Nichols College Hacks: Experience Off-campus Like Never Before


Think there’s nothing to do near Nichols College? Couldn’t be more wrong! Nichols College is actually in the middle of some exciting and distinctive spots. You just need to know how to find them.

Most Nichols students can have a car on campus, but if you aren’t from the area you probably won’t know where to go. Don’t spend the weekends cooped up in your dorm room, because there is so much to experience in this area of Massachusetts.

Consider yourself lucky, because—as a lover of fun, food, and all things unique—I have the inside scoop for you. I’m a long-time resident of central Massachusetts, so I have narrowed my list down to the best places around. This article includes the basics, and also so much more than that. From everyday spots to more unique experiences, there’s definitely something for everyone around here.


The Canal District in Worcester: I could write an entire book on all the fun things to do in this area—no joke. It takes about 25 minutes to get here from Nichols College. This district is made up of all small businesses, and you could easily spend an entire day walking around the shops here. Every Saturday a farmer’s market is held from 9 a.m. to noon with seasonal produce and treats. Below are some of the businesses that are my personal favorites:

  • Crompton Collective is a boutique that showcases a variety of local artists and vendors. This place is huge. They have everything from bohemian accessories to vintage trinkets to cool furniture pieces.
  • Birchtree Bread Company is an Instagram-worthy venue that gives off a chic, indie vibe that you’re sure to love. From breakfast pastries to mouthwatering sandwiches on freshly baked bread and drinks (delish coffee!), this is a great spot to sit down with a group of friends and take in the enjoyable atmosphere. Also: Check out the live music every Wednesday and Friday night.
  • If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you must check out Queen’s Cups … seriously, you must. This bakery features creative, hand-crafted desserts that are sure to interest your sweet tooth. Don’t believe me? Just check out their social media pages. They feature live music every Thursday evening (BYOB for those of you who are 21+). The atmosphere here is so fun and modern, I would strongly recommend going.

Want to catch a movie?

  • Cinemagic Stadium Theater in Sturbridge is only a 20-minute drive from campus.
  • Blackstone Valley 14: Cinema de Lux in Millbury is 25 minutes from campus.
  • If you’re looking for a more unique cinema experience, Elm Draught House Cinema in Millbury, MA is about 25 minutes from Nichols. This old-fashioned theater is known to locals as the “Elm.” It’s considered a Cinema Pub, as they offer a variety of drinks, including beer and wine for those 21+, and great food. This is a single-screened theater that shows one movie per week. On top of the movie, it also hosts comedy nights and special sport event screenings. If you’re looking for a cool cinema experience, definitely check out the Elm.

Need a break from studying and a dose of fun?

  • The Auburn Mall is only 20 minutes from Nichols.
  • The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury is a 25-minute drive from campus.
  • If you’re looking for a non-traditional shopping experience, you might want to check out the Sturbridge Marketplace at the Falls in Sturbridge. This unique retail experience is about 25 minutes from campus. It’s housed inside a former mill that dates back to the 19th That history adds to the charming vibes you’ll feel when walking throughout the multiple-storied building. From the flea market to antiques shops, you are bound to find a special keepsake.
  • Mohegan Bowl in Webster is only 10 minutes from campus, and they have everything from bowling to laser tag, as well as a menu with a variety of food and drinks.

Are you a foodie?

  • If you’re looking to indulge in a huge breakfast and leave feeling eternally full, Carl’s Diner in Oxford is your place. Just 10 minutes from Nichols to a breakfast-lover’s heaven. Not only is their detailed and delicious menu full of tasty breakfast and lunch items, but also the portions are so enormous. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to eat again.
  • For those aged 21 and older, the KBC Brewery in Webster is a great spot to spend time with friends. It’s located less than 10 minutes from campus and features a variety of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and a great atmosphere. The beer garden is located right by the French River park and river-walk and often showcases live music and food trucks. There’s also a Wintergarten with cool entertainment such as music, comedy shows and trivia nights.
  • If you want a great burger, you’ll want to check out The Fix in Worcester. It’s about 25 minutes from Nichols College, on Grove Street. This restaurant is a modern take on your average burger joint. Choose from their delicious burger options or build your own—the options are endless. If you aren’t a burger person, The Fix serves up some other delicious entrees and appetizers (check out the poutine!). You’ll leave full and satisfied, for sure.

So, there you have it: a local’s guide to the best off-campus spots. Be sure to take advantage of all the fun and great experiences, because you’re only in college once. Make the most of it! Now that you know where all the fun is, there’s no excuse.

If you visit any of these notable spots, be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Kate-Lynn Schraffa is a senior marketing major at Nichols College and an intern in the Nichols Office of Marketing and Communication.

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