Auburn Bucket List: 8 off-campus things every student must do

Auburn Bucket List: 8 off-campus things every student must do
Dining at Acre is something anyone attending Auburn University must experience sooner or later. (file)

Now that school is back in session, colleges and universities are once again welcoming freshmen onto their campuses for the first time. As students explore their new homes and find their place on campus, they’ll also want to start getting to know their new community. Outside of hanging out at Toomer’s Corner and attending Tiger football games, Auburn offers plenty for students to do off campus. Here are eight things that students absolutely must cross off their Auburn Bucket List before graduating.

RELATED: University of Alabama Bucket List: 8 off-campus things every student must do

Take a hike at Chewacla State Park

A 10-minute drive from campus, Chewacla State Park is the perfect place to unwind in the presence of Alabama’s beautiful natural features. One of the park’s biggest draws is the 26-acre lake that is popular for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Other points of interest are the park’s many waterfalls, including the 50-foot Chewacla Falls near the back side of the lake.

Visit the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

An art museum might not be your first thought in regard to Auburn activities, but the Jule Collins Smith Museum is worth at least an hour or two of your time. The traditional and contemporary museum is home to 2,500 works in six changing galleries, as well as an auditorium, English-inspired formal area, wooded landscape and outdoor sculptures.

See the Southeastern Raptor Center show

One of the biggest traditions at Auburn home football games is the eagle flying during the fight song before the game. For an up-close-and-personal look at the tradition, the Southeastern Raptor Center’s Football, Fans and Feathers show is the way to go. Hosted on Fridays before home games, the hourlong show gives visitors the opportunity to see a flight demonstration from falcons, hawks, eagles and other birds of prey. The show is educational and suitable for the entire family.

Go shopping downtown

Pop into The locAL Market inside J&M Bookstore to pick up locally made goods like soaps, jewelry, candles and food products. There are plenty of boutiques in town offering trendy gameday apparel, but Behind the Glass (BTG) is the mecca for women’s apparel. From bodysuits to beaded bandanas and basics, BTG carries stylish items from high-end brands like Free People and Show Me Your Mumu. When you’re ready for a thirst quencher, be sure to stop into the famed Toomer’s Drugs for a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Explore downtown Opelika

While Auburn is the bustling college town, Opelika is its quieter, cooler and more bohemian little sister just 15 minutes down the road. Take some time to shop along Railroad Avenue’s many boutiques, including Studio 3:19 for fashionable clothes and Oliver Henry for home goods; The Gallery on Railroad for gifts; and Griff Goods for menswear. Pop into 10,000 Hz Records to find your next vinyl, and then head next door for an afternoon pick-me-up at Mama Mocha’s. The open-air coffee shop offers a large variety of its own brews, flavored lattes and teas.

Get lunch at Irritable Bao

Irritable Bao and its food truck, Dumps Like a Truck, have been staples in the Auburn community for years, but with the opening of its new downtown location, the menu is expanding to include even more authentic Asian dishes. In addition to the fluffy, pillow-like bao with popular fillings like buffalo chicken, barbecue brisket, and zucchini and eggs, they’re also serving cheesecake egg rolls, Chinese chicken skewers, spicy tofu strips and Chinese street Brussels sprouts.

Try David Bancroft’s sister restaurant

You can’t mention dining out in Auburn without David Bancroft. The four-time James Beard Best Chef South semifinalist is best known for his farm-to-table restaurant, Acre. Known for its seasonal, sophisticated fare, Acre offers a modern take on Southern favorites, with dishes like chicken fried bacon, redfish with crispy fried okra, and Cherokee purple tomato salad. Bancroft’s newer establishment Bow & Arrow trends a little more casual by paying homage to Bancroft’s upbringing in south Texas. Go in with a group and order the Lonestar Platter, half a pound each of brisket, pork, turkey and jalapeno cheddar sausage, plus sides, housemade flour tortillas, Memaw’s éclair and banana pudding.

Get brunch at Lucy’s 

Complete your food tour of Auburn with brunch at Lucy’s, a modern American eatery known for its locally sourced food and good vibes. Whether you prefer your brunch salty or sweet, Lucy’s has something for everyone. Every meal should start with the signature Housemade Coconut & Banana Toast with fig butter and caramelized bananas. Savory options include Shrimp & Green Chili Grits or an Avocado Tartine. If you trend on the sweet side, Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes or Elderflower Overnight Oats might be your pick.

This story originally appeared on the SoulGrown website.

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