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After nearly a year of staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of human interaction has made many college students, including me, dying to go out and experience some actual college life. After I was fully vaccinated, I set out to visit a good friend in College Station. If you are someone who doesn’t have much time for traveling due to a busy schedule, College Station is only around an hour and a half away from downtown Houston and could make for a fun day or weekend trip away from the city. Here’s my list of fun activities, beautiful scenery and delicious foodie spots that you must visit during your short stay in this college town.

Things to do:

First, consider taking a tour of Texas A&M University. My favorite part was the George H.W. Bush Library, where I got to sit behind the president’s desk in the Oval Office – the most powerful desk in the world. While this seat was simply a replica, I could feel a sense of honor and excitement as I sat in the same spot as a former president. If just visiting the library isn’t enough, the Bush Library and Museum offer free presentations and outreach programs on a wide variety of topics, such as the recent, “Moving Forward – Juneteenth 2021”. They also have limited-time exhibitions that rotate monthly. One of the new exhibits I’m looking forward to is Oceans of Plastic, where a beautiful collection of art was made from plastics acquired from beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast to showcase the negative impact of plastic on our oceanic life.

If you’re more of an arts and crafts kind of person, I would really recommend the J. Wayne Stark Galleries located within TAMU. The Permanent Collection of the Stark Galleries focuses on American paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s full of history and interesting monuments, and the museum is located inside of the Memorial Student Center (MSC), a center full of fun activities for you to do.

If you want to enjoy the nightlife in College Station, one place you must check out is the Entertainment District located in the Northern part of town. There are a variety of food trucks (ranging from tacos to hot dogs to halal burritos), night bars that you can enjoy and beautiful lights that are totally Instagram-worthy when you pose in front of them. My personal favorite has gotta be the chicken burrito with spicy mayo and ranch from the Abu Omar Halal food truck. The shredded chicken was so tender that it literally melted into my mouth the moment I bit into it. I’m also a huge fan of spicy and hot flavors, so that spicy mayo with ranch was the perfect combination. 

However, if you’re less of a night-life person and more of a day-life type of person, have a picnic by the Lick Creek Park. My friend and I enjoyed our homemade lunch in Lick Creek Park, which was a beautiful outdoor area where you can view a variety of native flowers and plants.

Places to eat:

I was surprised at how many restaurant options you can pick at A&M. I wasn’t expecting a lot of variations since my image of A&M was just a plain grass field with maybe a few Starbucks stations here and there, so the variety of restaurants and activities you can explore in this town blew my mind. Food is my favorite part of traveling, and I love visiting different kinds of cafes or restaurants and taking Insta-worthy photos of their delicious meals or desserts. Of course, the taste should be my priority, but I sometimes focus more on the food’s presentation rather than the actual flavor. 

If you are the type of person who would like to grab a cup of coffee and a light snack in the morning before you begin your day, I would really recommend stopping by  Sweet Eugene’s if you have the chance. The interior of this place gives off a vintage feel with all the art pieces and dark wooden furniture. It felt especially calm the day I visited due to the sound of rain hitting against the window, and gentle jazz music filled the room. The iced latte, zesty chicken panini and sausage & cheese kolache totally hit the spot as I enjoyed it while looking out the window. 

As for lunch, my friend and I both wanted something light in our stomach since we were thinking about getting dessert for dinner. We decided on a poke place called Pokeworks, which is located within a shopping plaza where a bunch of other boutiques and dessert places also reside. While vintage boutiques are on a higher price level, it’s always interesting to walk around and window shop as you like. 

For dessert, we decided to try the popular rolled ice cream from Freezing Cow. Not only do you get to watch your personalized ice cream made right before your eyes, but you can also leave a note on the wall to signify your stay. As for me, I just did a cute doodle of me and my friend eating our ice cream, and signed my name at the bottom. 

Photos courtesy of Yidan Ren

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