Rise & Grind: The Best Coffee Shops Study Spots Around Campus

Rise & Grind: The Best Coffee Shops Study Spots Around Campus

For some inexplicable reason, my productivity skyrockets when I spend the day working in a cafe. Perhaps it’s the aromatic wafts of freshly brewed coffee tingling my nerves, or the gentle and jazzy tunes playing in the background, or the warm atmosphere and ambient chatter. If you’re anything like me and are always looking for new (and caffeinated) study spots to explore, check out some of the ones below! All of these are located conveniently near campus, stocked with snacks and drinks, and most importantly, have good vibes so you can grind out that schoolwork! 

Best for Group Work: United By Blue 

Located on Walnut Street right behind Van Pelt, United By Blue has more than sufficient seating, despite its seemingly small storefront. The atmosphere inside is very open and rustic, with natural light and gentle chatter. Food wise, UBB offers a variety of pastries as well as light meals, such as sandwiches, salads, and egg platters. Both their breakfast and lunch menus are served all day, which is perfect if you want to spend the day working away without having to worry about where to get your meals. My favorite savory options include the Chicken and Brie sandwich, which comes with cranberry sauce and herb mayo all on toasted brioche, and their classic Bagel and Lox. 

  • Address: 3421 Walnut Street 
  • Hours
    • M-F 7am – 5pm 
    • Weekends 8am – 4pm 

Best Sweet Stuff: Paris Baguette 

This is a classic study spot near the high rises. What sets it apart from all the others is the wall full of beautiful, artistic, perfectly-baked pastries that you will circle back to time and time again. Use these pastries to motivate or reward yourself; either way, definitely try at least a few. Some of my favorite pastries are their GIANT matcha creme filled croissants, fresh fruit pastries, mochi donuts, and classic egg tarts. They offer seasonal drinks as well, like caramel apple cider and pumpkin spice latte. There are usually plenty of other students here hard at work, so you’ll feel even more motivated to be productive! 

  • Address: 3816 Chestnut Street 
  • Hours: Everyday 8am – 9pm 

Best Savory Stuff: Pret a Manger

Pret is a classic coffee and lunch spot located on campus, at the Locust entrance of Huntsman Hall. Here, you can spend your dining dollars on a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, pastries, and caffeinated beverages. If you need a spot to grab a quick lunch and get some work done, Pret is perfect for you. It has a louder, busier atmosphere, especially near mealtimes, so definitely keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to background noise. 

  • Address: 3730 Walnut Street 
  • Hours
    • M-T 8am – 8pm 
    • Fri-Sun 8am – 4pm 

Best Views: Panera Bread

A classic breakfast, lunch, or coffee place, Panera Bread has something for every mood. If you’re craving sweet, they offer plenty of delicious pastries and desserts. For savory, their sandwiches are a fan favorite. For some comfort food, I recommend their mac and cheese or one of their hearty soups. For something lighter, they offer a wide selection of salads as well. Personally, I can never pick just one, so the You-Pick-Two option is perfect. My favorite part about this study spot is the upstairs area, where you can overlook the street. Overall, great lighting and great eats! 

  • Address: 200 S 40th Street 
  • Hours: Everyday 7am – 8pm 

Most Convenient: Stommons 

Stommons, or “Starbucks below Commons,” is the most classic Penn coffee shop, and for good reason too. Located conveniently on Locust, with 1920 Commons right above and Gourmet Grocer right next door, Stommons is always a bustling place with lots of students hard at work. It has all the well-loved Starbucks classics, plus the added atmosphere of a large space filled with tables and couches to work on. This is also a great place to meet with study groups, since the noise level is generally moderate here. Plus, they accept dining dollars, so your wallet can relax a bit! 

  • Address: Lower level of 1920 Commons 
  • Hours
    • M-Th 8am – 12am 
    • Friday 8am – 9pm 
    • Saturday 11am – 6pm 
    • Sunday 12pm – 12am 

Best Seating Options: Joe’s Cafe 

This is another on-campus coffee spot that takes dining dollars as well! What I like most about Joe’s Cafe is the amount of natural lighting it gets with its floor-to-ceiling windows, especially in the early afternoon. They offer a variety of different seating options as well, and it’s generally pretty quiet so you can really focus. Furthermore, their sandwiches are delicious, especially if you get them toasted. Try their Corned Beef, Salami, Swiss, and Smoked Gouda on Rye panini, or their Caprese Sandwich with pesto aioli and focaccia! They offer scones and other pastries as well. I’d definitely recommend Joe’s as one of the best places to spend your dining dollars! 

  • Address: Ground floor of Wharton’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall 
  • Hours
    • M-Th 8am – 5pm
    • Friday 8am – 1:30pm 

Best Atmosphere: Saxby’s 

If you’re near the high rises, Saxby’s is conveniently located right at the end of Locust. Saxby’s is a Philly staple, known for their coffee and baked goods. This spot offers plenty of tables and workspaces, along with some jazzy coffee shop tunes. If you like working with some light background chatter and a warm, cozy atmosphere, I’d definitely recommend checking out Saxby’s. 

  • Address: 4000 Locust Street 
  • Hours
    • M-F 7am – 4pm 
    • Weekends 8am – 4pm 

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