The Best College Towns in the Midwest

From football to food, these are the best things to see, do, eat, and drink when you visit the best college towns in the Midwest.

While even the mildest Midwestern winters drag by slowly, the hottest, most humid summers always fly by quickly. It’s hard to believe that school starts in just a few, short weeks. And this year, back-to-school at my house means getting a third child settled in at college. While Charlotte will be joining her big brother Bo in a Midwestern college town that’s near and dear to my heart, I know that it’s one of several amazing college towns throughout the Midwest.

From football to food, research to recreation, libraries to long weekends off campus, Midwestern travel bloggers have identified these communities as the best college towns in the Midwest.

What's the Best College Town in the Midwest?

Share your favorite photo with me by tagging @sagescott.kc on Instagram and using the hashtag #everydaywanderer


Ames, Iowa, Home to Iowa State University

Recommended by Val from Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Val lives by the saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” Lucky for us she is blooming in rural, northern Iowa where she is a farmer, farmer’s wife, stay at home mom, and blogger at Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids. She’s also a proud alum of Iowa State University who is excited to share why Ames is one of the top Midwest college towns.

What makes Ames one of the best small college towns in the Midwest?  

Founded in 1858, Iowa State University was the nation’s first land-grant university. Iowa State still prides itself on the founding principals of being a land-grant university:

  • providing higher education to all,
  • teaching practical classes, and
  • sharing knowledge beyond campus through the extension system which is in place in all 99 counties in Iowa.

The Iowa State Cyclones are a part of the Big 12 Conference and always love competing with their in-state rival, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, as well. The Cyclones got their nickname in 1895 after they defeated the Northwestern University football team 36-0. The next day, the Chicago Tribune’s headline read “Struck by a Cyclone” and the nickname stuck.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Ames?   

If you visit Ames in the fall, tailgating outside of Jack Trice Stadium is a favorite for college students, alumni, and community members. Elsewhere at Iowa State University, don’t miss the Reiman Gardens. Visitors can tour it year-round including indoor and outdoor displays, a butterfly house, and special exhibits. On campus, the campanile is a must see located in Central Campus. The campanile’s clock not only keeps everyone on time, but it is also known for being the perfect place to kiss your sweetheart at the twelve strokes of midnight.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Ames?  

If you visit Ames in the fall, tailgating outside of Jack Trice Stadium is a favorite for college students, alumni, and community members. Elsewhere at Iowa State University, don’t miss the Reiman Gardens. Visitors can tour it year-round including indoor and outdoor displays, a butterfly house, and special exhibits.

On campus, the campanile is a must-see located in Central Campus. The campanile’s clock not only keeps everyone on time, but it is also known for being the perfect place to kiss your sweetheart at the twelve strokes of midnight.

The most iconic restaurant in Ames is Hickory Park, which is known for their delicious barbeque, ice cream treats, and affordable prices. Nearby you can also enjoy another popular barbeque restaurant, Jethro’s BBQ Steak and Chop.

In Ames’ vibrant downtown, grab a pizza at Great Plains Sauce and Dough. The pizza’s crust is just as famous as the ingredients and cheese piled on top. Locals love ordering either wheat or oat crust and drizzling honey on top as they finish each slice. Another popular downtown restaurant is Olde Main Brewing Company which always has several fresh brewed beers and root beer on tap.

Elsewhere in Ames, another popular neighborhood to eat in is Somerset, home to several local favorites The Cafe, +39 Restaurant Market & Cantina and Brick City Grill.

Best College Towns in the Midwest - Ames IA - JPG

Ann Arbor, Michigan, Home to the University of Michigan

Recommended by Erin Klema of The Epicurean Traveler

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Erin Klema is a travel and food writer. Her blog, The Epicurean Traveler, helps you find where to eat, drink, and explore in the Midwest and beyond! The daughter of a University of Michigan graduate, Erin grew up regularly visiting the beautiful town of Ann Arbor. After a recent, weekend getaway in Ann Arbor, here’s why Erin calls the home to the University of Michigan one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

What makes Ann Arbor one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Though founded in Detroit twenty years earlier, Ann Arbor has been home to the University of Michigan since 1837. What makes Ann Arbor one of the best college towns in the Midwest is that the campus is right in the heart of the city, and visitors can easily walk from restaurants and shops to the Diag, Law Quad, and on-campus art museum within minutes.

The oldest public university in Michigan, U of M is now a renowned research university with 24 Nobel Prize winners associated with it. Also a member of the Big Ten Conference, the Wolverines compete in 27 NCAA Division I varsity sports. The “winningest” football team ranks No. 1 for total wins in the NCAA, has been national champs 11 times, and produced three Heisman Trophy recipients.

With so many academic and athletic accomplishments, Michigan fans proudly sport Maize and Blue, sing their fight song “The Victors,” and cheer “Go Blue.”

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Ann Arbor?

When visiting Ann Arbor, visitors should shop and dine in the walkable downtown. Along the way, you’ll find unique street art, including the new “Michigan Wings” by well-known street artist Kelsey Montague. There is plenty more art to see at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, which is free and open to the public daily, except on Mondays.

A walk around downtown and campus should definitely include the Law Quad to see its beautiful Tudor Gothic architecture. Then quietly step inside the Law Library and make your way to the first floor of Hutchins Hall to see stained glass cartoons of the law in action. While you are on campus, don’t miss the art deco clock tower known as the Burton Memorial Tower.

If you enjoy being outdoors, take a walk around Nichols Arboretum. The Arb, as locals call it, has the largest peony garden in North America. At peak bloom in June, there can be up to 10,000 peony blossoms!

Of course, many visit Ann Arbor for football games. Whether you plan to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines or just take a tour, Michigan Stadium is a sight to see. The largest stadium in the US and second-largest in the world, it certainly earns its nickname as “The Big House.”

Where should visitors eat when they visit Ann Arbor?  

With 300+ restaurants, there is no shortage of places to eat in Ann Arbor! Perhaps most well-known is Zingerman’s Delicatessen, where the line of diners seeking mouthwatering sandwiches and deli salads sometimes stretches out to the sidewalk. Personally, I enjoy the diversity of cuisines.

