Corvallis OR
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#5. Corvallis, OR

Why It’s a Great Place to Go to College: This year marks 150 years of education and research for Oregon State University, the public land-grant institution located in Corvallis, OR. The school has more than 180,000 alumni and nearly 32,000 active students. Oregon State professors and students (who hail from all 50 states and more than 100 countries) are breaking new ground with more than $440 million in external research funding, studying everything from robotics to animal welfare.

Why It’s a Great Place to Live (Even If You’re Not a Student): Located along the Willamette River, Corvallis (and the rest of Benton County) has a ton of local wineries, distilleries and breweries, plus amazing restaurants serving up fresh, locally sourced foods. This city loves art, too, and has tons of murals, a downtown art walk, an independent movie house, an arts center and several theaters. In addition, Corvallis is home to more than 25 software companies (plus Hewlett-Packard’s 2.3 million-square-foot research campus) and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, a collaborative research center doing tons of cool research and commercial development projects. The opportunities here are endless.

What Sets It Apart From Other College Towns: Your home for four years is where other people spend their vacations. There’s no way around it — Corvallis has some stunning scenery. During study breaks, you can hike to Alsea Falls, bike up Marys Peak or just breathe in the fresh air while taking a walk through Willamette Park and Natural Area, just to name a few outdoor activities. It’s no surprise that Corvallis landed the number three spot on our 2018 Top 100 Best Places to Live list. 

Iconic Pizza Place: American Dream Pizza

Brunch Spot: Broken Yolk Cafe

Tailgating Must-Have: Pastries and other treats from New Morning Bakery.

Shopping Street: Southwest Madison Avenue

Best Local Hangover Cure: Corvallis residents swear by the magical healing properties of a bloody mary and chicken-fried steak at Tommy’s 4th Street Bar & Grill (pro tip: the bar side is dark enough to soothe your pounding head).  

Best Place to Grab a Cheap Beer: Squirrel’s Tavern

Local Dream Job: Professor of mycology, which is the study of fungi, at Oregon State University.

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