15 Fun Things to Do and Creative Places to Hang out with Friends


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According to one study, the average college student spends nearly five hours a day on leisure activities. What’s more, the term “leisure activities” doesn’t include anything related to shopping, grooming, cooking, or chores.

Instead, leisure time included climbing walls, sporting events, and extracurricular activities. However, there’s more to college than football games and heading to the gym.

If you’re looking for places to hang out with friends both on and off-campus, then we’ve curated this list just for you.

Here are 15 fun things to do with your friends that are more creative than studying at the campus library or attending a tailgate party.

1. Catch a Film at a Drive-In Movie Theater

Not only do drive-in theaters make for the perfect Instagram photo backdrop, but they’re also incredibly fun and refreshing especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

Make sure you pack a few blankets, hide your own snacks, and bring along a warm, cozy sweater to throw on in case it gets a bit cold outside.

2. Dance It out at a Silent Disco

Instead of heading to a loud, thumping bar or party to de-stress from a hard week, head to a silent disco. There, you’ll be able to hang out with friends and dance.

Oftentimes, you’re also able to switch between DJs, which makes the experience more customizable.

3. Attend a Local Poetry Reading

Looking for cheap things to do with friends? Attend a local open mic night or poetry reading.

Not only are they free, but they’re also a great way to meet other like-minded people who are interested in the same things that you are.

If you’re feeling extra bold, try preparing something beforehand so you can get up and strut your stuff too.

4. Host a Potluck Dinner

If you live with roommates then chances are that you guys cook separately or always split the grocery bill. Next time, host a potluck dinner and invite more friends along.

This is a great way to mingle with friends while getting to taste new recipes that you probably wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to try!

5. Try to Get out of an Escape Room

Are you good under pressure? Then definitely check out an escape room with your friends.

Trying to find your way out of an escape room is one of the most fun things to do with friends as it forces you to work together as a team and problem-solve together.

6. Influence Change by Volunteering Together

Instead of going to a bar or spending money on a movie night, get your friends together and plan on spending a day volunteering.

You likely don’t even have to head far to volunteer, as many college campuses have on-site volunteering opportunities all the time.

7. Host Your Own Wine Painting Night

You’ve probably seen those cute wine painting places all around town. If you’re a student on a budget, then you don’t have to pay to attend one of those events!

Instead, buy some cheap wine and painting supplies. Then, put a Bob Ross painting tutorial on YouTube and follow along with your friends!

8. Head to Your Local Trivia Night

Every college town has at least one bar or restaurant that hosts a weekly trivia night. Make plans to attend with your friends as a way to catch up on the week’s events.

These places often serve half-price drinks, appetizers, or meals on these nights, making it a great budget-friendly activity as well.

9. Scavenger Hunt Your Way Through Target

You don’t have to Google “fun places to go with friends near me” to find your local Target or other favorite stores.

Download a Target scavenger hunt list from Pinterest and form a few teams with friends. Then, spend the evening try to see who can find everything first!

10. Laugh It out at a Comedy Club

Laughter is one of the best cures for stress. As a college student, you’ve got lots of stress.

Find a local comedy club and plan on heading to a show with a few of your friends. You’ll feel better after laughing all night and it’s a great way to get yourself out of the dorm and off-campus for a change of scenery.

11. Play Laser Tag Around Campus

Looking for fun things to do at night with friends? Invest in some cheap laser tag gear online and wait until night falls to play a campus-wide game of laser tag.

Check with your local campus police beforehand just to make sure you know where you can and cannot go.

12. Create Pinterest Crafts

You’ve probably got a lot of Pinterest boards saved to your account. You know, the things you think are oh so cute but never get around to actually making for yourself.

Head to your local dollar store and stock up on some crafting supplies. Then, hose a Pinterest crafting night with your best buds and make cute decorations for your dorm or apartment.

13. Take a Walking Tour of Your College Town

Did you know that Iowa City has its very own walking tour? Yep! If you’re not familiar with your college town, then make a point to take a walking tour with your friends.

You’ll probably learn a lot about the town’s history while enjoying some fresh air and light exercise.

14. Swap Movies, Music and Clothes

Swap meets are a great way to “buy” new things on a college student budget. Once a month, schedule a swap meet with friends.

You’ll all bring old clothes, movies, music, and items that you don’t need and swap them for other items that other friends bring. Turn it into an evening by watching the movies people bring to the meetup!

15. Indulge in a Spa Day

You don’t have to be taking finals to indulge in a spa day. You also don’t have to spend lots of money.

Buy cheap face masks or make your own out of fresh veggies. Then, make your own bath bombs, light a few candles, and relax in your robe.

More Places to Hang Out with Friends

Looking for more interesting places to hang out with friends? Head over to our Arts section to check out a list of the most recent and upcoming events for students that are a part of the University of Iowa community.

If you have any tips, suggestions, or upcoming events you’d like to add, then feel free to get in touch and let us know.