Rutgers University is a massive school, almost intimidating. It’s like an entire little city of all sorts of college students. But, with such a big campus, what is there to do? Rutgers can find fun in just about anything, whether it’s studying, eating, walking or just hanging around with friends. Are you a Rutgers student and need a new adventure to embark on? Or maybe an incoming freshman who needs ideas on what to do after an intense homework session? This article will tell you all that and more!
Read on to find out the top 10 most fun things to do at Rutgers University.
1. Taking a Walk
Sometimes, the simplest things are the most effective. Each of Rutgers New Brunswick’s four campuses offers something different when going on a little adventure. Just pop in your favorite tunes or grab a friend and pick your campus of choice. Take a walk around the city on College Avenue, which is hard to get lost in. Wherever you live on this campus, just step outside and pick a direction, and it’s fairly straightforward. Keep walking, and you’ll end up at the lush and green Cook/Douglass campus. While this side of Rutgers is beautiful, it may be wise to have Google Maps on hand due to how confusing it can be to navigate around. But it’s all worth it to be one with nature.
“Strolling around College Ave and going to Thomas Sweet for some delicious ice cream is also a really fun time. And lastly, I enjoy working out at the Cook/Douglas gym and meeting new people at Rutgers University,” Rutgers University junior Kalp Patel said.
Passion Puddle is a sight to behold if you can be mindful of the goose droppings, but it is surrounded by stunning trees. It’s especially amazing in the fall with the changing colors. Busch is a bit less interesting and is mainly populated by its dorm and class buildings. Livingston offers large blank spaces, which is perfect for long stretches of walking or even throwing down a mat for a quick workout session. Rutgers is a beautiful campus, so you can never go wrong with some sightseeing!
2. Take a Bus Ride
New to the school or just need a refresher on the layout of certain campuses? While the bus rides may be overwhelming and annoying for some, taking a ride on a calm and free day can be quite relaxing. Put on your favorite music and sit back as you watch the views of Rutgers. If you’re sick of always being stuck on one campus, just hop on a bus and see where it takes you. Some campuses are a bit more confusing than others, and a bus ride around will help you know where just about any building or stop is. Of course, this simple activity can be done in tandem with just about anything else that requires some travel.
3. Grab a Bite
Rutgers has countless food places to enjoy. RU Hungry, Henry’s Diner, Stuf Yer Face, the cafes or even the dining halls. Some of these spots, like Henry’s Diner, Red Pine Pizza and Kilmer’s Market, even accept meal swipes to save some money. These spots offer the best quality for your swipe, such as Red Pine offering an entire pizza, drinks and sides for just two meal swipes. The variety is astounding, from ice cream, bubble tea, burritos to stir fry.
“I really enjoyed Henry’s diner, specifically sitting there and eating. It was cool to be in a diner full of peers— plus the food was amazing!” Rutgers University graduate Brianna Leider said.
If you want something, they’re guaranteed to have it on campus, even Burger King! There are a few other fast-food places to choose from as well, although not as many as the other options. Downtown New Brunswick is home to the aforementioned Burger King, Popeyes, Smashville and many other small restaurants. Just note that this area of campus is home moreso to the residents of the city rather than students, so you may see more unfamiliar faces than usual. Food options at Rutgers have a little something for everyone, so think of your favorite type of food and find where it is.
4. Visit the Library
The libraries are perfect for those intense study sessions where you need some peace and quiet. Alexander Library on College Ave is massive and has just about anything you need. It’s the oldest of the campus libraries and is the prime hub for humanities and social science texts. In addition to its extensive archive, it also has numerous study rooms and recording booths. Carr Library on Livingston is all about business and is a great place for study groups of any size and type. It offers assistance to undergraduates in need of career guidance, as well as a massive computer and printing lab.
“I also loved my routine of studying in the library. It was peaceful and actually motivated me to complete my school work better and quicker compared to my dorm.” Leider said.
Douglass Library, fittingly on the Douglass campus, focuses on texts about sexuality, gender and women. It’s a bit more artsy and has an archive of magazines, DVDs, CDs and musical scores It even allows students to rent out recording and video equipment. Finding a specific book may be a bit difficult on your first go, but checking out the website will show where that book is and how many copies are available. If you still can’t wrap your head around it, the always friendly staff will help out. The Rutgers libraries are all valuable realms of education and intellect and are must-see even if you don’t plan on checking out any books.
5. Visit the Zimmerli and Geology Museums
The Zimmerli Art Museum on College Avenue has an extensive art gallery and collection. From European and Asian to even children’s artwork, there is lots of variety to keep each of the 60,000 pieces fresh and interesting to view. Everyone is represented, so every visitor has a little something to appreciate and relate to. It’s open and free to everyone, both the public and students. Whether it’s with friends or a solo visit, this is the best mix of chill and thought-provoking.
“Some fun things I like to do at Rutgers are, firstly, exploring the many places that Rutgers has to offer. I’ve visited various museums on College Ave, I’ve looked at a wide variety of plants at Cook/Douglass, and there is even the passion puddle where I’ve found turtles.” Rutgers University senior Karan Patel said.
