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Posted on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Ann Arbor ranks second to Boulder in list of top 10 college towns

By Amy Biolchini

A new ranking of the top 10 best college towns in America has Ann Arbor listed as second-best to Boulder, Colo.

The 2013 list, compiled by, moved Ann Arbor up seven spots on the list this year from the city’s ninth-place ranking in 2012.


The University of Michigan's presence in Ann Arbor has placed it on the list of top 10 best college towns in the country.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

The 2013 list:

  1. Boulder, CO
  2. Ann Arbor, MI
  3. Gainesville, FL
  4. Columbia, MO
  5. Lexington, KY
  6. Iowa City, IA
  7. Missoula, MT
  8. Madison, WI
  9. Fayetteville, AR
  10. College Station, TX

Editors of the list focused this year on cities with a high quality of life determined by cost of living, walkability and pollution levels, as well as places where the university is a top employer and key economic driver. cited Ann Arbor’s tree-lined streets, independent restaurants and bookstores, numerous bars, parks and museums as contributors to the town's “stimulating atmosphere” in addition to the University of Michigan's permeating presence.

Compare this year's results to the 2012 list:

  1. College Station, TX
  2. Oxford, MS
  3. Logan, UT
  4. Champaign, IL
  5. Lawrence, KS
  6. Corvallis, OR
  7. Bloomington, IN
  8. Athens, GA
  9. Ann Arbor, MI
  10. Blacksburg, VA

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 9:30 a.m.

And "Editors of the list" were paid how much to make this otherwise inexplicable change in Ann Arbor's ranking? Looks like it's time for me to change over to the more lucrative "editor of bests lists" profession. Does anyone know the IRS form number for reporting bribe income?


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

"" I think that's all you need to know right there. I guess "" was taken.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

And they do that without high-rises. Go figure.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 9:59 a.m.

OMG, we came in second to a city that has a better Greenbelt than we do! Special meeting of City Council immediately!!


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

"In addition to the University of Michigan's permeasting presence". I think that says it all..... :(


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.


Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Any list with Gainesville, College Station, or Fayetteville is suspect. And this one has them all.

Tom Teague

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Agree in part: College Station has some unique charm. However, the name of that college town that's located in the funny-shaped state south of Georgia is never mentioned or typed in my house.

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

Boulder rocketed to the top by working to beat Ann Arbor.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Sorry, I don't have any confidence in these idiotic 'top 10' lists......


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Lola You pointed out something that I (and probably others) noted: Not only did Ann Arbor move up 7 spots from last year, but the number 1 town wasn't even on the list last year. This seems to suggest that either the criteria have changed significantly, or the people doing the ratings have changed significantly. I really don't care enough to read the original ranking article and determine why the large change. But, it is always nice, fun, yet generally pretty pointless to be on all these lists.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 8:24 a.m.

The you may not want to continue reading Ann Arbor . Com. They love doing "news reports" of top this and top that.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Neither do I especially since number one this year wasn't even in the top 10 last year. This looks like a list where names were randomly pulled out of a hat.

Tom Teague

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

Ann Arbor is well deserving of the ranking. As an SEC grad, I'm surprised to see Athens, GA -- one of the greats -- dropping off the list. Lexington, KY is a nice enough place but doesn't exude the same kind of College Town atmosphere as Athens.

An Arborigine

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

HIzonner must be so proud.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

I guess they've never been here during the winter months.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

Sure, because Boulder is so much warmer in the winter...that must be what makes the difference.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

Or, when the pan handlers are wrestling outside of the drive through beer store.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Not only a dime a dozen, but this one is fact-challenged. For one thing, they only consider students from the largest school in a given town. For example, they list 28,094 students in Lexington, KY, but that's just the enrollment at the University of Kentucky. By the time you add in all the other schools in town, there are at least 12,000 more students.


Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 8:09 a.m.

Ah! But have you forgotten about EMU -- 23,000 students, Washtenaw Community College -- 13,000 students and smaller sized schools like Concordia University (711) and Cleary University (852)


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

Any word on where we rank on the number of top ten lists on which we appear? . . . I'm thinkin' we must "lap the field". . . (except for Superintendent of Schools dream job destination)


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

A2 or BUST

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

Isn't Boulder, CO what Ann Arbor want to be like...keep raising the rents & pricing the less desirable people out of town we'll be #1


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

I used to call it Ann Arbor at the mountains


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

This gots tobe something sure specials. I was wonderen where did boulder is? Sounds like I like to visit one day. Go blimpie!!

John of Saline

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

I don't think any of us are qualified to add anything to that.


Fri, Aug 2, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Ho hum....hese things are a dime a dozen.