During a weekend in Ann Arbor, you could eat Spanish tapas at Aventura, steamed buns at Korean restaurant Miss Kim, fantastic fish tacos at Black Pearl, barbecue at Blue Tractor, and Asian street food at HOMES Brewery. In addition to HOMES, craft beer drinkers will find Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak within a couple blocks of each other downtown. On a warm day, nothing beats a scoop of ice cream made in-house at Blank Slate Creamery!

Related Article:  Read Why Ann Arbor, Michigan, is an Up and Coming US Travel Destination


Bloomington, Indiana, Home to Indiana University

Recommended by Emily Hines from Em's on the Road

From a home base of Bloomington, Indiana, where her husband is attending Indiana University as a doctoral student, Emily Hines shares her unexpected adventures around the United States at Em’s on the Road. She considers herself a college town enthusiast, and here’s why she feels Bloomington is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

What makes Bloomington one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Bloomington, AKA B-town, is home to the Hoosier Nation. Basketball is definitely a big deal thanks to the legendary Bobby Knight who led the IU men’s basketball team to multiple national championships. But there’s much more to Bloomington. Biking is equally popular in Bloomington thanks to the Little 500 bicycle race held every spring to benefit the Indiana University Student Foundation. With trails and bike lanes all over town, Bloomington is consistently named one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the USA. B-town is a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts to visit as well with hundreds of acres of forest to hike in the Hoosier National Forest and three different lakes for paddling, sailing, and boating.

Related Article:  10 Essential Biking Rules Every Cyclist Should Know

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Bloomington?

For history and architecture fans, one of the first stops for visitors should be Indiana University‘s Old Crescent section of campus. The grounds are immaculately tended with crimson and cream flowers all around. The architecture is built from locally-quarried limestone and reflect the dramatic Gothic style. Make sure to walk along the Jordan River that passes by the Memorial Union, one of the largest student unions in the country. 

The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center is a hidden gem that offers a relaxing and peaceful place for meditation and exploration. It is free to tour the grounds and temple. Take note of intricate sand mandalas, butter sculptures, and Tibetan chortens. Don’t miss a show while you’re in town either. Live music can be seen any night of the week at The Bluebird and The Bishop and some of the best comedians in the country love making a stop at The Comedy Attic while on tour. Indiana University’s Jacobs School and IU Auditorium host incredible performances throughout the year as well.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Bloomington?

There are a plethora of international restaurants in Bloomington thanks to the student diversity of Indiana University. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but Little Tibet is one of my favorites for momos and curry. I’m a huge fan of La Vie en Rose, the newest addition in town specializing in authentic French fare like baguettes, quiche, and other baked goodness. Being in a college town there is a never-ending supply of pizza places as well, and it is all fantastic. Mother Bear’s Pizza on the Indiana University campus is known for their decadent pan pizza and weekly draft specials while Kind Dough, my personal favorite, creates unique flavor combos and cooks them to order in a wood-fired oven.

There’s a booming craft booze scene in Bloomington, too. We’re home to two wineries (one being Oliver Winery, the largest east of the Mississippi River), five craft breweries, a distillery, a cidery, and a cyzery (mead cider hybrid).

Champaign, Illinois, Home to the University of Illinois

Recommended by Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job

About two hours south of Chicago, the University of Illinois is a central part of the Champaign-Urbana community. With 24 Nobel Prize winners, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, and students from around the world, Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job believes it is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

What makes Champaign one of the best college towns in the Midwest? 

The University of Illinois was organized in 1867 and was meant to be the West Point of the working world. The team name of the University of Illinois is the Illini, after the Native Americans who once lived in the surrounding lands. For decades the mascot was Chief Illiniwek, who dressed in ceremonial tribal wear. However, the mascot designed to represent an Illinois tribe was actually clothed in the traditional costume of the Dakota Sioux tribe. Understandably, much controversy surrounded Chief Illiniwek, and the disrespect the symbol showed the native people. In 2007, the Chief Illiniwek mascot was retired.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Champaign? 

The University of Illinois campus is quite beautiful, although to outsiders it can seem to be a bit confusing. It is filled with historic buildings and unique architecture dating back to the 1860s. It is often represented by the statue of Alma Mater, which sends greetings to new students, from those of the past.

Off campus, Champaign is known for its downtown area. A hub of dining and nightlife, it features outdoor cafes and beer gardens at almost every establishment. It is quite pleasant to sit along the sidewalks for dinner or cocktails and to people watch. Numerous festivals are held on the downtown streets each year, from the Boneyard Arts Festival in the spring, Blues and Brews Festival in the summer, and Champaign-Urbana Pride in the fall.

The surrounding areas are also known for the many natural park areas, which are quite diverse. Some feature sculpture walks, others natural woodlands. Some boast carefully coiffed ornamental gardens, and there are even those which have recreated the natural Illinois prairie.

For those that love history, there are a handful of Lincoln Heritage Trail sites in the community and surrounding areas. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Lincoln New Salem village are a short drive away, in nearby Springfield and Petersburg.

Sage Advice:  Explore more of the Land of Lincoln with these family trips in Illinois.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Champaign? 

Champaign is known for a diverse population, and this is represented in the food choices. There are wide-ranging, delicious options featuring almost any ethnicity. My personal favorite is Radio Maria, featuring some of the best tapas anywhere. For amazing sushi, try Ko-Fusion. Those who love northern Indian cuisine will enjoy Koohinor Indian Restaurant. And those who love Thai food will want to dine at Thara Thai. Get authentic Mexican at Fiesta Cafe and amazing street tacos at Maize. And, for some down-home barbecue, try Black Dog Ale House.

Columbia, Missouri, Home to the University of Missouri

Recommended by Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love

From her home in Eastern Iowa, Michelle shares down-to-earth advice for adventurous families via her website, Simplify, Live, Love. As an alum of Mizzou, here’s what she recommends you see, do, and eat when you visit one of the best towns in the Midwest in Columbia, Missouri.

Columbia MO is one of the best college towns in the Midwest

What makes Columbia one of the best small college towns in the Midwest?  

