Big 10 campuses

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Jan 22nd, 2012, 12:48 PM
  #1
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Big 10 campuses

I thought it might be fun to try to visit all of the Big 10 campuses in a year (or thereabouts).

Anyone have any suggestions for not-to-be-missed campus or area sites?

Thanks for your help.
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 12:55 PM
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I couldn't tag more than 1 state, so I will include the states here:

Illinois------------Urbana
Purdue-----------W. Lafayette, Indiana
Wisconsin-------Madison
Indiana-----------Bloomington
Northwestern----Evanston, Illinois
Ohio State-------Columbus
Iowa---------------Iowa City
Michigan State--Lansing
Michigan---------Ann Arbor
Nebraska--------Lincoln
Minnesota-------Minneapolis
Penn State------State College

We have already visited the first four.
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Oddly enough, I have been to all of them except Penn State and Purdue, oddly because I hadn't thought about it. I just did it for work.

What they have in common: attractive core campuses; nearby kool areas with funky bands funky food good beer; lots of traffic and very little parking.

I don't know where you are starting from, but the logical links would be Lincoln-Iowa City-Minneapolis; Evanston-Lansing-Ann Arbor-Columbus (really, you should have done Northwestern when you did Madison); and poor old Penn State.
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Jan 22nd, 2012, 07:50 PM
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Columbus is a major city with a population of over 1 million including the suburban areas. The campus is located about 2-3 miles north of the downtown area. There are some interesting neighborhoods in Columbus besides the University District. The Short North, just south of OSU campus, has all sorts of interesting art galleries, non-chain restaurants, etc. including some Victorian - era architecture. Just south of downtown is German Village, built in the late 1800's with lots of red brick cobblestone streets, old refurbished houses, interesting shops and restaurants.

I would stay in downtown or near downtown (Short North, Nationwide Arena, near the statehouse)but there is also a major shopping area - Easton on the east side of town, a large outdoor mall with every type of chain store you can imagine and lots of chain restaurants you have seen in every other major city or Polaris, which is an indoor mall in the northern suburbs, again, the usual mall type chains.

If you do decide to visit Columbus, post back and I can share restaurant recommendations.
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 03:12 AM
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The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), while not on par with some of the major museums of the world, has a very nice collection worthy of its free admission. Just across the street is the Michigan Union, and on the steps is a plaque commemorating President Kennedy's announcement of the formation of the Peace Corps. The Law Quad, near to both, is very pretty. Michigan Stadium is on the athletic campus, south of the main campus. Near-to-campus neighborhoods worth exploring include Kerrytown.

The Michigan League, on campus, has a hotel that would put you in the center of the main campus and there are a few hotels close to campus. There are several chain hotels on the "North" campus, too. I would stay near the main campus, personally.

Being a large university campus there are many kinds of restaurants, of course, and I'll recommend Zingerman's Deli.
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 01:26 PM
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We are starting in Illinois - not too far from the U of Illinois campus. Our son is going there, our daughter went there, we both went there. The good news with that starting point is that we are basically in the middle of them all and could do any in a weekend. My husband is actually from Evanston and we've been by Northwestern - but never really stopped to walk around campus. It will be an easy visit though since we go to Chicago periodically.

We've been to some of the other cities too, but never with the goal of walking around the campus. I'd always hoped to do campus tours with my kids, but they were never interested in traveling around to visit them. On the other hand, a parent that I chatted with visiting the U of I told me that I hadn't missed much. I still think it will be fun to explore the campuses as a tourist rather than as a parent of a prospective student.
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Jan 23rd, 2012, 04:55 PM
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DH and I discussed it tonight and think we may start with Columbus. The Michigan campuses may be next in line. Thanks for the tips on University of Ohio and University of Michigan. The German area in Columbus sounds like a good additional to our jaunt around the campus. And the plaque about the start of the Peace Corps, the art museum, and the Michigan League are the sorts of things that are good to know about.

