Need to study in Tyler? One woman’s search for the best place

My name is Camilia Bhandari. I am a second generation Tylerite and a 23-year-old college student attending The University of Texas at Tyler.

As the next assignment due date approaches, I look at my desk and think, “Anywhere but back there.” 

My studying malaise reached the tipping point during finals last semester. I realized I needed a better plan moving forward. Part of what helped? Coffee with cream and a sense of adventure. 

Instead of “work,”I treated my studies as an opportunity to explore and find the best places in Tyler to get the job done. These are my findings and ratings.

La Madeleine Country French Cafe

419 W Southwest Loop 323

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jatziri, left and Tommi, right, are part of the friendly staff at La Madeleine. 📷 all photos by Camilia Bhandari

Free WiFi: Yes 

Electrical outlets: Fair 

Parking: Free, abundant 

Atmosphere: Cozy, sophisticated, Cottage Core vibe

Prices: Competitive

Substantial meal options: Yes

The coffee was richer and less expensive than Starbucks and presented in a cute mug with foam on top. Light French music plays in the background, and the bathrooms are nice and clean with large stalls. Business is slow in the afternoon, so I often have the place to myself. The staff was so friendly. If you take a sip and blink your eyes, you can convince yourself you are indeed in France.

Café 1948 Coffee and Juice Co

110 N College, Suite 103

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Olivia is a Café 1948 regular. Here, she enjoys a coffee on her birthday.

Free WiFi: Yes

Electrical outlets: Abundant 

Parking: Free at Fair Plaza parking garage; pay at meter if closer 

Atmosphere: Chic, hip, trendy 

Prices: Hurt my wallet 

Substantial meal options: Yes, but pricey

The shop is located downtown – convenient for some of us. I had to park in the Fair Plaza Parking Garage and walk a block to get there (but that was part of the adventure). Approaching the shop, you are greeted by chic wooden chairs and decorative plants. The interior looks like a luxury art studio without the mess. Contemporary, variety music blasts in the background as you sift through the menu. The sitting area is small, and they stay pretty busy. There is only one place with plug outlets in the cafe, but the shop is connected to Plaza Tower, which is filled with plug outlets and comfortable seating. Its main downside: Expect to pay close to double as the same quantity of beverage from Starbucks.

Corner Bakery Café

3306 Troup Hwy.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Camilia Bhandari chooses a dining table-turned-study desk at Corner Bakery Café.

Free WiFi: Yes

Electrical outlets: Sparse

Parking: Free, abundant 

Atmosphere: Welcoming, warm, homey 

Prices: Reasonable 

Substantial meal options: Yes

The cafe has a cozy atmosphere with dim lighting and lots of menu options. My search concluded there are only two places with outlets and one of them was at a large booth. The coffee was cheaper than Starbucks and delicious. The staff are very friendly, and the food is delicious.

Tyler Public Library

201 S College Ave.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bhandari studies near the book stacks at Tyler Public Library.

Free WiFi: Yes, but prone to slowness 

Electrical outlets: Abundant 

Parking: Free, abundant 

Atmosphere: Family friendly, academic 

Prices: none 

Substantial meal options: Food and drink not allowed

As soon as you walk in, there’s a powerful quiet that testifies to reading and thinking minds. The front desk staff are nice and excited to tell me where I could find chairs and outlets. I walked around the entire second floor and found countless single desk nooks with outlets and other cozy study and work spaces. This is a library and not a coffee shop, so outside food and drink are only allowed in the lobby area.

Robert R. Muntz Library at UT Tyler

3900 University Blvd.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Christian Garrett tackles an assignment at the Robert R. Muntz Library.

Free WiFi: Yes

Electrical outlets: abundant

Parking: Free and abundant for students; further away for visitors

Atmosphere: Classy, collegiate

Prices: None 

Substantial meal options: Food and drink not allowed

The space has a very modern layout, and there are lots of sitting spaces in a beautifully landscaped setting outside. Lots of study nooks with outlet access inside and comfortable couches, seating and white boards.

The Foundry Coffeehouse

202 S Broadway Ave.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ashley, a middle school teacher, enjoys The Foundry during spring break.

Free WiFi: Yes

Electrical outlets: Sparse

Parking: Free at the Fair Plaza Parking Garage

Atmosphere: Classy, modern, artistic 

Prices: Costly, considering the portions 

Substantial meal options: Few

Lovely coffee, lovely people, lovely food and lovely atmosphere. This coffee house has become a famous staple among Tyler residents. The only reason I have ranked The Foundry further down the list is the lack of seating close to an outlet. I found fewer than five outlets. There is quite a lot of open space but more indoor seating is needed during high traffic hours.

Starbucks Coffee

Multiple locations in Tyler

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Free WiFi: Yes

Electrical outlets: Sparse

 Parking: Free, abundant 

Atmosphere: Chic fast food vibe

Prices: Expensive 

Substantial meal options: Few

I have gone to Starbucks to study many times and, although I am usually not deeply disappointed, I am not wowed like I have been at the local shops. This being the fast food of coffee shops, you can expect a harried employee to only half-fill your overpriced cup of coffee and find there is no space available to sit. Alternatively, your seating option may be within hugging distance of someone else. The experience, of course, differs at each Starbucks location.

Having been defined “different” all her life, Camelia Bhandari has a love for what makes people unique. A Tyler native and University of Texas at Tyler student studying mathematics and English, Bhandari enjoys exploring what makes Tyler unique.

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