#5. Corvallis OR
Why It’s a Great Place to Go to College: Oregon State University professors and alumni have made some impressive discoveries – they’re responsible for the computer mouse, the modern dentist chair and the artificial heart valve, just to name a few. Imagine being part of that culture of innovation as an undergrad. Plus, if you’re passionate about conservation, OSU has top-notch programs relating to the environment (think: forestry, oceanography, marine biology, agriculture and natural resources).
Why You Should Put Down Roots Here (Even After Graduation): This progressive city, located along the Willamette River, is just an hour’s drive from the Pacific Ocean, though you may not make it that far once you start exploring the more than 60 miles of mixed-use trails, natural areas and other adventure spots here. If you’re into tech, you’ll find a job at one of the more than 25 software companies located in Corvallis, including Hewlett-Packard’s massive 2.3-million-square-foot research campus. There are also tons of local wineries, distilleries, breweries and restaurants incorporating ultra-fresh ingredients here.
Coolest Campus Tradition: DAMJAM, an annual music festival celebrating the end of the academic year that draws thousands of students and big-name musical acts like Akon, Macklemore and OK Go.
Best Place to Get Out and About: Bald Hill Natural Area, which is a close-to-town treasure for a peaceful walk, jog or bike ride.
Best Fourth Meal: A burrito or some rolled tacos from Riva’s Taco Shop.
Place to Be on a Saturday Night: Squirrel’s Tavern
Beloved Brewery: Block 15 Brewing Company
Best Bookstore (for non-textbooks): The Corvallis Book Bin
Favorite Coffee Shop Study Spot: Imagine Coffee
Local Dream Job: Director of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, a super cool collaborative research center
What Keeps Alumni Coming Back: Where else are they going to wear all that orange gear in their closets? Oh, and the beautiful scenery — they got to spend four years in one of the most lovely, charming places in the country.