Home College Towns This is the Best College Town In The Midwest

This is the Best College Town In The Midwest

This is the Best College Town In The Midwest

Nestled in Mahoning County in the U.S. state of Ohio, Youngstown is bequeathed with charming waterscapes, plush greenery and scenic landscapes – characterizing a spectacular backdrop of topographical appeal and abundant natural beauty.

This enchanting college town enjoys an optimal position, just 61 miles northwest of Pittsburgh and 65 miles southeast of Cleveland, making it our ideal choice as the best college town in the Midwest.

Why Youngstown Offers The Perfect College Experience

Named after John Young from Whitestown, New York, Youngstown enjoys an appealing small town vibe, retaining its rich cultural history, lush parklands, and stunning old-world architecture built on a bedrock of impressive outlooks.

But Youngstown’s appeal doesn’t just end there…affordable educational opportunities and economical housing allows for a high quality educational experience that isn’t out of budgetary reach. In short, I love Youngstown, and I’ll tell you why.

Youngstown’s Eclectic Attractions Put It On The Map As A Prized College Town

youngstown state university photo
Photo by Jack W. Pearce

In 2012, Forbes.com ranked Youngstown as the fourth best city in the United States for raising a family thanks to excellent education, low crime rates, and economical costs of living. And yes, the sheer number of local attractions probably had something to do with it too.

Entertainment Centers And Theaters Provide Thrilling Performances

Various venues across town provide entertainment for all ages from musical performances, to plays, to sporting events. There is always some sort of activity to entertain.

Covelli Centre is a sporting venue for hosting junior hockey games, ice shows, concerts and other forms of entertainment.

Powers Auditorium is a former Warner Brothers movie palace and the culture center of the community. It serves as the primary music hall of Youngstown, while housing the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.

Stambaugh Auditorium, with it’s neo-classical and imposing façade on the north side of the city, plays host to a myriad of concerts and private events. This auditorium is also home to the Stambaugh Youth Concert Band.

Nestled in downtown Youngstown, Oakland Center for the Arts is a multi-functional venue for local plays and performances.

The Youngstown Playhouse is the main community theater, having hosted prized theatrical personalities over several decades; it remains a popular spot with local residents.


Lana Pelly Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.


  1. As of native of the area, I don’t fall into the usual trap of cynically badmouthing Youngstown. As the article rightly notes, there are many positives to living here. However, the writer has fallen into her own lazy trap of getting a few brochures from the local Chamber of Commerce and then writing an article primarily based on that rather than actually knowing the area.

    For example, the Oakland Center for the Arts that she touts closed in March of 2015. The photo chosen to accompany the section on Stambaugh Auditorium is actually of Youngstown State University’s football stadium! And I’m not quite sure where her characterization of the area’s “low crime rate” comes from. Low compared to what? Perhaps the overall crime rate in Mahoning and Trumbull County is low, but I would be surprised if this could be said for the cities of Youngstown and Warren.

    And as for Youngstown offering “charming waterscapes, plush greenery and scenic landscapes – characterizing a spectacular backdrop of topographical appeal and abundant natural beauty” — this is abundantly true of Mill Creek Park, which is even more wonderful than the writer can begin to convey. But it’s hardly an accurate description of Youngstown as a whole. In fact, I would challenge the writer to walk the “pristine walking trails” of Crandall Park on the North Side unaccompanied by bodyguards. No one who actually lives here would do such a thing.

    So yes, Youngstown (and YSU specifically) does have much to offer. But I recommend talking to a cross-section of people who actually live here to get a more accurate picture.

    1. Mike,
      As a 5th Avenue resident, I agree that while the writer should come and see the city, the fear he expressed about walking in Crandall Park is surprising. You can walk around the whole of the park at any time of day or night. More than you can say of many big cities. Urban decay is present everywhere, but that is a symptom of fear mongering prevailing over common sense and simple economics – where else can you live on a quiet street in a house that costs less than a car, and walk to all the great things that this city offers – Butler Art museum is a treasure….

      1. OK, I retract my comment about Crandall Park. While I believe it would have been accurate not too many years ago, perhaps things have changed. If so, I’m glad. I stand behind my other comments, however. I think one’s assessment of the area should be realistic and balanced…which can’t exactly be said of this article taken as a whole. Best bet is to come here, talk to a cross section of residents, and make up your own mind.

