50 Smartest College Towns in America

In this article, we present the 50 smartest college towns in America.

College towns are communities where there is a strong and dynamic student presence in the culture and atmosphere. Smart college towns are composed of a highly educated community and workforce with ample opportunities to enjoy and appreciate the arts, culture, music, history, and science. We compiled a list of communities with a prominent college campus environment and using information from City-Data.com we looked at the percentage of residents over 25 years of age with a bachelor’s degree. We looked for college towns with a strong student presence, a highly educated workforce, diverse employment opportunities, and community resources and opportunities for intellectual stimulation.

To obtain information for our list, we used city websites, university websites, wikipedia, College Navigator, American FactFinder, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We ranked our top 50 Smart College Towns in order of percentage of individuals with a bachelor’s degree. Where there are ties, the city offering a larger selection of cultural experiences has a preferred ranking.

# 50. Rock Hill, South Carolina

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 28%
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Residents of Rock Hill, South Carolina are some of the smartest in the nation. With one in four residents having a college degree, and over 7,000 Winthrop University students in the community, Rock Hill’s population is driven by education. Culture abounds with opportunities to visit the Catawba Indiana Nation and Cultural Center or the network of the Culture and Heritage Museums. There are plenty of opportunities for the intellectually hungry  to take in a technology lecture or enjoy various art exhibits, play, and films.

# 49. Lubbock, Texas

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 28%
Lubbock, Texas
Lubbock, Texas offers a unique educational community with a college, medical school, and law school all offered by Texas Technical College. This unique blend, that includes over 40,000 students, creates one of the brightest towns in the country. Major employers include Texas Tech, Covenant Health System, Lubbock Independent School District and University Medical Center. Education also takes priority at the high school level with Lubbock High School ranked by Newsweek as one of the top high schools in the country. Smart residents of this college town can enjoy a performance of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, take in the stars at the Moody Planetarium, and enjoy the various exhibits housed at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

# 48. Knoxville, Tennessee

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 31%
Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville could be considered the center of brainpower in Tennessee. The Tennessee Technology Corridor has 13 different research entities that employ over 2,000 residents and house the Appalachian Collaborative Center for Leaning and the National Institute for Computation Science. Home to the University of Tennessee and the largest city in the region, Knoxville is a flourishing college town with plenty to offer intellectual students and residents. There are more than  10 different institutions of higher education with a presence in Knoxville. For music fans, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra offers performances year round and for museum lovers, the Museum of East Tennessee History, the Fountain City Art Center, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame provide opportunity for exploration.

# 47. Columbus, Ohio

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 34%
Columbus, Ohio
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University has one of the largest college campuses in the  country. In 2013, Intelligent Communities Forum named Columbus as the most intelligent city in the United States. In addition to the impressive collegiate presence, Columbus is home to the Bettelle Memorial Institute- the world’s largest research and development foundation. Over a dozen other private institutions of higher education are located in Columbus, giving residents numerous opportunities to continue their education and professional development. Brainiacs with some free time can enjoy the Columbus Museum of Art, the Kelton House Museum and Garden, or one of dozens of other historical and museum collections around this smart college town.

# 46. Ypsilanti, Michigan

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 37%
Ypsilanti, Michigan
The smart college town of Ypsilanti, Michigan is home to over 23,000 students at Eastern Michigan University. The city has made a commitment to students to help them feel welcome in the community. Ypsilanti boasts an impressive historic district with numerous shops, cafes, and museums for intellects to stroll through. Multiple theater companies offer performances for all ages to experience. Museum enthusiasts will enjoy the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and the Automotive Heritage Museum.

# 45. Eugene, Oregon

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 39%
Eugene, Oregon
With a city wide slogan “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors,” Eugene, Oregon offers many smart opportunities for students and residents to enjoy art and activities in numerous forms. The University of Oregon, with more than 22,000 students,  has a strong presence in the city.  The largest employers in the area are in the education and medical fields, both of which require a highly educated workforce. Many local neighborhoods are known for their “green activism” with gardening efforts. Eugene is also home to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Oregon Air and Space Museum, and the Eugene Symphony, Eugene Ballet, and the Eugene Opera.

