The Top 40 College Towns in the US

Explore our guide to the 40 best college towns in America and where to eat, where to drink, and what to do in each.

Photo: Thinkstock

You’ve completed your SATs and ACTs. Your personal statement is in good shape. You’ve narrowed your college search, and your applications are ready to go. Now, comes the fun part: researching and visiting college towns.

What is a college town? It’s a non-major metropolitan area, anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of residents, that is defined in large part by its relationship to the university and the presence of college students.

While each college town is unique and has its charm, history, and traditions, what they all have in common is an abundance of things for you to do.

While each college town is unique and has its charm, history, and traditions, what they all have in common is an abundance of things for you to do. Burlington, home of the University of Vermont, is set between two separate mountain ranges, perfect for hiking. The University of California, Berkeley, has been at the forefront of political activism since the 1960s. The University of Texas, Austin, hosts South by Southwest, an annual music, film and media festival.

And of course, there’s food and nightlife. Most college towns have a major street, strip, or square, such as the University of North Carolina’s historic Franklin street, that is lined with restaurants and bars where students meet to blow off steam after exams or celebrate after a big win. Many of these establishments are “mom and pop” owned and have been a staple of the campus for decades.

The best part is that all of these activities and resources are right at your fingertips; you can usually get around campus solely by foot, although many students also choose to bike.

The following compilation of 40 college towns entails the best of the best, offering students the complete package. Great academics, beautiful campuses, competitive athletics, a bustling nightlife and above all, an energy and excitement that permeates the community.


People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Top 10 Amazing College Museums
Best Cities for College Graduates
Worst Cities for College Graduates
Best Cities for Internships
Volunteering in College

See All College Towns and Life Beyond Campus Articles

Quick Search: Find the College that's Right for You!

OR

Visit Our Student Center

Get on track!

Visit our Student Center

And find out everything you need to know about planning for college.