September is a time for new beginnings. As we enter the month, students across the world prepare to greet the start of autumn with a brand new book bag and a fresh perspective. Wide-eyed and ready to make their mark, September marks an exciting phase during the school year for students and professors alike. Luckily, visitors nostalgic for that scholastic spirit can go down memory lane with a trip to one of the city’s most beloved schools. Whether you want to stroll down a famous campus or get a feel for what student life is like in the big city, here’s our guide to getting into the back-to-school spirit in NYC.
Columbia University is one of the oldest Ivy League schools in the nation. Founded in 1754 under the original name of King’s College, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York state and the fifth oldest in the country. While not as sprawling as its suburban counterparts, Columbia’s campus offers a breath of fresh air from the busy and exciting streets of its Morningside Heights location. While most of the buildings do not offer public access due to campus safety, one of the best–and easiest–ways to get a sense of the Columbia college lifestyle is to walk down the infamous “college walk.” From WestHouse, take a cab to the 116th street entrance and walk through the official gates of the school. As you walk down the tree-lined entrance to campus, take note of the Alma Mater statue and school’s first library, which now houses the Dean’s office and other administrative offices. To fully immerse yourself in the college spirit, grab a slice at the budget-friendly and campus favorite Koronet Pizza on the way back.
Even though New York University has no central campus, its Greenwich Village location offers its students the best of city life. Popular student hangouts are found on every corner of this part of the city, from music venues like Le Poisson Rouge to nightlife spots like Art Bar. But no city spot is as central to the NYU student life as Washington Square Park. Visit the park at any time of day to see students studying, dancing, doing yoga or just chilling. Bring a friend and tasty treat with you and you’ll fit right in with the crowd.
To walk the grounds of an idyllic college campus, you can take a thirty minute cab ride, or forty-five minute subway ride, up to Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. With eighty-five acres of tree-lined walkways and rows of stunning Gothic architecture, a visit to Rose Hill will make you want to grab your laptop and head to the nearest lecture hall. Located across the street from the New York Botanical Garden, make the most of your journey north and stop by the peaceful gardens before heading back to Midtown.