The University of Alabama and Auburn University both rank among the best in Southern Living‘s recently unveiled “The South’s Best College Towns for 2022.”
The poll, voted on by the readers, placed Tuscaloosa at number seven and the Plains at number three.
Southern Living highlighted college towns that were loved for reasons that went beyond just their football programs. The schools rounding out the top 20 were highlighted for various features including picturesque natural surroundings, beautiful parks and thriving urban scenes.
Of course, culture, food and entertainment were considered as well. You can’t talk college towns without talking about food. In the South, people come together over the dinner table; food in many ways defines “Southern.” Food is such a part of the culture, especially on Saturdays in the fall.
If you are fortunate enough to get to your college town on game day, you will find yourself treated to some of the best meals with friends that you didn’t know you had an hour before arriving. The bitterest of rivals in an Iron Bowl can laugh and share life stories over a plate of barbeque. Want to tame two tigers from different schools? Have them share a bowl of gumbo from the bayou. With many historic eateries in these college towns and new food fusion restaurants, regardless of the score at the end of the game, if you dine in these college towns, your taste buds are the winner.
Many of the college towns on the list had historical highlighted traditions such as the rolling of Toomer’s Corner after a victory that makes such a memorable experience and bond generations together in a fantastic ritual. But many were highlighted for museums and cultural institutions. College towns have increasingly become a place where arts and culture are developed.
Highlighted just as equally in what is making these towns so great is the entertainment. Live music scenes popping up around these towns have become a new trend in college towns. Take the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater which houses concerts year-round with every entertainment from up and coming artist to touring headliners, across all different genres of music.
Southern Living highlighted that “when it comes down to it, there’s only one thing that all these towns seem to share – and that’s your devotion to them.”
So whether your stately greeting to friends and family is “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle”. Alabama citizens can take pride that both of their schools earned high marks for locales that are great places to live and visit. Next time you are traveling through these cities make a plan to explore all they have to offer.
Southern Living wrote of the University of Alabama:
“Forget saying hello… the only pleasantry you’ll need to know here is “Roll Tide.” With 18 national college football championships to the University of Alabama’s credit, it’s hardly surprising that the town roars to life on Saturdays in the fall when fans descend on Bryant Denny Stadium. Even so, there’s plenty to savor in the off-season; think concerts at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and hickory smoked ribs from Dreamland Bar-B-Q’s flagship spot.”
The outlet said of Auburn University:
“Called the “loveliest village on the Plains,” the Alabama town attracts attention these days for its burgeoning food scene, which celebrates everything from slow-smoked brisket at Bow & Arrow to steamed bao buns at The Irritable Bao. And you can’t talk about Auburn without mentioning its penchant for rolling Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper after any home victory. Homesick Tigers can even catch a glimpse of the beloved block at any given moment via a live web stream.”
To see the full rankings, go here.