# 44. Logan, Utah

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 40%
Logan, Utah
Most famous for it’s Utah Festival Opera, Logan, Utah is also a haven for intellects. Utah State University has a dynamic population of students who integrate nicely with the year round residents of Logan. Numerous medical and educational employers are located in and around Logan, creating a demand for a highly educated workforce. When those employees a break, they enjoy a show at the Ellen Eccles theater or browse the 200,000 items at the Logan Library. Logan is also home to the Space Dynamics Laboratory which does research on space-based censors and other technology.

# 43. Gainesville, Florida

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 42%
Gainesville, Florida
National Geographic Adventure named Gainesville, Florida one of the “best places to live and play.” Wellness Councils of America named it one of the “Healthiest Communities in America.” Gainesville has much to offer including a highly educated workforce and one of the smartest college towns in the country. The University of Florida is the ninth largest college campus in the country and is one of the largest employers. Santa Fe College is also located in Gainesville. Numerous historic structures including the Bailey Plantation House and the Old Gainesville Depot are great places to step back in time and appreciate the rich history in this community.

# 42. Norman, Oklahoma

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 43%
Norman, Oklahoma
Nearly half the population over 25 years of age has a bachelor’s degree in Norman, Oklahoma. This is not surprising with major employers such as the University of Oklahoma, the National Weather Service and the Oklahoma Geological Society employing a highly educated workforce. Over 10,700 individuals are employed by the largest university in Oklahoma. There are plenty of activities for smart people to do in this college town including taking in an orchestra performance at the Catlett Music Center on the University of Oklahoma campus. History enthusiasts can visit the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

# 41. Tempe, Arizona

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 43%
Tempe, Arizona
With over 55,000 students on the Arizona State University campus, there is no doubt that Tempe, Arizona is a college town. ASU also serves as the area’s top employer with over 11,000 employees. Other employers in the area include Insight Enterprises, Limelight Networks, and Lifelock. Tempe has a popular shopping and bar scene on Mill Ave for students and residents to enjoy. Intellects in this smart college town can experience an abundance of museums and historical markers.

# 40. Kent, Ohio

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 43%
Kent, Ohio
The connection between the campus of Kent State University and the city of Kent, Ohio is evident by recent efforts to link the campus with the downtown area. Kent has a highly educated workforce, primarily in the areas of education, health and social service. This smart college town is a world leader in the development of liquid crystals. U.S. News and World Report named Roosevelt High School in Kent one of the best high schools in the country. Smart residents can check out the numerous museums including the Kent State University Museum to discover or remember local history.

# 39. Missoula, Montana

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 44%
Missoula, Montana
Montana’s only law school is located in the bustling smart college town of Missoula, Montana. Missoula is home to the University of Montana which has Montana’s only law school. The University is the major employer in town, followed by the public school district and two hospitals. This highly educated workforce has many opportunities for entertainment in this college town. The Missoula Art Museum and the Montana Museum of Art and Culture offer viewers the opportunity to appreciate over 10,000 works of art. The Natural History Center gives history buffs the chance to learn about Montana’s unique history and geography.

# 38. Athens, Georgia

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 44%
Athens, Georgia
Personal and professional development opportunities are abundant for those living in Athens, Georgia. Athens is home to the University of Georgia, with a population of over 30,000 college students. While academia is the largest employment field, many others look for employment in the numerous software companies that in Athens. Opportunities for entertainment are abundant. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens encourages residents to enjoy a variety of foliage. The Lyndon House Arts Center and the Georgia Art Museum offer a broad selection of art and media to admire and appreciate.

# 37. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 46%
Fayetteville, Arkansas
The City of Fayetteville is home to about 74,000 residents and over 26,000 students. With the University of Arkansas as the #1 employer and Washington Regional Medical Center in 2nd place, the workforce of Fayetteville has to have smarts. The University of Arkansas is a highly active research university according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Fayetteville has plenty to offer for the intellectual crowd including botanical gardens, several designated Historic Districts, and the Walton Arts Center-a premier arts and entertainment establishment for theater, art, and education.

# 36. Saratoga Springs, New York

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 47%
Saratoga Springs, New York
Saratoga Springs is a diverse college town with many unique attributes including one of the most famous Thoroughbred racetracks in the country, the Saratoga Race Course. While boasting a highly educated community with almost half of the residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher, you don’t have to be smart to figure out that Saratoga has much to offer. The Children’s Museum at Saratoga, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, New York Military Museum, and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery provide hours of entertainment value. An exciting nightlife and a plethora of dining options enable intellects to let their hair down and unwind.

