#3. Provo, UT
Why It’s a Great Place to Go to College: Students from all over the world come to Provo, Utah, to study at Brigham Young University, attracted by its faith-based educational offerings, stunning mountain backdrop, Division I athletic teams and top-notch academic programs. All told, more than 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students study at BYU (the majority hailing from Utah, California and Idaho), which is owned by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This school has a diverse mix of degree programs, including 179 undergraduate majors, 107 minors, 62 master’s programs and 26 doctoral programs.
Why It’s a Great Place to Live (Even If You’re Not a Student): The Utah Valley, where Provo is located, is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s an outdoor-lover’s dream — hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, fishing, skiing and tons of other activities are popular and easily accessible here. Known as a family-focused town, Provo offers plenty of kid-friendly activities including the Provo Beach indoor theme park and the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, just to name a few. Not only is Provo a great place to live, there are job opportunities aplenty, especially in technology and research-related fields.
What Sets It Apart From Other College Towns: Religion is a big part of life in Provo, and the influences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are embedded throughout this college town. But there’s also a hip music scene, a ski resort nearby and a historic downtown district with buildings circa 1880 to 1930.
Iconic Pizza Place: SLABpizza
Brunch Spot: Joe’s Cafe
Tailgating Must-Have: Tailgating isn’t huge in Provo, but be sure to wear your “Cougs” tee on game day to cheer on the BYU cougars.
Shopping Street: West Center Street
Best Local Hangover Cure: Because of BYU’s Honor Code, there actually aren’t that many hangovers happening in Provo. However, the 1.3-mile hike up to Bridal Veil Falls is a refreshing way to start the day.
Best Place to Grab a Cheap Beer: ABG’s Bar
Local Dream Job: Executive director of the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute, which puts on a signature annual storytelling festival and conference, as well as other storytelling “concerts” and programs.