A school itself is only part of the college experience. The town where your school is located has a huge impact on the best four to seven years of your life. The bars, the restaurants, and the overall atmosphere and ambiance of college towns are some of the most enjoyable things that come with the overall bliss of college.
Travel and Leisure ranked the twenty best college towns in the country. Based upon things like events, restaurants, bars, and charm, they were able to compile a list of college towns across the country that are, in their opinion, the best.
Here are the rankings:
1. Burlington, Vermont
2. Charlottesville, Virginia
3. San Luis Obispo, California
4. Williamsburg, Virginia
5. Harrisonburg, Virginia
6. Boulder, Colorado
7. St. Augustine, Florida
8. Asheville, North Carolina
9. Fredericksburg, Virginia
10. Flagstaff, Arizona
11. Morgantown, West Virginia
12. Saratoga Springs, New York
13. Ithaca, New York
14. Lexington, Virginia
15. Annapolis, Maryland
16. Fayetteville, Arkansas
17. Lafayette, Louisiana
18. Bozeman, Montana
19. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
20. Duluth, Minnesota
See your college town up there? If you did, good for you. I did, and I’m pretty proud of it. If you didn’t, don’t worry. I see some pretty huge flaws with these rankings.
First off, I’m glad to see Virginia did so well. The state is packed full of great schools and great college towns. Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lexington, and Williamsburg are all awesome places with their own unique microcultures. However, I disagree with Fredericksburg being ranked that high. Yeah, University of Mary Washington is there, but I don’t think that simply having a college located within its borders should make a municipality a college town. Don’t get me wrong, Fredericksburg is a really cool place, especially if you’re into history, but I just don’t see the place being a college town, let alone a top ten college town.
Secondly, and I’m going to hurt some feelings with this one, Morgantown does not belong on this list. WVU is a fun school. It’s a party school. It’s a hell of a good time. You’ll get no argument from me regarding that. But the town itself? Let’s face it. It’s essentially a rusting shithole.
There are some other towns here that just don’t belong. Annapolis? Yeah, the Naval Academy is there, but I don’t think that is enough to give the town a college atmosphere. St. John’s is there, too, but I just don’t see it pulling enough weight to make the town a contender. Again, like many of the towns among the ranked, it’s an awesome place. I just don’t see it as a college town. The same goes for Duluth. I don’t really see it as a college town, and honestly, I’m not sure how fun of a town it is at all.
Bozeman? I honestly have no clue. Never been. The only guy I know who went to school there was weird as shit, so I’m going to use that as a gauge on this one.
There are probably some towns that you think should have made the list. You could argue for Austin, Texas, and many would agree with you. However, Austin is in its own category of city. Its culture is so unique that I don’t think classifying it as a college town does it justice.
In all, I think these rankings make some good points, but they’re also lacking. Some of the justifications used just don’t seem that applicable to me, but shit, what do I know? As for Burlington being the top college town, I don’t even know what to think. Is being the home of Ben and Jerry’s and Phish enough to justify being in the top spot? Tough call, guys. Tough call.
Don’t like the rankings you’ve seen here? Defend your school and college town in the comments section below.
[via Travel and Leisure]
Image via New England Magazine