So you think you’re a college football fan, do ya? These five college football towns should be added to your travel list STAT!
There’s something about the cool autumn breeze that whispers of gridiron glory, vibrant tailgates, and iconic college fight songs. For many, fall is synonymous with college football, and the atmosphere in certain towns during the season is nothing short of electric.
Unfortunately, I graduated from The University of Minnesota, so our “football hype” isn’t quite as exciting as other locations around the USA.
As die-hard college football fans who’ve spent our fair share of Saturdays in the stands, we get the buzz of visiting towns where football fever fuels the vibe.
5 College Football Towns Every Die-Hard Fan Should Visit This Fall
So, this fall, let’s dive into these five towns that every college football fanatic should experience:
NOTE: We recommend visiting these college towns in October. Not only will you likely enjoy the change in fall colors, but many of these destinations become cold quickly!
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan (University of Michigan)
Home to the University of Michigan Wolverines, Ann Arbor buzzes with energy on game days. This historic town, with its iconic Big House, (one of the largest stadiums in the world) is a mecca for college football enthusiasts.
Tailgaters grilling and playing cornhole, fans adorned in maize and blue… Take caution to not wear other teams’ colors in Ann Arbor on any given game day. You might regret it!
But, beyond football, the town offers amazing eateries, a vibrant arts scene, and even affordable dispensaries for those who like to indulge.
Pro-tip: Visit Zingerman’s Deli for an unforgettable sandwich before heading to the game.
2. South Bend, Indiana (Notre Dame)
South Bend houses the legendary Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Touchdown Jesus, the Golden Dome, and the reminders of past champions await every visitor in this Indiana town.
But, South Bend isn’t just about football, it’s an experience. From the moment you set foot here, there’s a palpable energy that speaks of traditions and iconic moments. Tailgating with die-hards, the echoing sounds of the band, and streets filled with fans draped in gold and navy, it’s a sight and sound show you won’t forget.
And when game day wraps up, the local pubs and eateries come alive, offering a warm Fighting Irish welcome and a chance to rehash every play.
When you’re in a town that celebrates every football game like it’s homecoming, you know you’ve found a true gem.
3. Tuscaloosa, Alabama (University of Alabama)
Roll Tide! That’s the battle cry in Tuscaloosa, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Here, football isn’t just a sport, it’s a religion. Bryant-Denny Stadium, with its sea of crimson and white, is a sight to behold on Saturdays.
But even when you venture beyond the stadium the spirit of the Tide seeps from every corner. Local shops proudly display Bama gear, while folks gather around, discussing legendary plays and unforgettable moments from seasons past.
The Walk of Champions, right outside the stadium, showcases a proud history with plaques and statues, acting as a silent testament to the football legacy of the Crimson Tide. With like Joe Namath, John Hannah, Mark Ingram II, and Tua Tagovailoa, you could spend all day looking through this college’s impressive accolades.
Also, if you want a true southern experience, don’t forget to visit Half Shell Oyster House, a seafood and cocktail spot perfect for pregame delights.
4. Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State University)
Even if we’re not Ohio State fans, we have to give credit where credit is due. Ohio State’s Buckeyes dominate the scene in Columbus and it’s such a sight to see.
With their passionate fan base, the Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium) erupts with energy on game days. The age-old tradition of dotting the “i” in Script Ohio is a must-see. If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, it’s time to book your trip to Columbus.
After a thrilling game, explore the Short North Arts District for some eclectic food and shopping experiences. We’re partial to Columbus’ breweries, so if craft beer is up your alley, make sure to add a few to your list, too.
5. Oxford, Mississippi (Ole Miss)
The real question: if you haven’t tailgated at The Grove in Oxford, Mississippi, are you really a college football fan after all?
Fans of the Ole Miss Rebels go all out, dressing up and setting elaborate spreads at The Grove. The roaring from the crowd at Vaught Hemingway Stadium can be heard for miles and miles.
Beyond the game, Oxford enchants visitors with its southern charm and literary history: it’s the home of William Faulkner, after all.
Pro-tip: Pack up your car before heading out to tailgate. We recommend Oby’s of Oxford for top-notch, easy-to-pack sandwiches.
What are the most underrated college towns to visit this fall?
We just covered five top-notch college towns that are perfect for college lovers. But what about the other fabulous college towns that go unnoticed?
Here are a few towns we didn’t get to document above:
- Columbia, Missouri (University of Missouri)
- Clemson, South Carolina (Clemson University)
- Boise, Idaho (Boise State University)
- Boulder, Colorado (University of Colorado)
The Wrap-Up: 5 College Football Towns Every Die-Hard Fan Should Visit This Fall
So there you have it, folks. Sure, skiing in October’s fresh powder is pretty cool, but there’s just something about hanging with a bunch of fans, chanting, cheering, and soaking in the game-day vibes.
Whether you’re in it for the intense rivalries or simply the joy of being part of a larger community, these towns offer an unforgettable experience, especially if you’re a traveler.