America's Coolest College Towns
Berkeley, CA (University of California)
If coffee shops define a good college town, Berkeley has the competition beat. Some host bands, others show art, many sell fair-trade blends, and most offer a space where it’s okay to relax for hours. “It’s kind of a universal hangout place, not just for professors and students,” says Erik Hvezda, a barista at Brewed Awakening. Many residents prefer the crackle of vinyl to MP3s; pick up some LPs at the well-stocked Amoeba Music on Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley’s festive commercial strip. In the heart of campus, the 61-bell carillon provides the tunes atop 307-foot Sather Tower, which also offers stunning panoramas of San Francisco Bay.