Colombia is the fourth largest city in Missouri and home to the University of Missouri (also called Mizzou). Mizzou is the oldest public university west of the Mississippi River and was founded with a land grant from the US government in 1839. Yell M.I.Z. to any Missourian and they will immediately answer back Z.O.U. Truman the Tiger is Mizzou’s mascot, a tribute to President Harry Truman and Columbia’s union supporting resistance to the Confederate bushwhackers during the Civil War.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Columbia?  

Visitors to Columbia will find many fun things to occupy their time in this bike and walker friendly town. A walk around the Francis Quadrangle at Mizzou to see the iconic columns from the original admissions building that burned down in 1892 is a must. Make sure to check out the local shops in the downtown area, Shelter Gardens, and Stephens Lake. Visitors will also enjoy hiking and bike trails at nearby state parks including Rock Bridge State Park, the Devil’s Icebox, and Finger Lakes State Park. Bikers will enjoy the Katy Trail, a state park that stretches from Kansas City to St. Charles, Missouri, along the original railroad bed from the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Railroad.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Columbia?

When it comes to food, Shakespeare’s Pizza has been a local favorite for 45 years. In 2010, it was named the Best College Hangout in America by Good Morning America. Nothing pairs with pizza like beer, so head over to Logboat Brewing to sip some suds at this locally owned and operated brewery with beers like Dark Matter, Shiphead, and Mamoot. For dessert, don’t miss Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream. In addition to standard flavors — like chocolate, vanilla, and cookies and cream — watch for fun flavors that change frequently like blueberry muffin, caramel banana pudding, and lavender honey.

Fun Fact:  The husband and wife team behind Betty Rae’s ice cream, one of the best ice cream parlors in Kansas City, worked together at Sparky’s in Columbia. In fact, they co-created the shop’s lavender honey ice cream flavor!

East Lansing, Michigan, Home to Michigan State University

Recommended by Piper from Follow the Piper

Piper lives in Lansing, Michigan, where she is a travel writer, photographer, and blogs at Follow the Piper. She is an alum of both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, so she is also on the winning team. She can’t wait to share why East Lansing is one of the top Midwest college towns.

What makes East Lansing one of the best small college towns in the Midwest?  

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University (MSU) was the nation’s pioneer land-grant college. Today, the university is still well known for its agricultural programs. The Michigan State Spartans are a part of the Big 10 Conference, and it’s always an exciting game when they play their rival the University of Michigan Wolverines. 

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit East Lansing?  

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is a 46,000-square-foot contemporary art museum on Michigan State University’s campus, whose mission is to explore international culture. The good news and the bad news are — the exhibits are constantly changing. The museum always has something new, but your favorite display may be gone next time you visit.

The building itself, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, is a contemporary piece of art with a glass and a pleated stainless-steel façade. Admission is free, and on the weekends, you can take a free docent-lead tour. 

Outdoor activities abound in East Lansing. Michigan ranks second in the nation for the most trail ways, and Lansing contributes more than 16 miles of River Trails, running from downtown Lansing to MSU’s campus. Hiking, running, biking, or blading are all active trail options.

Golf provides more outdoor fun with more than 25 golf courses within 30 miles of Lansing. Zagat rated Forest Akers Golf course at MSU as one of the top golf courses in America. 

For the kiddos, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, located on campus, encourages understanding plants through their fifty-five themed gardens.

Where should visitors eat when they visit East Lansing, Michigan?

MSU Dairy Store is a great place for a light lunch, dessert, or snack. Michigan State University began as Michigan Agricultural College, so it makes sense there’s a dairy processing plant on-site from the MSU Dairy Teaching and Research Center’s award-winning milk. You’ll find ice cream and cheese at stores in either the MSU Union or Anthony Hall.

State Room inside the Kellogg Center offers seasonal menus featuring American cuisine. In addition to a Saturday and Sunday brunch menu, the State Room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Beggars Banquet is another local favorite.

Red Cedar Spirits, opened in 1998 and is one of the oldest distilleries in Michigan. They create craft spirits from scratch, using Michigan fruits and grains.

Fargo, North Dakota, Home to North Dakota State University

Recommended by Alicia Underlee Nelson of Prairie Style File

Alicia covers what’s beautiful and what’s next in the Upper Midwest, the prairie provinces of Canada, and in under-appreciated destinations. You can find her work on Thomson Reuters, Food Network, USA Today, Prairie Style File, and numerous other publications. She is the author of North Dakota Beer: A Heady History which uniquely qualifies her to describe why Fargo is one of the best towns in the Midwest.

What makes Fargo one of the best small college towns in the Midwest?  

Fargo is an educational center and a magnet for entrepreneurs and artists, so it’s one of the most diverse and creative places in the state. North Dakota State University has been known for its innovative agricultural programs since 1890, but now the public university is most famous outside of academia for its powerhouse football team. The NDSU Bison (pronounced “by-zon” not “by-son,” no matter what the national TV sportscasters say) football program is the only one in the nation to have won five consecutive NCAA Division I-FCS National Championships and six championships in seven years. Pre-game tailgating at the Fargodome is one of the best parties in North Dakota, the NDSU Homecoming parade draws big crowds, and downtown Fargo rolls out the red carpet with an epic street party whenever ESPN comes to town to cover the team.

What do you recommend visitors see, do, and eat when they visit Fargo?  

Rent a bike from Great Rides Bike Share at the NDSU Memorial Union and explore the pretty, tree-lined campus in north Fargo. Grab a beer at Herd and Horns (an NDSU themed sports bar) or The Bison Turf (a legendary student watering hole that was recently rebuilt after a fire), both located just off campus. Then cruise south to downtown Fargo, where you can hop on the pretty riverfront trails and bike across the Red River into Minnesota, and down to the shaded oasis of Fargo’s Lindenwood Park and back again.

Stash the bike at one of the downtown stations and tour Fargo’s most vibrant and eclectic neighborhood on foot. Visit the Plains Art Museum (it’s free!) or watch a movie at the Fargo Theatre. Its Art Deco marquee is a symbol of the city and a popular photo opp.

