The American Institute for Economic Research has produced a “college destinations index” ranking the best metro areas for off-campus enjoyment.

The tops of the different categories:

Major metro (2.5 million +)
1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Boston
4. Washington
5. Seattle

Midsize metro (1 million to 2.5 million)
1. San Jose
2. Austin
3. Hartford, Conn.
4. Raleigh, N.C.
5. Denver

Small metro (250,000 to 1 million)
1. Boulder, Colo.
2. Bridgeport, Conn.
3. Ann Arbor, Mich.
4. Gainesville, Fla.
5. Madison, Wis.

College town (Under 250,000)
1. Ithaca, N.Y.
2. State College, Pa.
3. Ames, Iowa
4. Champaign- Urbana, Ill.
5. Iowa City

Glad to see my hometown of Boston rightfully near the top of its field, but I’m wondering about the “midsize metro” category. Granted I’ve only been to the former once and have never been to the latter, but doesn’t Austin have a much better reputation as a fun college town than San Jose?

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Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.