Finals week is often considered to be the most stressful part of a semester. There is a lot of studying involved and, naturally, the pressure to pass so you can move forward with your next year. Of course, you could always study in the school’s library, where you can keep focus in a quiet environment, have direct access to the materials you need, or meet up with study groups.

Being in the city, however, means there are plenty of places to sit down and hit the books if you need a change of scenery. Here are some of the best places to study in and around Pittsburgh:


Naturally, students are drawn to cafes and coffee shops for their studying since it has great access to much-needed caffeine. Here are some of the best cafes to study at:

  • Commonplace Coffee: located in Squirrel Hill, Northside, Garfield;
  • Adda Coffee & Tea House: located in Shadyside;
  • Big Dog Coffee: located in Southside;
  • Delanie’s Coffee: located in Southside;
  • Phipps Cafe: located in the Phipps Conservatory in Oakland;
  • De Fer Coffee & Tea: located in the Strip District;
  • Inkwell Coffee Shop: located in Lawrenceville;

What’s great about each of these cafes is their proximity to some of the best places to visit in the city that you can enjoy once you’ve spent some time hitting the books. And since Pittsburgh is so big, there are many other options for studying at a cafe in the city. Everyone has different studying preferences, though, so if you are someone who could get easily distracted in even a quiet cafe, you should consider another option.



The library is a stereotypical study spot due to the fact that you’re required to be quiet there (most of the time, anyway). There’s something about being surrounded by books and computers that gets you in a studious mood. 

As previously mentioned, PIMS’ library is the perfect spot for quiet studying or studying with a group if that’s your preference. Plus, PIMS is available to all students, whether they are online students or learning on campus. The library will deliver books or articles that PIMS Distance Education students ask for.

Of course, the city is home of several public libraries as well, including the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. 

Outdoor Study Spots

Sometimes studying outside is a great option, especially on those warm and sunny days and with a new strain of COVID spreading. Schenley Plaza is a popular park to study at in the beautiful spring months. Plus, it has wifi available and is near many restaurants, has restrooms, and, when you need a break to travel back in time to simpler moments, a carousel. 

Another great hot spot when you need fresh air while hitting the books in the Squirrel Hill area is Frick Park. Spend time studying in one of the many chill sit-down businesses like Té Café, explore the charming and eclectic neighborhood, and hit one of the trails to clear your head after spending so much time staring at your study materials. If you’re here early enough, make sure you indulge in breakfast at Pamela’s. 

FINAL(S) Tips (Get it?)

Now that you have an idea of some places you could check out of a new study spot, it’s time to make a strategy to get the most out of your study session.

Typically, professors will inform you about finals week ahead of time. In some situations, it might be best to start studying as soon as possible to avoid cramming the night before. You can begin making a study guide early in the semester to make it easier to cover all the information that’s necessary. 

Studying with others is also a great strategy (if you can manage it without being easily distracted). You can bounce questions off of each other and help each other better understand something you might be stumped on.

You might be tempted to focus all your time on studying, but not incorporating any time to pause into your schedule can actually be harmful in the end. You should still prioritize breaks, rest, and self-care. Studying is tiresome, so taking breaks is important to keep your mind fresh.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Professors and administrators at PIMS are always more than happy to help, especially if you’ve never been to the area before.