The 19 Best College Towns in America
BRB, going back to school
Don't get us wrong, we did our fair share of studying (and we have the “A” in Financial Accounting to prove it). But our fondest college memories aren’t about the classes; they’re about our old stompin’ grounds. Here, our 19 picks for the best college towns in America.
Stately brick buildings line this quaint town near Hueston Woods State Park. On Saturdays, you can find Miami University of Ohio students uptown at Brick Street Bar or eating the famous Mac 'n' Cheese Bites Burger (yep, that’s a thing) at Mac & Joe's.
Whoa, UVA students are lucky. The historic Jeffersonian campus is surrounded by the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s also an open-air pavilion for live music on the Downtown Mall, and plenty of art galleries and restaurants for the Cavaliers to enjoy.
The roars of "roll, tide, roll" are pretty much the only thing you’ll hear in this tiny 'Bama town during football season, and that's OK with us. Swarms of crimson-and-houndstooth-clad students call this Southern town home, and with its gorgeous white-columned buildings, we can see why.
Speaking of Southern tradition, the University of Georgia Bulldogs are right up there, too. With the most bars per square mile in the whole U.S. (80, to be exact), it’s safe to say these students have fun. Oh, and save the amazing fried chicken and biscuits for the next morning. You'll thank us later.
Three cheers for the Razorbacks: The hometown of the University of Arkansas boasts a multitude of live music venues on Dickson Street, a growing art scene and some of the best diners in the country. Rolling Pin chocolate gravy, anyone?
Quarry cliff diving, a nearby state park and multitudes of local breweries make this forested town a definite frontrunner, and Indiana University students agree. Catch them at Kilroy's, one of the most popular bars in the U.S., or taking a dip in Lake Monroe to cool off after class.
There isn’t nearly enough time to study in beautiful, artsy Boulder. Colorado University students enjoy everything the Rocky Mountain foothills and Great Plains have to offer, from skiing and hiking to concerts at the nearby Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Ann Arbor, MI
We don't even mind the frigid winters in this beautiful home of the University of Michigan. From an endless lineup of greasy late-night food spots to a 123-acre conservatory lovingly named the Arb, we can clearly see why over 43,000 Wolverines call it home.
Gotta love a lake town, and Madison is the lake town, situated on a breathtaking isthmus of five (yep, five) lakes. Grab a beer, kick back and watch the boats sail by from Memorial Union Terrace, or check out the art galleries downtown.
Calling all leaf peepers: You’re gonna love the University of Vermont. Everywhere you look, you can catch a glimpse of Vermont's scenic Green Mountain range. (The artisanal food scene and Insta-worthy Lake Champlain aren’t too shabby, either.)
We can't get enough of this Lone Star city, home of the University of Texas and some of the most vibrant nightlife in the country. From live music on Sixth Street to some of the tastiest BBQ and tacos in the world, ATX residents have it made.
Come for the University of Montana; stay for the craft beer, freshwater streams, trout fishing on Clark Fork River, live music venues and views of Mount Sentinel. (Bye, we’re going fly-fishing.)
"Just do it" jokes aside, the home of Nike and the University of Oregon boasts some of the best kayaking and hiking in the country...not to mention biking along the two rivers that flow through vineyard-filled Willamette Valley. Totally worth the Oregon rain.
OK, Big Orange. You win. The Tennessee River, historic market square and proximity to the Smoky Mountains all make this bustling University of Tennessee hometown a wonderful place to live. Oh, and they also have an annual Bacon Festival. So when can we move?
We see you, Mizzou, with your artsy film festivals and hip downtown. And while Midwestern comforts abound in the home of the University of Missouri, the underground music scene, street fairs and over 30,000 Tigers fans cheering on game day make CoMo the perfect college town.
This city's residents say they know God's a Gator because the sun's orange and the sky's blue. University of Florida's steamy stomping grounds include Paynes Prairie, Florida's first state park, and dive-bar-lined Midtown, where a beer on the front lawn of Swamp restaurant is a post-exam requirement.
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina Tarheels live their best lives in the mural-covered town of Chapel Hill. In addition to a really cool planetarium, the city's amazing soul food restaurants are a must. In fact, with some of the most delicious cuisine in the country, the town is quickly becoming a foodie haven.
Palo Alto, CA
There's a reason this tech and cultural hub is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Looking out over beautiful San Francisco Bay, Stanford University is situated among the rolling foothills.