If you prefer to enrich your brain with some natural history, check out the Geology Museum. Its collection focuses on the history of minerals and fossils from the 19th century all the way to today. You can even schedule a tour to get valuable insight on some of the exhibits, and it is open to all ages. From massive skeletons, regular fossils and even mummies, this museum will entrance even the biggest geology guru. It’s fun and educational for all ages, so just take in all the relics of history!
6. Attend a Sports Game
One of the biggest events at Rutgers is the football game. Students enjoy free tickets for the football, basketball and wrestling games, all of which are always packed with people outside of the student body. These games are free for students and are a must-see even for those completely uninterested in sports. These stadiums are filled with both well-adversed sports fans and newbies, so everyone is bound to fit in.
“Rutgers also has a basketball and a football team so I really enjoy going to their games with friends. The loud and competitive atmosphere at these games makes them all the more fun,” Patel said.
Rutgers is all about school spirit. These sports games are the prime example of RU Pride, with everyone wearing their own Rutgers merchandise. You might want to stop over at Barnes and Noble for a quick t-shirt or water bottle to show your team alliance. For students, check out the sports website to learn how to easily claim your free ticket whenever it’s game time. Whether it’s football or basketball, you can’t go wrong with a Rutgers game! Soon, you too will be yelling “R-U Rah! Rah!”
7. Watch a Movie at the RU Cinema
The RU Cinema on Livingston may not have the biggest selection of movies, but always has the hottest ones as soon as they come out in other major theaters. The selection is different just about every week or with every major release, so you can always see something fresh and new. Tickets range from five to ten dollars, which is much cheaper compared to the rising prices of movie tickets in big theaters. Grab your snacks, pick and movie, sit back and enjoy.
“Some of my favorite things to do at Rutgers would hanging out with friends around campus trying every food place out, eating/chilling at Henry’s Diner, attending the Late Knight events, watching movies at Rutgers Cinema, going to Rutgers basketball games at Jersey Mikes Arena, and going to the bars on Easton Ave,” Rutgers University graduate Hemang Rana said.
It is a perfect outing for friends and is both cost-effective and fun. The theater rooms may not be as massive as the major theaters, but they are perfect for those late movie nights with friends. The theater is also surrounded by other places on the Livingston Plaza, so get a quick bite to eat before or after your movie to complete the night. If you prefer buying your snacks in the theater, they have weekly specials such as free slushies and discounts on popcorn and candy. You can never go wrong with a movie!
8. Head to the Bars
For those of legal age, the typical weekend night is spent at the numerous bars around campus. While your choice may come down to how packed they are, you can choose from the popular Scarlet Pub, expansive Huey’s Knight Club or Harvest Moon for a house-brew beer. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, so make sure to explore around and find the one that best fits your vibe and friend group. Just don’t bother with a fake ID. They don’t mess around.
“The nightlife at Rutgers is also great for college students. There are lots of bars that I’ve been going to on Easton Ave with my friends when I want to have a fun night.” Patel said.
Rutgers is known for its party scene, and going to a bar is both the best and safest option. House parties come with their own liabilities and difficulties, but all you’ll need for a bar is an ID, confidence and some money on hand for drinks. Dance the night away to some of the most iconic songs from the past few decades, and even take a quick rest at a table if you can squeeze by one. Bars may not be for everyone, but they are still a staple of the Rutgers experience.
9. Go Shopping
Low on food, clothes, or books? There are dozens of shopping options on and around campus for you to choose from. The iconic Barnes and Noble has a large selection of, surprisingly, books and textbooks. Whether it’s the newest work from your favorite author, the most recent manga volume, or a specific textbook you need for a class, Barnes and Noble is bound to have it. They also have an extensive collection of Rutgers merch, from shirts and shot glasses to bumper stickers. Downtown College Avenue sports a whole laundry list of places to shop at, from the simple Seven-Eleven, Bravo for your groceries (student discount!), A S Fashion for women’s clothing. While you may have to drive out of campus for more specific shopping needs, Rutgers has all the essentials.
10. Hit the Gym
Staying in shape means a happier and healthier lifestyle routine. With a gym on each campus, pick the one closest to you or whichever you like the most. College Avenue’s gym may be a bit smaller, but it offers just about everything you need. Douglass’s gym gives a bit more breathing room in addition to their pool and courtrooms. The best gym will depend on your workouts and workout time since they get packed pretty quickly. Try out each one and get lifting!
“For fun things at Rutgers, there’s a lot. I like to watch movies at Livi and go to Henry’s Diner there. College Ave is a fun spot to hang around since there’s lots of food spots and events happening. I also enjoy going to the gym in Cook/Doug,” Rutgers University junior Dhruv Kothari said.
However, do note that these gyms get packed pretty tight. You may have to wait a bit before getting your set in at a machine or grabbing some weights. Thankfully, doing some in-between stretches and cardio will always be open. If you can fit the gym into your schedule, then take that on. It may be intimidating at first, but you can do it!