Top 10 Gems Of Lawrence, KS

Top 10 Gems Of Lawrence, KS

It's time for the hometown round up!

Lawrence, KS is my hometown- my happy place. It's been the place I've called home my whole life. I've got to tell you- there's something magical about spending your college years in your hometown. You see everything from a different perspective. I have so many special places, filled with a lifetime worth of memories. This is my hometown round up- the top spots in Jayhawk Territory!

1. The Burger Stand

Hands down the best restaurant in all of Lawrence! This is the place I go when I have something to celebrate- whether it be a birthday or the end of finals week. Their truffle fries with the garlic parmesan aioli sauce are out of this world!

2. Wells Overlook

This is a bit of a drive, because it sits south of town, out in the country. The drive is worth it though, because you end up in the middle of nowhere, at a three story high deck, with an amazing view of Lawrence. I love going as the seasons change, so that I can see the different views. The top level is filled with sharpie quotes, initials, and dates. Take a pen and leave a mark of your own! Pro tip: Never go after dark. This place can get real sketchy.

3. Clinton Lake

One of Lawrence's most underrated, but magical places. If you're a Lawrence native, then you probably spent your summers here. No matter your age, the lake is still fun! All of my favorite hiking trails are up there, and I love discovering new paths. Drive out in the evening and park on the dam to watch the sunset, take a picnic to one of the "beaches" or take your dog for a hike at one of the many paths!

6. Rock Chalk Park

A short 10 minute drive from Clinton Lake, Rock Chalk Park sits on the north end of town, and is the perfect spot for your indoor or outdoor activities. Free to all Douglas County residents, this is also home to the Sports Pavilion. The gym, indoor track, basketball courts, and tennis courts are all yours to use! Rock Chalk Park holds three beautifully scenic trails, that go into the woods behind the Sports Pavilion. Prepare yourself for hills, wildlife, and some tight calf muscles. This is my other favorite Lawrence hiking spot, and I've watched many sunrises there on Saturday mornings.

7. La Prima Tazza

Lawrence loves its coffee shops, so picking a favorite is always hard for a coffee lover like me. While I'm a self-proclaimed Starbucks girl, I love La Prima Tazza, because it is everything that a small town coffee shop should be. Order the iced Grasshopper just one time, and I promise you'll fall in love. Or try a Marshmallow Cloud latte, and relish the foamy goodness. Perfect for those Instagram photos, studying, people watching, and chatting with friends.

8. Sylas & Maddie's

You simply can't beat old time ice cream shops. Sylas & Maddie's has been around since I was a baby, and very little has changed throughout the years. On the weekends there's usually a line out the door, because Lawrencians know that Sylas & Maddie's is where you get the good stuff. Head down to Mass St. and order a triple scoop of Maddy's Mud on a waffle cone. All of your sugar cravings will cease to exist after that first bite.

9. Mass St.

Anything and everything happens on Mass St. in Lawrence! The best boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, street performers, and bands are all downtown. Stop in for pancakes at Milton's, go shopping at KB+Co, and pick up pastries at Wheatfields. Eat amazing Indian food at Bay Leaf, make a custom tee shirt at Acme, and take a stroll in South Park. Whatever your mood, Mass St. has everything. It's Midwest style fun!

10. The Merc

My second home for the last sixteen years! Founded in 1974 by a passionate group of foodies, this health food store + deli is one of Lawrence's greatest pride and joys. I started going to the Merc with my mom when I was a little girl, and I've continued to go there on my own in my college years. Last semester my family would meet up in their deli every Friday night to eat, and it just further confirmed that The Merc is one of my happy places. I'm obsessed with their veggie sushi rolls and the spicy tuna rolls from their deli. I also LOVE their cashew queso! It's insanely delicious. They have a huge kombucha and pressed juice section, which makes this girl very happy! The people, the atmosphere, the products, the deli, and the bakery make it an all around perfect place. You can do your grocery shopping, get smoothies, cookies, and dinner, all in one place!

What are your favorite Lawrence spots?

Cover Image Credit: Emalee Fox

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches New Girl knows about True American. This crazy, non-sense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in Season 1 Episode 20.

The game, as described by New Girl character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game number one: the player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game number two: the player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game number three: the player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your New Girl-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly and enjoy!

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I'm Spilling The Tea: Here's Where You Can Find The Best Chai Lattes In North Carolina

Here's my roundup of the best chai lattes in town, from one tea drinker to another.


I'll always choose tea over coffee, especially if it's a well-made chai latte. There's something intrinsically comforting about the drink's frothy texture and smooth spice blend, something that reminds me of Starbucks runs on snowy days and relaxing with a warm mug before bed. Chai delivers just enough punch to push you over that mid-afternoon slump, but not so much that you feel sick. I recently got my friends addicted to the drink because once you try it, there's no going back. Here's where you can find the best chai lattes in North Carolina.

1. The Oak House - Elon, NC

The Oak House's chai lattes are sweet, spiced, and everything nice. The cafe is a coffee shop by day and a bar by night, but is always perfect study space if you need a little pick-me-up.

2. Perennial - Chapel Hill, NC

Perennial's chai is on the spicier end but is toned down by the sweetness of this cafe. It's an entirely Instagramable space, so sit back, relax, and watch the likes roll in.

3. The Green Bean - Greensboro, NC

Although The Green Bean looks like a traditional cafe on the outside, the vibrant murals and lively atmosphere inside are anything but. If you like a creamier chai latte, stop here the next time you're in Greensboro.

4. Liberty Coffee House - Asheville, NC

Liberty's chai lattes are as aesthetic as they are delicious. These artisanal teas are sure to warm you up on even the coldest of days.

5. Starbucks - Almost Anywhere, NC

When all else fails, Starbucks is always a safe bet. Pro tip: ask the barista to make your chai latte without water. There's almost no difference in cost, but your drink is made with double the flavor.

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