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Cheap Thrills

Written by Allison Musante

Hip-hop activist and author J-Love talks to students during "The Essence of Hip-Hop," a free event presented by IC's African-Latino Society.

Even students who love hard work need time to relieve stress, wind down after classes, and let loose on the weekends. Whether your idea of fun is going for a hike, visiting a museum, listening to some good music, or enjoying a little retail therapy, there’s something for everyone -- and your piggy bank will love you! Here are 10 ways IC students kick back without spending more than $10.

Get Your Game On

There are plenty of ways to play without paying. Grab your friends and cheer on the Bombers—IC students get in free at all regular-season sporting events. The Campus Center rec room offers billiards, ping-pong, and other games to entertain you on a Saturday night or when you’re killing time between classes. Test your strength at IC’s climbing wall for only $5 per session. Or go skating at Cass Park for $4 plus a $3 skate rental fee (if you get a free Ithaca Youth Bureau rec card).

Feel like climbing the walls? Go ahead! It's just $5 with an Ithaca I.D.

The climbing wall at Ithaca College

Get Cultured

From musical to drama, comedy to opera, Ithaca’s Department of Theatre Arts puts on eight main-stage shows a year with tickets as cheap as $8. Or take in a show from IC Triple Threat for only $5. Stop at the Handwerker Gallery, where you can watch screenings of student films, peruse art and photo galleries, and listen to student and faculty readings -- all free!

A performance of "Grease" at Ithaca's Dillingham Center

Be at the Center of It All

IC Square in the Campus Center hosts tons of free events during the week. Come be the judge at Ithaca Idol (a karaoke night similar to American Idol), speak out at an open mic night sponsored by Spit That (a slam poetry club), or get your groove on with a performance from IC Breakers (a break dancing club).

IC Breakers performing at Family Weekend

IC Breakers

Laugh out Loud

The Student Activities Board regularly sponsors free events featuring comedians, hypnotists, ventriloquists, and improv comics. In the past, IC has hosted Bill Burr from Chappelle’s Show and Robert Kelly, who’s toured with Dane Cook. Or enjoy a show by the IC Comedy Club, which performs nearly a dozen free shows per year.

Comic Eddie Gosling hams it up while performing at Ithaca College.

Comic Eddie Gosling performing at Ithaca College

Catch a Flick

See a recent blockbuster for $3 in Textor Hall, a lecture hall that converts nicely into a big-screen, stadium-style movie theater at night. Or check out the Park School’s frequent screenings of student films and documentaries. In town, Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures show independent films for as little as $6.50 on weeknights and $8.50 on the weekends.

Fall Creek Pictures and Cinemapolis offer discounts to Ithaca College students.

Fall Creek Pictures

Crank Up the Volume

The School of Music hosts over 300 performances a year, sometimes eight performances in one day! Most student and faculty performances are free, including ensembles, junior recitals, and senior concerts. Concert series performances by renowned musicians are $11 for IC students, but dozens of stellar visiting musicians can be heard for free each year. And don’t forget about the free concerts put on by our awesome a cappella groups: Voicestream, Premium Blend, and Ithacappella.

The renowned jazz pianist, Bill Taylor, is just one of the many distinguished musicians who have performed at IC.


Get Smart

IC hosts lots of free on-campus lecturers -- but don’t yawn just yet. There’s something exciting and intriguing every week, from Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, world-renowned journalists, Nobel laureate scientists, Grammy-winning musicians, accomplished alumni, and IC’s expert faculty. In the past two years, the College has welcomed the Dalai Lama, journalist Bob Woodward, author Scott Russell Sanders, documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, and Walt Disney Company president and CEO (and IC alumnus) Bob Iger ’73 -- to name a few.

Recent visitors to Ithaca College include His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Have an Adventure

You can’t call yourself a true Ithacan until you’ve visited the famous Ithaca gorges! Appreciate Ithaca’s natural beauty by hiking or walking through the dozens of trails and state parks close by (some have a small admission or parking fee). A favorite among students is Buttermilk Falls State Park, which has a steep hiking trail that rewards your effort with a view of 10 waterfalls. You’ll also find recreational trails for hiking and cross-country skiing right on campus! You can even rent gear for a small fee from the Outdoor Recreation Equipment Center located in the Fitness Center.

At 215 feet, nearby Taughannock Falls is one of the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains.

Taughannock Falls

Chill Out on the Commons

It doesn’t cost a thing to browse through the one-of-a-kind shops on the Ithaca Commons, like Evolution 102, which is known for its racks of retro offerings, or Trader K’s for cheap clothes. Then kick back in one of many funky coffee shops, like the Lost Dog Café, which has $8 lunch combos, $6 appetizers, and live music during the week with a cover charge between $5 and $10.

Evolution 102 is just one of many fun and funky shops on the Commons.

Evolution 102

Turn Out the Lights

IC After Dark organizes free, themed parties every semester. Saddle up for urban cowboy night and take a ride on the mechanical bull, dance the night away at the cosmic revolution party, bring your game face to the Super Bowl party, or try your luck at the dating game and casino night. It’s tons of free food and tons of fun.

An annual IC event, Urban Cowboy Night gets everyone dancing.

Urban Cowboy Night



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