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These Are The Top 20 Best College Towns In America

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It’s August, which means that summer vacation is about to come to an end.

A fresh batch of college freshmen are nervously preparing for the commencement of their college career and college seniors are about to enter their final year before entering the “real world.”

If the new students are wondering what to expect or the older students want to see how their home for the last few years stacked up in comparison to other places, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) compiled a list using nine economic, demographic and quality-of-life factors. Besides just an overall ranking, AIER listed each city on rent, employment and nightlife.

Check out the 20 best college towns and what category they scored the highest in.


1. Boulder, Colorado: University of Colorado- Boulder

(BOULDER COLORADO)

Scored number 1 in innovation.

Fun fact: Boulder is often called the country’s happiest city.


2. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

(AMERICAN OPTION INSURANCE)

Scored number 1 in city access.

Fun fact: Tom Hanks’ long-lost brother is a professor in the department of Entomology at the university.


3. Flagstaff, Arizona: Northern Arizona University

(RAILROAD SLIDESHOW)

Scored number 1 in diversity.

Fun fact: The whole town smells like vanilla.


4. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University and Ithaca College

(DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE)

Scored number 2 in college educated.

Fun fact: “Puff the Magic Dragon” was written in Ithaca by Cornell student, Leonard Lipton.


5. Iowa City, Iowa- University of Iowa

(THE GAZETTE)

Scored number 3 in college educated.

Fun fact: In this city, kisses may last no longer than five minutes.


6. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University at Bloomington

(VISIT INDIANA)

Scored number 2 in bars and restaurants.

Fun fact: Kilroy’s Sports Bar is one of the highest grossing bars in the nation.


7. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University

(THE ODYSSEY ONLINE)

Scored number 1 in bars and restaurants.

Fun fact: The Big Event, is a single-day event where over 20,000 students participate in community service.


8. Manhattan, Kansas: Kansas State University

(DESTINATION 360)

Scored number 5 in labor force.

Fun fact: Manhattan is the most liberal city in Kansas.


9. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri

(SMART GROWTH AMERICA)

Scored number 4 in labor force.

Fun fact: It’s illegal to dry clothes on a line, but not illegal to hang them over the fence.


10. Bloomington, Illinois: Illinois State University

(EVERYWHERE SIGNS)

Scored number 2 in arts and entertainment.

Fun fact: Bloomington was ranked the 17th geekiest city in the United States.


11. Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia

(THE KNOT)

Scored number 3 in youth unemployment.

Fun fact: Evan Almighty was filmed here.


12. Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University

(WWW.ASERGEEV.COM)

Scored number 2 in innovation.

Fun fact: Amelia Earhart prepared her plane at Purdue University airport.


13. Fargo, North Dakota: North Dakota State University

(TRIP ADVISOR)

Scored number 1 in rent.

Fun fact: North Dakota is the least visited state in America.


14. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia

(STYLEBLUEPRINT)

Scored number 5 in bars and restaurants.

Fun fact: Athens is the birthplace of America’s first garden club.


15. State College, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University

(THETORRONGROUP)

Scored number 5 in bars and restaurants.

Fun fact: The only person allowed to combine two flavors at the Berkey Creamery was Bill Clinton in 1996.


16. Rochester, Minnesota: University of Minnesota at Rochester

(DEAN RIGGOT PHTOTGRAPHY)

Scored number 4 in rent.

Fun fact: All of Rochester’s lakes are artificial.


17. Blacksburg, Virginia: Virginia Polytechnic Institute

(CITIESTIPS.COM)

Scored number 3 in bars and restaurants.

Fun fact: Bloomberg Businessweek named Blacksburg the best place to raise children in the country.


18. Jacksonville, North Carolina: University of Mount Olive

METRO JACKSONVILLE)

Scored number 3 in rent.

Fun fact: The first place to adopt paid holidays.


19. La Crosse, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

(TRIP ADVISOR)

Scored number 1 in youth unemployment.

Fun fact: The city’s tap drinking water won the best tasting water in 2007.


20. Bellingham, Washington: Western Washington University

(YELP)

Scored number 4 in arts and entertainment.

Fun fact: Bellingham has more drive-thru espresso stands than any other county.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
Favorite pastimes include-but are not limited to: binge watching celebrity interviews with Ellen DeGeneres on YouTube, reading cheesy romance novels and looking at the many pictures of photogenic bowls of mac and cheese on Instagram.