    2. You have not been here in years. Cant find a spot Downtown to park with all the entertainment nightly. Oakland Center has left its venue Downtown but now doing even bigger and better shows at various venues. April 29 thru may 5 Wizard of Oz with 60 person cast at Trinity Church. Whole season is set. Hey. Go dain on some one elses parade. Things have tuened here. No thanks to you.

  2. Thank You so very much for the magnificent article a out Youngstown! Born and raised here, I love it! Not too big nor too small! 4 seasons to enjoy. I will certainly be sharing this article for all to see! It’s so nice to see so much positive about us in one article! Thanks again!

  3. I’ve been to a LOT of college towns… Youngstown is NOT a college town. It is a city that happens to have a college in it. A college town is one that exists BECAUSE it has a college… Youngstown is/was a steel town.

    1. Megan and Mike, Youngstown and Warren are slowly turning it around. Come downtown and see. You are stereotyping. You must be cookie cutter, vanilla, Starbucks ,Olive garden brainwashed followers. Come see all the history. Be part of the Urban Renaissance not suburbanites that stereotype our area.

  4. Low crime rate? The crime rate here is horrible! Look up your facts. It was rated so well on Forbes because of its extremely low cost of living- which is because of those horrible crime rates in reality.

  5. Youngstown, OH does have a very high crime rate. Youngstown State University happens to be located in it. However, Youngstown is not a college town.

  6. My daughter graduated a year ago with Religious studies degree. Thanks to her hard work and the Wonderful Professors in Religious study program , she was able to get a fellowship at Indiana University. She was even accepted at Harvard and Yale! I cannot say enough about YSU and the great opportunities it offers students . Hats off to the Religious Study program and Professors, they went above and beyond for my daughter!

  7. I also have lived here all of my life. The crime rate is bad the inner city schools are horrible
    but the parks are wonderful the food is great.

  8. The author has the city of Youngstown confused with statistics for the Youngstown MSA which contains Mahoning Trumbull and Metcer counties. All the have correct is the population of the city. Stats of the overall title county area are good by comparison. Agreed. The city itself much like warren, new castle and Sharon, boast high taxes, high crime, low graduation rate and high unemployment. Sloppy research and lazy writing.

  9. Glad the photo was wrong on Stambaugh – would have hated to see that they changed it!! The article may have been a bit flowery but the city has really turned around since I left in 85 !! Always proud of my Y-Town!!!

  10. It is a college town. Take away YSU and what is the town left with? Much of what the writer describes is because YSU is the heart of the city. The steel industry made this town, YSU keeps it going…

  11. The Mahoning Valley is a great place to live and work. Don’t think of it as just Youngstown. Sure, we have our share of crime, but we are always listed as the underdogs. We have allot to be thankful for. We raise families in a pretty protected environment, with minimal living expenses compared to bigger cities. We live between two bigger cities (Cleveland and Pittsburgh) which take a work commute would take an hour even if you lived there. Our college is nationally recognized. Our university president is world famous. We have had our share of sports figures, TV moguls, filmmakers and musicians who came from our humble valley.

  12. I grew up in Youngstown in the 1940’s and 1950’s – it was a wonderful place to grow up in. Favorite places were Idora Park, Mill Creek Park, Butler Art Gallery, and a thriving downtown – I moved to Philadelphia many, many years ago and today I love Philadelphia – I am a big city gal – so much to do. I haven’t been to Youngstown for a few years, but will always be happy I grew up in such a nice place.

  13. That picture is of Warren G. Harding High School and football stadium located in Warren, Ohio. Not in Youngstown at all. Youngstown does have a high crime rate in and around the inner city. The downtown area has been dead for many years but is starting to come back.

  14. I lived, walked, went to school and worked in The Valley, 70-05, often working and walking in areas that were considered pretty bad but never had an issue, especially around Fifth or Gypsy, or lower Market. Areas are what you make them.

  15. It’s a nice little diploma mill for kids that have no place else to go… and it is a “University.” Youngstown itself is not a safe place to live on the whole unless you live outside town as we do. The local PD, Sherriff and city governments are all corrupt as hell and everything is basically falling to pieces from 50-60 years of Democrat/Detroit style civic cannibalism.

    The folks around here are the best. They just vote for criminals.

  16. While Youngstown WAS a steel city…that ended in 1978. The people of the city and the suburbs worked very hard to come back from that loss. I believe it transitioned into a college town. It also has a teaching hospital which was not talked about in the article. I haven’t lived in the area since 2000 but I’m very impressed with the strides that have been made down town like the Covelli Center.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *