It’s that time of year again.

College students have officially returned for another semester of growing, learning and…eating, of course. Frankly, we could not survive without those late night sweet tooth runs at The Poor Porker or those early morning coffee fixes at Black & Brew Coffeehouse.

Lakeland has many adorable, locally-owned coffee shops! We all love our Dunkin and Starbucks, but Lakeland also offers a multitude of perfect study spots if you want to hunker down with a delicious cup of coffee and a homemade treat. Check out hometown favorites like Concord Coffee Shop, Mitchell’s Coffeehouse, and Hillcrest Coffee. Fan-favorite Patriot Coffee Roasters now has a permanent space off S. Florida alongside the renowned Born & Bread Bakehouse. Their cruffins are so. Good.

Lakeland has Instagram-worthy photo stops! If you’re a hipster at heart and love a good exposed-brick backdrop, Lakeland is your Instagram dream-land–not to mention the delicious treats you can get at some of these stops along the way. Click above to read our exclusive list of spots to check out.

Lakeland has free bus transportation for college students! If you’re a student from Polk State College, Southeastern University and Southern Technical College, you have access to free bus transportation through Citrus Connection. All you have to do is show your student ID card upon arrival. You can also ride the Megabus to major cities throughout the state for cheap!

Lakeland has student discounts throughout local establishments! Check out our student discounts guide for details. Bring your student ID everywhere you go! It’s always worth asking around different places. Also, Polk Museum of Art offers free admission daily.

Lakeland has LIVE MUSIC every single weekend! Places like 801 East Main Street and Fresco’s Bakery & Bistro offer weekend live music sets as you enjoy their delicious entrees. Check out the lineup from LKLDLive for fun shows weekly, ranging from Swingtime revues to rock covers.

Lakeland has locally-made items. Although we’re excited to welcome in H&M at Lakeland Square, nothing beats our darling selection of handcrafted pieces. 5th & Hall is Lakeland’s very own street fashion brand. When you check out this store, you’ll find some incredible styles and a variety of clothing choices from local artisans. One of our favorite vendors, Rane Made, is sold at various Lakeland storefronts!

Lakeland has community events on a monthly basis! If you love social events with yummy food vendors and live music. Lakeland hosts a First Friday event in the downtown area every first Friday of the month. There’s tons of fun booth, activities and live music to enjoy. Every second Thursday of the month, come to Munn Park for Lakeland’s Food Truck Rally! Tons of food truck vendors from the central Florida region join us for a night of food, music and dancing.  From 8am-2pm on Saturdays, take a moment to visit our Curbside Farmer’s Market. Both markets include access to fresh produce and handmade items weekly!

Welcome to the family. We hope you fall in love with Lakeland as much as we have!