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The Best College Towns in California Ranked

The Best College Towns in California Ranked

California is home to some of the best universities in the country. And, that’s not just our opinion here at Good Nite Inn

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, California was the most represented state out of all 50, with a whopping 14 universities making the list. The list is compiled every year based on key performance indicators related mostly to academics. This includes things like knowledge transfer, international outlook, and research. 

But, as most college students (and their parents!) probably know, a student’s experience at their chosen university isn’t only shaped by their coursework. The campus and the community are just as important.  

With that in mind, here are the best college towns in California. 

But first: let’s consider the criteria. If a business traveler booking a Good Nite Inn corporate room expects the best room rates, easy check-in and check-out, and easy access to local tech and financial hubs, what do you think a college student looks for? 

A safe, affordable place to live, income and employment opportunities, a diverse student body, cheap eats, and even cheaper booze. 

Davis, California

Located 12 miles from Sacramento, Davis is home to the University of California – Davis. With 40,000 students attending in Fall 2018, there has to be some draw to the area, right?

It could be the manicured campus, the modern academic buildings or the popularity of varsity sports. Or, it could be the sheer number of clubs and activities available to students or the deals on beer from Wednesday-Saturday at the local watering holes. Whatever is it, UC Davis is doing something right! 

Stanford, California

Just 15 minutes away by car from Good Nite Inn Redwood City, Stanford, California is a quintessential college town in almost every way. 

Stanford University – founded back in 1885 – is one of the most impressive in the world, and the sprawling campus no doubt reflects that with a mixture of mission and Romanesque architecture. 

Our recommendation? Bring your walking shoes, leave your Redwood City hotel early, and spend an afternoon exploring. 

Berkley, California

Given its proximity to the San Francisco Bay, Berkley attracts visitors from around the world for its culture, restaurants, and arts scene. Of course, and the University of California – Berkley attracts a handful of people, too.

41,910 to be exact.

Berkley has a full calendar year-round with public festivals and events, and local bars and restaurants are some of the best in the state. The campus itself is also buzzing and, because it’s open to the public, visitors to the area simply must take a stroll down paths that wind through the landscaped grounds and redwood forests to business districts. 

Whether you’re taking your kids on college tours, are re-living your own glory days, or simply want to explore some of the United States’ best (and most beautiful!) campuses and college towns, California is a good place to start. 

Bouncing around? Check out Good Nite Inn accommodation throughout the state for a comfortable stay in between towns.  

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College Name & Location

University of California – Oakland, California, United States
Stanford University – 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305
University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, CA