NIU offers a number of locations for a romantic evening

By Hailey Kurth

Looking for a place to keep warm with your boo on those cold nights? There are a number of places on campus to take a date when you’re looking for a night of romance. Here are some key locales to keep in mind when you’re planning your perfect date night:

A cup o’ Joe with your main squeeze

During the day, many on-campus vendors provide a place for students to stop between classes and get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat with a special someone. Many couples visit the Coffee Corner in the Holmes Student Center for a small coffee date before or after class, said Maria Evstatieva, junior political science major and Coffee Corner employee.

“They’ll kind of sit down, talk to each other, have a small date before or after class and hang out a little bit,” Evstatieva said.

Evstatieva said she also sees couples in the early stages of their relationships.

“You can see them kind of getting nervous, and like sitting down, or not knowing what to say, or not sure who’s going to pick up the bill,” Evstatieva said, “So yes, you definitely notice some first dates, kind of as a first hang out at the Coffee Corner.”

7-10 split

The Huskie Den, located in the basement of the Student Center, offers bowling, billiards and video games for students to enjoy.

The Huskie Den is busiest Monday and weekend nights, said Thaddeus Leavy, a senior marketing major and Huskie Den employee.

“Monday nights are busy because it’s dollar night,” Leavy said.

On dollar night, bowling games, shoe rentals and a half-hour of pool all cost $1, Leavy said.

The Huskie Den is open to the public except for Monday nights, when a One Card is necessary to enter, Leavy said.

The Huskie Den also offers food like pretzels, nachos, individual pizzas and Icees, Leavy said.

On Friday nights, the Huskie Den hosts cosmic bowling from 8 p.m. to close.

Except on Mondays, ten frames will cost you $5 – $2.50 for shoes and $2.50 per game.

The Den opens at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It closes at 11:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Take in a show

Students have the chance to support fellow students on their date; NIU’s School of Theatre and Dance provides shows for students to attend.

“We’re doing shows all the time,” said David Booth, marketing director for the School of Theatre and Dance. “We have seven main stage productions and we have six studio theatre productions.”

There is a show almost every weekend, Booth said. This Thursday through Sunday, the school with put on The Storyteller’s Theatre. Next weekend, Nov. 17 to 20, the school will put on a Best of Broadway dance.

Booth said the size of the audience varies for each show.

“We’ve done shows that have sold out our 443-seat theater, and we’ve done shows that where only 75 people show up in the same theater,” Booth said, “So, it’s all over the place. It depends on the show.”

Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the lobby of the Stevens building from noon to 5 p.m. daily.


One other option for a chance at romance is a visit to NIU’s Davis Hall observatory. There, students can view the moon, star constellations and other planets. Students need not worry if they don’t know how to use the telescope; someone will be there to work it.

“We always run the telescope for people and show them where objects are, so it’s basically a guided show,” said observatory manager Matt Wiesner. “You come in and I’ll find things in the sky for you explain what they are. If people have preferences, I’m happy to find particular things.”

A visit to the observatory typically lasts 30 to 40 minutes. If there is already a group using the telescope, a student or group may have to wait 10 to 15 minutes, but there is a video on space provided to keep the line entertained, Wiesner said.

Sittin’ in a tree

According to an email from Abbey Wolfman, associate director of Orientation & First-Year Experience, there are a few benches that all NIU lovebirds should keep in mind. The Fred L. Charles Memorial Bench is located behind Swen Parson Hall.

Legend says every time a couple in “true love” kisses while canoodling on the bench, the tree bends closer to the shape of a heart. NIU also has a “kissing bench,” also called the “freshman bench.” Legend has it a freshman cannot be considered a coed until kissed by an upperclassmen on the bench. But couples beware: The trail leading away from the bench is split by a tree; if the couple separates while passing by, their relationship will end badly.

Whether it’s over a nice cup of coffee or sharing a glance at the moon, NIU’s campus offers options for students to excel not just educationally, but socially also.