Interesting things on the Illinois campus are the grave of the first president, disks across the quad where you can stand and talk to each other, plaques all over campus telling about points of interest, and a place that shows the solstice. There's a virtual tour online. My favorite place to eat is Papa Del's for deep dish pizza. They also have thin crust. If you go at lunchtime, you can buy it by the slice and from 3-4, slices are half price.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 06:17 AM
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If you go to Penn State, definitely get ice cream at The Creamery, which is on campus. The school offers a short course on ice cream making.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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If we go to Penn State, that will now be at the top of our list. U Wisconsin Madison has an ice cream shop in their union and it is wonderful.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 09:41 AM
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If you come to Columbus with your kids, you should try Dirty Franks, a fun, hipster hot dog joint in the downtown area. Also, Thurman's is a bar in German Village with very famous hamburgers. They have won all kinds of awards and have been featured on TV. Be prepared to wait in both places.

Skillet is a locavore restaurant in German Village serving breakfast and lunch that is pretty good as well. In the Short North, Mac's is a great place for a burger & beer that won't break your budget.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Also if you go to Penn Stste....in addition to great ice cream at the Creamery, make sre you go to The Diner for their famous "stickies".
http://www.thediner.statecollege.com/stickies.html
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Jan 24th, 2012, 10:20 AM
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The PSU Creamery for sure. I'm also partial to Meyer's Dairy on Atherton Street going south out of town.

Should you happen to visit Happy Valley on a Wednesday, head south on 322 to the Reedsville exit about half an hour down the road. Follow signs (or buggies) to Belleville for the weekly market and auction, strong Amish country here. There is also a flea market at Dairyland right at the exit.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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When you visit the University of Minnesota, you should see the Frank Gehry designed Weisman Art Museum on the bank of the Mississippi.
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Jan 24th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Thanks for all the great ideas. I'll add them to list.
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Jan 25th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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I was looking for a way to "pay it forward" for all the good advice I'm getting on a different forum here, and it looks like I found it! I live in Lansing, near Michigan State University. If you visit I'd highly suggest coming in late spring or early autumn when the students are here and the beautiful Gardens at Michigan State University are in bloom. That would mean May or September. If you come during the summer, you can't get the real MSU experience - East Lansing without the students is like a ghost town.

Michigan State University's campus is one of the prettiest, or so I've been told. Many old Ivy covered buildings. Stay at Kellogg center to be in the heart of the campus and contribute to the Hospitality Industry Student's learning experience. Be sure to take a walk along the river, and if you have a chance, hit a public skating session at Munn arena. Find your way to the MSU dairy store where cheese, ice cream and yogurt from our own MSU cows is for sale! This is still an agricultural college, so as you work your way southward, you will find pastures with horses grazing and can walk through the cow barns and see the cows that have little doors into their stomach. (yes - I'm serious - always fascinated me when I was a little kid and we made field trips there.) There is a nice museum, and make sure you walk the main strip in East Lansing while things are bustling. Eat at the Peanut Barrel - one of the busiest bar/restaurants in East Lansing - it is not fancy, but will give you a real taste of the culture. They have great outdoor seating during nice weather. Throw your peanut shells on the floor if you like - its tradition! Be sure to get an olive burger - another Michigan specialty, and the Peanut Barrel makes them better than anyone. Hope you enjoy your visit - MSU is a jewel!
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Jan 25th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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... also - you mentioned bringing the kids. Depending on their age, they may find the special Children's garden at MSU fun. Its very cute and creative - too cute for preteen and above, but the little ones (6 and below) love it.
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Jan 25th, 2012, 07:57 PM
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I am chomping at the bit to visit Lansing now too. Thanks for all the great ideas. I think this will be a fun quest.

No kids coming along. Our youngest is busy going to college himself right now.

Thanks for the continuing tips. I too have gotten a wealth of information from these boards.
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Jan 26th, 2012, 03:42 AM
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Glad to have been of some help. Let us know how it all goes! Very neat quest....
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Jan 26th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Have not been to the MSU campus area in East Lansing (sounds interesting from BBTTB's description), but did visit Lansing proper on a day trip. Can recommend the Michigan Historical Museum near the capitol -- good if you like museums of this kind. Wasn't that taken with the capitol building, though, which I found very over-the-top in ornament and decoration but not in a good way. Others might disagree, of course.

There's also a car museum (the R.E. Olds Museum) and a zoo (Potter Park Zoo) in Lansing, neither of which I was able to visit, so I can't comment further.
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Jan 26th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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I can't quite see the point of visiting the Big Ten campuses. What is the point of looking at a bunch of buildings? In some cases there are museums of note and the city locations offer some interesting sites as mentioned. Love Madison and Columbus e.g.

Bill in Boston (now) have lived mostly in Illinois, Missouri
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