Being in college can be a lot of fun. When you’re not in class, or working, or studying, or doing some extracurricular activity, or volunteering, you have time to go out with your friends! Most college kids tend to flock to the bars and clubs on or near campus to blow off some steam on the weekend. But what if the bar life is getting tiring, or boring, or expensive? Maybe it’s all three for you and you want to find another way to spend your weekend with your friends.
It’s tiring to go out with your friends sometimes. In Madrid, you don’t leave your house until at least midnight, and you don’t go back to your house until at least 6:00 am (because that’s when the subways start running again). I am always tired (all that studying, you know) so sometimes staying out until 6:00 am is exhausting, especially when those really cute shoes are really giving you blisters.
It’s boring to do the same thing over and over. Yeah, we love our special bar that’s right next door and the bartenders know us by name, but sometimes you want to shake things up on your weekend out. Yeah, we love dancing, but every club essentially plays the same music and has the same vibe.
It’s also expensive to go out with friends sometimes. At clubs specifically, you have to pay the entrance fee and then fees for drinks, which can quickly add up (minimum of 30 euros at least). Clubs and bars can also be loud and crowded, so it’s hard to reconnect with your friends after a long week.
I was in the same boat. Bars and clubs began to become something I dreaded instead of something I enjoyed. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of things you can do with your friends on the weekend that are more chill (and cheaper, too).
Make your own Paint ‘n Sip
My friends and I did this a few weekends ago and it was a BLAST. Everyone bought their own canvas at the local store and we all shared paints and brushes. We bought some cheap bottles of wine and snacks too. Then we got to painting! It was a night filled with laughter and artistic wonders, and we each have a memento of that night in the form of a painting.
Go to an outdoor music event
Live music is almost always a great way to spend the evening. It’s even better if it’s outside! Bring a few lawn chairs or maybe a blanket and sit with your friends and enjoy nature and music. Maybe even pack yourself a picnic.
Visit a market
This weekend, my friends and I went to El Rastro, which is the biggest flea market in Madrid. I bought a pair of pants for four euros and it was a truly wonderful day. You can go to any market in your area, whether it be a flea market or farmers market, any market is a fun way to spend an afternoon and find great deals.
Have a dinner party
I know, this sounds kind of old and grown up, but it’s really fun to cook with your friends. I live in a fairly international house, so one evening, we all decided to cook a dish from our home country (and if you think I didn’t make mac and cheese, you are mistaken). While we had a potluck type of dinner, it might be fun if you all work together to cook a dish and then share it. Food tastes better when it’s shared with those you love.
Enjoy the great outdoors
I love being outside, whether I’m hiking, fishing, camping, gardening, swimming, kayaking, or literally anything else that involves me in the sunshine. Going to a local or national park can be a great way to spend a weekend relaxing with your friends. My friends and I are actually currently planning a camping weekend where we can go and disengage from the city, technology, and school. The outdoors can offer some therapeutic relief for your weekend.
Of course, going out to bars and clubs can be really fun! Having fun, dancing, and making memories is what your social life in college should be about. Do whatever activity allows you to achieve that!