Best College Reviews' 15 Top College Towns and the Two Colorado Places That Made the Grade
Photos and more below.
Best College Reviews has come up with its list of the fifty best college towns in America, and two from Colorado made the top fifteen -- something matched only by a couple of other states, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Sorry, New York and Cali.
Which Colorado towns made the grade? And where did they finish? Count down the top fifteen below -- they feature photos and excerpts from Best College Reviews text and include the methodology -- and click here to check out the original post.
Number 15: Blacksburg, Virginia
Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, Radford University, and a number of large employers. With close to two students for every non-student, Blacksburg is definitely centered around college life. Though small, the town is forward thinking, as the home to Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) since 1991. BEV and close proximity to high quality graduates make Blacksburg an ideal location for tech firms.... Number 14: Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University and on Money magazine's Best Place to Live in the US list since 2006. A great homegrown music and microbrewery scene complement the town's collegiate vibes, with one of it's most attended events hosted by New Belgium Brewery; "Tour de Fat" as the event is called, draws over 20,000 people riding bikes and dressing in costume.... Number 13: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Champaign-Urbana is one of the greenest cities in the US. However, it also offers a more urban feel than similarly-sized cities. Without many traditional suburbs, Champaign-Urbana is home to a developed urban setting surrounded by farmland and small farming villages. If you want the cultural offerings of a world class university town without the traffic, urban sprawl, and high cost of living, Champaign-Urbana is the place for you.... Continue to keep counting down Best College Reviews' fifteen top college towns.
Number 12: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh's a bit bigger than other locations on our list, but has a student population that keeps pace with the population of the city as a whole. Largely thanks to it's status as the home of many corporate headquarters through the 20th century, Pittsburgh has massive research infrastructure, libraries, cultural districts, and the most bars per capita in the U.S.... Number 11: Gainseville, Florida
Gainesville was the 2nd fastest-growing city in the nation from 2007-2011, highlighting a large growth in working-age population, employment, and median income. As with many cities attracting young talent, Gainesville is also a growing startup hub, the poster child of which is the music startup Grooveshark.... Number 10: Corvallis, Oregon
Corvallis is home to Oregon State University, a number of large employers, and beautiful views of the Cascade Range. A naturalist's paradise, Corvallis was the nation's #1 Green Power Community in 2009, and is ranked by Outside Magazine as one of the top 20 towns in which to live. Corvallis is known for high life-expectancy, tons of parks, and a high quality of living.... Continue to keep counting down Best College Reviews' fifteen top college towns.
Number 9: Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City boasts a storied literary scene, a community that gives back, and good dining and night life. The Iowa Writer's Conference, and associations with writers such as Robert Frost, Flannery O'Connor, and Kurt Vonnegut help make Iowa City North America's only UNESCO City of Literature. Events like the Iowa City book festival and Literary Walk keep the bookish vibes alive and present today in Iowa City.... Number 8: State College, Pennsylvania
Through recent years, State College has been known as one of the smartest towns in America, one of the best music scenes in the country, and one of the safest small towns in the country-not bad, eh? State College is fairly medium sized compared to other cities on our list, with metro area population coming in around 100,000. The city is graced with large employers like AccuWeather and Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems.... Number 7: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Great weather, a vibrant collegiate atmosphere, music, arts, and tons of food festivals make Chapel Hill a great college town. Beautiful Georgian architecture and the basketball powerhouse Tar Heels are infectious. There's no way life in Chapel Hill can't center around the University.... Continue to keep counting down Best College Reviews' fifteen top college towns.
Number 6: Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a town consumed by an emblematic university, and connected to the big city. Across the east shore of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is temperate year round, with natural sanctuaries throughout the city. Berkeley is known for its progressive politics, so if you're around town for long, you're likely to see some activism, rallies and the like.... Number 5: Ames, Iowa
Ames is home to Iowa State University, many big employers, and a great standard of living for a smaller town. Perennially listed on top places to live by organizations like CNN Money, Ames has a number of large employers, a 3.2% unemployment rate, and an average age of 23.8 (the total population of 58,000+ includes the student population off 33,241).... Number 4: Ithaca, New York
Ithaca is a naturally beautiful, very walkable town known as the home of Cornell and Ithaca College. Though the winters are brutal, and it's a bit isolated (4 hours from NYC, and an hour away from the nearest big city), these are also facts that foster a unique sense of community. Almost half of Ithaca's population are students throughout the school year, and accordingly, there are tons of local student-centered gatherings and nightlife offerings. For a town it's size, Ithaca also boasts a surprisingly talented and diverse music scene... Continue to keep counting down Best College Reviews' fifteen top college towns.
Number 3: Madison, Wisconsin
From its historic downtown on an isthmus between two lakes, to rolling prairies surrounding the city, Madison is a beautiful and vibrant community built around University of Wisconsin-Madison. 20+ miles of trails in the UW-Madison Arboretum and vibrant fishing, boating, and swimming communities add to the cities outdoor charm. With one of the most educated populaces of US cities (48.2% of residents over 25 hold a bachelor's degree), big business and entrepreneurialism are prevalent. Large employers include Google, Microsoft, Alliant Energy, Epic, and a host of other impressive companies.... Number 2: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Roughly one out of two Ann Arbor residents are students during the school year, setting the stage for a college town feel. University of Michigan football games are the real center of entertainment in Ann Arbor. Outside of football season, however, there is a good mixture of modern cuisine, bars, museums, parks, and cultural offerings. Despite the frigid winter months, bike paths, trails, and good city planning make Ann Arbor quite livable. Ann Arbor has quality education from K-post grad, and boasts some of the finest elementary school music programs in the country.... Number 1: Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is known as a hip and healthy town with a hippy past and great views of the Flatirons. Boulder is one of the nation's most celebrated towns -- in rankings it regularly gets voted the best outdoor town, the brainiest city, one of the top cities for artists, and America's Foodiest Town. Though it's relatively small, the entire city is walkable, there are hundreds of miles of bicycle paths, and an outstanding public transit system. Nature abounds in Boulder with many central roads heading through downtown and ending at trail heads leading into the Rockies. A ring of Green Space surrounds the city, and buildings must remain below a certain height to preserve mountain views. Pearl Street Mall, an outdoor shopping area filled with fine food, book stores, art galleries, and coffee shops, is a central Boulder street....
What we considered:
• Livability • Student-to-resident ratio • Cultural Offerings • School Presence • Large Employers
The towns at the top of our list have all of the above, while towns featuring only a handful of our criteria are ranked lower. As an example, 50th ranked Tacoma has high livability and large employer scores, it lacks somewhat in the other three, particularly in student-to-resident ratio and school presence. We recognize that everyone values different things in their college towns, but in an effort to establish diversity of views in the ranking of college towns, we have decided on the above criteria as a valuable way to highlight the towns that truly are a great part of our college experience, before, during, and after school.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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