Special Issues » Annual Manual

Over at UCF, come for a football game and stay for everything else

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The University of Central Florida serves 66,000 students, but it doesn’t really feel that way in this close-knit community. Despite being a diverse bunch with interests ranging from engineering affordable prosthetics for children to creating art on the global refugee crisis, the one thing that unites Knights is extreme school spirit. Even before its football team was pushed into the national spotlight, thousands of students would gather every year to charge into the campus Reflecting Pond and wrestle over rubber ducks in the annual homecoming Spirit Splash. And while local restaurants and coffee shops do cater to overworked and over-caffeinated college students, they’re still very much worth the drive from Orlando’s downtown core. Come for a game, and enjoy the rest.

DRINK

Knight Library

11448 University Blvd., 407-704-7477, knightlibrary.com

Known more for its catalog of alcohols than any collection of books, Knight Library's iconic parties and drink deals have gotten it recognition as one of the top college bars in America.

Vespr Coffeebar

626 N. Alafaya Trail, thevespr.com

This is not your average study hot spot. Vespr combines classic cold brews and cappuccinos with a bourbon maple latte and Patagonia wild guava tea. For the late-night hours, this business also boasts a wine and craft beer bar.

Kung Fu Tea

12098 Collegiate Way, 407-286-2055, kungfutea.com

If you need a sweet boba fix, Kung Fu Tea is the place to satisfy it. This international franchise has an extensive list of flavored teas and milk teas, along with interesting special mixes like pumpkin oolong milk tea.

Stagger Inn UCF

12190 Collegiate Way, facebook.com/staggerinnucf

Stagger Inn includes all the drama of a regular college bar, but here the folks wear cowboy attire. Grab a pair of boots and come on over for a good ol' country time.

EAT

Insomnia Cookies

12101 University Blvd., 407-901-1873, insomniacookies.com

Drown yourself in all the snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin delicacies you can handle at 2 a.m. with Insomnia Cookies. Try getting one à la mode with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Omelet Bar

12250 Strategy Blvd., 407, 704-1597, omeletbar.com

Breakfast is serious business at Omelet Bar. Build your own omelet creation, try the house's lobster eggs Benedict or chow down the famous s'mores tower of pancakes dripping with white and chocolate syrup.

Valkyrie Doughnuts

12226 Corporate Blvd., valkyriedoughnuts.com

The fluffy little squares of dough served here are not only adorably Instagram-worthy, they're also deliciously vegan. Make your day and get the "Big Fu*kin' Doughnut" for yourself and eight other friends.

Lazy Moon

11551 University Blvd., 407-658-2396, lazymoonpizza.com

If you only visit one place near UCF, make it this one. You only need one mouthwatering slice of pizza perfection to get full.

GO

Reflecting Pond

4000 Central Florida Blvd., 407-823-2000, ucf.edu

When it's not doubling as a lucha libre ring for rubber ducks, the Reflecting Pond is a popular spot where UCF students can study quietly or take a moment to just relax on a patch of grass near the pond.

Spectrum Stadium

4465 Knights Victory Way, ucfknights.com

The crown jewel of UCF's athletic facilities that seats a little less than 45,000 people is needed now more than ever after the Knights' recent undefeated season.

Robinson Observatory

74 Neptune Drive, 407-823-2325, planets.ucf.edu

Map the constellations and planets with a date at the Robinson Observatory on Knights Under the Stars. The event is free and allows the public to observe the skies from one of the best viewpoints in town.

Little Big Econ State Forest

1350 Snow Hill Road, Geneva, 407-971-3500

Less than 20 minutes from UCF, explore Florida like it used to be. Paddle down the Econlockhatchee River, or hike through more than 16 miles of forested lands.