May 23, 2024

Best outdoor study spaces on campus

Some safe and peaceful outdoor study areas on campus.

University of Tennessee in early 2020

Photo of Ped Walkway at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Credits: Donna Mitchell

Wondering where you could study on campus next semester? UT’s beautiful campus makes it so easy to find a perfect study spot. Here are a few you might fall in love with.

 Hess courtyard

This spot is a perfect distance from the library for a change of scenery during long study sessions. With only two tables and a swinging bench, it is a secluded introvert’s dream. The courtyard is located between Pedestrian Walkway and Melrose Avenue. If you are walking from Melrose, go past the Hess entrance towards Hodges and through the arches. However, there is a basketball court nearby that could result in noise and interrupt studying. But if you catch this spot at the right time it is not only private but quiet.

Arches outside of Hess hall.

Gazebo next to PCB

Ever catch yourself in need of a late-night study sesh? Then you should head over to the gazebo by PCB. If you’re walking from Brown Residence Hall near the Chick-Fil-A Express entrance, just look to your right. This spot is perfect for portable hammocks as there are plenty of hammock stands. However, if you don’t, there are still benches. This gazebo is pretty at night and during the day.

The gazebo outside of PCB at night.

 Hammock central

Hammock Central, located right in between the Art and Architecture Building and the Humanities and Social Sciences Building is perfect for anyone with a hammock. Often you will find these trees full of college students hanging around and working hard. If you are a person who loves to study with a buddy, then encourage them to hang on a nearby tree too. These trees are well-maintined by experts like Gabe’s Tree Service, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Trees outside of HSS for students to set up hammocks.


The HSS lawn and tent is by far the most popular study site on campus. If you love collaborative efforts then this is the place for you! You’ll often find groups sitting in the amphitheater or even in the chairs under the tent. This is a campus appointed “outdoor study space” so if you do study here, it is respectful to keep the noise level low.

Designated outdoor study space outside of HSS.


Waterfall Oasis

This small study space, also known as Blueberry Falls, consists of many tables and a great view. This spot is directly off Pedestrian Walkway, right across from the Haslam Business Building. The miniature waterfall allows for soothing background noise when studying. Not to mention, it is just a 15-second walk from Neyland Stadium. This space is perfect for group studying or to take a break on your own.

The stream looking over Neyland Stadium.

Student Union

Right by the Waterfall Oasis is the Student Union Courtyard. This spot has benches and tables for all to sit. The courtyard is another popular spot for students, so be prepared to be around groups. This location is perfect because it is right next to the Student Union Starbucks in case you need a caffeine boost.

Tables in the Student Union Courtyard.

Ayres Hall

If you’re looking for a secluded study session, Ayres Hall is for you. Last, but certainly not least, this spot has everything. First, there is a beautiful view of the hall itself. Because this is a designated study space, it is respectful to keep the noise down when studying. You can choose to sit under a tent or even grab a blanket and sit on the beautiful lawn. This spot is perfect for time-management when studying because the clock goes off every 30 minutes.

Stairway to Ayres Hall.


Edited by Maddie Torres and Gracie-Lee Strange

Photos Courtesy of Erin Sass.

Featured Photo Courtesy of Donna Mitchell.

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