Free Time? Go to Town

Photo by Marja van Mierlo/The Choate News

From escape rooms to restaurants, Wallingford provides a variety of culinary and entertainment options.

While entertainment opportunities abound on campus, the Choate community is also surrounded by the vibrant town of Wallingford. Last week, Michelle Zhuang ’18 took to the streets to find the best entertainment options in town – all a short walk or Uber away.

Doolittle Park

Searching for a slice of nature, or just another place to hang out with your friends? Make sure to check out Doolittle Park on South Elm St. Located less than a mile from Choate, Doolittle is by far the closest park to campus. It offers a large green field perfect for tossing a frisbee, a gazebo for rainy days, and a state-of-the-art playground that allows one to get in touch with his or her childhood self.

According to Angelina Heyler ’18, “The park has a relaxed and fun atmosphere. I like to go on the swings and sit on the bench.” Whether you take a short nature walk, catch up with friends, play whiffle ball, or witness physics in the real world through all the spinning playground equipment, Doolittle offers a fun and engaging atmosphere for all.


A self-proclaimed “Escape Room Experience,” Quandary is exactly what the name suggests: it’s a series of rooms from which one must escape within one hour, by working with a team to solve puzzles, codes, and riddles. In addition to testing intellectual acuity, problem solving skills, and creative thinking, it also requires cooperation and communication. Michael Zhou ’18, who went to the Quandary for his Wellness Activity, said, “It was fun. It was also definitely challenging. We escaped the room with 1 minute and 36 seconds left to spare. I would recommend other Choate students to sign up for it in the other two wellness sessions or to go independently.” If there’s a slow weekend and you want to do something challenging, rewarding, and social, get together a few friends and go online to the Quandary’s website to book your very own escape room experience.

Serenity Salon & Day Spa

Want to treat yourself for that awesome history paper or your senior soccer hat trick? Look no further than Serenity Salon & Day Spa, Wallingford’s local wellness parlor. Located on Center St, about a 20-minute walk from campus, the health-conscious establishment carries offers hair, nail, waxing, massage, and skin care services. According to a manager, “We’re really careful about the effects the procedures we offer and the ingredients in our products have on the body. Because of this, most of our product lines are vegan, organic, and paraben-free. This is also why we do gel manicures with an LED light instead of a UV light.” She continued, “Our weekends fill up really quickly with facials and massages. We suggest that everyone books an appointment, either online through the website, on the button on our Facebook page, or through the phone.”

Splat Art Studio

Located only a mile away on South Colony Rd., the Splat Art Studio offers classes for both kids and adults as well as open painting nights for creative busybodies. Recent themes of these nights include “Paint Your Pet” and “Paint & Pizza Party.” Fundraising events, birthday parties, and a “Splatacular” Summer Camp are also available at affordable prices, allowing a variety of ways to satisfy your creative itch. If you can’t make the classes or any of the night events, you can also schedule your own event simply by making a call or email.

Wallingford Public Library

Tired of studying in the same space every day? Take a short stroll to the Wallingford Public Library, just a five-minute walk down North Main St. Spanning three floors, and featuring a wealth of study desks, nooks, and couches, the public library offers a plethora of resources for the Choate community. According to a librarian, “We have 244,683 physical items, and 16,127 digital ones. We also have tons of databases. We have software to help people learn languages, or study for different kinds of academic or career tests. We also have lots of resources like newspapers and magazines for people who want to do more academic research. We really try our best to reach the broadest swath of the community.”

In addition to physical resources, the library also regularly hosts lectures, workshops, and presentations on topics that range from “The Long and Fascinating History of Toilets” to “Couponing 101” (a list of these can be found under the events tab on the Wallingford Public Library website). Regardless of whether the toilets of yesteryear or just the promise of a new study nook fascinate you, the library offers a quiet yet engaging space to spend some time off campus.

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