# 35. Starkville, Mississippi

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 47%
Starkville, Mississippi
The largest university in Mississippi, Mississippi State University, has over 700 faculty members and 17,000 students. Students and residents are able to enjoy an exciting Jazz presence in town and on campus. The Starkville Community Theater Company offers top notch theater performances and is located downtown Starkville. The Department of Music Education at MSU offers numerous concerts and the Lyceum Series showcases national talent through their performance series.

# 34. Morgantown, West Virginia

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 49%
Morgantown, West Virginia
The population of Morgantown is almost evenly split between students and residents. Morgantown, West Virginia is known as the home of West Virginia University where almost 32,000 students gather 9 months of  the year to advance their brain power. Students and residents can visit the Core Arboretum or the West Virginia Art Museum. West Virginia University has a diverse blend of students pursuing occupations in medicine, pharmacy, law, journalism, and business.

# 33. Oxford, Mississippi

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 50%
Oxford, Mississippi
The campus community of “Ole Miss” in Oxford, Mississippi has a rich southern history. Oxford was named by USA Today as one of the top six college towns in the United States. The University of Mississippi has over 23,000 students who enjoy an eclectic music and art scene. Called the “Art Center of the South,” Oxford has many galleries and exhibits for intellects to appreciate. Dozens of historical sites can be found on and off campus. Innovation and research are key components of the Oxford culture which is largely influenced by the academic population.

# 32. Boone, North Carolina

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 50%
Boone, North Carolina
As the top employer in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides intellectual opportunities for students and residents. The University is home to the Appalachian Energy Center, the Math and Science Education Center, and The Human Performance Lab. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is the largest visual arts center in the area. Boone is a hot spot for bluegrass music and Appalachian story telling. Volunteer opportunities are abundant through Samaritan’s Purse-a religious humanitarian organization providing crisis relief to those in physical need.

# 31. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 50%
Champaign, Illinois
The University of Illinois is a powerhouse in the academic world. With over 44,000 students and an outstanding reputation for research and development, the U of I is an integral part of the Champaign, Illinois community. Half of the population has earned at least a bachelor’s degree which is no surprise since Champaign has been called the hub of the Silicon Prairie for it’s educational reputation and number of start up technical companies. University Research Park employs highly educated professionals in the fields of technology and research. This smart college town includes an award winning library, the Krannert Art Museum and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. For intellects looking for something a little less predominant, the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois Library is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

# 30. College Station, Texas

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 51%
College Station, Texas
Money Magazine ranked College Station, Texas as one of the highest educated cities in the country. Home to Texas A & M University, College Station has over 16,000 residents employed by the institution. Texas A & M currently has projects funded by NASA, NIH, and the NSF which require a smart and diverse workforce. For smart individuals who want to boost their brain power, the George Bush Presidential Library has thousands of books and media to check out. College Station is also home to the D. A. “Andy” Anderson Arboretum.

# 29. Fort Collins, Colorado

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 51%
Fort Collins, Texas
Fort Collins, Colorado is home to over 32,000 from Colorado State University and an educational workforce of over 7,000 employees. Colorado State has a significant footprint in the community with multiple research institutes including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector Borne Diseases. The Fort Collins Museum offers a glimpse of culture and history of the area. The Lincoln Center provides this smart college town with numerous performances by national and local dance and theater troops. The Fort Collins Lincoln Center also hosts the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra.

# 28. Charlottesville, Virginia

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 52%
Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia was ranked by Luminosity.com as America’s Smartest City in 2013. Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville has an educated, primarily academic, workforce. Science has honored faculty for their scientific breakthroughs in both medicine and psychology. The University of Virginia has over 20,000 students which is almost half of the population of the city. Several landmarks dot the campus and community including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the Leander McCormick Observatory. Smart parents and their children can enjoy the Virginia Discovery Museum.

# 27. Normal, Illinois

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 52%
Normal, Illinois
Normal, Illinois is a college town with a traditional campus environment. Uptown Normal lies just outside campus and features an eclectic mix of shops, trendy record stores, art galleries, and coffee houses. There are several different employers in the area including State Farm Insurance and Country Financial that demand a highly educated workforce. Intellects in Normal can experience the Illinois State Planetarium which gives weekend presentations on various star-studded topics. Those with a passion for space exploration can check out the Challenger Learning Center on the campus of Heartland Community College. Braden Auditorium, located in the Bone Student Center, offers year round entertainment in dance, music, and theater.

