48. Tuscaloosa, AL
In recent years, Tuscaloosa has been named one of America’s most livable cities, and one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by America’s Promise Alliance. Like most of the larger state around it, most of life in Tuscaloosa centers around the University of Alabama (particularly their sports teams) leading to a great camaraderie.
Tuscaloosa boasts a diversified economy including a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant, BF Goodrich Tire manufacturing, and numerous healthcare companies. Most of the cities nightlife centers around the University, with the nation’s #1 sports bar (according to Playboy Magazine) about a mile from campus at the Houndstooth Sports Bar.
- Population: 95,334
- Student Population: 34,852
47. Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff is home to Northern Arizona University, a number of large corporations, a strong cultural presence, and proximity to the Grand Canyon. A number of theaters, festivals, and music events provide a vibrant cultural experience.
Large businesses in Flagstaff include the makers of Gore-Tex, Nestle Purina Petcare, and Walgreens. The Lowell Observatory and United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station provide scientific jobs in the community, and have recently coupled with the Discovery Channel to build a new telescope for future projects.
- Population: 65,870
- Student Population: 26,006
46. Bozeman, MT
Bozeman is home to Montana State University and unrivaled access to recreational and outdoor activities. From fly fishing, to rock climbing, to skiing, spelunking, or just exploring, Bozeman has it all. For being relatively small, Bozeman offers an astounding number of coffee shops, bars, art galleries and restaurants, and cultural offerings are always present at the university.
A number of tech startups call Bozeman home, with over a dozen bio tech companies, and at least eight tech companies engaged in research or production of laser optic equipment. Gibson Guitar Corporation’s acoustic guitar factory is also based in Bozeman.
- Population: 39,860
- Student Population: 15,294