Related Article:  5 Tips to Help Kids of All Ages Appreciate Art Museums

Allow plenty of time to stroll the shops, galleries, and boutiques, which start south of Main Avenue on 8th Street, and follow Main Avenue to Broadway, the best window shopping and people watching stretch of the city. If you need a break with a great view of the action, take a seat at the tables outside of Dempsey’s Public House (or catch the band onstage inside or upstairs at The Aquarium, if you’re so inclined), perk up with an espresso at Atomic Coffee or chill out amidst the street art murals, food trucks and astroturf lawn at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave. N. If you’re looking for a unique memento, Zandbroz Variety boasts a beautifully curated selection of artful novelties, home decor items and books (including a large selection by local authors), while Unglued features funky, funny, handmade gifts, jewelry, art and decor from artists and artisans around the region.

Kalamazoo, Michigan, Home of Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College

Recommended by Jessie of Wandering Educators

Raised near Kalamazoo, Jessie has called this college town her home for the past four years. From this Midwestern location, the founder of Wandering Educators has traveled the world and published eight books about travel and intercultural learning. From the two colleges to the coffee scene, here’s why she thinks Kalamazoo is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

Kalamazoo is one of the best Midwestern college towns

What makes Kalamazoo one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Kalamazoo is home to two major institutes of higher learning: Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College. The public research university, WMU, was founded in 1903, and was Michigan’s fourth teacher-training college. Because of Kalamazoo’s hilly terrain, there was a funicular built to carry students up the hill to East Campus, which ran until 1949! WMU is a powerhouse in Division I sports, but is also well-known for its great commitment to the arts, including the Gwen Frostic School of Art, named for our beloved Michigan artist and WMU alumna; Miller Auditorium hosts student productions, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, touring Broadway shows, musicians, and authors. An annual Medieval conference held on campus that attracts scholars from around the world; and the College of Aviation is one of the top 3 flight science programs in the US. The school colors, brown and gold, can be seen throughout town – and in Bronco gear everywhere you look.

Kalamazoo College is a small, private liberal arts college whose campus is nestled next to WMU’s larger, sprawling campus. The highest ranked private college in the state, “K” is known for its commitment to international experiences, specifically, study abroad (ranked #1 in the nation). The Hornets (school colors of orange and black) are well known, especially in tennis.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Kalamazoo?

There’s so much to explore in Kalamazoo! For the arts, be sure to visit the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Not only home to world-class art, the Kirk Newman Art School is an extraordinary treasure. The arts are alive throughout town, though, from the University to a slew of interesting, creative, lovely schools and shops. Also keep your eyes peeled for street art – the tomato canning mural above is my favorite and is located on the back of Park Trades Center, home to many, many artists. If you’re in town on the first Friday of the month, you’ll find Kalamazoo buzzing with Art Hop. Small businesses, musicians, and artists galore all participate.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1960. It’s one of the top nature centers in the US, and has programs, exhibits, hiking trails, and even a preschool.

Downtown, Bronson Park (named after founder Titus Bronson, who was a piece of work) has free wifi and plenty of pokestops. The Civic Theatre has a storied history and excellent local community productions. The Kalamazoo Ladies’ Library, founded in 1852, was the first public library in town. Now, head across the street to the award-winning Kalamazoo Public Library. Look up in the central rotunda – the lights look like TARDISes!

The Air Zoo, located just down the street from the airport, is an incredible aeronautical museum WITH RIDES! One of our favorite places in town is the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. It’s free and offers interesting exhibits and permanent collections about history, tech, and science. You’ll not only learn the history of Checker Cabs (made here!), but also learn about songs containing the name Kalamazoo (“I’ve got a gal in Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo”). You’ll also learn about Gibson Guitars, peppermint, the history of medical equipment, Abraham Lincoln, and more!

Where should visitors eat when they visit Kalamazoo?  

I’m a coffee fiend, so of course, I have plenty of favorite coffee shops! Near campus, head to Coexist Cafe, which truly exemplifies diversity and a warm welcome to international students and global citizens. Downtown, there are a slew of choices. My favorites include Civil House Coffee, Factory Coffee, Black Owl (which has the most hipster bathroom I’ve ever seen), Water Street Coffee, and Rose Gold Coffee Company.

View this post on Instagram

The Complete Guide to Kalamazoo Coffee Shops! Whether you’re stopping by, or you’re a Kalamazoo native, dig in - you’ll find a new favorite (or five). You'll thank us for our exhaustive research... Link in bio. @blackowlcafe @chocolateaportage @civilhousecoffee @coexistcafe @factorycoffee @fidomotorscafe @fourthcoastcafe @sbcoffeekzoo @cafetableofcontents @walnutandparkcafe @waterstreetcoffeejoint @coffeerescue1 @theorganicgypsy @mamaleelu @javajoneshc . And their roasters: @euphoriacoffeeco @kzoocoffeeco @populacecoffee @madcapcoffee @proudmaryusa @vervecoffee @quillscoffee @uncommoncoffeeroasters @ritualcoffee @magnumcoffee @ferriscoffee @highergroundstradingco @stovetoproasters . @yelpkzoo #discoverkzoo #kzoocoffee #kalamazoocoffee #KalamazooMichigan #thirdwavecoffee #coffeeshopcorners #puremichigan #bestof #thirdwavecoffeeshop #drinklocal #michigancoffeeculture #michigancoffeeshops #sprudge #specialtycoffee #barista #coffeelife #kzoofoodie #latte #localroasters #yelpelite

A post shared by Dr. Jessie Voigts (@wanderingeducators) on

Kalamazoo is also a globally-renowned craft beer town. There are many breweries in town; perhaps the most famous is Bell’s (founded by a K College alum!). Each year, Oberon Day (the much-anticipated release of Oberon Ale) is celebrated by countless in town; Bell’s Two Hearted has been named the best beer in America.

You’ll find a wide range of interesting and delicious eats at Kalamazoo restaurants. Grab a burger downtown at Burdick’s, or for a more casual burger, eat at Nonla Burger. It’s a small shop with outsize taste – the fries are incredible! If you love Middle Eastern food, hit up the buffet at Shawarma King on Westnedge (their red lentil soup takes you to Turkey!), grab all your friends and experience the famous hospitality and good food at Bab el Salaam, and track our favorite food truck, Babatürk, to taste the deliciousness. Two of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Kalamazoo are located just around the corner from each other. El Gallo Blanco and Quekas each have interesting, authentic menus – you’ll have to try both!

