How you define the nicest college dorms in America really depends on your taste. For example, when I was a freshman at NYU, for me the best dorm to live in on campus was the one that had private bathrooms in the rooms–not down the hall. For my husband the nicest dorm on his college campus was the one with the biggest rooms and the highest ceilings.
Thirty years later, when my own daughter was a freshman at Barnard College, also in New York City, for her the nicest college dorm room was the one with sweeping views of either the Hudson River to the west or the Columbia University campus to the east.
The nicest college dorms in America
When it comes to the nicest college dorms in America, many schools have upped their game. Some provide accommodations and amenities that rival expensive hotels or elegant condominiums.
Other schools have added perks such as private theaters, fine dining, and services like daily or weekly housekeeping.
In addition, with Gen Z worried about climate change, there are colleges and universities that, in looking to lower their carbon footprint and increase their sustainability, have created spaces that are ecologically sound, with certified green buildings, solar energy usage, and an increase in outdoor areas.
This roundup of the nicest dorms in America includes colleges from across the country. This article is inspired by information I found on the news site Stacker.com.
Nicest college dorms in Pennsylvania
Rockefeller Residence Hall, Bryn Mawr College, PA
Known on campus as “The Rock,” Rockefeller Residence Hall at Bryn Mawr College makes the dream of living like royalty come to life.
The exterior resembles a fairytale castle, while the rooms themselves feature extras like fireplaces and window seats. These were all part of the original construction of the building back in 1904. This hall was built as a gift from John D. Rockefeller, and is the largest dorm residence on campus.
Morgan Hall, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Morgan Hall at Temple University is a modern-looking building that looks more museum than college dorm. It was designed by MGA Partners, the firm that once belonged to famed architect Romaldo Giurgola.
With a focus on keeping the university’s footprint to a minimum, the firm created a space where students have a central walkway and a private, green courtyard, all while remaining self-contained. The dorm’s common areas boast double-height, glass-enclosed lounges, natural lighting throughout, and proximity to shopping and recreation facilities.
Nicest college dorms in Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Washington University in St. Louis is filled with residential colleges, each with their own culture and amenities.
For example, Washington University’s South 40, or “The 40” as students call it, is a four-building complex that mixes modern and traditional styles. All rooms come furnished and all have air conditioning. Common areas include fitness facilities, bookstores, and a convenience store, surrounded by a green, walkable landscape.
On the other hand, Brookings Residential College shown here, looks more like a traditional Ivy League dormitory on the East Coast.
Nicest dorms in Connecticut
Durfee Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT
While the rooms at Durfee Hall on the Yale University campus sport the standard bed, desk and dresser, most have walk-in closets. Also, each opens into designated common areas with fireplaces. Sounds very Hogwarts. Built in 1871, it is Yale’s second-oldest residence building and houses first-year students.
Nicest college dorms in Texas
Callaway House, University of Texas, Austin
Students who live at Callaway House at University of Texas, Austin, don’t have to worry about mundane things like dusting or making the bed. This plush dorm offers daily housekeeping services.
With options that include single or double rooms, each suite has a kitchenette with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Also, there are hardwood floors and privacy walls in shared rooms.
Common areas include a theater room with four 60-inch televisions, a 24-hour fitness center, and a large outdoor pool with a spa.
University Lofts, University of Houston, TX
One of the newer facilities on campus, the University Lofts at the University of Houston are spacious loft-style dorms. They feature 10-foot-high ceilings, exposed concrete ceilings and floors for an urban vibe, granite countertops, and a refrigerator, stove, and microwave. The building offers its residents a theater room, exercise rooms, a market, pool table, and two rooftop terraces.
Nicest dorms in Florida
North Lake Village, Florida Gulf Coast University, FL
Florida Gulf Coast University is a mecca for outdoor activities, with half of its 800 acres dedicated to preservation and nature. The housing facility at North Lake Village makes for easy access to any kind of outside fun.
Situated on an 80-acre lake, amenities include a fire pit, hammocks, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and access to motorized water sports. Rooms are set up as quads, with private bedrooms and shared living, kitchen, and bathroom spaces.
Osprey Fountains, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Residents at Osprey Fountains housing complex have lots of opportunities to play. For example, the Upper Deck has large-screen televisions, and the Galaxy is where hard-core gamers can gather to play.
Want some fresh air after studying? Well, the campus outdoor amenities include a lap pool, lazy river as well as a putting green. Also, did I mention the lighted tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts? Yeah, they’ve got that, too.
Nicest college dorms in California
Sontag and Dialynas Halls, Pomona College, CA
Built in 2011, these halls are Pomona College’s newest housing additions and have just over 30 suites with more than 150 single bedrooms. Each suite has a common living room, with three to six bedrooms attached.
The suites all have air-conditioning and low-use water fixtures, and both buildings are certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum, with a focus on sustainability. Residents can take in a movie via the dropdown movie screen in the lounge, or relax on the sun-drenched rooftop garden.
The Metropolitan, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles, CA
While not technically a dorm, the privately owned Metropolitan, commonly known as “The Met,” provides housing for students at FIDM with all the glamor of a five-star hotel. Individual apartment-style rooms have kitchens, living areas, and private balconies, while the shared areas include a heated pool and spa, fitness center, theater, and outdoor garden.
Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Hall, Scripps College, CA
With beautiful vaulted ceilings, exquisite woodwork, and arched windows, Jungels-Winkler Hall gives students a homey feeling—if home was a mansion, that is.
This former mansion offers single, double, and triple rooms, two kitchens, a spacious recreation room, air-conditioning, and a formal living room with a piano.
Cuarto, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Housing roughly 1,000 students, UC Davis’ Cuarto dorms consist of three halls that surround private courtyards. Two of the courtyards have outdoor swimming pools with spas, and all have plenty of trees and green space.
Lagunita Court, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
One of Stanford’s most historic dorms, Lagunita Court was built in the 1930s and used landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s concept of creating individual cottages within a larger residence hall. Consisting of seven halls, residents here can explore beautiful outdoor spaces that include grassy courtyards, and a trail that goes around Lake Lagunita. Each house has a lounge, kitchenette, and computer areas.
Great college dorm spaces in Maryland
Newman Towers, Loyola University, Maryland, MD
Foodie students will rejoice when choosing Newman Towers at Loyola University. While it might seem like an average dorm at first glance, one of its biggest perks is Iggy’s Market, located on the building’s ground floor.
This swanky shop is labeled as a convenience store, but is much more. With meals such as crab cakes, steak, chicken parmesan, or good old mac and cheese, Iggy’s caters to all students’ tastes and dietary needs.
Also, there are plenty of hangout spaces for students. And if you like to play pool, you’re in luck!
Nicest dorms in Arizona
Hub at Tucson, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Update: One of the directors of housing at the University of Arizona reached out to let me know something important: the Hub at Tucson isn’t technically a campus dorm; instead it is a privately owned apartment complex across from campus.
Nonetheless, here is why it is included in this article: it is said to offer “resort-style living” for students–technically, off campus.
It includes a rooftop pool and outdoor terrace, fully furnished private rooms with a sleek and modern feel as well as a huge fitness complex. It is just a few short blocks from campus.
If you’re interested in discovering the legit dorms at the University of Arizona, this page can help you get more information.
Nicest college dorm in Ohio
Morgens Hall, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
For a room with a view, Morgens Hall at University of Cincinnati has most other college dorms beat. Floor-to-ceiling windows create an open-air feel, and each unit has individual heating and cooling systems.
After a renovation, this dorm now has many eco-friendly touches. This includes a façade that filters sunlight while maintaining privacy by reflecting solar glare. The redesign of the building earned the university the American Institute of Architects of Ohio award in 2016.
Nicest college dorms in Massachusetts
Simmons Hall, MIT, Cambridge, MA
While the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is known for being home to big brains, it also sports one of the most well-known and renowned residence halls.
Architect Steven Holl designed Simmons Hall and the exterior has more than 5,000 tiny square windows, earning it the nickname “the Sponge.”
While the rooms themselves are fairly standard, the lounge areas are equipped with video game consoles, couches, comfy beanbags, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The facility also has a gym, crafts room, and woodshop.
Student Village 2, Boston University, MA
Boston University’s Student Village 2 features breathtaking views of the Boston city skyline. More high-rise apartment than dorm, Student Village 2 offers both single and double rooms with air-conditioning, walk-in closets, and private baths. Dorm residents also may enjoy relaxing common areas that include media rooms and soundproof music rooms.
Nicest college dorm in Virginia
The Lawn, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Lawn is the central part of what is known as the Academical Village at UVA. Students consider it one of the most prestigious residences on campus.
Each of the 54 Lawn rooms comes with a rocking chair–how charming. Also, many rooms have fireplaces. The Lawn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District.
Nicest college dorm in Indiana
First Street Towers, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
If you want your privacy in a dorm room, then you’ll definitely want to check out Purdue University’s First Street Towers. These deluxe dorms are really more like personal apartments than college dorm rooms. That is, there are no shared rooms and definitely no shared bathrooms.
Here are some other amenities here: weekly housekeeping services. I’m sure mom would approve.
Finally, there are two communal lounges on every floor, with big-screen televisions, pool tables, and well-appointed kitchenettes.
Nicest college dorms in Maine
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Some consider Bowdoin College as a “New Ivy” school. The school sits right in downtown Brunswick, a gorgeous college town in its own right.
Here’s what makes the living situation here unique and worth nothing: in 1997, the school turned frat houses into dorms and created much-sought-after space for students.
The former frat houses are now referred to as “college houses” and are some of the prettiest homes in town. They provide a communal housing environment in beautiful houses.
Each of the eight houses has its own style, with everything from fireplaces and chandeliers in some, to wrap around porches and spacious outdoor areas at others. I’m surprised more movies about idyllic college life aren’t filmed here.
Nicest college dorm in North Carolina
Wanek Center, High Point University, High Point, NC
High Point University maintains high-class style and regularly makes the list for having some of the best dorm rooms in the country. The college prides itself on making sure students are comfortable and happy.
The R.G. Wanek Center has a total of 300 rooms, which are a mix of singles and doubles. Each room has full-size beds, mirrored armoires, and maple cabinetry. The Center also has a cinema, an upscale restaurant and a gaming space.
This college dorm packing list can help you get ready for move-in day.
This article has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
Finally, if you’re aware of any other college dorms that would fit this “nicest” list, please be sure to get in touch and let me know.