# 26. Lawrence, Kansas

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 53%
Lawrence, Kansas
The smart college town of Lawrence, Kansas has a highly educated workforce in the areas of education, research, finance, and business. The University of Kansas has 30,000 students and is well known for it’s music and art scene. Rolling Stone Magazine called Lawrence one of the “best lil’college towns in 2005” for its musical and cultural influence. History buffs enjoy the Watkins Museum of History and the numerous historical homes in the Lawrence area. Literary fans appreciate the extensive literary selection at both the Lawrence Public Library and the Watson Library located on the UK’s campus.

# 25. Mansfield, Connecticut

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 54%
Mansfield, Connecticut
The community of Mansfield, Connecticut offers an attractive blend of educational opportunities. With the majority of those over 25 having at least a bachelor’s degree, the University of Connecticut and Natchaug Hospital don’t need to look far for an educated and competent workforce. Mansfield is home to over 30,000 students and almost 5,000 faculty and staff of UConn. High School students can demonstrate their brain power by taking advantage of the UConn Early College Experience, a program to earn college credits while still attending high school. Mansfield offers a wealth of cultural experiences through the Connecticut Repertory Theater, the Ballard Institute of Puppetry, and the Connecticut Museum of Natural History.

# 24. Madison, Wisconsin

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 54%
Madison, Wisconsin
Government and education blend nicely in Madison, Wisconsin. As the capital of Wisconsin and home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city of Madison has clearly embraced both sectors. In fact, residents can stroll State Street and find UW-M campus on one end and the capitol building at the other. In 2004, Forbes named Madison as the city with the highest percentage of residents with a PhD. Intellects will enjoy musical entertainment in the form of festivals, opera, and symphony. Film buffs will be impressed with the collection at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, and the museum crowd will enjoy the 20+ museums and exhibits around the city.

# 23. Columbia, Missouri

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 55%
Columbia, Missouri
A perfect blend of industry and education lands Columbia, Missouri on our list of the smartest college towns. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri and is a hot spot for the healthcare and insurance industry. Mizzou is the largest employer followed by the University of Missouri Health Care, Shelter Insurance, and Columbia Insurance. One in six Columbia residents are employed in the health care field. This highly educated population has ample opportunities to foster intellectual growth and development from the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, the largest venue in the area and the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology with over 14,000 works of art.

# 22. Moscow, Idaho

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 56%
Moscow, Idaho
It may surprise some people that the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho has a strong east coast vibe. Main Street is full of eclectic shops and cafes nestled alongside art galleries and exhibits. This pedestrian friendly community has a 65 acre Arboretum for nature lovers to enjoy. The University of Idaho has over 10,000 students and employs over 930 faculty and 1500 staff. This intellectual mix of students and faculty enjoy spending time in the state’s largest library with over 1.4 million items. Art lovers in this smart college town can appreciate galleries such as the 1912 Center and the Third Street Gallery.

# 21. Corvallis, Oregon

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 60%
Corvallis, Oregon
Oregon State University is the major employer of Corvallis, Oregon which has the highest education rate per capita of any city in Oregon. Education, health services, and technology dominate the employment landscape thanks to Samaritan Health Services and Hewlett Packard. Those looking to boost their brain power will enjoy the numerous art galleries such as The Arts Center and Fairbanks Gallery. Museums such as the Peavy Arboretum provide hours of exploration and discovery.

# 20. Bloomington, Indiana

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 62%
Bloomington, Indiana
The American Institute for Economic Research ranked the city of Bloomington, Indiana #12 in its list of the Top College Cities and Towns in America. There are opportunities to “level up” and boost brain power while exploring the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, the Grunwald Gallery of Art, or the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection. For those looking to gain knowledge in diversity, the Asian Cultural Center and the African American Arts Institute are available to students and residents. Family minded individuals will enjoy the WonderLab Museum of Science and Technology. Indiana University is a pioneer in artificial intelligence used to improve healthcare.

# 19. Ames, Iowa

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 63%
Ames, Iowa
Ames, Iowa is home to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services National Animal Disease Center-the largest such facility in the United States. Iowa State University is the largest employer in Ames and education is the most prevalent industry. Ames is home to the University Museum which has the honor of being included in the 10% of museums nationwide accredited by the American Association of Museums. In 2010, CNN Money included Ames in its list of “Best Places to Live.” With abundant internship and employment opportunities and a highly educated workforce, Ames is a definite selection for one of the smartest college cities.

