The best college towns have much more to offer than communities dominated by their university population. They are attractive places to live or visit for a weekend stay or vacation.
Photo: Victor Heath
The best college towns are thriving environments for culture, diversity of people, historical places, architecture, accessible transportation, fun activities, scenic beauty, art and music festivals, museums, restaurants, and lively nightlife.
Photo: Elliott Reyna
They have globally inspired cultural offerings with an active artist community, many galleries, museums, and musical and theatrical performances, often by jazz legends. There are over 300 restaurants to explore modern cuisine and bars. There are bike paths, trails, and the well-regarded Huron River for canoeing and kayaking.
Photo: Tom Baginski
Downtown is just a short distance to explore its historical roots, shop, and dine. The Classic Theatre presents many classics, including William Shakespeare outdoors, renting a boat and going fishing, or watching a yacht-filled sunset on the Severn River by the Chesapeake Bay.
Photo: Wen Zhu
This college town has many venues, notable restaurants, and bars, including The Globe bar, which was voted among the top bars by Esquire magazine in America in October 2007. Athens has a thriving music and nightlife scene, with musical acts drawn to the young town, like R.E.M., who lived and performed their first act in 1980.
Photo: Daniel Newman
Austin has a vibrant nightlife scene, plenty of cultural events, and notable festivals like South by Southwest (SXTX) for theater, film, and music. Restaurants and bars are now found in the historic bungalows converted in the Rainey Street landmark district, and you can visit LBJ’s Library and Museum.
Photo: Tomek Baginski
Berkeley has a thriving music scene, restaurants, historic areas, and artisans. There are bicycle and walking paths, parks, a marina, and gourmet options, and there are tons to do with San Francisco and Oakland nearby.
Photo: Jeremy Haung
Photo: Clay Banks