Perfect places for brain cells to do their thing
1. Montague's Coffee House
1019 S. Tejon St.
Upside: A plethora of couches and fluffy chairs surrounding coffee tables, and walls covered in interesting painting and wall hangings, create a cozy and comfortable atmosphere, great for group sessions or solo studying. There is also a patio in the back, so you can enjoy the fresh air without the noise of a busy street. The menu is bountiful, complete with an array of teas, full meals and baked goods.
Downside: Located far south of downtown, Montague's doesn't feel particularly close to anything. Also, the prices tend to run a little higher than most chain coffee shops.
2. Tutt Library
Upside: Most of the time all areas of this library are absolutely silent, but the straight-backed wooden chairs and uncomfortable study carrels make falling asleep a distant possibility. When school is in session, Tutt has the best hours of any of our study spots: open 7:45 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and weekends 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tutt is definitely the place for hard-core-night-before-an-exam studying.
Downside: Some students may find there is such a thing as too quiet: to the point where it is creepy. The Colorado College's block plan also means that every month there's a block break when the library is closed or has limited hours. Non-CC students wanting to use the facilities should call ahead for hours of operation.
3. Barnes and Noble
795 Citadel Drive East
Upside: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., this mega-bookstore has better hours than the local library, and almost as much information. The in-store Starbuck's provides convenient caffeine fixes when in need. Comfy chairs and a generally quiet atmosphere are very conducive to studying and/or napping.
Downside: Most employees are young, and not the most knowledgeable when it comes to finding the best translation of Ovid or which book has the simplest explanation of stoichiometry.
7 S. Tejon St.
Upside: Starbucks is a great place to kick back with your latest reading assignment and a fancy super-sweet coffee or tea concoction. Whipped cream is just the stimulant most people need to tackle their latest batch of dense material. This downtown location has the comfiest setting by far, and less traffic than most others do.
Downside: The lighting isn't great in all corners, and you may find yourself squinting through small print. This Starbucks may have fewer sit-and-talk customers but a during some peak hours the "to-go" customers can be distracting.
5. East Library and Information Center
5550 N. Union Blvd.
Upside: The East Library and Information Center is practically bursting with reference materials. The reference staff is probably the most knowledgeable in town, and cheerful in helping you to navigate their plethora of resources.
Downside: The library has the same problem with limited hours as its Pikes Peak Library District counterparts. The location is also a little out of the way for many, and there is a strictly enforced no-food rule that makes study munchies an absolute no-no.
6. Barista's Coffee Caf
3352 Templeton Gap Road
Upside: Just off North Union Street and just down the hill from UCCS, the location is awesome for UCCS students and those returning from a trek up to East Library. The menu is simple but excellent and includes several substantial sandwiches and appetizers to keep stomach-rumblings at bay.
Downside: Once again severely limited hours weaken an otherwise ideal study spot. Barista's is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
7. Penrose Library
20 N. Cascade
Upside: The downtown location is great for the resource-starved Pikes Peak Community College's Downtown Studio and for Colorado College students looking for a nicer atmosphere than Tutt. Penrose also houses the Law Library and the PPLD Special Collections, so there are plenty of resources for specific research.
Downside: As state budgets shrink, the hours of public libraries are becoming increasingly limited. Both Penrose and East Libraries are only open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
8. Monument Valley Park
West of downtown
Upside: With plenty of picnic tables and acres of lush, green grass, Monument Valley Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the last days of summer and the beginnings of fall. Just down the hill from Colorado College and bustling downtown, the park is a peaceful, but accessible, escape.
Downside: Anything from a stray Frisbee to a too-tempting sand volleyball court can serve as an ample distraction from homework. On warm days, naps in the shade become absolutely irresistible. In other words, this isn't the place for buckle-down studying.
9. Pikes Perk Coffee and Tea House
14 S. Tejon St.
Upside: Two stories of every range of furniture: from the kick-back-and-relax to the sit-up-and-spread-out. The east-facing windows provide ample natural light, and good coffee keeps drowsiness at bay. Wireless Internet access means you can type your paper and e-mail your prof without ever moving from your table.
Downside: The dependence on natural light means that it can get pretty dim as fall approaches and days shorten. The patio seating faces Tejon, so there is no place for peaceful outdoor studying.
10. Acacia Park
Upside: Acacia Park offers all the fun of alfresco studying in a more central location than Monument Valley. It's close to a fast-food place, a coffee house, a bagel place and a bookstore, so every amenity and opportunity for study-breaks are readily available.
Downside: The central location also means busy streets, and the Uncle Wilber Fountain, complete with screaming children, isn't far off. The popularity of the park can also mean that your fellow students get a little too chatty. Like most outdoor study spots, this isn't the place to get serious, but is for relaxation and group-work.