You’ve got options close to home.
Principia College is located in historic Elsah, Illinois, along the Mississippi River. Several small towns surround Elsah, providing access to everything from quaint antique shops to “big box” stores like Target and Walmart. You’ll also find a variety of eating options near campus. There’s organic pizza at “R” Pizza Farm, seafood at Finn Inn, steaks at Tony’s, pie à la mode at My Just Desserts, or concretes at Shiver’s Frozen Custard. If you like live music or arcade games with your food, try the Rotten Apple or Grafton Keller’s Too.
For nature lovers, there’s . . . well, the entire campus. You’d be hard pressed to find more scenic Midwestern space than the College. It’s paradise for botanists and bird watchers, too. But if you want a change of scenery that still keeps you close to nature, Pere Marquette State Park is just up the River Road. The largest state park in Illinois, it’s a popular place—along with the bluffs on campus—for watching bald eagles soar.
If you want a city fix, head to St. Louis.
On the other side of the river, just forty-five minutes away, St. Louis offers everything you’d expect from a major metropolitan area: museums, clubs, the symphony, professional sports, and restaurants galore. Student favorites include the Pageant (a good venue for smaller bands), the Melting Pot (popular for date nights), Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals play) and the City Museum (an indoor playground for adults). Then there’s Forest Park: 500 acres larger than Central Park in NYC, it contains art and history museums, a world-class zoo, restaurants, golf, ice skating, recreational boating, and tennis. To see for miles in every direction, head to the top of the Arch, or for a dense urban scene, visit the Loop on Friday or Saturday night. A six-block area of boutiques, galleries, and live entertainment, this stretch of Delmar Avenue was recently voted one of the top ten streets in the country.
Urban or rural, casual or classy—whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it on one side of the river or the other.