2016 Best College Towns in America

Explore the best college towns to live in America based on crime, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Ranking based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, and other sources. This list is limited to places where college students make up at least 20% of the population.

See how this ranking was calculated
Viewing 1-25 of 94
  1. 1

    Cambridge

    • City in Massachusetts
    • 10 reviews
  2. 2

    Ann Arbor

    • City in Michigan
    • 223 reviews
    Niche User:I live on a college campus in Ann Arbor and the area is great. There are seemingly endless choices of things to do and places to go, and every time you walk around town you notice something new. The campus is great and the area surrounding the campus is just as beautiful and enjoyable.
    More about Ann Arbor
  3. 3

    Ames

    • Town in Iowa
    • 211 reviews
    Niche User:I feel very safe in my area and in most of ames at any given time. I don't feel unsafe if I walk alone at night (as a female) and I don't see a lot of sketchy things. There are always cops around, it seems like, although they don't necessarily make me feel safer. But I'm proud of the ones who do their job well.
    More about Ames
  4. 4

    Boulder

    • City in Colorado
    • 153 reviews
    Niche User:I absolutely love Boulder and I cant imagine a better place to live. Everyone is fit, outdoorsy, nice and down to earth. The setting is idealistic. The community is tight knit. The town does an incredible job of maintaining all the landscape etc. It has great public schools, and i love how its a college town. It's also within range of both great skiing areas, and Denver.
    More about Boulder
  5. 5

    Berkeley

    • City in California
    • 29 reviews
  6. 6

    Davis

    • Suburb of Sacramento, CA
    • 201 reviews
    Niche User:It's a quiet, safe town, with lots of college students who are generally well-behaved. Most residents are academic professionals, with high standards of living.
    More about Davis
  7. 7

    Irvine

    • City in California
    • 75 reviews
  8. 8

    Princeton

    • Town in New Jersey
    • 19 reviews
  9. 9

    Lawrence

    • Town in Kansas
    • 266 reviews
    Niche User:I live in my area because it's where I began my college career. I would choose to live here again in a heart beat because this place has been wonderful to me. My area is full of local businesses that support each other and people who do the same. The atmosphere is always amazing because the majority of us are supporters of our local college basketball team as well as our local MLB team. Rock Chalk & Go Royals!
    More about Lawrence
  10. 10

    Decorah

    • Town in Iowa
    • 30 reviews
  11. 11

    Chapel Hill

    • Town in North Carolina
    • 93 reviews
    Niche User:This area is safe and comfortable for living. There is plenty to do within walking distance, and the city is vibrant and diverse. People are friendly, the roads are clean and well-maintained. Most of all the weather is beautiful
    More about Chapel Hill
  12. 12

    Provo

    • City in Utah
    • 786 reviews
    Niche User:Everyone tries to get involved with helping each other have a fun and successful college experience. It is great that so many people are so friendly.
    More about Provo
  13. 13

    Tempe

    • City in Arizona
    • 544 reviews
    Niche User:Tempe is a very pet friendly community as they are many parks that give the owners bags to pick up after their animals. There are also gated dog parks that keep dogs inside a large fenced area and can be free of a leash. Mill Avenue is always have community events that the public can enjoy and participate in. Since ASU is in Tempe, the community is always coming together to support their sports teams.
    More about Tempe
  14. 14

    Fort Collins

    • City in Colorado
    • 509 reviews
    Niche User:I have grown up in this City and all community members have always taken great pride in supporting one another, the schools, and the community as a whole.
    More about Fort Collins
  15. 15

    Columbia

    • City in Missouri
    • 255 reviews
    Niche User:It depends on who you are as a person. Columbia is a college town (University of Missouri) and if you like a college, young atmosphere, Columbia is great. Also, if you are an artsy person (like films and festivals) Columbia is great.
    More about Columbia
  16. 16

    Newton

    • Town in Massachusetts
    • 12 reviews
  17. 17

    Iowa City

    • Town in Iowa
    • 173 reviews
  18. 18

    Coral Gables

    • Suburb of Miami, FL
    • 62 reviews
    Niche User:It is an extremely safe area. The most severe crimes that take place are petite thefts from cars parked outside homes and several in-home break ins.
    More about Coral Gables
  19. 19

    Santa Barbara

    • Town in California
    • 78 reviews
    Niche User:I love living in Santa Barbara. It's a great environment with very friendly people and great weather. The education here is quite strong and people do great things with their careers. It's a great tourist town and there are plenty of things I do and see.
    More about Santa Barbara
  20. 20

    Hanover

    • Town in New Hampshire
  21. 21

    Norman

    • Suburb of Oklahoma City, OK
    • 262 reviews
    Niche User:I love Norman. The college town is great. I live in the dorms as of now, but I have so many places to choose from when I can live somewhere other than the dorms.
    More about Norman
  22. 22

    Charlottesville

    • Town in Virginia
    • 82 reviews
    Niche User:Overall a great neighborhood to live in. Great neighbors, loving and caring dogs, kids always playing in a safe and calm street with no worries of cars driving fast.
    More about Charlottesville
  23. 23

    State College

    • Town in Pennsylvania
    • 105 reviews
    Niche User:The atmosphere is everything a college student would want. There's always something to do and ways to get involved both on and off campus. The weather isn't always the best, but the people and experiences make it the best.
    More about State College
  24. 24

    West Lafayette

    • Town in Indiana
    • 70 reviews
  25. 25

    Madison

    • City in Wisconsin
    • 408 reviews
    Niche User:Growing up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin was great! The atmosphere was small-town and relaxed. I would choose to live here again if I could do it all over for sure! It is a safe and fun place to live. There were always things to do. The people in this area were very friendly and kind. I think Wisconsin is in the top 5 states to live in the U.S., because it has so much to offer. There are four season of fun. Plus, the midwest charm and hospitality makes it a great place to stay. I think the future of the Wisconsin area is bright. I think a lot of people like living here and would consider moving here to raise their families.
    More about Madison