NEW: These are the 7 best college towns in Alabama according to World Atlas—find out who made the list

Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville is full of history—and college students. (Pat Byington / The Bama Buzz)

It’s back-to-school season, which means dorm move-ins for freshman, campus tours for high school seniors and nostalgic football games for alumni.

Just in time for this exciting season, World Atlas has named the seven best college towns in Alabama. Keep reading to see who made the list.


Tucked in Calhoun County, Alabama, Jacksonville is home to Jacksonville State University—which just got a new name and logo earlier this year.

While Jacksonville is the smallest college town to make the list, it’s definitely worth a visit (and a college tour!). With a cute, historic downtown—that includes a new self-serve draft house—Jacksonville is one of the best spots in the state to go to college.


American Red Cross Samford College
Alabama is full of college towns—here are the best. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Samford University, Miles College and Birmingham Southern, Birmingham, Alabama, definitely deserves its spot on the list. Notably, UAB’s top-notch medical programs have made a big impact on the Birmingham area.

But the actual campuses aren’t the only reason why Birmingham is a great college town. It’s filled with culture, great food, outdoor activities and more to keep students fulfilled in their four years and beyond.


Denny Chimes Moon
Denny Chimes is a college landmark. (Sarah Gronberg / The Bama Buzz)

This one might just be the most obvious on the list. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a college town to its core—so it’s no wonder it made World Atlas’s radar.

Of course, the University of Alabama is the centerpiece of this college town (and more specifically, Crimson Tide football), but good eats, parks + events round out the Tuscaloosa experience.


Auburn Alabama 6
The big Tiger paw makes it clear what college town you’re in. (Nathan Watson / The Bama Buzz)

Another clear pick is Auburn, Alabama. The University of Alabama’s rival, the Auburn Tigers make the city worthy of the moniker, “Loveliest Village on the Plains.”

If you think the University is all that Auburn has to offer, think again. This city, with Opelika as its next-door neighbor, is full of fun things to do like Food Truck Fridays, wine nights + more. Another next-door neighbor down I-65 is Tuskegee University, home of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.


Morton Hall is one of the most beautiful spots on UAH’s campus. (Sarah Gronberg / The Bama Buzz)

As a Huntsville native, I can attest to the fact that Huntsville’s presence as a college town is growing. While UAH is the largest university in town, spots like Alabama A&M, Oakwood University, J.F. Drake State and Calhoun Community College bring lots of students to Huntsville.

Known as the “Rocket City,” Huntsville has huge opportunities for students coming out of college, too. With tech and engineering jobs galore, Huntsville is a great place to jump-start a career in college. Plus, it’s a booming city with lots of fun spots to explore—check out for all the scoop.


Mobile 21 Scaled 1
Mobile has many of these picturesque, tree-lined streets. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

On the other end of the state is another growing college town, Mobile. In fact, it’s now the second-largest city in the state.

Headlining the college scene in this city is the University of South Alabama, which celebrated its 60th birthday this year. The “Flagship of the Gulf Coast,” this university is surrounded by culture, history and plenty of events to enjoy. Spring Hill College and Mobile College are also a big part of making Mobile a “college town.”


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The Trojan @ Troy University” by Frank Morales R is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Troy, Alabama, located between Montgomery and the coast, is another Alabama college town that caught World Atlas’s attention—and for good reason.

Sharing the name of its city, Troy University is the centerpiece of the Southeast Alabama town. With 9 programs recognized as among the nation’s best, Troy is clearly a good choice for academics. Its historic, charming setting earns it more points in the college town search.

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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