Must Visit College Towns for Sports Enthusiasts

College towns are known for their vibrant atmospheres, passionate fans, and exciting sporting events. If you’re a sports enthusiast, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the energy of a college game day. Check out CollegeWeekends’ list of a few must-visit college towns for sports fans and enthusiasts:

Ann Arbor, Michigan: Home to the University of Michigan Wolverines, Ann Arbor is one of the most iconic college towns in the country. The Wolverines have a storied athletic history, and their games are always a spectacle.

University of Michigan Athletics - Official Athletics Website

Whether you’re cheering on the football team in the 108,000 seat Big House or the basketball team at Crisler Arena, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.  Big Blue’s baseball team also advanced to the NCAA Regionals as recently as 2022 and plays at Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex, another great venue to watch a game that is located right on campus.

Where to Watch College Football in Ann Arbor

If you’re looking for a place to watch a game, grab a few drinks and a bite to eat, check out Scorekeepers Sports Grill and Pub. Throughout its 44+ year history, it has gained a reputation for being the place to be in Ann Arbor.  University of Michigan students, alumni and fans come in to enjoy the famous cheeseburgers and nachos plus other great menu items.

Eugene, Oregon: Eugene is known as TrackTown USA for its rich history of track and field. The city is also home to the University of Oregon Ducks, who have a passionate fan base and a winning tradition in multiple sports.

Whether you’re catching a football game at Autzen Stadium, a basketball game at Matthew Knight Arena or the Ducks baseball team at the spacious and rowdy PK Park, you’re sure to be entertained.

If you’re looking for a fun place to watch games and enjoy some great food … check out Wild Goat Sports Bar and Grille. An upbeat, American sports bar & restaurant perfect for families and college students and is conveniently located right across from University of Oregon campus.

College Station, Texas: College Station is home to Texas A&M University, one of the most successful athletic programs in the country. The Aggies are known for their rabid fan base and their unique traditions, such as the 12th Man and the Midnight Yell. If you’re looking for a truly immersive college sports experience, College Station is the place to be.

Looking for a place to grab some good food and catch a game while visiting Aggieland? Check out an Aggie tradition since 1974 and a student, alumni and fan favorite … the Dixie Chicken.

The Dixie Chicken, also known as The Chicken, is located in the heart of College Station, Texas, directly across the street from the Texas A&M University campus. The Dixie Chicken claims to serve the most beer per square foot of any bar in the United States.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, one of the most storied basketball programs in the country as well as often highly-ranked football and baseball teams.

The Tar Heels have a passionate fan base and a winning tradition that dates back to the early 1920s. If you’re a basketball fan, you simply must experience a game at Dean Smith Center.

While visiting Chapel Hill, be sure to stop at Four Corners or the iconic, Top of the Hill, on Franklin Street for a drink and some delicious food. Both Four Corners and Top of the Hill are iconic and must visit eateries and bars and beloved by UNC sports fans around the world!

Morgantown, West Virginia: Morgantown is home to West Virginia University, which has a passionate fan base and a winning tradition in multiple sports, including football, basketball, and baseball.

The Mountaineers are known for their electric atmosphere and their unique traditions, such as the Pride of West Virginia Marching Band and the Flying WV.

Grab a drink and a bite to eat at Varsity Club. Established in 2008, The Varsity Club is an alumni owned and operated bar/restaurant with an extensive beer selection and exceptional food.

Madison, Wisconsin: Madison is home to the Wisconsin University Badgers. Wisconsin University has an incredible athletics program including often ranked football, basketball, volleyball and hockey teams. With passionate fans and great traditions (including “Jump” at the end of the 3rd quarter at every Badger football game!) you’re sure to have a great time visiting this lively college town.

While visiting Madison, be sure to watch a game and have a drink at Players Sports Bar and Grill. Located in Schenks Corners on Winnebago St. and voted Madison’s Favorite Sports Bar. Players offers 10 different beers from local brewery’s on tap as well as domestic beers. A great gathering place to watch sports events or play pool, darts and ping pong.  Jordan’s Big10 Pub and Bar & Grill is another very popular tailgate or post-game location in Madison!

Oxford, Mississippi: Home to Ole Miss: the University of Mississippi located in Oxford is a unique and destination-worthy college town. With historic museums, a perennially ranked baseball team and one of the most iconic tailgate scenes in all of college football at The Square … this is truly a bucket-list must for college sports enthusiasts!

Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

For a bite to eat be sure to check out Mugshots Grill and Bar. Sink your teeth into their award-winning burgers, enjoy the drinks, spend quality time with your family and friends, and catch your favorite team’s next game! Their success is founded on the simple mission of “Havin’ a Good Time!” while delivering crave-able food and personalized hospitality to friends and family in a place obsessed with sports.

Knoxville, Tennessee: Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers (Vols), which thrives off of the college campus and community. University of Tennessee is best known for its football and men’s and women’s basketball programs that have both featured several famous coaches and alumni.

If you’re in Knoxville and looking to enjoy a game and great food … you have to check out The Hill Bar and Grill. The Hill is your destination in for wings, beer and sports. Withy a great view of the Sunsphere and World’s Fair Park from its patio, the Hill has also won multiple awards for the best wings in Knoxville and is consistently voted a local favorite at wing competitions.

In addition to these eight college towns, there are many other great options for college sports enthusiasts. Some other notable destinations include:

When planning your trip to a college town, be sure to check the athletic schedule to see if there are any games or events happening during your visit. 

Here are a few additional tips for planning your college sports weekend getaway:

  • Book your lodging and rental car well in advance, especially if you’re visiting during a popular time of year. Be sure to utilize CollegeWeekends in choosing your lodging!
  • Pack for all types of weather, as college towns can be unpredictable.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking.
  • Arrive early to the game so you have time to explore the stadium or arena, tailgate and soak up the atmosphere.
  • Be prepared to cheer loud and proud!

No matter which college town you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a memorable sports experience.