Downtown Terre Haute offers a variety of places for students to order take-out or shop.

Coming back to school, especially while we are living under strict COVID-10 procedures, may end up being slightly boring. Even while many things to do in Terre Haute are not available due to COVID restrictions, there are still some ways to make the most out of this very different academic year.    

Unless you’ve lived here for a while, it’s hard to know where to go and what to do; however, there are a few hidden gems in town.

Starting with food, there are a few good places.

The best Mexican restaurant hands down is Taco Tequila’s. Their chips and salsa are amazing and everything is decently priced. It’s conveniently placed downtown, so anyone living on campus or nearby can take a quick walk or drive there.

Chava’s Mexican Grill down the street is also very good, but incredibly overpriced. Their burritos are the best, but they upcharge if they notice that you’ve been drinking (so be good at pretending to be sober).

Right next to Chava’s is J Gumbo’s, which is a great place for soul food. It’s very similar to Yats, which is a Cajun style food chain.

If you’re more of a breakfast person, Cackleberries is the place for you. They have great breakfast deals, but they’re usually packed, so get in there as early as possible.

One hidden gem of Terre Haute is Square Donuts. They usually run out by 1 p.m. and they only take cash, but they are the best donuts you will ever have.

If you’re tired of Starbucks and Dunkin, try Little Bear Coffee CO. or Java Haute. Both are about a 10-minute drive from campus, but better than drinking bad coffee every day. They also both have seating areas to study in.

Finding activities to do in Terre Haute is difficult, but one of the places I have seen, but haven’t visited, is the Moon Lite Drive-In Theater. They show good movies, and with fall coming around the corner, you’ll have nice weather for an outside movie.

If you’re into the art scene, Swope Art Museum is a great place to visit. It’s small, but they have beautiful pieces of art, and admission is free.

If you like being outside, there are multiple parks to visit like Deming Park, Hawthorn Park, and Fairbanks, which is by the Wabash River.

Traveling a little further from Terre Haute is L&A Family Farms in Paris, Illinois right across the state border. It’s a great place to take Insta-worthy pictures in the sunflower maze.

About 45 minutes North is Turkey Run State Park. Here, you can hike for hours, go kayaking, or tubing. It’s a great place to go when you want to relax or challenge yourself with difficult trails. Admission to the park is only $7, which makes it a cheap trip.

If you get hungry after your long hike, there’s a donut place the next town over called WheelHouse Donuts where you create your own donut.

There’s also an Amish owned greenhouse on the way back down that sells house plants, flowers, and vegetables, but they only accept cash.

If you’re looking for places to volunteer during your free time, try United Way. Their website displays numerous opportunities in the area.

Another personal favorite of mine is a business called Rethink. They’re located right behind campus and have many places for you to help. They have gardens, recycling, and you can volunteer in the store.

If you’re interested in the legal system, serve as a jury member for Teen Court. This program is run by Chances and Services for Youth. Through this program, juveniles are given another productive option to deal with consequences rather than juvenile hall.

Although Terre Haute is small, if you look hard enough, you can always find something to do. Don’t get stuck in a rut because of quarantine. Find something that fits you and your interests and have fun!