Written by Angela Day
Your friend says, “Hey, let’s go Uptown tonight!”
If your first reaction is clammy hands and blood deserting your face fast enough to make your head spin, fear not: there are other people like you. For those who aren’t particularly fond of being surrounded by swaying sweat-machines and sticky floors, Uptown can be a difficult place to navigate. However, it is not impossible. Here are a few tips to guide my fellow introverts through the tumultuous streets that make up Oxford’s Uptown.
Avoid the Bar-muda Triangle
The area that stretches between Brick Street, 45 East, and The Woods/New Bar is one of the busiest places at night in Uptown, particularly from Thursday into the weekend. If loud music and crowds of people give you anxiety, this is one area you should steer clear of.
You’re Fired! (so stop working and relax)
This little shop offers a friendly, cozy environment to unwind from a stressful day (or week) through art: just pick a ceramic piece and however many paints your heart desires and you’re good to go. Be sure to check their webpage for for special dates with discounted studio fees!
People-watch in Uptown Park
Maybe you’re feeling outgoing but not up to the levels of entering a club. Or maybe you want to be involved with the nightlife but without actual commitment. Or maybe you just want some entertainment. Either way, Uptown Park is a great place to observe weekend crowds in action without actually putting yourself in the sweaty, alcohol-y mix.
Take some time at the Tea Cha House
The de-stressing wonder that is taro bubble tea — that is all you really need to know. (But if that isn’t enough to convince you, this little shop is quiet and relatively undisturbed, very rarely packed, and the perfect place to catch up with friends over a variety of teas, coffees, and smoothies.)
Grab some Graeter’s
If you haven’t already taken advantage of this new addition to Uptown, you have not experienced some of the best ice cream and environment in Oxford. Though this is generally busier than the Tea Cha House for said ice cream, it makes a nice getaway from the bustling night life just down the road.
Kick back at Kofenya
This little local coffee shop is a go-to for those looking for a low-key, comfy environment. There’s a wide selection of drinks — including a bottomless coffee option. Not only that, but everything is much cheaper than Starbucks. So if you’re looking for a place to relax with friends, get some work done, read a book, or ponder the questions of the universe, Kofenya is a solid place to be.
Swing by Bird House Antiques
Bird House Antiques is located near Kofenya, and is a great way to spend some time on a lazy day. Whether you’re searching for some vintage Miami gear or just browsing for some curios, the owners are knowledgeable and friendly, and can help you find whatever you’re looking for.
Fresh food and fun and the Farmer’s Market
If you fancy yourself a morning person, the Farmer’s Market in Uptown Park provides an excellent for shopping and socializing. Everything is homegrown or homemade — which makes it not only a good escape from campus party life, but also campus food. Once you get hooked, the goat cheese pastries from Terra Nova Bread Basket and the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from Chubby Bunny Bakery are enough to get anyone out of bed on a Saturday — and that’s not even including all of the fresh produce.
There are few things to do Uptown that don’t involve partying, but not as few as you might think. There’s always something to do if you know where to look. Happy exploring!