08/30/2013 06:29 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2013

Back to School: Best Student Escapes in Chicago

Most college kids dread the end of summer because it means trading back-to-back music festivals and spontaneous trips to the beach for billion-page term papers and I-swear-we-never-learned-this examinations. But heading back to school in the Windy City doesn't mean the good times are over. Summer is winding to a close, but the list of fun things to do in Chicago isn't dwindling. Stop mourning, and get excited about all the new places you'll be able to spend time not studying this fall.

Enjoy your Discount


Given the choice between getting out of the house and saving a few extra bucks, most college students would probably choose the latter. Fortunately for you, the world knows this and wants to help. With economical options like the Randolph Street Market offering discounted ticket prices just for students, however, a thin wallet is no excuse for being a homebody. Whether you go to hunt for that hidden gem among the hundreds of vintage, antique, and handmade shops, or just want to enjoy the delicious food and lively atmosphere, a market visit offers an easy way to spend a casual afternoon.

Take a Study Break


If you think you're not spending as much time partying as you are studying in undergrad, you're wrong. That being said, drunken nights playing Cards of Humanity shouldn't be your only form of release. Next time you're looking for a crazy way to spend a Friday night, try checking out some of the clubs and bars in Chicago. Rush & Division is a cool part of town that offers something for everybody. Let loose in the rowdier bar scene, or brush elbows with the A-listers in the upscale clubs. Whatever you do, don't be afraid to let things get a little out of control¬ - it builds character.

Grab a Bite


We all know that amazing pizza in this city is not hard to come by. Deep dish is better here than anywhere on earth. Sometimes it's good to switch things up and step out of your comfort zone, and a thin crust pizza place is pretty much as out-of-the-box as it gets among restaurants in Chicago. Next date night, try something new and head over to Piece, a restaurant offering fresh microbrews and pizza that doesn't have to be eaten with a fork.

Catch a Game


Fall means football. Unfortunately, fall also means the coming of frigid temperatures and high winds. Roughing it at the stadium is not always the best way to go, but that doesn't mean you have to watch the game on your buddy's couch either. Sports bars like The Dugout offer a casual, (almost) fratty atmosphere to cheer on your team while avoiding a full-on confrontation with the elements. With cheap booze specials and in-house beer pong tables, you'll wonder why you ever wanted to stay at home.

Have a Laugh


After a long week of egotistical professors, unintelligible textbooks, and impossible essays, a bit of comedic release may be exactly what you need. Where better to go than a first-rate comedy club founded by students just like you? Second City, one of the most reputable breeding grounds for comedic genius in the country, guarantees a night of laughter and fun. There's no excuse not to check it out.

If you find yourself falling into the class/library/home repeat-routine this fall, don't be afraid to shake things up. Chicago has tons of fun things to offer, so take advantage of them. Don't be afraid to explore.

This article is by Courtney Roseborough, Party Earth writer.

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