10 Best College Towns

College, it turns out, is an experience shaped as much by what's happening off campus as it is in the classroom. We've selected 10 top college towns that provide plenty of culture and things to do when you're not studying.

Great college rivalries are the stuff of legends – Army vs. Navy, Alabama vs. Auburn, Harvard vs. Yale. Many of the most famous clashes extend far beyond sports into the world of academia, graduation rates, job placement and even party-ability. 

Now is throwing down the gauntlet by ranking our Top 10 College Towns: Great Cities for School and Life After Graduation.

College is about more than getting a degree; it's about establishing a life. That's why this list isn't a ranking of colleges, but rather a ranking of great cities that are home to some of the nation's best colleges and universities. These cities are cultural hubs, artistic centers, intellectual meccas, and economic drivers offering students and residents some of the best places to live, study, play and launch a career in America.

Check out our most recent Top 10 College Towns list here.

Ranking Criteria

Low unemployment rate • Percentage of 21- to 34-year-olds • Restaurants per capita • Median income • Median housing costs

10. Springfield, IL Population 117,061
9. Charlottesville, VA Population 45,084
8. Burlington, VT Population 42,570
7. Bloomington, IN Population 82,813
6. Eugene, OR Population 159,615
5. Boulder, CO Population 103,919
4. Nashville, TN Population 634,512
3. Chapel Hill, NC Population 58,766
2. Athens, GA Population 119,684
1. Gainesville, FL Population 127,559