Top Ten College Towns

Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
CORNELL SKYLINE: Just outside of Cornell University is stunning beauty and the famed suspension bridges (Ithaca Convention and Visitors Bureau)

8. Cornell University and Ithaca College
Ithaca, New York

Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, sees an annual influx of students that nearly doubles the population of 29,000. The town overlooks Cayuga Lake, and its slogan, "Ithaca is Gorges," is derived from its abundance of gorges and waterfalls, including the 251-foot-high Taughannock Falls, which stands three stories higher than Niagara Falls.

With four state parks nearby, Ithaca is a nature-lover's dream, but the town also caters to those with more urban tastes. Ithaca essentially has two downtowns. The Commons is the city's main commercial district, where you can browse eclectic shops while skateboarders and folk singers mill about the tree-lined brick roads. It's also home to world-famous vegetarian eatery, Moosewood Restaurant. A rich selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants makes the Commons the main hangout for Ithaca College students.

Cornellians tend to stick to the area immediately outside the university called "Collegetown." On a typical weekend, Cornell students may start the night with Saki bombs and sushi at Plum Tree Japanese restaurant. After that, they simply walk along College Avenue and choose from myriad watering holes—the old standby, Rulloff's, the swanky cocktail bar, Stella's, and the popular live music spot/pizza joint, The Nines. By Sunday, students have righted themselves and are dutifully studying for their organic chemistry exam in Uris Library.

Ithaca and Cornell students alike eagerly anticipate their parents' visits so they can get a chance to eat at the city's fanciest restaurants, the John Thomas Steakhouse and the Heights Café. Cornell's campus boasts many attractions—from the Johnson Museum of Art, to stunning Gothic architecture, to the vast Cornell plantations, to incredible views of the famous gorges. Visitors won't want to leave before traversing the university's famous suspension bridges, which dangle above the gorges. For those looking for a taste of Ithaca's true hippie nature, the 175-acre organic farm/quasi-commune, EcoVillage, is a must-see.


Published: 18 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 8 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Ithaca

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Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Ithaca, NY
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Super 8 Ithaca
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Comfort Inn Ithaca

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