1. O’Hill, upstairs
O’Hill attracts a strangely high number of students whose primary intentions aren’t actually to eat there, especially upstairs. If you’re lucky with your positioning, you’ll be able to see the kids playing their gaming videos, watching “Love Island” and doing everything in between. The upstairs level of O’Hill is truly dinner with a show if you play your cards right.
2. First floor of Newcomb
I think this is the secret gem of people-watching hot spots on Grounds. Since Newcomb is the HR hub of the University, there’s always a small glimpse of the outside world when prospective students on tour stroll through with their parents — noses buried in their campus maps — or old couples meander around, asking for directions. Every day is a new day on the first floor of Newcomb, so the people watching is never stale.
3. Center stairs in New Cabell Hall
It’s really surprising how much you can see into a person’s life as they hastily walk down the stairs to class, office hours or a meeting with their professor. One thing that makes this spot unique is that New Cabell is much more a casual study spot than other academic buildings — especially when that one girl is cascading down the steps sending white hot rage into her phone. I think it was about her roommate?
4. Northline at midnight
Don’t even get me started. It’s first years coming and going, but trust me, neither is pretty. From precariously balanced laptops to one and a half people per seat, it’s a mix of “…Hey Mom, where can I buy deodorant again?” and “Oh my god, I know — I have, like, 300 pages of reading due.” But every once in a while, something new and interesting is bound to happen. You won’t even know where to look, trust me.
5. Clem 4
There’s nothing like watching life slowly drain from the eyes of your fellow students from the seclusion of your headphones and assignments that you actually might decide to read. The beauty of Clem 4? You get to observe the communal desperation we all know and love. The empathy of people watching on Clem 4 runs deep — “Here! Have an energy shot!”
6. …and Clem 2
Now, don’t get me wrong. You think you’ve seen what the people of Clem are up to on the fourth floor, but then you head down to Clem 2. It’s truly a melting pot of students grinding on papers, ignoring the 300 pages they have to read, sending Snapchat videos and extremely uncomfortable PDA. I think I’ve seen a student make a TikTok dance video down there once. Honestly, it’s hard to beat moments like that.
7. The Lawn
Spring semester is the pinnacle time to lay your blanket on out on the grass and watch what looks like a scene out of a movie. Sitting back and enjoying the weather is so nice, especially when you can seamlessly get away with casually watching other people throw a frisbee or cry on the phone with their mom — yup, that’s me — you’ve seen it, I’ve done it.
8. The White Spot
What words do I have to say for this place? You get what you came for. Good times, go Hoos — and good food. I actually only discovered the beauty of people watching here last semester, but since then, it’s become one of my favorite late-night eats. The people watching is just the cherry on top. As they say, “Once you go White Spot, there’s no going back.”
9. 1515 window seats
The comfy window seats of 1515 are almost perfect — since you’re inside, you’re practically invisible to the world passing by. That is, until that random guy on a Tuesday night decides to slam on the window while you’re three cold brews deep into your biology study guide. Again, it’s a Tuesday.
10. Finally … The Rotunda street-side benches
This is easily my favorite spot on Grounds, and don’t try to tell me the Lawn side is better. I’m sure you’re tired of seeing your fifth long black formal dress, so why not try something new? Grab your Bodo’s — everything bagels only. Eat breakfast on a bench near the street, and I guarantee your morning will be made. I can vouch from personal experience that you’ll never see the same thing twice.