# 18. Ithaca, New York

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 64%
Ithaca, New York
Beauty and brains–the community of Ithaca, New York has it all. Home to prestigious Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College, intellects at all levels have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and education. Ithaca is a haven for artists, writers, poets, researchers and educators who come for the eclectic environment and the beautiful scenery. Ithaca has over 150 waterfalls and dozens of parks and picturesque settings. The 23,000 square foot Community School of Music and Arts provides entertainment and education. Those looking to experience the numerous art galleries will enjoy the Olive Tjaden Gallery and the John Hartell Gallery.

# 17. Iowa City, Iowa

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 65%
Iowa City, Iowa
It would be challenging to live in Iowa City, Iowa and not know someone with a college degree working at the University of Iowa or the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic. The University of Iowa has over 30,000 students and conducts a significant amount of research. The field of academia dominates the employment landscape of Iowa City…even American College Testing (ACT) has a home in Iowa City. Creative writers will appreciate many of the cultural events offered including the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and the International Writing Program.

# 16. Evanston, Illinois

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 65%
Evanston, Illinois
The city of Evanston is home to over 3,000 faculty members at top ranked Northwestern University. Northwestern receives over $620 million each year in research funding at more than 90 school-based centers. Even undergraduate students are among the best and brightest in the country with over 90% ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.

# 15. Auburn, Alabama

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 67%
Auburn, Alabama
Auburn is home to Alabama’s largest university, Auburn University. Auburn boasts multiple cultural opportunities for students and residents including the Jonathan B. Lovelace Athletic Museum and Hall of Honor, Pebble Hill, The Auburn Community Orchestra, and the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. Almost half the population works in management, business, science, and arts. The majority of those work in educational services, health care and social assistance.

# 14. Berkeley, California

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 68%
Berkeley, California
The bustling city of Berkeley, California could have been included in our list if only for their impressive number of those over 25 who have earned a bachelors degree, but the 71 Nobel prize awards earned by faculty and alumni of Berkeley University solidifies its inclusion. There are more than 100 cultural and art organizations for students and residents to enjoy. Berkeley boasts a Civic Arts Commission, a Public Art Program, Public Galleries, and a thriving downtown Art District. The University of Berkeley is associated with six different chemical elements on the periodic table…an accomplishment no doubt fueled by the mass of brain power.

# 13. Amherst, Massachusetts

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 69%
Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts is home to a variety of residents including students, families, and retirees. Almost 70% of the adult population in Amherst, Massachusetts has a bachelor’s degree or higher and education is the biggest industry. Amherst is home to the University of Massachusetts where over 9,000 students participate in some form of community service each year. The community offers a diverse repertoire of activities to foster intellectual growth and development including music, film festivals, and other performing arts. Residents are highly engaged in politics and economic sustainability efforts which form a strong community foundation.

# 12. Blacksburg, Virginia

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 69%
Blacksburg, Virginia
The picturesque scenery of Blacksburg, Virginia is appreciated by one of the most highly educated workforce communities in the nation. Home to Virginia Tech and numerous technology companies located in the Corporate Research Center, Blacksburg is bursting with cutting edge ideas and innovation. Blacksburg takes economic development seriously and works to promote business outreach, development, and retention as well as industry recruitment. Blacksburg residents can enjoy landmarks such as the Alexander Black House and the Smithfield Plantation. Art and culture are celebrated at the New River Heritage Coalition or the Blacksburg Regional Art Association.

# 11. Notre Dame, Indiana

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 69%
Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame is home to the esteemed University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College. The major industry in Notre Dame is education and over 30% of the population has attained a master’s degree or higher. The University of Notre Dame has one of the largest libraries in the country. Science and research opportunities are abundant through the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace. Intellectual efforts such as genome mapping, study of fluid mechanics, engineering, and business/marketing trends are conducted on campus on a daily basis.

# 10. Davis, California

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 71%
Davis, Californi9a
The top employer in Davis, California is the University of California-Davis, so it is no wonder than almost 3/4 of the city’s residents have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Faculty of UC-Davis includes members of the American Law Institute, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences. Davis is home to such intellectual hot spots as the Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Explorit Science Center, and the Hattie Weber Museum.

