OPINION: Where are the best college towns in America?

Kyle Knuth, Staff Writer

After graduation on Saturday, May 14, the Class of 2022 will go their separate ways and enroll in college and universities across the country, with a few even traveling abroad next year. Some colleges are located in large metropolitan areas that give the campus a very urban feel, while others find themselves in incredible rural communities. 

However, the traditional “College Town” has been a long treasured token of many universities across the country. In my opinion, some of America’s best and most famous college towns include Athens, Georgia; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Oxford, Mississippi; and South Bend, Indiana. These towns play a role of providing culture and fun to the students and alumni who have connections to the universities. 

Athens, Georgia

Our first town on the list is about an hour away, Athens, Georgia. Athens is home to the University of Georgia and holds fun activities any time of year. The city is known for many notable feats including its history in music as bands like the B-52’s and REM started their careers in the iconic city. Aside from the music, many shops, restaurants, and other small businesses shape the culture of Athens for everyone to enjoy. Sophomore Emily Kelly visits Athens for football games during the fall.

“One of my favorite places in Athens is an 80’s diner,” said Kelly. “My parents had their first date here, so it’s a special place for my family.”

Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi is home to the University of Mississippi (Commonly referred to as Ole Miss) and is viewed across the country as one of the classiest college towns in the southeast. Like Athens, Oxford is home to a slew of petite houses and small businesses that give the city its own culture. \

One of the most popular destinations in Oxford on gameday is the popular tailgating spot “The Grove,” a 10 acre grassy area that becomes one of the largest tailgate parties in the hours leading up to a home football game. The atmosphere is filled with food, music, and fun tailgating events as people gather to watch their favorite team play in the classic city of Oxford. 

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Taking us in between Oxford and Athens is the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to the University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa is known for the typical shops and restaurants, but also the large fraternity and sorority houses that line the streets of the city. Tuscaloosa’s greek life culture is unmatched. When cars enter the campus, they are greeted by large houses that dedicate themselves to the culture of the university and promote friendship throughout the city. Senior Joseph McGhee, who hopes to attend the University of Alabama, is very fond of the city. 

“The thing about Tuscaloosa that really blew me away was the football stadium. It’s really big!” said an optimistic McGhee.

South Bend, Indiana

Our last town on the list is the city of South Bend in the great state of Indiana, home of three colleges: Notre Dame University, St. Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College. The tri-school setting makes for an atmosphere like no other as students from all three schools intermingle in a setting that allows them to meet new people. St. Mary’s and Holy Cross students often attend Notre Dame sporting events to get the true South Bend feel. All three schools are Catholic, so in addition to lots of unique restaurants and liveries, there are multiple Catholic elements in the town like the infamous “Touchdown Jesus” in Notre Dame’s library. senior Molly Swartz is looking forward to attending Notre Dame this fall, and she says that the town of South Bend makes her feel at home. 

“One of my favorite things about South Bend is how there’s always new things popping up, for example this restaurant called ‘Create’ where there is art on the wall available for purchase. Plus you’re about a half hour away from Chicago, so that’s always nice,” said Swartz. 

Regardless of whichever college St. Pius students attend, the city or town that they live in will have a profound impact on their experience. As seniors look forward to choosing a college that’s right for them, there’s no doubt that they will find the right school that will help them grow both academically and socially into the people they are destined to be, and that the city of said college will provide fun and entertainment for the entire ride.