State College, PA Tops List of Best College Towns in the United States
Each Town Included in List Offers Big City Fun with Small Town Feel
CollegeTownNetwork.com, the only site focused on promoting tourism in college towns, has named the top 10 college towns in the United States based on staff experience and the town attractions offered. These locations offer outstanding lodging, eateries, nightlife, exciting sporting events and fun family style activities.
"College towns are the new destination locations for fun and living. With an abundance of youthful activities, great accommodations and top restaurants, a great experience is always waiting,” said Greg Woodman, CEO of CollegeTownNetwork.com. “Our list reflects my own experiences of traveling to college towns over the past 30 years and the top places for collegiate sports and activities across the U.S. We chose Happy Valley, home of State College, PA, because we live, work and play here providing us a full understanding of all that this great college town has to offer visitors and residents alike.”
Top 10 College Towns in the United States
1. State College, PA – Home of The Pennsylvania State University
With a small town feel, but a city style arts, sports and entertainment scene, State College, PA, tops our list. Enjoy a day touring breweries and wineries or spend it hiking Mount Nittany. There is so much to do within a few short miles that families flock to Happy Valley for more than just the power packed Penn State Football and tailgating season.
2. Iowa City, IA – Home of University of Iowa
Iowa City is home to one of the Big Ten’s most powerful football teams, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Visitors can imbibe at the area bars and famous restaurants or take a stroll through one of the many town parks or take in a nationally touring show at Hancher Auditorium.
3. Gainesville, FL – Home of University of Florida
Gainesville has long been known as a music hotbed spawning such bands as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Steven Stills. Add that to the amazing art and cultural scene and top ranked Florida Gators sports teams and visitors will find fun year-round.
4. Athens, GA – Home of University of Georgia
Athens, like Gainesville, is home to a historic music scene that helped launch R.E.M and the B-52’s. Visitors also enjoy a beautiful downtown and so much to do such as the State Botanical Garden and the Globe Bar voted by Esquire as the third top bar in 2007. Add that to the nationally ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs and a burgeoning art and intellectual scene and you have the perfect college town.
5. Chapel Hill, NC – Home of University of North Carolina
Find local, national and international acts at the Cave and Reservoir bars. Plus, Chapel Hill was named the “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appétit Magazine. Sports fans can take in the famous UNC Tar Heels on their annual trek to the NCAA Tournament.
6. Madison, WI – Home of University of Wisconsin
Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin and home to the Big Ten’s Wisconsin Badgers. Fun and relaxation are found downtown with bars, restaurants, espresso cafes and shops. Also, don’t miss the annual Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Festival, the second Saturday in August annually.
7. Tuscaloosa, AL – Home of University of Alabama
Considered the unofficial party capital of Alabama, the nightlife in T-Town is divided by The Strip and downtown. Enjoy the number 1 sports bar in America when going to Houndstooth, or have a great time at Galette’s, the local sorority and fraternity bar. Join a great tailgate every Friday the night before each Crimson Tide game at the UA Quad and watch the pep rallies on the Gorgas library step.
8. Auburn, AL – Home of Auburn University
Nicknamed “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” Visitors can enjoy the beautiful artistry in the town by visiting the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art and the Telfair Peet Theatre. Enjoy the Tigers football games, followed by a relaxing concert with the Auburn Knights Orchestra and the Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series.
9. Lincoln, NE – Home of University of Nebraska
Home of the Cornhuskers, Lincoln has not only produced a great attraction on the gridiron, but also with the music scene. Birthplace of Maroon 5’s guitarist James Valentine, there are many music venues in the town. Enjoy large tours from big name musicians at the Pershing Auditorium, or local bands in smaller venues such as Duggan’s Pub.
10. Boulder, CO – Home of University of Colorado
Nestled up against a mountain rock formation nicknamed the flat irons, Boulder is one of the prettiest cities in Colorado. It is said to be the most liberal city in the state, a place known for its population of “Hippies.” Go to Pearl St. downtown to find anything from street performers to restaurants to the original Croc store. Boulder is most known for being an outdoor town; take a hike in Chatauqua Park, jet ski at the Boulder Reservoir or visit Memorial Day and run in the 10K Bolder Boulder.
Woodman started HappyValley.com in 1999 and recently added 60 more college campuses to fulfill his longtime ambition to connect college towns across the United States. Collectively, the array of college town visitor information websites is known as CollegeTownNetwork.com. Greg has long been known in college circles as the inventor of Stand Up Joe Paterno and has been working with the college market since 1978 when he began as a Penn State student selling t-shirts to fans and alumni at home football games.