Texas College Towns

by Hannah Glasgow on September 19, 2022 in Living Texas,

A college town is where the students and colleges highly influence the activities, businesses, and population of the town where they reside. These towns are usually unique and offer exciting opportunities for students and visitors alike. Let’s take a closer look at some Texas college towns.


San Marcos, TX
Texas State University

Photo Hannah Glasgow

The middle point between Austin and San Antonio, the town of San Marcos hosts Texas State University and its large population of students. With the ease of access to the city combined with the chill vibes of the town, Texas State University has become a favorite for students and visitors. For example, the San Marcos River runs through the campus and throughout the town and is popular for floating or just some light swimming at Sewell Park. The river is perfect for these hot Texas summers as it is always 72 degrees and crystal clear.

Their downtown area, more commonly known in San Marcos as the ‘The Square’, is lined with thrift stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Grab some fresh peaches or honey at the farmer’s market every Saturday or celebrate the town at their Mermaid Capital of Texas Festival on September 24.

College Station, TX
Texas A&M University

Photo Zabdiel Gonzalez from Unsplash

Texas A&M University is one of the most popular and populated schools on this list. With a population of about 70,000 students, the town of College Station is almost completely dedicated to the University. It is a sprawling campus surrounded by typical college student activities and social areas like coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shops. 

When visiting, eat at Ronin, a farm-to-market restaurant that plans its menu based on its growing season, offering fresh and organic produce in its meals. Afterward, stop by Northgate for a good party or maybe just a couple of drinks. In addition, on the first Friday of every month historic downtown Bryan hosts live music, art demonstrations, and unique events. For the ultimate College Station experience, make weekend plans to attend Midnight Yell followed by tailgating and an intense football game at Kyle Field.

Denton, TX
University of North Texas/ Texas Woman’s University

Photo Credit Monica Bourgeau from Unsplash

With its close proximity to Dallas, Denton has two Universities –  University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University. The University of North Texas is largely focused on liberal arts and music education; thus, the city of Denton has a large, world-class music and arts scene. 

Denton’s downtown square has numerous wineries, breweries, and music venues for a fun night on the town. Paschal’s, Denton’s only speakeasy, offers handcrafted cocktails and a great atmosphere to enjoy catching up and talking with friends.

Waco, TX
Baylor University

Photo Credit Jed Owens from Unsplash

A quaint, quirky town, Waco is home to multiple universities but the most notable is Baylor University, home to the Baylor Bears. You might also know about the town from the hit HGTV couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, whose Magnolia Market is based and has expanded into restaurants and shops around Waco. Spend the day eating and doing home shopping at Magnolia, catch a football or basketball game, and end your night by grabbing a drink downtown.

Tarleton State University

Photo Alyssa Snow

The cowboy capital of the world, Stephenville is home to Tarleton State University with its own college rodeo team. While you are in the cowboy capital, pick up a cowboy hat at Capital Hatters to feel like a real cowboy. Stephenville is a music-friendly city, especially for country music, and there are multiple venues to go and enjoy a live performance. 

Huntsville, TX
Sam Houston State University

Photo Hannah Glasgow

If you come along the giant statue of Sam Houston on the highway, you’ll know you are in Huntsville. About an hour outside of Houston, Sam Houston University is a small, yet beautiful campus with a small student population of about 20,000. Their Old Town Theatre, opened in 1947, is a historical building that still shows films and music performances in their downtown area. Another thing you can do in town is swim, tan, or even take scuba lessons at The Blue Lagoon with two crystal clear pools to explore.

Nacogdoches, TX
Stephen F. Austin University

Photo Allen Hord

Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas and home to Stephen F. Austin University with their 11,000 students. Located in East Texas, the lush forests and beautiful greenery provide for many nature activities like hiking through their many trails. In addition, while visiting their historic town take some time to sort through the knick-knacks and art at various antique shops. A small town, but Nacogdoches has a lot to offer students and visitors alike.


Hannah Glasgow is an editorial intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She starts her final semester at Texas State University in Fall 2022 where she is majoring in journalism and geography.

Cover Photo from Terren Hurst from Unsplash