Best Places to Live

Ithaca, NY

Population: 31,648
iStockPhoto/kickstand

Why It’s a Great Place to Go to College: It’s Cornell. ‘Nuf said. OK, but seriously, Ithaca is home to not one but two great schools: the Ivy League’s Cornell University and Ithaca College. It’s a relatively small town, with some 30,000 residents, so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you first arrive on campus. When you’re not studying, there’s plenty to keep you busy, ranging from cascading waterfall hikes to a happening downtown area.

Why You Should Put Down Roots Here (Even After Graduation): Love to be in nature? Then you’ll love Ithaca, which also made our list of the 2019 Top 100 best Places to Live. Plus, since you’re so close to Cornell and Ithaca College, you’ll get to take advantage of on-campus events and lectures from some of the world’s smartest people. There’s also tons of live music and fun annual events (like a summer concert series and a winter light festival) to keep you busy on the weekends.

Coolest Campus Tradition: Slope Day, an annual event to celebrate the last day of classes for the year with live music, food, alcohol and more. (Last spring, Steve Aoki was the headliner, so it’s legit.)

Best Place to Get Out and About: Any of the 150 waterfalls in the Ithaca region (Taughannock Falls is the tallest at 215 feet!).

Best Fourth Meal: Tacos or a quesadilla from Dos Amigos.

Place to Be on a Saturday Night: The Haunt, a live music venue with karaoke and tasty eats.

Beloved Brewery: Liquid State Brewing Company

Best Bookstore (for non-textbooks): Buffalo Street Books

Favorite Coffee Shop Study Spot: Ithaca Coffee Company

Local Dream Job: Instructor for Cornell Tree Climbing Institute ... which is exactly what is sounds like: a place to learn how to climb trees like a pro. 

What Keeps Alumni Coming Back: An intense pride and loyalty in their school (and the chance to eat at Collegetown Bagels, aka CTB)

Read More About Living in Ithaca: