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What a Queens student does for fun in Charlotte. An insider’s guide

Queens University of Charlotte students make up around .0020 percent of Charlotte’s total population. But as a community, we have a pretty far reach; from Myers Park to Ballantyne to NoDa, Queens students get around – just maybe not to the places you go to.

Food

On campus

Queens is admittedly a small school, with fewer than 2,000 undergraduate students, and our on-campus dining options reflect that. We have one coffee shop and two restaurants. One restaurant closes at 6 p.m. on weeknights and at 4 p.m. on Fridays and is not open on weekends, and the other stops serving its greasy hamburgers and fries by 10:30 each night. So, our small size – and less than (ahem) quality options past 6 p.m. – push us out into the city.

Off campus

– Lunch: If my friends and I dare to splurge on lunch (and risk hearing the “you have a meal plan; use it” speech from our parents), we usually choose a cheaper, chain option like Chick-Fil-A. After all, a $6 bill is much less likely to attract our parents’ ire than a $15 one.

– Brunch: For our occasional weekend brunch, though, we like to treat ourselves. So, we’ll sometimes go to Eddie’s Place on Sharon Amity or the Original Pancake House in Midtown.

– Dinner: Our favorites for a (rare) nice dinner out are Ru San’s, Azteca’s on East Independence (you’d understand our willingness to go that far if you had tried their queso) and Libretto’s on Woodlawn.

Azteca (1)

The underlying theme of the majority of our restaurant choices is cheapness, which eliminates a chunk of Charlotte’s pricier options and a hefty portion of Myers Park.

Coffee

On campus

Our campus coffee shop — a “Proudly Serving Starbucks” location — can be packed on any given day. It’s actually one of the only places on campus where you can find a large group of people.

Off campus

A lot of students looking for a caffeine kick off-campus choose the Amelie’s in NoDa. But my friends and I go with the closer — albeit more corporate — option of Starbucks, simply because we have busy schedules and we firmly believe our caffeine choices shouldn’t become a chore. (In other words, we’re lazy.)

Sometimes, if we’re in the area, we’ll also stop by the Dunkin’ Donuts on South Boulevard near Tyvola, so that my New Jersey-bred suitemate can get her iced macchiato fix.

dunkindonuts

Nightlife

On campus

You know Hollywood’s college party trope, the one in which tons of students trash a huge frat house? Yeah, that doesn’t happen at Queens. We have one official fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi – and its headquarters are housed on campus. (Nothing ruins a party quite like campus police knocking on the door.) And Queens students are required to live on campus for three years, so there are few students with off-campus housing. (Again, nothing ruins a party like campus police knocking on the door.)

Most of the parties that do happen are only open to specific groups (i.e. athletes).

Off campus

So where do students go? Uptown and Montford, mostly. Where do my roommates and I go? Nowhere. (We really are the worst college students ever.)

A lot of underage Queens students either go to clubs like Prohibition or Label on Thursday nights to dance. But I avoid those like the plague. I have really no good reason other than that I’m pretentious and would rather be caught buying something from Abercrombie and Fitch than be seen at one.

Some students also go to Hookah bars (lounges? spots? something?), apparently not caring that inhaling smoke in any form is dangerous for their lungs. (You may get lung cancer, but at least it looks cool!)

Students over 21 go bar-hopping on Montford Drive, but, sadly, I’m not much of an expert on that, considering I have to wait eight months (!) before I can legally drink.

Activities

Off campus

One of Queens’ big draws is the wide variety of activities Charlotte boasts (or at least that’s what they say on college tours). And students definitely take advantage of that. But their activity choices are as diverse as Charlotte’s offerings.

Some go to concerts at PNC Pavilion or at other local venues. Sports fans might take in a Hornets or a Checkers game. (College kids can get discounts at certain games for both teams.)

hornets (2)

My roommates and I love to spend a Saturday or Sunday outside at Freedom Park, listening to music and doing homework. (I know – we’re very boring.) And we also love Cinemark Movie Bistro Charlotte on Monroe Road, where you can watch a movie while lying back in recliners and munching on queso.  (I really love queso.)

recliner_movie (1)

On campus

But perhaps one of Queens students’ favorite places to hang out is on campus, in our brand-spanking-new hammock village, which was packed with students in the remaining weeks of school following its opening.

HAMMOCK

Queens’ Student Government Association, along with Associate Vice President of Design and Construction Troy Luttman, created the village, proving that while we may not be the biggest school or have the liveliest campus – and we certainly don’t have the best or most on-campus food options – we’ve got a pretty awesome student body.

Fellow Queens students: Want to add on to this list? Tweet your suggestions to @ElizaWireback or send an email to ewireback@charlotteobserver.com.

Photo 1,6: Eliza Wireback Photos 2,3,5,: Brielle Fattori Photo 4: Minna Tegsten, The Queens Chronicle 

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