Your GPA and ACT/SAT scores aren’t the only factors that should determine your ideal college match. Your personality and interests matter too.
You won’t spend all your hours hitting the books, so why not find a great college town where you can head off campus and find tons of stuff to do? Maybe you’d love a vibrant downtown area where you spend weekends weaving in and out of local bookstores and funky coffee shops. Maybe you’d prefer easy access to a bike trail snaking through campus and over lush mountains.
To help you find your perfect destination, we rounded up 50 great college towns to live in. We honed in on places with a strong collegiate identity and omitted mega-size towns and cities with populations that climb above 200,000. We talked to current and former students and travel and tourism pros.
We considered things like How much outdoor space is there? Does it have streets lined with boutiques and cafés? Is it pedestrian-friendly? What’s the culture like? Can you pop into a museum or get tickets to the theater? Is there nightlife? What’s the general vibe?
Here, our 50 top-notch picks for amazing towns to call home for the next four years—or more.