An artistic rendering of the university's storied arches helps ring in St. Thomas Homecoming week.

Tommies Talk: Things to do Off- and On-Campus During Orientation Visits

Getting signed up for classes, spending time on campus and getting to know classmates are just some of the many things incoming first-years experience at orientation. There are lots of other things to do both on and off campus, too: We asked students what some of their favorite weekend activities are, and their answers give an idea of what life as a St. Thomas student is like, and where students and their families can check out when they're here for orientation.

Katie Foy, junior psychology major

One of my absolute favorite things to do on the weekends (and my Instagram will prove it to be true), is going to the downtown farmers market in either St. Paul or Minneapolis. It’s nice for me to get off of campus and have some space from the busyness of school and work. It’s also a major plus to support local farmers, business owners and musicians (there’s usually live music at both locations on the weekends)!

Students play spike ball on the upper quad in front of Ireland Hall.

On the weekends at St. Thomas it’s super nice to just relax and hang out with friends on the quad. When it’s nice out there are usually lots of Tommies on both the upper and lower quads reading, playing catch, doing homework or just listening to music and talking. I love being outside.

Kenzie Fannin, junior neuroscience major

After my busy weeks at St. Thomas, a little retail therapy is so necessary on the weekends. Walking down Grand Avenue or Nicollet Avenue with a few friends is one of the best ways to relax and have fun – there are so many shops and restaurants to explore. My goal is to visit every restaurant on both of these streets by the end of my four years at St. Thomas. Wish me luck!

Sunita Dharod, senior justice and peace studies major; minors in American culture and differences, and communication and journalism

One of my favorite things to do on campus is get a group of friends and hang out on the quad. We love laying out a blanket and reading, doing homework, or painting. I also love bringing lunch or a Frisbee, too.

My favorite thing to do off campus is check out all the restaurants around St. Thomas. My favorites are Shish, which is right on Grand, and Selby's has some great vegan food.

Students walk by a Nice Ride bike kiosk on Grand Avenue. Nice Ride is a bike sharing program with rental and return kiosks throughout the Twin Cities.

Mark Shipman '18, operations and supply chain management major

My favorite thing to do off campus is to explore the numerous coffee shops and restaurants Minneapolis and St. Paul boast. (Downtown St. Paul is only a short bus ride away, and it seemingly has a million restaurants for me to try.) You can always find something new on every street, and it's nice to get off campus sometimes to study or relax with friends.

One of my favorite activities to do on campus is take advantage of our intramural and club sports, and our amazing workout facilities. It was a great way to meet some of my best friends playing soccer and volleyball, or meet someone in between our busy schedules to catch up at the gym.

Abby Heller, senior neuroscience major

One of my favorite off-campus activities is renting a bike for free from Tommie Central and riding to Minnehaha Falls. There are walking trails, bike paths, and tons of space to picnic and play Frisbee at the park.

Diversity Activities Board events are my favorite things to go to on campus. DAB is a student-led event planning committee. DAB events are anything from T-shirt making to a famous guest speaker to cool ethnic food and dance to try out and have fun with. DAB events always have cool new things for me to try with my friends.

Abby Gieseke, senior communication journalism major, contributed a top 10 list of her own

  • Hike the shoreline of the Mississippi River
    • St. Thomas may be in the middle of the city, but the Mississippi River is right next door. River Road is always very active with people hiking, running, or just soaking in the sun.
  • Take the metro to explore Grand Avenue
    • Grand Avenue is full of popular shops and restaurants. It also hosts the annual outdoor festival Grand Old Days. If you hop on the 63S bus starting from Cretin and Summit Avenues, the fun atmosphere of Grand Avenue is only about a five-minute bus ride away.
  • Take the St. Thomas bus to Nicollet Mall for dinner
    • St. Thomas offers a free shuttle service exclusively for St. Thomas students from the St. Paul campus to the Minneapolis campus. It runs every 20 minutes, picking you up right outside the student center on Summit Avenue, and dropping you off on Nicollet Mall, where there are many fun places to eat and explore.
  • Rent rollerblades from Tommie Central and roll River Road
    • Tommie Central is not only a wonderful resource to gain knowledge about St. Thomas, but it also offers rentals, many of which are free with your student ID. Equipment ranges from rollerblades to tennis racquets, snowboards to camping gear, and much more.
  • Bike to Minnehaha Falls
    • Nice Ride MN offers bike rentals costing $3 for every half-hour. You can pick up the bike on River Parkway and ride it 3 miles to Minnehaha Falls, where there are many beautiful areas to hike, as well as amazing photo opportunities.
  • Take the lightrail to Mall of America
    • Mall of America attracts tourists from all over the world, but at St. Thomas you are just one easy light rail ride away. You can hop on the blue line at Marshall Avenue and Finn Street and be at MOA within the hour.
  • Twins Games
    • Twins games are a great way to spend a beautiful night, but they are even better when you have a discounted ticket for student night. The Minnesota Twins offer $1 hotdogs, $5 tickets, and free metro transit rides for college students on Wednesday nights; all you have to do is show your student ID.
  • Call Tommie Central for discount tickets to shows and concerts
    • Going to fun events on the weekends can be expensive, and it’s no secret that college students are looking for discounts everywhere they go. Tommie Central offers discounted tickets to all St. Thomas students for movies, local attractions, seasonal attractions and professional sports.
  • Get into a bouncy house at events on the quad
    • You’re never too old for a bouncy house, especially when it’s in the middle of the quad. St. Thomas hosts many pep rallies before football games, or during parent’s weekend, and they are always equipped with many fun activities such as free food, music and games.
  • Saint Paul Saints
    • Attending a Saints game is a great way to explore downtown St. Paul and support our very own home team. You can even watch a spectacular fireworks show at the end of the game for only $3 extra.