Little D Pride

This North Texas college town scores high marks as one of the best in the country

Texas college town scores high marks as one of the best in the country

Denton Arts & Jazz Festival has named Denton one of the country's best college towns. Denton Arts & Jazz Festival/Facebook

What makes a good college town is more than just cheap housing, 'round-the-clock restaurants and the students that flood the area each fall. According to, it's the places that retain those students after they graduate that truly make them a great place to live. This year Denton, home to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University, nabs the No. 5 spot on Livability's 10 best college towns.

The indie vibe that Denton possesses, along with its eclectic music scene and youthful energy, are magnets to residents both in and out of school. Livability cites the "auditory experiences" Denton offers, "ranging from street corner serenades by jazz groups and singer-songwriters to hip music venues and clubs like Dan’s Silverleaf, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio and Hailey’s." Coffee houses, pubs, restaurants and — believe it or not — the surrounding horse farms, which have some of the country's highest concentrations of horses, are also a draw.

The top 10 towns were chosen based first on census data that showed a high concentration of schools and a highly educated population, then diversity, the availability of rental and affordable housing, education as a dominant employer, and the population of residents 25-29 years old, indicating that the town is cool enough for students to stick around. Manhattan, Kansas, home to Kansas State University, claims the title of best college town.

A Division I athletics program also netted some bonus points because, like it or not, strong sports programs help define college towns. Thanks, Scrappy.