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What’s the perfect accompaniment to Homecoming? Family Weekend of course! In addition to midterms and tailgates filling up your schedule, you also somehow have to find time to entertain your parents. Whether it be a quick bite to eat after Columbia’s research showcase or a fun afternoon out after Barnard’s “Dean’s Discussion,” we’ve compiled the best activities for you and your family here at Spectrum.

Coffee catch-up

Between the school programming for parents and midterms you haven’t studied for yet, you might not have much time to convene. If that’s the case, we’ve picked out three ideal spots for a quick family reunion. Absolute Bagels is an absolute must if your parents have yet to experience the glorious (and only moderately overrated) phenomenon that is the New York bagel. For amazing ambience, banging baklavas, and crushing coffee, check out the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam and 110th Street. Just remember to bring some cash—they don’t take credit cards. Afterwards, be sure to stroll past the garden and church directly across the avenue. If you need a place to seek shelter (there’s a 20 percent chance of rain on Saturday!) spend some time at Hex&Company. It’s a board game café with reportedly delicious lavender lattes.

Fancy bites

After a couple months of Ferris pasta and Diana sushi, it’s time for some good food. Though your parents might not be able to bring you a home-cooked meal, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to finally try out that beyond-budget restaurant. Conveniently located on Broadway and 112th Street, Community Food & Juice is the perfect spot for brunch. Pro tip—you’ll beat the brunch rush and get to experience those incredible biscuits without the hour-long wait if you head over around 9:30 a.m. For the fine dining connoisseur, we recommend Le Monde—close enough that you’ll be able to have a duck confit dinner and cram session in Butler all in one evening. A couple other favorites include Marlow Bistro for Mediterranean and V&T Pizzeria for a taste of New York Italian fare.

Downtown date

If your parents have flown in from afar and want to explore downtown, we have a couple options for you. Take the 1 train down to 14th Street and check out Chelsea! Start off by walking the Highline—a railroad turned elevated linear park—for an iconic view of the Hudson River and some cityscapes. Walk through the Whitney and check “art museum” off your tourist checklist. Afterwards, Chelsea Market is ideal spot for food court style food and locally produced souvenirs. (Personally, I recommend getting the tacos). Finish with indisputably the best ice cream in the entire city—Ample Hills Creamery. Trust me, you won’t regret any of these activities.

If your parents prefer nature over the concrete jungle, you can’t go wrong with an easy walk through Central Park. Take the 1 down to Columbus Circle (59th Street) and head into the green oasis. There’s a wide selection of lunch options around 8th Street once you get hungry. Some personal favorites include The Original Soupman (as seen on Seinfeld) and Between the Bread, a seasonal and sustainable eatery.

Finally, SoHo is the place to be if your parents want to get a head start on holiday shopping. Between all the flagship stores and the famous cookie shots at Dominique Ansel Bakery, cobbled streets, and Ladurée macarons, you’ll definitely have your family feeling like New York socialites for the day.

There you have it: all the best activities for your family this weekend. If your parents aren’t able to make it out, don’t fret! These activities can be thoroughly enjoyed with the accompaniment of friends as well. Happy Homecoming and Family Weekend, everyone!

Barnard Columbia Family Weekend Homecoming
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