Best Places to Relax on Campus (While Socially Distanced)

As the Winter session of 2020 slowly tapers off into an uncertain new year, it’s as important as ever to be taking care of yourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s also important to be keeping yourselves safe and healthy, wherever in the world you may be.

Thrive month at UBC has arrived, and is an especially valuable initiative that aims to take care of all members of the UBC community, all across the world. Along with tons of resources and support to help students improve and maintain their mental health, Thrive also utilizes the Thrive 5, a set of guidelines for how to take care of yourself and, well, thrive during this final push of the school year.

For example, “moving more” is one of the Thrive 5 that aims to foster and support good mental health. Although that could look like high-intensity daily exercise, it could also look like simply leaving your house once a day and getting outside. Whether you’re looking to roam winding paths for hours, or you just want to sit down somewhere other than your desk for a change, we’ve compiled some of our favourite places on the UBC campus to unwind, while also complying with social distancing guidelines.

If you’re in the Metro Vancouver area or right on campus, we recommend you mask up, bundle up and check these places out, while maintaining at least two meters distance from other people. But even if you’re nowhere close to campus, scroll through and take a moment to relax and appreciate the beauty that is the UBC campus!


Wreck Beach 

Wreck beach is a favourite hangout spot for students of all ages – and it’s cold enough now that most people down there are (probably) fully clothed. Bring your mask with you for extra precautions while climbing the four hundred or so stairs, and enjoy the 4:30 pm sunset!

If Wreck Beach is too crowded for you to comply with social distancing requirements, try Tower Beach, which is slightly less popular among students but also accessible from the campus (and just as beautiful).


Pacific Museum of Earth Courtyard

This courtyard outside of the Pacific Museum of Earth is a great spot to chill in between classes (virtual or in-person) without getting too far off the high-speed highway that is Main Mall. The funky, ergonomic wooden chairs give you plenty of space to stretch out and bask in a few beams of the wintry mid-day sun, and seats are generously spaced-out!


Main Mall Greenway

The Main Mall Greenway is a lesser-known route to the Thunderbird Stadium from the heart of campus, and in my experience, it’s always quiet and peaceful and frankly, deserted. Put your mask on to grab a hot drink to-go from Bean Around the World and take a stroll straight down this quiet extension of Main Mall. Make sure to take note of the beauty of the Rhododendron Wood on the western side (pictured above).


Museum of Anthropology 

The MOA is just far enough on the precipice of campus to feel like a completely different world, which makes it a great place to steep yourself in history and art if that’s the kind of thing that helps you unwind. The pathways that wind amongst the totem poles and other artifacts are wide enough to maintain social distance during your outdoor culture crawl!


Pacific Spirit Park

Pacific Spirit Park is such a breath of fresh air – literally, its 874 hectares of oxygen producers, right within the boundaries of the City of Vancouver. It’s a perfect place to reconnect with nature and yourself, and to safely fill your lungs with some crisp, temperate rainforest air. Just remember to respect the space of other trail-walkers!


Even if you can’t get to any of these places, navigate yourself to the Thrive webpage for other tips on how to support good mental health!