Tennessee City Named One Of The Best Big College Towns In The U.S.

By Sarah Tate

April 11, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

All work and no play makes college students a bit stir crazy. Fortunately there are plenty of cities around the country where students can both work hard and play hard, offering a chance at a quality education without missing out on fun opportunities outside of school.

Stacker analyzed a November 2022 WalletHub study, which rated metrics like "wallet friendliness" and "social environment," to identify the 50 best big-city college towns in the U.S., and one right here in Tennessee made the cut. According to the site:

"Every city in the rankings has at least 300,000 residents and a university or college population of at least 7,500 students. Some locations have a number of schools that fit the criteria, while others have one flagship university."

So which Tennessee city is among the best big college towns in the country?


Coming in at No. 23 overall, Music City was recognized not only for its highly-regarded colleges but for its lively entertainment and nightlife perfect for relaxing away from class. Here's what Stacker had to say:

"The largest and most highly ranked college in Nashville is Vanderbilt University, home to around 12,000 undergrad and graduate students. There are also a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the area, including Tennessee State University and Fisk University. Nashville's reputation as a lively tourist destination extends to its status as a college town, where students can enjoy a wide selection of live music, an active nightlife scene, and affordable Southern cooking."

These are the Top 10 best big college towns in America:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Tampa, Florida
  3. Miami, Florida
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina
  5. Atlanta, Georgia
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  8. San Diego, California
  9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  10. St. Louis, Missouri

Check out Stacker's full list to see which other cities are among its picks for the best big college towns in the country.

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