The 15 Most Awesome College Towns You Might Not Know About

Saratoga Springs, New York (Skidmore College) 

Saratoga Lake is located just a few minutes from the downtown and is a perfect spot for boating or fishing – not to mention the gorgeous views. Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) hosts outdoor concerts and events. Congress Park, the Yaddo Gardens (Japanese gardens), and Spa State Park offer relaxing outdoor options like picnics, nature trails, tennis and swimming. For art enthusiasts, the new Art District on Beekman Street features local artists, galleries and shops. When you’re ready for the bar scene, check out the numerous jazz clubs, Irish pubs, dance clubs, cocktail lounges and sports bars downtown. 

“[The town is] half the reason I chose the school. It's a very cute, quaint town that is a tourist spot in the summer for horse races, but charming and quiet during the school year with tons of shops and restaurants. It’s also driving distance to Boston, NYC and Montreal, as well as other adorable towns in the Adirondacks.”  - Audrey Nelson, Skidmore College 

Towson, Maryland (Towson University) 

Located about 15 minutes from the city of Baltimore, Towson has a bit of a historical background as well. Tour the Hampton National Historic Site, or the home of Governor Augustus W. Bradford. The Towson Town Center hosts hundreds of stores including a recently built luxury section that includes stores such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, BCBG, and a Tiffany's.

“There are so many benefits to being located near a major city such as Baltimore, but not in one. In Towson itself there are a ton of bars, restaurants, and stores. The best part about Towson is that everything is so walkable and convenient. There is also a ton of public transportation, a lot of which is free to college students. There is even a shuttle that picks up students from nearby colleges (Towson, Goucher College, Notre Dame, Loyola Maryland, Johns Hopkins, MICA, University of Baltimore) and shuttles them to the Inner Harbor, Penn Station, and downtown Towson (all for free)!” – Alexandra Pannoni, Towson University 

Tucson, Arizona (University of Arizona)

Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, with a population of over one million. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum or Tohono Chul Park for some of that western natural beauty. Or check out historical sites in the area, like the Mission San Xavier del Bac. If you’re looking for southwestern flavor, go to El Charro Café (in Tucson since 1922!) or try Janos Restaurant for a new kind of French-inspired southwestern cuisine. 

“It houses some of the most unique coffee shops, countless mom-and-pop restaurants, as well as a few well known restaurants that have made it to The Food Network. Along with all of that, Tucson has quite the nightlife, from University Boulevard to 4th Avenue all the way to Congress Street. Amidst it all, you can find some amazing galleries, museums and live music.” - Jessica Cooper, University of Arizona 

West Chester, Pennsylvania (West Chester University)

The Philadelphia Inquirer named Westchester “one of the world’s most perfect small towns.” Located in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley, Westchester has a multitude of historic sites and buildings. Hotspots like the new Social Lounge and Bar keep the town alive for the college scene. Or go to Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House for some shrimp, oysters or crab cakes.   

“On top of its small-town charm, it boasts trendy shops, fabulous restaurants and an overall great vibe. There's everything from Barnaby's sports bar, to Kildare's Irish Pub, Fennario Coffee and Tobacco, to Limoncello Ristorante. Bottom line: there is always something to do in West Chester (and if not, Philadelphia is just a train ride away!).” – Jessica Corry, The College of New Jersey  

Williamsburg, Virginia (The College of William and Mary)

Home to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg – the nation’s largest living history museum - Williamsburg offers historic sites, as well as current attractions for a younger crowd. Take a Historic Ghost Walk of Williamsburg for a guided tour of the past. Merchants Square offers shopping and restaurants all with the architectural look and feel of the 18th century. 

“Not only are we an amazing college town, but also a huge tourist destination.  Our historically famous campus feels like a spectacle when tourists are constantly stalking us with their fanny packs and cameras.” - Dylan McCann, College of William and Mary 

Know about another off-the-beaten-path town that should’ve made the list? Share it with other collegiettes below!



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