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Here’s What Everyone Says Are The Best Study Spots at NC State University

Students work and study in the James B. Hunt Jr. library.
Students work and study in the James B. Hunt Jr. library.

Has the ol’ “Buy the audio textbook and play it while you sleep” trick failed you? If you’re like me and looking to study the old fashion way, you’ll need to find a place to do that.

Never fear, I spent entirely too much time on Google and Reddit compiled all the recommendations I could find— from mostly anonymous strangers— for the best places to study at NC State. What could go wrong?

Park Shops

We’ll start off with my own recommendation: Park Shops. Located on North Campus between Poe Hall and Daniels Hall, Park Shops isn’t home to a large number of classrooms (I’ll explain why classrooms are important later) but it is home to a good selection of common areas and tucked-away study spots, plus you have Port City Java for all your caffeine and snacking needs. The building also houses University Tutorial Center, which might be a resource for you.

Pro Tip:
Word on the street is Park Shops will be open until midnight Mon-Fri during finals, but only until 6 p.m. on Sat/Sun. So, plan accordingly.

It’s important to point out: it can get busy and loud during the day (see photos below), so those looking for utter silence should skip this location; but, you’ll find the noise manageable with a good pair of headphones and your favorite music playlist.

If you find yourself at Park Shops on a pretty day, there is also outdoor seating which can be quieter than indoor options.

Coffee Shops on Hillsborough St.

If you strike out at Park Shops, don’t worry – it’s just off of Hillsborough Street and we’d be remise to not mention the awesome coffee shops located there. We all have our favorites like Cup a Joe, Global Village, Jubala Coffee, Liquid State, and many others.

Pro Tip: “Access to outlets can be an issue, though. Liquid State, especially, has very few outlets, so you’ll have to scout out your ideal table early in the day. If you don’t need a computer to study, you have nothing to worry about.” – The Student Saver

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design

A student studies in a chair outside The Gregg museum.

Think The Gregg is just a beautiful museum? Think again! We’re told it’s an excellent study spot. Museum Director Roger Manley says many students find the outdoor spaces to be perfect for studying— plus a walk through the museum can be a thought-provoking break from hours of studying or a cure for writer’s block on that research paper.

Pro Tip: “The galleries close at 5 p.m. (9 p.m. Thursdays) but, in nice weather, students love to study in the gardens or out on the terraces, which all have WiFi 24/7” said Manley, “Our openings and events are great places to meet folks of all ages as well.”

Poe Hall

Aerial of main campus.

If Hillsborough St. isn’t your Cup of Joe, double back to Poe Hall beside Park Shops. You know, it’s the beloved but notorious building on campus as one of the very few that’s not brick.

The Student Saver recommends the second floor lounges— a great choice. I also like the Media and Educational Technology Resource Center (METRC). It includes resources like a computer lab, makerspace, digital media equipment, printing, and study spaces.

Witherspoon Student Center

Students sit on the lawn outside Witherspoon

Can’t get to North Campus easily? How about Main Campus? A now deleted Reddit user says “Witherspoon 3rd floor balcony, I use to eat lunch up there.” Indeed, you can see it in the photo above. Looks like a nice spot to me and could be a great study spot on a pretty day.

The Student Saver says: “Like Poe Hall, Witherspoon has several lounges that are perfect for studying. Since the building only fills up during movie nights, you’re almost guaranteed peace and quiet.”

Empty Classrooms and Lecture Halls

An empty lecture hall in Park Shops

This is such a great option. No matter where you are on campus, there’s a high probability you’ll be near an academic building with lecture halls.

Pro Tip: “There are so many lecture rooms in various buildings that I have studied in with groups or just one or two friends when the libraries are full. The exterior doors lock at some point in the evening so you just gotta be careful to not get yourself locked out.” – Slothela (Reddit)

The Student Saver chimes in with: “The only downside to using a classroom is trying to find one that will be vacant for a few hours. You may need to scout out several classrooms before you find one that’s perfect.”

The locking of a building’s exterior doors vary depending on a lot of variables but I feel like it’s safe to say at or around 8 p.m. is when the danger of getting yourself locked out of the building becomes real. If you are ever locked out of a building and left your stuff inside, you can always call campus police to escort you back in… even if it’s a bit awkward.

Residence Hall Lounges

Alexander Hall at NC State University

For those living on campus, don’t forget Gabby Russell‘s advice in her article for NC State Parents & Family Services: “Each residence hall on campus has its very own study lounge. They vary according to the residence hall; some have one on each floor, and some just have one on the first floor. “

“These rooms are accessible to any student living in the building and make studying in one’s residence hall very easy. Especially for late nights if you’re a student who doesn’t want to walk to the library, you can just walk right downstairs to your own study lounge!”

Talley Student Union

The wolf carving in Talley Student Union

This shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone as Talley Student Union was built with the students’ needs in mind. Five floors of tables, rooms, nooks and crannies. The natural light, food options, and location make it a popular spot but don’t skip it thinking you won’t find a spot to study:

Pro Tip: “Talley may seem like a spot that’s too busy to actually study in, but there are a TON of different areas that make for a great place to break out your books.” Ashley Little at TheTab

“As someone who enjoys having some ambient noise and natural lighting, Talley was the perfect location for me,” says Gabby Russell, writing for NC State Parents & Family Services.

The Student Saver loves the chairs, “Plus, you can stay in Talley all day to study since the restaurants there take All Campus cards.”

NC State Libraries (duh)

It’s probably the first place you’d think of to study— and for good reason. Our NC State libraries are beautiful, innovative, and some of the quietest places to get real work done. They also seem to be the favorite, as most people offering tips were quick to offer their favorite spots in D.H. Hill Jr. Library:

“There’s this personal study on [the] 8th floor of DH Hill. It’s on the Scott Hall side and towards Hillsborough St. It’s through a door, but it is always unlocked. There’s a telephone, whiteboard, desk, two chairs and an LAN jack. I figured it out in my 1st year of grad study, no one knew about it but me.” – iHateScannedFiles (Reddit)

“The West Wing is usually very quiet. There’s ice cream and a reading room.” – poultry_fanatic (Reddit)

“Quiet Reading Room in the West Wing, go down the stairs after turning left at the Ask Us desk and it will be on your left. Usually extremely quiet.” – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

“Special Collections Reading Room at the end of the East Wing – huge long tables with good lighting, designated as a quiet space.” – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

The Learning Commons isn’t quite as noisy as it used to be since they moved the video game consoles to a separate room, but it can still have an ambient buzz of conversation. – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

The second floor of the stacks has a bunch of new study areas with tables, benches, standing desks, and a new series of computers. There’s typically groups working up there, so it can be a little noisy. – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

If you’re a graduate student, you have access to the Graduate Student Commons off the Learning Commons. I haven’t been in there in a while, but when I was the place was extremely quiet. – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

There’s a graduate student study room up in the stacks, talk to the Ask Us folks and they’ll give you a key. – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

Up on the second floor of the west wing (the one under construction), there’s a long study room facing out towards Hillsborough street. It’s a really nice space and typically very quiet. They’ve got those Eames chairs in there, which might just be the most comfortable chair in the world. – GunnarHamundarson (Reddit)

If you’re looking for the official word, NC State Libraries has a whole page dedicated to their official “quiet study areas” and how you can gain access to them.