My friend Crystal, who creates incredible art at Lake Michigan Book Press, chimed in with another downtown favorite – Martini’s. Located in the Vine neighborhood, next to student-favorite Crow’s Nest, it’s an excellent pizza place whose owner supports the local arts scene – tasty AND beautiful inside! And, you can’t leave town without trying a few baked goods. Sarkozy Bakery has been baking for Kalamazoo for decades – not only is their oatmeal bread the best thing ever for BLTs, but their almond croissant will change your life. You can spot Judy Sarkozy at the wonderful farmer’s market every weekend. Across town, near campus, Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is a family-owned business that has been named the Best Donuts in America! Open 24/7, you’ll always be able to get your donut fix.

Iowa City, Iowa, Home to the University of Iowa

Recommended by Kylie of Between England and Iowa

Kylie is a British expat living in Iowa where she blogs about her worldwide adventures in England, Iowa, and everywhere in-between at Between England and Iowa. Here’s why she thinks Iowa City — home to the University of Iowa and Herky the Hawkeye — is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

Iowa City, Iowa is one of the best college towns in the Midwest

What makes Iowa City one of the best college towns in the Midwest? 

Iowa City made the news  for its “Kinnick Wave.” During the Iowa Hawkeye football games, everyone in the Kinnick Stadium turns and waves at the people watching from the 12th floor of the Children’s Hospital next door!

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Iowa City? 

If you want to enjoy a slice of University of Iowa history, the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum are worth a visit. It recognizes some of their top athletes and shows you how the uniforms have progressed through the years. Entry is completely free! You can also visit the Old Capitol Museum which was Iowa’s first state capitol building back in the mid-1800’s.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Iowa City?

The Vue Rooftop on the top floor of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel has great views across Iowa City, it even has an outdoor dining area. The dishes are tasty and very reasonably priced! The Hamburg Inn also has awesome “pie shakes”…milkshakes blended with a slice of pie!

Sage Advice:  Vegan visitors to Iowa City will want to check out these 15 vegan-friendly businesses.

Lincoln, Nebraska, Home to the University of Nebraska

Recommended by Tim Trudell of The Walking Tourists

Nebraska native, Tim Trudell, is an award-winning journalist. From Omaha, he and his wife write the travel blog The Walking Tourists.  They are also the authors of 100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die, a bucket list of attractions and restaurants in the Metro area, and Unique Eats and Eateries of Omaha. Here’s why Tim thinks Lincoln is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the best college towns in the Midwest

What makes Lincoln one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Lincoln may be a smaller city (about 250,000), but it is loaded with attractions, food, and entertainment options. Movie theaters and restaurants are plentiful near the campus. The campus itself offers a spacious layout with a mix of older and new buildings. The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football program is legendary. On home game weekends, Memorial Stadium becomes the third largest city in the state with about 90,000 people packed into the stadium, most dressed in their Husker red. Nebraska is among the top five all-time winningest college football teams in history, with five national championships and approaching 900 wins.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Lincoln?

Lincoln is home to the state capitol building, one of only five in the country built as a skyscraper. The state’s legislature is the lone unicameral in the United States.

The Museum of American Speed is a must-see. Three floors of racing car history, pedal cars, and other toys, as well as pop culture, offer an amazing visit. Be prepared to spend a few hours here!

Take a tour of Memorial Stadium. A map helps visitors take a self-guided tour around the stadium, featuring statues of legendary coaches and players. One spot will give you an outstanding view of inside Memorial Stadium. Top off the tour with a visit to the athletics office, which features the national championship trophies, bowl trophies, uniforms, programs and much more.

Sage Advice:  Do you plan on camping your way through Nebraska? Don’t miss this advice from a native on where to go glamping in Nebraska.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Lincoln?  

Haymarket is the main downtown area for restaurants and drinks. Toss in the Railyard entertainment district next to the Haymarket and you can try local and national restaurant chains. Check out Mellow Mushroom in the Railyard for unique pizza. It’s located across the street from Pinnacle Bank Arena, home of the Huskers’ men’s and women’s basketball teams. Also in the Haymarket is Lead Belly, Buzzard Billy’s and Longfellow’s for burgers, Cajun, and other American-style food.

Nearby on O Street (a short walk from campus) is one of the best pizza joints in America. Yiayia’s Pizza Beer & Wine offers a unique approach to pizza with its combination of styles. The Around the World is a popular choice, featuring specialty pizzas with an international flair, such as Greek (pepperoncini, spinach, black olives, red onion, bruschetta, feta, parmesan, oil, and herbs).

Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom was selected as one of the best burgers in the United States. Forget ordering a basic cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard. You’ll want to experiment with your burger, with names such as 1809, The Aphrodite, and Greatest Burger Ever. Burgers feature toppings such as cucumber and feta yogurt, jalapeno-bacon crumble and cumin-lime mayo. Be sure to get a side of parmesan truffle fries.

Related Articles: 

Best College Towns in the Midwest - LIncoln NE - Pin 1 -JPG
Best College Towns in the Midwest - LIncoln NE - Pin 2 -JPG

Madison, Wisconsin, Home to the University of Wisconsin at Madison

Recommended by Janet Frost of Go! Learn Things

Janet believes that a life full of curiosity and wonder is a life well-lived. This retired registered nurse nurtures curiosity through travel near and far with her blog, Go! Learn Things. Just two hours west of her home in Milwaukee, Janet has frequently visited Madison. Here’s why she feels Madison, built on an isthmus and surrounded by lakes, is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

What makes Madison one of the best college towns in the Midwest? 

