Lockdown got you down? Already explored every remaining possibility of spending your time? Been trying to pick up hobbies but already got bored of all of them? Desperately need reasons to go out and not stare at those same four walls a minute longer? Gym visits just don’t cut it anymore? Then throw on a scarf and a pair of gloves, and join me for my favourite last-resort reasons and tips to get yourself out of the house during lockdown (and actually enjoy it).
The best advice, and now don’t get mad immediately and hear me out, is taking a walk.
A walk?! A WALK?!?? I can already hear the logical response to this advice.
We’re in lockdown for another who-knows-how-many months and the best advice for how to spend our time and-not-go-mad is a WALK?!??
Well, yes. But not just any walk, because there are plenty of things to see in the city that you may have overlooked so far and that will transform any boring walk into a much better alternative.
And, again, I hear you asking: what could possibly make the drab winter more exciting? What could possibly bring change to those same neighborhood streets I’ve been seeing for several months now? The simple answer is street art.
Several small and large pieces of art are hidden throughout the city, and they offer the opportunity of an art hunt, to be done with family, friends, or roommates of your choice. Spice up your social media (if you’re into that) with some new pictures and feed your mind with something that's absolutely not medicine-related.
Good places to go on a blind hunt for art are: around the Rademarkt, Ebbingekwartier, or the large legal wall of the Noordzeebrug a little outside of the city centre.
Various sources exist to find specific art locations close to you, or en route to your local supermarket if you’re not keen on going out when you don’t need to. I recommend streetartcities.com for a handy map of art in the city. And you’ll see: street art is absolutely everywhere!
Another option is to do some good-old soul searching in Groningen’s lesser-known parks, where you can visit some open-air petting zoos while you’re at it. This may sound a little silly, but I promise it is a good outing for a student house or a group of friends, if you’re willing not to take it too seriously. You’ll find zoos around the city in the neighborhoods of Vinkhuizen, Lewenborg, and Beijum, as well as in the Stadspark.
Although parks are open, petting zoos are not, so be sure to stay behind the fences and make fun of the goats at a legal distance.
Visit the SDG (Stichting Dierenweides Groningen) website to find out exact locations.
My last favourite activity to calm the virus fear is to visit some of the city’s best (and lesser known) thrift shops. With a heavy heart, I’ll share the locations of my two favourite treasure-troves with you and hope that you’ll still leave some of the good stuff for me.
For true treasure hunting amongst trash, the only place you need to know about is the Winkel van Sinkel, atoomweg 6, in Hoendiep. In several rooms, clothing, furniture, bikes, fabric and much more is just kind of piled up for you to look through. Here you can count on the lowest prices of the city, and the best finds (especially where it comes to books and furniture).
But if you’re solely a clothes-shopper, then the best place to be lies just south of the city centre. This is, of course, the Mammamini location in Helpman (Helperoostsingel 29), which is just for clothing (there is also a general goods store of theirs across the street). Unlike their location next to the Noorderplantsoen, this one is less frequented by students and therefore you’ll have a higher chance of being the first to spot a good item.
There are many more shops around the city besides those favourites of course, and I could not end this little list without mentioning the GoudGoed in Damsterdiep, or the various second hand and antique places on the Ulgersmaweg.
Don’t forget to wear a mask in these stores, and visit them during weekdays when it’s less busy.
And that concludes the ’rona-friendly, non-mainstream tips for spending your precious lockdown hours. Now go forth - wear your mask, stay safe - and try them out!