The website schools.com just put out a list of the 20 Best College Towns, and our own Champaign, IL tops the list at number one.
I'm not entirely sure what this website is, or how credible they are, and their methodology seems to focus more on the economy of the town and the number of college-aged people that live in it rather than the culture of said town. There are also some suspect choices on this list: Lynchburg, VA? Fargo, ND? Bloomington, IL? I get to criticize that last one because I grew up there. It's not a bad place to live but 4th best college town? Eh, probably not.
HOWEVER. Champaign is for sure a pretty great college town, and the fact that they looked at things like unemployment, crime rate, ease of commute, and such and found those stats to be favorable when compared to other college towns is awesome. Plus this description of our city is one I can get on board with:
This central Illinois city took the No. 1 spot overall by turning in impressive finishes in just about every statistical category. No other city on our list had a lower unemployment rate than Champaign, for one, and it placed among the top five schools for its nightlife, its percentage of college-aged residents and the capability of students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to get around by walking, biking and taking public transportation.
Champaign also boasts numerous performing arts venues, a world-class library and urban amenities galore in a small-city environment. Not only that, but students who like easy access to a large city are only about two hours away from Chicago to the north and Indianapolis to the east.
So hey, kudos to Champaign and all of its college town greatness.
Photo by Anna Longworth