The town of College Park will not be an enticement for you to attend UMD. You'll find many opinions here of how run-down, unsafe, etc. it is, and the view from the car window of Baltimore Ave (Rt. 1) is not particularly scenic. I don't think it is quite as bad as some people who post here will say, but it is not comparable to the idyllic campus towns of many universities; the town of College Park will not sway you to go to UMD.
In "downtown" College Park, there are a few restaurants, a CVS, and Maryland Book Exchange (??) bookstore that are probably the most frequented businesses by UMD students walking from campus. I'm of the belief that much has to do with common sense, etc., but, in general, it is not an area where you want to be alone late at night. UMD shuttles and other night-ride options provide safe transportation. UMD campus is huge and IMO, stately and pretty... lots of students never leave campus (except to party...) However, with the campus bus to the metro options, you can get to awesome places all over the DC area, and I think that students who don't take advantage of living that close to DC are short-changing themselves. Hope this helps...
Location: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
I do not suggest venturing off the campus too much, especially in the later hours of the day.
In walking distance, there is plenty of restaurants and some shops. Across the street from the University View is a McDonald's. Fortunately, there are a lot of restaurants that deliver till the wee hours of the morning for those drunken/high nights, lol. There's Shanghai Express for chinese, D.P. Dough for calzones/chicken wings, WingZone, Cluck U, Potbellys, Dominos, Ratsies Pizza, etc. There are tons of buses that take you all over. There's an Applebees not too far from campus. A shopping plaza not too far from campus that has Boston market, coldstones, CVS, noodles and company, Chipolte, WaWa used to be there (CLOSED DOWN, very depressing). For shopping pleasures, the bus takes you over to the PG Plaza Mall...be careful there, a lot of SHADY characters, but there are many shops like Marshalls, Target and other stores you would find in malls (Foot locker, ebgames, cell phone shops, clothing shops).
And like I said, people head over to Georgetown and DC for shopping. You'll see girls come back with lots of Abercrombie and Fitch bags sometime and that is from the shopping mall in Georgetown.
Bullet and I dated during his college park yrs, and it still basically looks the same.
We would spend nights right outside of the campus (where the Vous was) or we went into DC. The metro can get you to downtown Dc or Georgetown quickly.
The campus has a social life of its own between the fraternity row, football games and the knox box parties. I typically state that the campus is a "true campus", in other words you can find a life without ever gong into College Park/Silver Springs.
Location: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
in response to bulletandpima,
you're definitely right! the campus has an amazing social life! football games, basketball games, events by SEE( this year they had HelloGoodbye, Third Eye Blind, Ingleson( song from Greys Anatomy), etc. The bus takes you to Frat Row/Knox Box and University View. Just travel in medium to large groups and be cautious of your surroundings bc u rele got to be careful in CP.
I live off campus (but within walking distance) so I have no choice but to "venture off campus" whenever I want to go somewhere. I am comfortable walking alone as long as it is not dark, and always walk with a friend or two at night. Coming home from the bars at 2 am, my roommates and I always try to find a guy friend to walk with us. Having common sense means that 99.9% of the time you will be perfectly safe in CP.
I do wish there was more shopping within walking/bus distance, although if there was I'd spend a lot more money so maybe that's a good thing after all!
If you are in a group, it's doable....no different than any large city's train system at night....certainly wouldn't recommend it if you're planning on drinking heavily....impaired judgement/common sense isn't a good thing.
I wouldn't come back alone at night. I've come back with a group before plenty of times. The only problem is that on weeknights the metro closes ~12:30 am... weeknights include Thursdays for most of the world, but not for us college students! We've gotten stuck taking a cab home on a weekend also when we've stayed out past 3 am.
Compared to my upper class suburban neighborhood, College Park is heaven. I am still exploring all of the cool stuff that is walking distance from campus and the bus lines. Mostly, there are a lot of places to eat. At least 30 restaurants (including fast food, though), several bars (two with dance floors, + College Perk, a coffee place), some places to get bubble tea, some places to get icecream, a Starbucks (it's nice to study there) etc. There are some other neat things, too, though, like two used CD/video game stores, an independent book store (and also the Maryland Book Exchange), laundromats (for drycleaning - one is pretty cool, and has pool tables/games), bike shops, a skateboard shop, and a comic book shop. The campus buses will also take you to PG Plaza (a mall - for all the shops look it up online). Students don't go there a lot, which is weird, because there are quite a few stores with cute clothes in them, plus basics like Macy's/Target. There are also video rental stores/Target/Home Depot/movie theatre/Linens and Things/Value Village/grocery stores/etc. within 3 minutes by car (some of those places are also accessible for an "adventurous" biker, that is, maybe it takes 5 to 10 minutes to bike there). Also close by car are Hyattsville and Greenbelt.
One thing we did this past weekend that was cool was drive to Langley Park (about 2 minutes away), a predominantly hispanic neighborhood. We ordered "pupusas" from a truck in Spanish. There are also an unusual amount of fabric stores. It was a really cool cultural experience.
And of course, the metro is a quick bus ride from Stamp, so there is all of DC.
Yes, College Park and the surrounding neighborhoods are more urban than students are used to, and not safe after dark without a group of people (some areas less safe than others - I wouldn't walk around Langley Park at night at all!!). And yes, you might be in the ethnic minority in these working class neighborhoods. But I think in general students are overly "afraid" of exploring their surroundings. By not doing so, they really miss out on a lot of cool stuff. Most people have not even walked 15 minutes in either direction down the street from campus, or from bus lines. So they write the town off as boring or dangerous without properly seeing it.
(Side note: I just tried pupusas for the first time on Thursday when a group from my Spanish class made a presentation about opening a pupuseria in CP, and brought them in fresh from Langley Park. So good!)
Check out campusfood.com and search for College Park to see a lot of restaurants around. Yeah, CP isn't the safest place to be during the night, but BE SMART and travel in packs! The metro is pretty safe during the night, just as you're not alone. I've come back at 2 am and I've been fine. The UM shuttle takes you from the metro to the campus and then from there, you can take more buses straight to your dorm.
College Park is low on attractions, but that's the suburbs for ya. There's shopping nearby, okay restaurants and decent access to the subway. With 25K undergraduates and probably 15K in the immediate area, there's always students about at 2pm or 2am. If you stay on route 1, shuttles or with friends, you'll be fine. It's when you're alone, you become a marked target (and UMD students are targeted).