Ways to enjoy spring break on a budget

By Jamie O'Toole, Columnist

  1. Visit the Chicago Poetry Foundation

  • An hour from NIU, the largest poetry collection in the world, 61 W. Superior St., Chicago, is completely free, and there’s events being held every other day. Throughout the week of spring break there will be:

    • The center is organizing “Library Book Club: Laura Hershey” at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Attendees will have the chance to read and talk about Hershey’s work. She was a poet, journalist, popular speaker, feminist and disability rights activist.

  1. Attend a free comedy show

  • At Chicago Joe’s restaurant, 2256 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, one hour and 15 minutes from NIU, they feature Chicago’s best stand-up comedians who perform every Thursday. One is coming up this week, at 8 to 10 p.m. on March 12. The comics are unknown until the event, but they’re Chicago’s best. Guests can register here for free.

  1. Taking a hike on a local trail

  • P.A. Nehring Forest Preserve of DeKalb County, 380 Bethany Road, is a short trail five minutes from campus. Going on a hike here is a quick way to ease some midterm stress and debrief before the second half of the semester alone or with a group of friends.

  • Not far down the road is another trail that’s more scenic. A trail 33 minutes from NIU is Kilbuck Bluffs, 3020 S. Bend Road, Rockford,. As one of the oldest preserves in Winnebago County, it’s home to Kilbuck Creek, where people can fish and there are very large cottonwood, oak and other trees to enjoy on a 1.5 mile hike.

    • Spring time is the prime time to visit Kilbuck Bluffs, because of the flowers covering the  forest floor. As birds migrate for the spring, thrushes, tanagers, woodpeckers, vireos and warblers will be found at this small and scenic spot in Rockford.
  1. Paint pocket size art in the park

  • Stop at a local Walmart and grab mini canvases and dollar acrylic paint, then invite some friends at a park. Pick a random object or scene on the spot to paint microscopically, and go! It’s a short challenge, but a fun way to spend time with people outside in the Midwest.