Family weekend is upon us! That means that for many (read: freshmen), our lovely parents will be on campus, ready to mingle and pay for food. You may be wondering, how can I show my parents how much I’ve grown as an adult and wow them with both my ease of navigating my new life and how confident I am now (and how well I rock my Columbia t-shirts that I haven’t washed since I got them)? With a detailed itinerary, that’s how! Here are some ideas for what to do with your different types of parents.
The Sporty Parent
They say that they’re here to see you, but really they just want to watch the Homecoming game and wear face paint. Stop by the Columbia bookstore and let their school pride go wild, and see if they’ll buy you another planner that you’ll promise not to lose. Take them to Mel’s for lunch, and actually get a burger. Consider checking out the volleyball and hockey games Friday night to warm them up for the football game at 1:30 on Saturday. Watch a movie: it’s warm and you can get a lot of snacks. My current recommendation is Battle of the Sexes, and there are a bunch of theaters nearby.
The Hipster Parent
Their natural gravitation is toward Brooklyn, but they’ll make the trek to see you. Take them to brunch at the adorable spot Kitchenette on 125th and Amsterdam. Order the pancakes and take in the brightly colored walls and 1950s vibe. If you’re not feeling going to the game, take a trip south and check out Smorgasbord for some high quality food-festival eats! Soak in the thrift shops and views. On the way back uptown, make the pilgrimage to the Strand bookstore and get lost in the advertised 18 miles of bookshelves. Just make sure not to buy anything too mainstream.
The Touristy Parent
Yes, you’ll go with them to Times Square. Maybe even the Statue of Liberty. Take the excuse of your parents being here and let them drag you to all the sights of New York you were too lazy/didn’t have enough time to visit yet. But also, here’s your time to show your parents how well you’re adapting at how much of a local™ you are. Fight your way through the crowds at the High Line, and take them to your favorite stall in the Chelsea Market. Wake up early and show them Absolute Bagels and make up a story about how you discovered one of the best bagel shops in Manhattan on your own (bring cash). If they want to walk through Central Park, make sure to go at sunset when the light is nicest and you might walk through some roller-blading dance parties.
The Artsy Parent
They love art and they’ve come to the right place. While they might not see the beauty in the Rick and Morty poster on the wall of your John Jay single, there’s other art to be seen. Take them to an exhibit featuring some Frank Lloyd Wright works happening now at the Columbia art gallery (did you know Columbia had an art gallery?) on the Manhattanville campus at 125th. If you’re really not feeling art, let them look around on their own while you get a couple of runs in on the climbing wall. Take them to the Met and a show on Broadway if you can swing the tickets. For food, try Sylvia’s on 127th. It’s a little bit of a walk, but it’s a Harlem staple, and has been the center of the soul food community in New York since the 60s. Famous patrons include Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela (drop this knowledge on them over a plate of fried chicken). Take them on a gallery walk in TriBeCa, stop for coffee at Kaffe 1668, and maybe a treat at the nearby Dominique Ansel bakery.
The Tired Parent
They’re overwhelmed by work and New York, and so are you. For a low key weekend, stick around campus. Get a latte at Joe’s and watch the busy Broadway street below as you sip in peace. Check out Mill’s Korean for a nice bibimbap. Let your parents choose from a list of classes to attend while you crank out your lab report. Watch the sunset together in Riverside Park, and get pastries and tea at the Hungarian Pastry shop. The next morning, grab brunch at Flat Top, which is less busy than Community, and has delicious omelets. Give them your tour of campus, omitting the places where you go to cry. If you’re feeling up for it, go on a historical tour of MoHi and check out the nearby tomb of Ulysses S. Grant and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (which is gorgeous and I definitely recommend visiting) before finishing off with some giant cookies at the Levain bakery. Keep it a chill weekend, with plenty of time for catching up and coffee breaks.
So there you go! If you can, in between your Homecoming darties, do some fun stuff with your parents. Not only will they love you forever, but they’ll most likely pay for everything.