We all know that learning how to study is a skill and as a student going into her fourth year of an undergraduate degree, I would like to think I know a thing or two about studying. From working on mid-semester essays to cramming for exams, we can also all admit that coffee shop studying is much better with delicious food and a great atmosphere.

The City of Guelph is filled with study spaces that are all unique in their own way – from right on the university campus to in the heart of downtown! Some days, I struggle with choosing where to hit the books, but it normally comes down to choosing one of these places. Here are my top five favourite coffee shops to study in: ranked.

1) William's Fresh Café – 492 Edinburgh Road South

In my opinion, William’s is an all-around great place to get some work done. It is located within walking distance of Chancellor’s Way (a large off-campus student living area) near Stone Road mall, so it is quite convenient for many students.

Secondly, there is lots of space! Unlike many other coffee shops, there are tables upon tables of various sizes for studying or snacking, I have never had a problem finding a table. They have a large menu filled with coffees, pastries, and sandwiches to satisfy your current craving. It is also right beside Metro, so you can walk over and grab some groceries on the way home!

HOURS: 7:30am-9:30pm daily.

2) Starbucks (in the Lennox-Addington Pit) – 22 Lennox Lane

When I was in my first year, this was my most visited spot on campus. In 2015, the Lennox-Addington residence opened a Starbucks beside their dining facility and this changed my life for the better. Not only was I in walking distance from a caramel macchiato, I had a great place to study when I wanted to escape the dorms!

This study space is spacious with an inviting atmosphere, complete with a fireplace. The LA Pit Starbucks is a great option for first-year students who do not want to go off campus nor do they want to visit the library (for the 10th time that week). This on-campus café is definitely a great option for coffee shop studying without venturing too far! The only thing I will say is that outlets are scarce, so remember to charge your electronics beforehand.

HOURS: 8am-12am daily.

3) Balzac’s - 5 Gordon St #100

This café is part of a chain, and with locations near my hometown, I was already familiar with the vibe. Balzac’s is located on Gordon Street, between the University of Guelph and the downtown area with a bus stop close by.

It is not the biggest store so it can be a struggle to find a seat at times, however, it always has an enticing scent of brewing coffee that always draws me in. The coffee is delicious and the aesthetic of the cafe is great for Instagram (#studying #coffee). Lastly, it takes student meal plans too which is an awesome perk.

HOURS: Monday-Thursday 7am-6pm, Friday-Saturday: 7am-5pm, Sunday: 8am-5pm.

4) The Bakery by Appetizingly Yours - 1027 Gordon Street

This café is unique because it is also a catering company, with 2 locations in Guelph. Although, I have only been to the Gordon Street location. This café is usually quite quiet when I am studying which is nice in comparison to all of the other places mentioned.

There is window seating available and lots of long, large tables for bigger groups (with lots of outlets too!). They have a wide selection of cakes, croissants, and scones to choose from when treating yourself during/after a hard days work of assignments. #Spoon Tip: Bring a sweater with you when you go, I remember it being very chilly there!

HOURS: Monday-Wednesday, Saturday: 9am-6pm, Thursday-Friday: 9am-7pm, Sunday: 10am-5pm

5) Red Brick Café - 8 Douglas Street

Lastly, the famous Red Brick Café. This place is so much more than just a place to complete your assignments. The Red Brick Café is located right in the heart of downtown Guelph, surrounded by so many other things to see and do.

This place has been modelled to resemble a European-style coffee house and I would say they nailed it – with art shows and performances in the evenings. Honestly, this place is neither spacious nor quiet so it is not the “ideal” coffee shop studying spot but it is surely an experience. I would not recommend the Red Brick for a super intense study session but you should definitely put it on your coffee shop bucket list.

HOURS: Monday: 8am-5pm, Tuesday-Thursday: 8am-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 8am-10pm, Sunday: 10am-5pm

So, there you have it! Those are my favourite spots although I’m sure I’ve missed a few hidden gems. I love to work in coffee shops when I am studying more causally or simply working on homework, but I definitely hit up the McLaughlin library when I need to get some “serious” learning done.