Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 30, 2023

The best outdoor study spots on and around campus

By EMI GONZALEZ | April 17, 2023



Gonzalez recommends heading to Sherwood Gardens if you’re looking for a beautiful spot to do some work. 

Spring has finally arrived in Baltimore! Tulips are blooming, birds chirp all day and bees swarm around the quad (which isn’t always my favorite thing). The sun sets later, and people can finally enjoy the sunset instead of missing it when they walk out of Brody at 5 p.m. and head to dinner. Everyone has tucked away their winter jackets and put their sandals on, presenting their “dawgs” proudly to the world! While many aspects of spring bring me joy, one of my favorites is finally being able to study outside without needing to wear four layers and fearing that my fingers will be frostbitten. 

But — after so many months of hibernating in my dorm, on M-level or in the reading room — I get lost on my way to the best outdoor study spots. They have become overpopulated, and I end up wandering around campus for so long that I waste all my study time. Gatekeeping public places is much more complicated than you would think. Luckily, I have found enough spots to ensure that at least one of them will always have a seat available for me.

Here are the best outdoor study spots at Hopkins! 

A classic spot will always be the Brody Learning Commons and Milton S. Eisenhower Library terrace. Equipped with tables, individual chairs and a countertop area, the terrace has all types of surfaces for you to work on. It is a convenient location with buildings around it; if your computer dies or you need an air-conditioned break, you can take two steps inside instead of walking a mile back to a building. It’s the best location for not-so-serious studying, as someone is always passing by for a chat or a frisbee game on the quad. Studying at the terrace at night also means getting a front-row seat to the Gilman clock tower sunsets. The only downside to this location is the nailed-down seats!

Garland Hall is the next table-top study spot. The building is surrounded by a patio with movable seats, perfect for dragging around to ensure all your friends can work together. Located right next to Levering Hall, this outdoor spot is ideal for leisurely reading with your lunch of choice. There’s never too much noise around the area since it is quite far from the center of campus. Enjoy a peaceful work and snack break here.


Everyone knows the President’s Garden. Unfortunately, this means the spot can get crowded quickly. Though the benches are made for multiple people, once someone lays claim, no one will join them. A peaceful and shady location, it’s a great spot to work on a writing assignment or read a novel before class. The fountain is a good distraction; watch the fish swim around before your brain fries. 

While it is a bit of a walk (20 minutes or so) Sherwood Gardens is the best study spot. Bring a picnic blanket, snacks, a refreshing drink and friends to enjoy the beautiful tulip garden while finishing your calculus notes. Sprawl out while reading for an English course or take a power nap in the sun before going back to cramming for chemistry. The garden can get crowded, but this isn’t a problem noise-canceling headphones can’t fix. The fresh air and tulip scenery will calm your nerves about homework and let you fall into the locked-in zone. If you need a stretch, the garden is the perfect spot for a short walking break. Bonus: You will never struggle to secure a spot; there’s room for everyone!  

So, go outside! Lay out on a blanket while your friend reads their awful poem for Introduction to Fiction and Poetry to you! Eat some chips after studying for microeconomics in the fresh air. Get burnt after forgetting you’ve been studying outside for three hours. Happy spring! 

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