find one of the most quiet study spots on campus.
The lower floors of the library feature study carrels, or individual booths with a desk, chair and lamp for the scholar. The carrels are in a no-noise zone of the library and are the best place to go for a study session that is 100 percent distraction-free.
If total quiet isn’t for you, reserve a study room on one of these lower levels with some friends for an undisturbed afternoon of group study or project work.
The library is open 24/7 during the semester and finals week.
While not exactly peaceful during the weekend evening hours due to the large party crowds that gather in this part of town, Drip Coffee at 729 Saluda Ave. in Five Points is the perfect place to study on a quiet morning or to catch up with a friend over some coffee.
Often less busy during midday hours, the coffee shop is comfortable, with relaxing lighting and individual tables that are the perfect size for spreading out that huge binder when you need to study for an exam or work on a project.
The menu offers delicious breakfast and lunch options all day on the weekdays, and has a wide variety of coffee and tea beverages to choose from for that study session pick-me-up.
Drip is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Starbucks on Main
Tempting as the Starbucks in Russell House may be, it is nowhere near as comfortable and relaxing as the underground Sheraton Hotel Starbucks at 1400 Main St. in Columbia.
The shop offers more dining options than the usual Starbucks coffee shop and also has an atmosphere that is much cozier than the typical joint. This Starbucks is a great place to meet a friend, have a relaxing and charming date or study alone. The upscale, warm feel of the shop is a nice change from the brightly-lit lecture halls and study rooms on campus.
The Starbucks on Main St. is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Richland Library Main
The Thomas Cooper Library is awe-inspiring, but so is the Richland Library Main at 1431 Assembly St.
With a huge facility and expansive collection of books, films and other media, this library should not be overlooked by USC students. This library features many studying and sitting areas, as well as a variety of job-coaching and resume seminars.
USC students also have the option of registering for a free Richland Library card with a student I.D., allowing them to access the enormous collection at this library on top of the materials that USC offers.
The Richland Library Main is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.