Best Places to Live

College Station, TX

Population: 115,015
Photo: Bryan-College Station CVB

Few cities are as tied to a university as College Station, TX, is to Texas A&M. Where many colleges came to an established city, College Station was built around the university. Most College Station residents can attribute their jobs, entertainment options, and quality of life in some form or fashion to A&M, which has become a preeminent place for research. The city provides residents with excellent schools, recreational outlets, entertainment options and more diversity than many would expect to find in central Texas.

With the largest concentration of students on our list, College Station is almost more college than town. Local's refer to the city and surrounding region as “Aggieland,” due to the loyal support residents show Texas A&M. Restaurants, stores and bars offer students special discounts, and put their pride in the university on display by decorating with school colors on game days. Students gladly give back to the community by participating in service projects such as the Big Event, which began in 1982 and is now the largest one-day student-run service project in the nation. More than 18,000 students painted houses, picked up trash and spruced up yards during the last Big Event. Since 1989, A&M students have built a Habitat for Humanity house in either Bryan or College station each semester. Students have also helped plant trees in areas ravaged by wildfires.

When it comes to quality-of-life amenities, College Station doesn't skimp. The city's 52 parks cover more than 1,400 acres, providing residents with swimming pools, athletic fields, hiking trails and more than 60 miles of bike trails. Restaurants range from burger and pizza joints to Asian fusion food trucks, steakhouses and Italian bistros. Jazz bars, dance clubs and honky tonks mesh nicely together with the city's primary entertainment district known as Northgate. The more laid back Wolf Pen Creek District includes a greenway and large amphitheater, a lake, galleries and outdoor art exhibits.

Population: 99,399

Student population: 50,000

Don't Miss: Dixie Chicken, a traditional watering hole for many Aggies offering a real Texas atmosphere, burgers and beer

Read more: Check out more photos of College Station, TX and a list of top employers.