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The Best College Towns to Visit this Fall

From the first day of classes, high school seniors nationwide begin asking the same, all-consuming question:

“What college am I going to go to next year?”

And can you blame them? It’s one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make.

So, this fall, help your graduate-to-be make the right choice, by letting Aircraft Services Group take you on a trip to the best college towns in the country…

Ithaca, New York

You’ve heard it before, but it has to be said…

Ithaca is gorges.

It’s also home to both Cornell and Ithaca College.

A true college town, almost half of Ithaca’s population are students throughout the school year. There’s even an area actually called Collegetown that’s chock full of restaurants, bars, and very wanderable shops.

When there, make sure to check out its fantastic, underappreciated music scene. A lot of graduates from the school of music at Ithaca College stick around town after graduating and highlight venues such as Porchfest, the GrassRoots Music Festival, and the State Street Theater.


Nashville, Tennesee

Nashville is called “Music City, U.S.A.” for a reason…

Broadway Street features honky tonks like Acme Feed and Seed, The Stage, and Nudie’s Honky Tonk; not to mention, The Ryman, home to the Grand Ole Opry radio show.

And, just a mile away from it all, rests Vanderbilt University:

Founded in 1873, this historic university consistently ranks as one of our nation’s top schools, and is known for its beautiful campus, rigorous academics, and inclusive Greek life.

No one would regret being one of its ~6,800 students.


Madison, Wisconsin

The capital city of Wisconsin and the second largest in the state, Madison flaunts a historic downtown that is located on an isthmus between two lakes…

It’s also home to the magnificent, 936-acre University of Wisconsin, where some 29,000 undergraduates are known for mixing a life of distinguished academic rigor with entertaining traditions.

Like, for example, its infamous Halloween bash, Freakfest, and its annual dorm-wide snowball fight on Bascom Hill…


Ann Arbor, Michigan

How’s this for a “college town” stat?

During the school year, roughly one out of two Ann Arbor residents is a student.

The University of Michigan is also the second-largest employer in the state, with 3,000 workers.

Beyond the borders of University of Michigan’s idyllic campus, you’ll also find a charming city that’s a mix of bike paths and trails, idyllic Main Streets and brewpubs.

If you want to get a true sense of Ann Arbor’s outdoorsy vibe, swing by the huge conservatory of grass, trees, and fields called the Arb.

If, however, you want to really understand the university’s deepest passions, follow the entire campus to Ohio on October 13th…


Columbus, Ohio

That fateful weekend sees the Michigan Wolverines heading to “The Shoe” to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes:

Don’t miss your chance to be one of the over 100,000 people to take part in one of the greatest rivalries in college football.

Then, after watching “the i” get dotted in “O-H-I-O,” explore a beautiful campus that’s home to 58,000 students, whose dorms, classroom buildings, and frat houses line both sides of High Street; where you can find shops, more than a few watering holes, and some must-go restaurants.

We recommend Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, a family-owned business that’s been around for over 120 years…

You’ll swear you’ve been transported to a German village.

Finish the meal off with their signature jumbo cream puff!


Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts

There are 35 colleges, universities, and community colleges located in the greater Beantown area.

Cambridge boasts both Harvard…

and MIT…

…which probably puts it at the top of the list of geniuses per square-inch.

Meanwhile, Boston, on other side of the river, is home to the “Catholic Harvard,” Boston College…

As well as Boston University, Emerson, and Berklee College of Music (where you should make a point to swing by if just to hear all the talented students busking on every other corner).

Like the rides at Disney World though, you have to go in to a trip to Boston knowing you’ll never hit all of these schools in one trip.

Plan your time accordingly.


Tobacco Road, North Carolina

The NCAA has yet to release its full schedule. But, whenever they do, mark your calendar for one of the basketball games between Duke and UNC.

You will never experience anything like it:

Once your hearing comes back, take in the Chapel Hill’s vibrant, 700-acre campus and Franklin Street, before heading to Durham to soak in the gothic architecture of Duke University…

An Ivy League school that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet remains one of the most respected schools in the country.


South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, the fourth largest city in Indiana, is located on the southernmost bend of the St. Joseph river and is known for only one thing.

The University of Notre Dame.

And its beloved Fighting Irish…

Who, on September on 29th, will take on Stanford.

Enough said.

If you’re going to visit the prestigious Catholic university, that’s the weekend to do it.


Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado is a truly special college town.

Whether you’re biking around Boulder Creek Corridor, climbing the Flatirons, or taking in its active bar, restaurant, and microbrewery scene on Pearl Street, you’ll find yourself awestruck at every bend.

Even the University of Colorado Boulder’s Folsom Field is a pastoral wonder…

If you go in the early fall, make sure to make time for an unforgettable foliage hike.

However, if it’s anytime past mid-November, think about bringing your skis.


State College, Pennsylvania

State College is the definition of a college town, with its obsession with Penn State football and a thriving downtown wrapped directly around its campus.

Penn State students, in turn, are incredibly proud of their “Happy Valley”:

You’ll hear every student on campus gush about everything from its sprawling tailgates every Sunday to Berkley Creamery, the homemade ice cream shop with over 20 flavors.

If you can wait until March 17th, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day there. Or, as they call it State Patty’s Day…

The student-led holiday tradition began on March 2, 2007, because Saint Patrick’s Day fell during spring break, which would have left students unable to celebrate the holiday while at school and with friends.


To make sure you and your future graduate book the college visit that’s right for you, shoot us an email: [email protected]. Or, just fill out the contact form below.

Safe travels!

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