Dating: an aspect of one's college experience that typically ends up being inevitable.
But the stress that comes with dating usually follows the excitement. Sure, the offerings for a drink or a meal in East Lansing might seem endless, but if you're new to the area, it might be unclear which joint will really impress your date. And if you've eaten your way through Downtown East Lansing, you might be looking for an activity that's a little more creative.
Luckily, students have you covered with their favorite ideas for a romantic date as a college student.
If you're hungry
Graphic design junior Mina Aasgaard and pre-med sophomore Leonardo Mendoza Unzueta have been dating for six months. They have ventured to several places in East Lansing for dates and some of them have become common spots for the pair. Their favorite restaurants are Omi Sushi, Poke Fresh and Baps Home Style Korean Barbecue Cuisine.
Among them, Baps is their favorite because it has a large selection of food that's typically more affordable for students, they said.
Mechanical engineering sophomore Téa Comai and accounting sophomore Jeff Van Holla have been dating for roughly a year and a half. For dates, they enjoy restaurants on and around Grand River Avenue, such as HopCat, Barrio, Omi Sushi and student-classics like Crunchy’s or El Azteco.
The pair love the fact that their go-to spots are all conveniently placed downtown, which is filled with "good energy." They especially love Omi Sushi because of how affordable it is, they said.
Johnny Vlahakis, manager of El Azteco, sees tons of college students every day coming in for dates. Because of this, he believes it “might be the best location in East Lansing” to go for a date.
“It’s a restaurant where it’s got a cool vibe to it, especially when you’re upstairs on the rooftop,” Vlahakis said. “The music, the scenery, the ambiance. It kinda gives you that feel that you’re not in East Lansing.”
Meet for coffee ... and cats
Savannah Segueda, who's been the general manager at Constellation Cat Cafe since the summer of 2022, said Michigan State University students visit frequently, often for dates.
“If you’re a cat person, I think it’s a great spot because you get to come and de-stress and hang out with loving and cuddling animals," Segueda said.
The Cafe has hosted events tailored to college students who are looking to meet new people, such as book club nights, art and craft activities, themed game nights and a "friend speed date" event.
Explore the outdoors
Comparative cultures and politics junior Alexis Mohney and architectural landscaping senior Andrew Nord have been dating for almost three months. They've ventured to various places for dates — one of their favorites being the Abrams Planetarium on campus.
"The MSU Planetarium is a really good spot to go to," Mohney said. "They have really fun shows and it's super cheap for students, which has been really fun."
"Imagine the Moon" show on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m., from March 3 to March 26. An "In My Backyard" show will take place on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for students.
Aasgaard said it's nice sometimes to walk along the Red Cedar River as a date.
Mohney and Nord have also taken day trips to Terra Firma Bouldering Co., a rock-climbing site. The adventure-packed date idea is great for students who have a car and want to make their date a day-long activity.
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Rock climbing is fun because you and your partner have to trust each other, Mohney said. It also allows her to complete a workout while spending time with her partner.
Art Unlimited is an art studio just outside of East Lansing where people can paint their own pottery, fuse glass and clay and make any art they want. Mohney and Nord frequented the location when they first started dating.
"In case we ran out of stuff to talk about when (we) first (started) dating, we could focus on our pottery and make something really fun," Mohney said. "It's really fun to go there because we can just be really creative with each other and explore each other's personalities in a very creative way."
The studio's owner, Anne O'Connor said she has enjoyed running the shop for the last 21 years because art is an extremely important aspect of her life. She said that "art is very therapeutic" and that she made the studio a "relaxing place" where people can come in and spend as much time as they want on artwork.
"I think (college students) need a break from studying and life and everything else," O'Connor said. "This is a great place for doing that."
In April, Art Unlimited will host a "date night for wheel throwing."
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