Across the country, spontaneous cheers mingled with the lively tunes of marching bands can be heard in stadiums. Fall means football and college – and sometimes a spirited combination of the two. It’s time to put on your favorite team jersey, call your friends over for a game party, and trash talk your team’s opponents.
This is a great time of year to live in a college town – restaurants and bars are crowded with fans, team flags decorate houses and businesses, and games bring visitors from across the state. You don’t have to be a student to live in one of these lively towns – in fact, college towns are growing in popularity with families and even retirees. There’s usually plenty of affordable housing and apartments and a wide variety of inexpensive restaurants and shops. You’re also likely to find entertainment in the form of theaters, book stores, art galleries, and museums. And, since most students tend to walk everywhere, most college towns are very pedestrian-friendly.
Athens, Georgia is the perfect example of a college town. And football? You’ll find Bulldog fans from one end of the state to the other. Athens is a walkable town filled with stores, cafes, bars, theaters, galleries, and music venues. Athens has given rise to some music giants, including R.E.M, the B52s, Widespread Panic, and the Indigo Girls. In addition to great nightlife, cultural venues, and a hip vibe, Athens also has great weather and is a short drive from Atlanta.
Of course, you can’t mention the Georgia Bulldogs without mentioning their rivals, the Florida Gators. Gainesville, Florida has it all – it is about an hour from each coast, about an hour south of Jacksonville, and roughly two hours north of Orlando. Gainesville has great shopping, nightlife (including plenty of live music), art galleries, theaters, museums, and restaurants. It also features several historic sites, parks, and the nearby Ocala National Forest.
Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to the University of Michigan Wolverines, 11-time national champions. Ann Arbor features a beautiful downtown with wide sidewalks, outdoor cafes, coffee houses, shops, museums, and theaters. Ann Arbor also has several annual art festivals, farmers’ markets, and amazing restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the many parks and opportunities for sledding, skiing, ice skating, and hockey.
Texas is a football mecca with NFL teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans, but don’t forget about Austin, Texas – home to the University of Texas Longhorns. These four-time national champions are the pride of Austin, where the cry of “Hook ‘em ‘Horns!” can be heard all season long. Austin is a beautiful city, with museums, festivals, theaters, and restaurants. It is home to the 23rd Street Artists’ Market, an amazing collection of handcrafted items, and the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
If you haven’t considered living in a college town, these popular areas are fun, often economical, and filled with culture, festivals, and – of course – football. Find your foam finger and get a move on – the weekend game is just around the corner.