The 20 Best College Towns To Spend Your Summer

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Summer is a great time to explore other parts of the country. Assuming that kickass social media marketing internship you really wanted didn’t pan out, you probably have an extra month or two to kill you didn’t plan on having before. I feel that. Rarely will you get an opportunity to travel freely with limited expenses or responsibilities again for the rest of your life. If you’re not looking to go abroad, these places where you might have friends are worth visiting this summer.

10. New Orleans (Tulane)

New Orleans and its infamous Bourbon Street don’t particularly need an explanation. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, it’s a must-visit. With Louisiana, you get a great lineup of casinos always close by. You can make a full summer salary at the blackjack table if you play your cards right. (Did you like this pun? Please rate this pun 1-10.) The only problem with New Orleans is that you always feel slightly dirtier than you would in any other city in the country. Personally, I’d rather spend a weekend in New Orleans. Anything over a week might feel like overkill.

9. Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach (UNCW)

Wrightsville Beach is probably one of the most underrated beach towns on the east coast. There are so many good restaurants and places to get shitty summer jobs on the island alone, you wouldn’t have to leave and could cross “beach bum” off your lifelong bucket list. All you need in Wrightsville is a bike. If you don’t like seafood, this might be the perfect beach for you. The two best places to eat on the island are a Mexican restaurant and a hot dog stand. (No offense Dockside fans, but technically that isn’t on the island.) There are also four or five island bars right next to each other. Shit, now I am craving a Trolley Stop Carolina Dog.

8. Phoenix (Arizona State)

I’ve only been to the airport in Phoenix, so I can’t personally endorse this one. But, come on. Phoenix has tons of stuff to do, is relatively inexpensive and is well known for having awesome bars and sporting events. It’s also a great place to go hiking, and it has a lot of camping options all around it, including the Grand Canyon. Have you seen the girls that go to Arizona State? I think that is reason enough to add them on the list.

7. Athens, Ga. (Georgia)

A legit mini-Austin, Athens has more bars than just about any city you’ll ever visit. You can stay 12 weeks and basically find a new bar every night. Nobody wants to leave, so most UGA students just hang out there over the summer. It is, by far, the most fun SEC college town. Sorry, Oxford. It also has unreal live music, and I don’t think anyone will argue that Georgia has some of the nicest golf courses in the nation.

6. Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara)

Hot girls. Great bars. The beach. Rinse. Repeat.

5. Boulder (Colorado)

I don’t think this one needs much of an explanation, either. It’s for a certain type of lifestyle. Do you like the mountain lifestyle? Do you like being right next to Denver? When I say the word “nugget”, does something other than chicken come to your mind? Yeah, Boulder is probably for you.

4. Madison (Wisconsin)

One of those “You can only enjoy this town for three months out of the year, so make them count” college towns. The city is on a lake and there are a bunch of outdoor activities you can do. Madison is littered with good bars (State Street), so your night activities are covered. It also has a lot of hot girls.

3. Charleston (College of Charleston)

If you hate pastel, this probably isn’t the place for you. Charleston isn’t exactly on the beach, but it’s close enough that you can make it out there in 20 minutes. The rest of the time can be spent hanging out in the city, which is one of the coolest places you’ll visit. The bars are right by the water, and there are a bunch of parks and places to hang in the city that you don’t have to spend every day at the beach. The bar covers kind of suck, but it’s worth it for the experience.

2. Austin (Texas)

Yes, it’s hot, but it’s tough to find a cooler town than Austin. All summer long, the city offers free concerts in Zilker Park, home of Austin City Limits. Downtown is hopping, and you can find some great bars on Sixth Street, or Rainey if you’re feeling a little artsy. You can also sign up for a card that lets you play golf all summer at the local public courses for a meager $100. Oh, and the city is on a lake, with lakes all around it, and nobody complains about the cold temperatures of Barton Springs when it’s 97 degrees out.

1. Chicago (Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul)

It’s sort of cheating to call this a college town, considering it is the third largest city in the U.S., but it still deserves the top spot on this list. Almost everybody in college has at least one friend who is headed to Chicago this summer. Whether it’s to work in advertising or finance or insurance, the chance you know somebody in the Windy City this summer is somewhere between 95-99 percent. Just watch this timelapse of Chicago in the summer and try and tell me it doesn’t look awesome:

It’s a clean, fun New York. Hitting up Wrigleyville for an afternoon Cubs game, drinking at one of the thousands of downtown bars, or spending every day hanging out by the lake is why Chicago a must-visit between April and August.

Rounding out the Top-20:

11. Washington D.C. (GWU)
12. Los Angeles (UCLA, USC)
13. Dallas (SMU)
14. Seattle (Washington)
15. Athens (Ohio)
16. Bloomington (Indiana)
17. Pittsburgh (Pitt)
18. Boston (Boston College)
19. Minneapolis (Minnesota)
20. Orlando (UCF)
4,736. Lubbock (Texas Tech)

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