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A no-frills guide to NIU for all the young pups out there

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You're doing it wrong.
You're doing it wrong.

Freshman year.  Ah, I can remember it as a swell time 4 YEARS AGO.  Hopefully you've settled in a little bit before classes even started.  And by settled in I mean found a decent party and was not included in the laundry list of arrests made during move-in weekend.  Even if that last part did happen, there's always time for redemption because you now know not to aimlessly walk down Annie Glidden or Hillcrest carrying an open container.

I'm going to shed my valuable experience on what to look for and prepare yourself as the school year progresses.  Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section providing your valuable insider information on eats, drinks and whatever else you want to talk about.

Dorm Life

  • If you have been camping out in your room, venture out and meet actual living people.  You'll be living with these guys for months and often you'll establish life-long relationships, male and female.
  • Make friends with somebody who is over 21 and your RA.  They will be valuable resources in the near future.
  • If you live in Grant North or South, well I'm sorry you're living there.  I suggest you find somewhere else to spend the majority of your time.  Preferably Lincoln, Douglas or Greek Row.
  • Take advantage of whenever your parents visit and have them buy you boatloads of stuff from Wal-Mart

Food during the day

  • Dog Pound Deli in Douglas is THE place to be for lunch.  It's like the 20 Subways you'll find around Dekalb, but definitely better.
  • Out of all the dorm food, Stevenson (the sophomore lair) has to have the best with the biggest selection.  But then again, this is dorm food we're talking about.
  • Fatty's has hands down THE BEST food in all of Dekalb.  Don't stop with their Burgers and Chicken Sandwiches, also make sure to get their world-famous cajun fried potato salad.
  • The best two Mexican restaurants are Eduardos (downtown) and Los Rancheros (by Wal-Mart).  Good places to bring a date as well.  Taco Bell is open until 2 AM always.

It's 3 AM and I'm STARVING

  • Huskie Pizza.  The best on-the-go because they sell ginormous slices of pizza right next to Starbusters.
  • Vinny's.  Probably the best tasting pizza in Dekalb.  Do yourself a favor and order a 24" HURRICANE pizza with your friends.  You can hardly fit that bad boy through a doorway.
  • Cheese nuggets from Pizza Pros and Beer Nuggets from Lukolos.  These will be your best friends on some nights.
  • Skillets from Lukolos or McDonalds breakfast food are both good nightcaps.  Beware of the Lukolos Greek Mafia.
  • DO NOT VISIT BURRITOVILLE.  I repeat: NO BURRITOVILLE.  It may be at a convenient walking distance and you can spot their sign from a mile away, but you do no want to so much as consume nevertheless have to digest this food through your system.  Take heed, my friends.

Hangover Specials

  • Egg Haven.  It's down Sycamore Rd a bit, but its the best breakfast place I have ever been to.  And I'm a breakfast aficionado.
  • The Junction.  A certain friend of mine hates this place (says its overrated), but I'm a huge fan.  Open late, open early.   Vast menu selection and can order breakfast food (SKILLETS!) at any point in the day.

Local Watering Holes

  • Do yourself and read the Northern Star solely for the best deals each weekend.
  • Starbusters is far and away the best bar in Dekalb, but that's not saying much.
  • Mollys is pretty decent and I always somehow end up there.  Fatty's is the best place to go on Tuesdays or gameday.  There's some new place called Amnesia Bar One Detox Campus Club, but I have no idea how it is.
  • The Jungle The Barn Reilly's Pub & Grill is nice if you like empty bars with raging techno music.
  • Strongly recommend townie bars downtown Andy's (dirt cheap), Lord Stanley's (pitchers & pizza).  Ottos has the best live music that you will find anywhere in town.  Eduardos has the best Long Islands anywhere (Thursdays)


  • You're lucky because your tickets are free.  Yes, FREE!  Of course they are actually included in your tuition, but who's counting?  I'm an alumni and I have to pay for season tix now.  Take advantage of this golden opportunity.
  • All you do is walk around campus a few days before game day and they are handing these bad boys out like candy.  If you just stay in your room all day, venture out to the convo so they can scan your ID and pick up your ticket.  Same exact things for the basketball games.
  • Despite what you may think, It's not THAT far to walk to the convo for a basketball game
  • Tailgating is fun, but don't forget (or be unable) to attend the game!  It's why you're there in the first place
  • Stop playing your X-Box and join an intramural team for fun
  • Throw out all of your University of Illinois garbage.  You will be ridiculed for walking around campus wearing that crap.


  • Dorms are best for pre and post-gaming, so get out of there and start walking North down Annie Glidden
  • Use the 7-11 at the edge of Hillcrest and Annie Glidden as the center-point of all activity.  West down Hillcrest is where the apartment parties are.and East down Hillcrest (and then on to Blackhawk/Greenbrier) is where all the fraternity parties are.
  • Trying to find an apartment party on Regent, Spiros, Fotis or Aspen is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Start your adventures here.  $5 for a red cup.
  • If you are Greek-minded, get out there and go through rush.  Even if you don't make it in to a fraternity, its at least free beer and a chance to meet some cool new people (and chicks!).  I'm biased but Phi Sigma Kappa throws the best parties known to man.  Just take a left on Blackhawk to Ridge and you will find the mansion surrounded by Sororities.
  • Learn the basics: knowing how to tap, pump and pour from the keg along with beer pong skills will get you far in life.

Did I miss anything?  Help me out here guys.

Oh, and this was an idea blatantly stolen from TNIAAM