# 9. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 72%
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan Medical Center, the #1 best medical center in the state of Michigan according to U.S. News and World Report. The University of Michigan employs about 30,000 people with 12,000 of those being in the medical center. In addition to the highly educated medical and educational professionals working at the University, Ann Arbor employs thousands of other professionals in technology and biotechnology. There are plenty of museums on campus that foster a cultural love for art, architecture, and archaeology. The University Musical Society keeps residents entertained by offering over 60 different performance events each year.

# 8. West Lafayette, Indiana

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 72%
West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette, Indiana is a hotbed of brain power. Amelia Earhart was an employee of Purdue University as was Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan. Purdue is a leading research institution, conducting cutting edge research in everything from the Zika virus to food and nutrition safety. Purdue is home to almost 40,000 students and employs nearly 12,000 residents. Other significant employment opportunities come from over 100 technology companies in the Purdue Research Park.

# 7. State College, Pennsylvania

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 72%
State College, Pennsylvania
“Happy Valley” is home to Pennsylvania State University and Accuweather, the world’s largest private weather forecasting center. Penn State employs over 26,000 people as the single largest employer in the area. For brainiacs looking to explore science and the natural world, the Frost Entomological Museum, the Matson Museum of anthropology and the Arboretum at Penn State provide hours of entertainment. Art lovers can enjoy the free Palmer Museum of Art and history buffs will like the Pennsylvania Military Museum and the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum.

# 6. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 74%
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts has five different colleges/universities, including Cambridge College, Harvard University, Hult International Business School, Lesley University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Almost 20% of the Cambridge workforce is concentrated between Harvard and MIT. Over 300 different major companies are located in Cambridge including Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Pfizer. Intellects of all ages can enjoy Cambridge Library and it’s six different branches, or enjoy the weather at over 80 different parks and outdoor amenities.

# 5. Boulder, Colorado

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 75%
Boulder, Colorado
Forbes Magazine ranked Boulder, Colorado #1 in the nation in 2014 for workforce education levels. Boulder has also been included in various other lists including Richard Florida’s “America’s Most Creative Cities.” Boulder is home to the University of Colorado. With almost 30,000 students and over 90 research centers and institutions, Boulder is bursting with brain power. Colorado University receives more research funds from NASA than any other public university. Boulder has over 30 different art galleries and over 300 different dining options.

# 4. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 78%
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Almost half of the population of Chapel Hill, North Carolina is comprised of college students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Top employers in the area include the UNC and UNC Hospital which demand a highly skilled and intelligent workforce. Almost 47% of the workforce over age 25 has earned a graduate or professional degree in their field. Chapel Hill is home to the Ackland Art Museum with over 17,000 works of art and there are dozens of historical sites to enjoy.

# 3. Princeton, New Jersey

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 81%
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton, New Jersey is home to the elite Ivy League Princeton University. With notable alumni including United States Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Nobel Prize recipients, and Fields Medalists, Princeton is one of the smartest cities in the entire country. Residents of this beautiful city have access to the Princeton University Library with over 11 million holdings. Research centers include the Center for BioComplexity and the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science. There are over 20 different significant historical sites. For those looking for a little culture, check out Princeton’s Tony award winning McCarter Theater.

# 2. Sewanee, Tennessee

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 84%
Sewanee, Tennessee
Sewanee, Tennessee is a small community nestled in south-central Tennessee and home to The University of the South. Most of the town’s 2,300 residents are educators or artists, with the most common occupation being a post secondary teacher. The University of the South hosts the Annual Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a 12 day conference for writers of poetry, fiction, and playwright. The month-long Sewanee Summer Music Festival is another annual event for young orchestra members to obtain instruction by accomplished musicians and conductors. Residents of Sewanee participate a variety of intellectual opportunities including attending lectures and various art exhibits in their community and on the campus of The University of the South.

# 1. Stanford, California

Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 93%
Stanford, California
It is no wonder why Stanford, California tops our list of the smartest college towns in America. While not technically a town (Stanford is a US Census Designated Place), Stanford is home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world and over 20 different laboratories, institutes, and libraries. Post secondary education is the most common occupation. The Residents of the Stanford area can take in the numerous art galleries at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts or enjoy a performance by the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. Alumni of this smart college town include 30 living billionaires and 17 current astronauts.

By Kelley Jacobs
October 2016