If you’re reading this, you’re either (1) thinking about attending Southwestern or (2) new to the school. Either way, you’ve probably heard something along these lines: “There’s nothing to do in Georgetown. If you want to have fun, just go to Austin.”

And if you ask what they mean by that, the answer you get is still vague and unhelpful. Just try to ask an SU student what they wish Georgetown had, and you likely won’t get a clear answer—the best one I’ve gotten is “Dave & Buster’s.” You might think that they’re right, what with Georgetown having a reputation as a retirement community and all. But as someone intimately familiar with the Georgetown area, I can assure you that there is much more to do than you think. Whether you’re looking to eat, to spend a little time off campus, to go for a date night, or to take an entire day to explore or shop, these places aren’t hard to find; you just have to know where to look.

Shopping and quick bites
  • Wolf Ranch: This is the biggest shopping center in Georgetown. Some notable businesses that have my personal SU student stamp of approval include Target, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Cane’s, Panera, Kohl’s, Ulta, Sephora, Ross, T. J. Maxx, Cotton Patch Cafe, Bath and Body Works, MOD Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, Five Guys, and Panda Express. There’s also a farmer’s market every Saturday morning and a traveling carnival that’ll show up for 10 days in the spring and 10 days in the fall (if riding a ferris wheel that basically came out of a suitcase is your thing). 
  • Some 24-hour places: One of the downsides of living in Georgetown is that everything closes pretty early. But if you’re really needing a midnight snack, there’s an IHOP and a Whataburger. There’s also a Walmart if you’re looking to get up to some real goblin-hours shenanigans. 
  • Jaiwai Thai Kitchen: Asian food is unfortunately pretty limited in Georgetown, but this hole-in-the-wall Thai place on the Square never disappoints. You can dine in or get takeout, and the pricing is pretty reasonable considering one plate of anything will usually be enough for two people. 
  • Monument Cafe: Do you love diner-style food? Want to take visiting family out to brunch without spending a ton of money? Woke up at 2:00 p.m. and want pancakes? Look no further than Monument Cafe! They serve a variety of diner favorites made with fresh ingredients in a restaurant with authentic Texas roadside café vibes.
  • Hat Creek Burger Company: This is a great burger place that also serves breakfast, has to-die-for milkshakes, and can be ordered with Doordash (not sponsored). The best time to hit them up is Tuesdays after 5:00 p.m. because all Big Hats (double) and Little Hats (single) are half off.
  • All Things Kids: Why would I be recommending a vintage toy store to college students? Two words: ice cream. Scoops! is the ice cream shop at the back of All Things Kids, and they have 42 different flavors of ice cream. They also sell shakes, sodas, and floats. Do yourself a favor: get ice cream in a waffle cone. They literally pour the batter into the waffle iron and roll it right in front of you. It’s life changing. 
  • Blue Corn Harvest: This one is a little on the pricier side of things, but if you’re looking to celebrate an event or want to treat your date friend, this is a great splurge. It’s all farm-to-table Southwestern (the region, not the university) food. I extra recommend this to people who aren’t actually from the South.
  • 600 Degrees Pizza: This is some of the best pizza you will ever have in your life, and any New Yorkers reading this can meet me in a Waffle House parking lot so we can settle this. They have a whole host of specialty pies or $5 single slices that are absolute units. The underdog of the menu, though, is definitely their hot wings.
  • 309 Coffee: This is a super-cute little coffee shop about a block or two outside of the Square. This is a great study spot off campus. They also serve breakfast tacos and have trivia nights on Wednesdays. 
  • San Pedro Limon: This place sells absolutely fire breakfast tacos with made-in-house tortillas. Just try to stop yourself from getting a dozen of them. 
Activities and Events
  • Blue Hole Park: This is probably this most widely known hotspot among SU students. It’s a prime swimming spot in the San Gabriel River that’s free to the public. It’s also a great place to picnic, take your dog, or get started along one of the city’s numerous hike-and-bike trails by following the sidewalk along the river. I can’t tell you how many times there’ll be a week of rain and cloudy skies but the second it’s warm and sunny, half of SU can be found here.
  • Mel’s Lonestar Lanes: Featuring an arcade, CJ’s Sports Bar, and 40 bowling lanes (plus 12 inside CJ’s!), Mel’s is a great place to spend a night out with friends and flex the years of training you put into Wii Sports bowling.
  • Market Days: On the second Saturday of every month, the Square is lined with vendors selling art, jewelry, clothes, and food. There’s also a live-music lineup!
  • Christmas Stroll: Like a market day, but make it Christmas. 
  • Red Poppy Festival: Like market days and the Christmas Stroll, but make it extra. There is also a parade. 

Georgetown, admittedly, is the kind of place that requires you to make your own fun to some extent. But considering how rapidly the city has been growing, it’s becoming much, much easier to do so. And, as an added bonus, a lot of the best places are unique to Georgetown, so it’s a great way to support local businesses and the community around Southwestern.