Since the dawn of the great keg tap and the invention of the red solo cup, the perfect pairing of partying and schooling has evolved into an advanced social and technological spectacle. Here are the top 10 colleges with a higher degree in modern revelry.
1. OHIO UNIVERSITY
Sorry, Miami University, but OU’s year-round antics are hard to trump. Athens is home to one of the country’s largest Halloween block parties—a drunken fete so epic it attracts such sponsors as the infamous malt beverage Four Loko. Court Street, which connects the campus to Athens’s dining district, is a barhopper’s dream: The tiny half-mile stretch boasts 18 bars. And thanks to statewide decriminalization of marijuana possession, students frequently toke up at the appropriately named Bong Hill. The debauchery escalates further at #Fest, OU’s take on Electric Daisy Carnival, where students double-fist Solo cups while bouncing to the sounds of Diplo, Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar.
2. UNIVERSITY of IOWA
When the 2014 Princeton Review knocked the University of Iowa from the number one party slot, students set their sights on reclaiming the throne. The biggest enablers have always been Iowa City’s bars, which grant entry to anyone 19 and over—but only until 10 P.M. Then, last year the Union Bar, home of the stickiest floor in the Midwest, found a legal loophole: If an establishment declares itself an “entertainment venue,” all ages are welcome until closing time. The resulting evidence of the Union’s Halloween bash is enough to make a Playboy editor blush.
3. FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
The Seminoles have one of the nation’s top football teams, the hottest sorority girls and the craziest spring breaks. Maybe it’s all been said before about the beaches and bikinis, but FSU students throw it down hard in Tallahassee. Booze is plentiful and cheap, with specials every night. At the beloved Bullwinkle’s Saloon, a Thirsty Moose Card purchased each semester offers bottomless drinks four nights a week—you know, for the frugal college student.
4. TULANE UNIVERSITY
If anybody knows how to party, it’s the city of New Orleans. When most colleges are cracking down, Tulane continues to rise above the rest. Why? Because it has a 140-year-old off-campus party that’s still thriving, and we don’t see any signs that it’s slowing down. We’re talking about Mardi Gras, but even in the off-season, you’ll find spirited students strolling the French Quarter, where a notorious open-container policy allows shenanigans to happen year-round. And to that we say, laissez les bons temps rouler.
5. UNIVERSITY of ILLINOIS
Like Iowa, Illinois offers a similar platter of partying (gargantuan Greek life; legal bar entry at 19) with some extra cultural perks. The Pygmalion Festival has a music lineup (Run the Jewels, Zola Jesus, Tune-Yards) that rivals SXSW, and bars such as the Highdive and the Canopy Club host the best acts that swing through Chicago. But come March, all hell breaks loose for Unofficial Saint Patrick’s Day, when thousands of students skip class to start drinking at dawn—and the streets are dyed green with vomit.
6. UNIVERSITY of TEXAS
We all know about Austin’s Dirty Sixth, the thoroughfare that gets overtaken by soused SXSW attendees every year. While Sixth Street is still the standby for the young and rowdy, Rainey Street is the go-to for upperclassmen. You’ll find UT’s finest along a row of historic homes now converted into the city’s coolest bars and cocktail lounges. Still not convinced that Texas does it best? Longhorns can legally go topless in public. Austin: the right to bear arms and the right to bare it all.
7. SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
Last year, after the Princeton Review named Syracuse its preeminent party school, university officials cracked down and banned carousing at Castle Court, a popular parking-lot party spot. But that only inspired Orange-bloods to rebel with a cause. Music events such as Mayfest and Juice Jam ballooned, school spirit kept Carrier Dome packed, coeds chugged free beer at Faegan’s Pub and Phi Psi’s “Heaven and Hell” party remained the most exclusive ticket in town on Halloween.
8. UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN
When it comes to Madison, we’ll say it again: Beer, cheese and frigid climes equal a good time. On Football Saturdays, Breese Terrace transforms into house-party central, and the beer gardens on Regent Street are packed with Badgers fans. Although the Mifflin Street Block Party lost city sponsorship in 2013, students are keeping the 46-year-old tradition alive. And new traditions are forming: The two-year-old Revelry Music and Arts Festival helps keep the party options plentiful.
9. UNIVERSITY of MISSISSIPPI
Tradition is a beautiful thing at Ole Miss, where tailgating is a buffet of smoking-hot belles and plenty of booze. But this isn’t your average pre-gaming party. Oxford is where Southern hospitality reigns, with bountiful spreads fit for a king. After the game, there are always huge house parties on Frat Row, and when the weather heats up, the pool parties kick into high gear. Just last year a drone captured Sigma Nu’s annual Woodstock blowout, helping to coin the phrase frat cam.
10. UNIVERSITY of MICHIGAN
Oh, “the Michigan difference.” The haughty catchphrase works because it’s true: Wolverines study hard and party harder. At “the Pit,” a shared backyard between frat houses and an epicenter for Saturday-morning tailgating, students get advanced degrees in Wolverine superiority, still going strong almost 20 years after its last football championship. House parties abound in Ann Arbor; if one gets shut down, students roll the kegs to the party down the street. Win or lose, Michiganders still booze.