Back in my day, the Big Ten was just that, ten campuses that represented the best college towns in the Midwest. Each campus exuded a unique personality. In Wisconsin we call our Big Ten community “Madtown” and it often earns that moniker. Perhaps because it shares a thin isthmus with the State Capitol, University of Wisconsin is known for its progressive activism. In the 1960’s student activism against military research on campus rocked the country. Today it is still a common sight to see protesters on campus and in the streets of Madison. Some actually look like they have been there since 1965. It all adds to the charm of this Madtown.  As with many Midwestern college towns, it is difficult to meet someone not connected to the University. Add in all the state politicians and Madison is an incubator for new, and sometimes crazy, ideas.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison became the state’s first public university the same year that Wisconsin achieved statehood, in 1848. It remains the flagship facility for the entire University of Wisconsin System. The University of Wisconsin is recognized as a premier research facility and offers 136 undergraduate majors,148 master’s degree programs, and 120 doctoral programs across a comprehensive range of academic subjects.

The University took on the badger mascot in 1889. This aggressive mammal actually refers to the early European settlers and miners who lived in hillside caves and burrows. Bucky Badger has been entertaining students, alumni, and fans since 1949. 

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Madison?  

Choosing things to see and do in Madison can be overwhelming. The town is packed with beautiful historic architecture, trendy food and drink, a traditional tree-lined campus, and huge Big Ten sporting events. So with that said, here is my Madison, Wisconsin “Don’t Miss List”:

  • Wisconsin State Capitol. This stately and ornate building can be seen for miles as you enter the city. Free tours are available daily with some holiday exceptions. The four busy streets around the Capitol are packed with popular eateries, bars, and several museums. Every Saturday, from May through November, the biggest Farmers Market in the state takes over Capitol Square. This is an event all Wisconsinites make a pilgrimage to at least once during the season.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society. Directly across the street from the State Capitol, this is another “can’t miss” top for an overview of Wisconsin history.
  • University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Terrace. Most campus Unions are a hub of information and activity. UW’s Memorial Union is by far the most impressive Union I have ever experienced. The original structure was built in 1928 right on the shores of Lake Mendota. The UW Union Terrace is literally the “heart” of campus. Crowds of students, families, and visitors relax on the colorful outdoor terrace facing Lake Mendota. Even in inclement weather, you can enjoy the Union’s Der Rathskeller, a traditional German Beer Hall. Watersports rentals and lessons are available and add another layer of entertainment to Terrace visitors.
  • Explore and people-watch along State Street. State Street is the artery between the State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin campus. This street is full of bohemian hipster charm.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Madison?  

The progressive atmosphere on campus spills over into Madison when it comes to food. Organic, vegan, ethnic, experimental, comfort, street, and upscale foods all coexist on the streets of Madison. My tastes run slightly traditional and definitely towards craft beer. While my suggestions focus on some of the longtime favorites of Madison, keep in mind that new, very cool venues are opening all the time.

  • The Old Fashioned sits on one of the popular corners of Capitol Square. They, of course, serve the best iconic Wisconsin drink, an Old Fashioned! Plan on a wait because this comfort food-with-a-twist venue is a local favorite.
  • Graze is down the block from The Old Fashioned, in contrast it should be called The Modern. Farm-to-table small plates are served in this glass-walled modern spot.
  • Great Dane Pub and Brewing Co’s flagship location is just two blocks off Capitol Square. This is a student and alumni classic. Everyone loves the casual menu and one of the original craft breweries in the region.
  • Glass Nickel Pizza and Ian’s Pizza. Any UW Madison graduate I know falls into one or the other of these pizza camps. Personally, I prefer the ambiance of Glass Nickel.
  • Craft Booze: Ale Asylum, Karben 4, Next Door, Working Draft Brewing Co, Stateline Distillery and Funk Factory Geuzeria.
Sage Advice:  Another local gem in Madison, Wisconsin, is Batch Bakehouse where you can grab freshly-baked nibbles for breakfast or a sweet treat as an afternoon snack.

Related Article:  See Why Madison, Wisconsin, is an Up and Coming US Travel Destination

Best College Towns in the Midwest - Madison WI - Pin 2 -JPG

Manhattan, Kansas, Home to Kansas State University

Recommended by Sage Scott, the Everyday Wanderer

A second-generation graduate of Kansas State University, Sage is now the proud mom of two Kansas State students. While she didn’t grow up in Manhattan (or even in Kansas), Sage knows that Manhattan is one of the best college towns in the Midwest based upon the way the Wildcat community embraced the military brat when she moved to the Little Apple to attend this top midwest university.

Manhattan KS is one of the best college towns in the Midwest

What makes Manhattan one of the best small college towns in the Midwest?

While the other major Kansas universities are located in towns and cities along an interstate highway, Kansas State University is different. One must intentionally leave I-70, the four-lane interstate that runs between the eastern and western borders, bisecting the Free State like a cartological Mason-Dixon Line. 

But once you’ve traveled 11 miles north of the interstate and find yourself on the K-State campus, you’ll quickly realize that the differences don’t stop there. You may have heard terms like Purple Pride, K-State Proud, and the Wildcat Way. But once you set foot on the K-State campus, you experience them not as catchphrases, but as the lifeblood pumping through one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

Related Article:  Take a Bite Out of the Little Apple – 7 Things to do in Manhattan, KS

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Manhattan?  

Nicknamed “The Little Apple” in a nod to the name it shares with a much larger community out east, there is a lot to see and do in Manhattan. As a central part of the town, start with a walking tour of Kansas State University.  Afterward, head over to Aggieville, where blocks of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars await. Each March, the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, this part of town is absolutely packed with students, locals, and alumni celebrating Fake Paddy’s Day.

Related Article:  See the USA – Visit Kansas, the Sunflower State

Like many of the best college towns in the Midwest, football is a big part of the K-State community. Although he is now retired (for a second time), Coach Bill Snyder is one of the most beloved and well-respected college football coaches in the nation. Not only is the stretch of highway connecting I-70 to Manhattan named in his honor, so is the football stadium at Kansas State. Because stadiums are usually named for coaches after they’ve completed their careers, Coach Snyder is one of a very, very few coaches who actually worked in a stadium bearing his name.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Manhattan? 

 Start your day with breakfast at The Chef. While there’s nearly always a wait, you can sip coffee and create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece to help pass the time. The Pancakes Bananas Foster and Buenos Dias Frittata are two of our family favorites! For lunch, head to the Rock-A-Belly Deli in Aggieville. No matter which sandwich, soup, salad, or side you try, you won’t be disappointed. For a sweet treat, head to Varsity Doughnuts where the assortment of delicious doughnut options changes daily. And late at night, from a food truck in the alley behind its storefront, end a night of fun in Aggieville with a mac ‘n cheese grilled cheese to keep a potential hangover at bay. Back on campus, don’t leave the Little Apple without getting ice cream at Call Hall. This alum highly recommends K-State’s signature flavor, Purple Pride!

Norman, Oklahoma, Home to the University of Oklahoma

Recommended by Cassie of Cassie's Compass

As a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Cassie has a unique perspective on why Norman, Oklahoma is one of the best college towns in the Midwest. Through her travel blog, Cassie’s Compass, she chronicles her passion for adventure and inspires others along the way. Travel ultimately deepens her appreciation for the brilliance of God, and she is always looking forward to her next adventure.

Sage Advice:  Midwestern purists consider Kansas to be the southwestern-most state in the Midwest, lumping Oklahoma into the South. But others consider Oklahoma to be an interesting mix of the two regions, so we’ve added it to our list of the best college town in the Midwest.

What makes Norman one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Oklahoma’s state history is deeply intertwined with the University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is often referred to as the “Sooner State” because of the settlers who crossed borders early to claim land in Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush in the 1800s. As OU’s mascot, the Sooner is represented by the two ponies, “Boomer” and “Sooner,” and the Sooner Schooner, a covered wagon that drives across the field after every touchdown scored during a football game. Norman is also unique in that the town itself is decorated with the school colors, crimson and cream. All of the university buildings, and many of the historic buildings around town, feature crimson brick walls with cream piping and accents.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Norman?

Football is such a cliche response for things to do in a college town. However, until the recent addition of the OKC Thunder, Oklahoma did not have any professional sports teams. Because of this, the entire state rallies behind college football. It is common knowledge that if you are one of the few people not going to the game, you need to get out of town early as the entirety of Norman shuts down due to traffic, parking, and tailgating. 

My other favorite thing to do in Norman is to watch the sunsets. The top floor of the parking garage offers a premium view of the entire campus. If you are lucky enough to make it to the top seats in the football stadium, you can see even more of Norman as the sun casts beautiful colors on the crimson and cream buildings.

Sage Advice:  Made famous by Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman” from Food Network, The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is a fun day trip from Norman, Oklahoma.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Norman? 

Campus Corner is the go-to place for Norman dining. Just caddy-corner to campus, these three blocks have everything from bars and pubs to salad and brunch places. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you are in luck! Campus Corner is home to the 24/7 gourmet donut shop, Hurt’s Donuts, and the warm cookie delivery shop, Insomnia Cookies. (And yes, they deliver to your dorm until 3 am!)

Fun Fact:  The University of Oklahoma‘s cafeteria offers the only all-you-can-eat Chick-fil-A counter in the world!

Best College Towns in the Midwest - Norman OK - JPG

Pittsburg, Kansas, Home to Pittsburg State University

Recommended by Stacey from Love, Laughter, and Luggage

As an alumna of Pitt State, the travel writer behind Love, Laughter, and Luggage may be partial in deeming Pittsburg one of the best college towns in the Midwest. The town may not be large, but it is completely committed to supporting the Gorillas as evidenced by the crimson and gold gorilla statues in front of businesses throughout the town.

What makes Pittsburg one of the best college towns in the Midwest? 

Originally a teacher’s college founded in 1903, Pittsburg State is a Division II school with award-winning programs. Most recently, the football team was the national champion in their division in 2011. Pitt State is also known for the nationally ranked business program through the Kelce School of Business and the innovative Plastics Engineering Technology Program.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Pittsburg? 

The town itself offers great amenities for residents and visitors alike, including golf courses, baseball fields, Lincoln Park, and the Pittsburg Aquatic Center. Pittsburg also has a mall that has a movie theater with the most affordable first-run movie prices in the area. Recently, the city welcomed Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel. The Crawford County Historical Society educates visitors about the area’s mining heritage, and Little Balkins Days in September offers several events and activities. The college also offers many fun opportunities, including tailgating and watching some football at Brandenburg Field!

Where should visitors eat when they visit Pittsburg? 

The Pittsburg area is known for its chicken restaurant “wars” which have been featured on the Travel Channel and the Food Network. Chicken Mary’s and Chicken Annie’s are the two most famous fried chicken restaurants in the Midwest, but another restaurant, known as Chicken Annie’s Pichler or the Original Chicken Annie’s, is also a contender. The Mall Deli is also a popular place with the locals, and my personal favorite is Cafe Del Rio, a Tex-Mex place featuring my favorite salsa and queso!

Best College Towns in the Midwest - Pittsburg KS - JPG

South Bend, Indiana, Home to Notre Dame

Recommended by Carrie, a Chicago Foodie Sister and Midwest Family Traveler

One half of the travel blog team, Chicago Foodie Sisters, and the travel blogger behind Midwest Family Traveler, Carrie has been writing about her family travels in the Midwest for 20 years. The mom of five loves to share historic spots, unique lodging options, great restaurants and fun attractions. One of her sons has been involved with a youth theatre group that performs at Notre Dame each summer, and here’s why she believes South Bend is one of the best college towns in the Midwest.

What makes South Bend one of the top Midwest universities?

Officially known as the University of Notre Dame du Lac, Notre Dame is a private, non-profit, Catholic research university known for its stunning campus, unique architecture, and football team.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit South Bend?

Start with the beautiful Notre Dame campus. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I take a deep breath as I enter the grounds, and I can just feel the stress melt away. The winding roads, architectural masterpieces, and natural beauty make for a very peaceful setting. The Golden Dome is one must-see sight when visiting Notre Dame. Located next to the basilica and Washington Hall, it serves as the university’s administration building. As beautiful as that dome is from the outside, it’s more amazing from the inside. Off-campus, don’t miss the Studebaker Museum, South Bend Chocolate Factory, and Oliver Mansion.

Where should visitors eat when they visit South Bend?

Visit the Chicory Cafe, an awesome New Orleans-themed eatery with wonderful food. The muffulettas and po-boys will knock your socks off! And be sure to save room for the beignets! It’s a great casual spot to enjoy a sandwich and linger. Thyme of Grace offers a variety of creative cuisine that is so nicely presented, you’ll have to take a picture for Instagram. 

Make time for a factory tour at the South Bend Chocolate Factory, where you can learn about the history of chocolate making and make your way through the Chocolate Museum. Finish off the visit with a treat and buy goodies to take home in the factory store. You’ll also want to stop for a pint of craft beer at Studebaker Brewing Co. and get a look inside the luxurious 24,000 square-foot mansion built for Clement Studebaker in 1888.

Best College Towns in the Midwest - South Bend IN - JPG

West Lafayette, Indiana, Home to Purdue University

Recommended by Theresa Goodrich, the Local Tourist

The Emmy-winning founder and publisher of The Local Tourist, Theresa has seen a lot of the Midwest. She’s captured some of her favorite experiences from America’s less traveled back roads and highways in Two Lane Gems, Vol 1:  Turkeys are Jerks and Other Observations from an American Road Trip. Then she shared more back road adventures in Two Lane Gems, Vol 2:  Bison are Big and Other Observations from an American Road Trip

These are the reasons why Theresa believes West Lafayette is one of the best towns in the Midwest.

What makes West Lafayette one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

Purdue University is not only a Big Ten school, it’s also a land-grant university. It’s one of eighty-six chartered through The Morrill Acts, which provided public lands to a state if it used the proceeds from the sale of that land to maintain a college or university. This Act was in response to the Industrial Age and the belief that the average man should have an education.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit West Lafayette? 

Lafayette has a vibrant arts community, and one quick way to experience it is to visit Artists’ Own. It’s located in downtown Lafayette’s Arts & Market District and is a gallery that’s owned and operated by its member artists. Another must-visit is the Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art. Originally the State of Connecticut Building in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, it’s now a large collection of Indiana art (hence the name). Instead of your standard art museum configuration, these paintings are hung throughout the home as they would be if someone still lived there. History buffs will want to check out Prophetstown State Park and Tippecanoe Battlefield.

Where should visitors eat when they visit West Lafayette?

Triple XXX is a must for anyone visiting West Lafayette and Lafayette. Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, it’s the first and oldest drive-in in Indiana. For a more upscale, yet still casual, dining experience, head to East End Grill. When you go, be sure to get the special fries made with truffle oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic aioli.

Best College Towns in the Midwest - West Lafayette IN - JPG

Wooster, Ohio, Home to the College of Wooster

Recommended by Leah Yoder of Yoder Toter Blog

Leah is a lifestyle writer who aims to encourage 30-something moms (and dads) that life doesn’t end once the kids come along. With intentional travel days and money-saving decisions, parents can explore the world with their children – and keep their sanity – with recommendations from Yoder Toter Blog. From kilts to cows, see why Leah is excited to share more about this Midwestern college town.

What makes Wooster one of the best college towns in the Midwest?

The University of Wooster was incorporated in 1866, less than two years after Presbyterian Reverend James Reed had a vision that the land he was standing on should be used for a Presbyterian College. In 1914, the name was changed to The College of Wooster and has remained the same for over 100 years. Wooster’s mascot is the Scots, formally known as the Fighting Scots. The tartan is yellow and gold – also the school colors! Not a surprise, the college is known for its kilt-wearing marching band and bagpipers! Because the initials for the college are COW, around campus, the cow has become a mascot of sorts, with various prints throughout the college.

What do you recommend visitors see and do when they visit Wooster?

While visiting Wooster, be sure to take a walk around the beautiful campus. Then head downtown and enjoy the many unique shops on Liberty Street. If you like country drives, Wayne County’s Amish Country is nearby. A drive to Kidron takes you past Amish homes and businesses. At Lehman’s Hardware Store you can view the many products that Amish and homesteaders use to keep their lives off of the grid.

Fun Fact:  Ohio is home to one of the world’s largest Amish communities.

Where should visitors eat when they visit Wooster? 

Wooster, Ohio has a plethora of great restaurants. Basil Asian Bistro offers fantastic food and creative cocktails. You must try the Pad Thai! Broken Rocks Cafe is a lunch favorite because of their homemade breads and soups. Spoon Market & Deli has an eclectic vibe with a bar, deli stand, and meeting space. Locals love Coccia House pizza, in business since 1958! If you’re just looking for coffee or a sweet treat, Tulipan Hungarian Bakery and Cafe will remind you of a Parisian Cafe. I also love the cozy and quiet of Templeton’s Scottish Bakery & Coffeehouse. If beer is your thing, JAFB Wooster Brewery is located in an old firehouse and offers 16 beers on tap.

What's Your Favorite Midwestern College Town?

Which Midwestern college town do you love most? What do you enjoy doing when you are there? Is there a Midwestern college town missing from this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ready to Go?
Use These Helpful Links to Book Your Trip!

Thank you for sharing!

10 thoughts on “The Best College Towns in the Midwest”

  1. As I’m not in the USA, I never realised there are so many college towns. A tour of these college towns looks like it could be a lot of fun.

  2. That’s a lot of college names and towns that I recognise. I went to Mizzou and know each college town has its fine points. The schools you mention bring back many memories.

  3. Reading this is perfect timing for me! Last night my husband and I were doing an online quiz, and we were attempting to name all the US states. I have to say we failed miserably in the midwest (I think we got 28/50 in the end…there is so much we didn’t know! We did better on a quiz about African countries!!)

    So…this post has filled in some gaps in my geographical knowledge and taught me a bit about the midwest culture too!

    1. Oooooh, I bet I’d do poorly if quizzed on African nations. I guess it’s all about your perspective and experiences based upon where you grew up and where you’ve visited. And all the more reason folks should travel as far and often as possible! 🙂

  4. Excellent resource on college towns! It’s nice to know a little bit about some of these cities that don’t get a lot of attention on travel blogs.

  5. What a great list! I love all the insights each blogger provides. I’m particularly a fan of knowing where to eat when visiting a place.

    1. I’m with ya’! We spend as much time planning where we’re going to eat as we do planning what we’ll do when we travel. What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top