Yesterday, SB Nation’s Texas Tech blog, Viva the Matadors, wrote “Big 12 Cities, Ranked.” The article prompted some interesting discussion. Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled around the ACC enough to share my thoughts on ACC towns, but here’s my ranking of cities in Hockey East.
- Boston, MA (Northeastern University): You may have heard of Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution and home to numerous institutions of higher learning. A great American city, millions flock to Boston each year to immerse themselves its history, culture, and sports.
- Boston, MA (Boston University): You may have heard of Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution and home to numerous institutions of higher learning. A great American city, millions flock to Boston each year to immerse themselves its history, culture, and sports. Ranked behind Northeastern because I’ll take their transit access (walkable from every branch of the green line, plus the orange line) over BU’s.
- Boston, MA* (Boston College**)(*yes, this is where Conte Forum and half of the school is located) (**get over it): You may have heard of Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution and home to numerous institutions of higher learning. A great American city, millions flock to Boston each year to immerse themselves its history, culture, and sports. Brighton Center is not exactly the Back Bay so we’ll rank the environs 3rd.
- Burlington, VT (University of Vermont): Burlington is a true gem of the Northeast. If you haven’t been there, you should change that next season. Imagine the cool squares of Somerville or Cambridge, filled with restaurants, brewpubs, public art, and other amenities - but instead of being surrounded by cityscape, it’s surrounded by outdoor beauty, including mountains and Lake Champlain, making it a great spot for outdoor sports or just enjoying fresh air. Burlington rules.
- Providence, RI (Providence College): Providence is a small city that, in no small part thanks to its college scene, really punches above its weight, particularly in two categories: food and art/culture. You probably know about the Italian food in Providence which certainly rivals the North End for quality. I’ll take Providence grilled pizza over almost any pizza other than New Haven apizza. There’s also a bevy of other options, plus usually lots of live music and public art to enjoy. Providence is cool.
- Lowell, MA (UMass-Lowell): I’m going to get some stick for putting Lowell this high, since there’s still some stigma attached to Lowell (and there certainly are parts of Lowell that are rough). But Lowell is probably the most underrated city in the region. It has a great downtown that is fun and vibrant, with a revival that has been fueled in no small part by the growth of UML’s reputation. Definitely check out downtown Lowell next time the Eagles are in town.
Amherst, MA (UMass-Amherst): I was tempted to put Amherst down near the bottom just to troll our good friends from
Upstate NYWestern MA but I’ll be honest and say Amherst is quite nice. Despite being hours away from anyplace else you want to be, Amherst is a fun and picturesque college town.
- North Andover, MA (Merrimack): There’s really nothing to see or do in North Andover aside from Fuddruckers, but hey, it’s not far from Boston.
- Durham, NH (UNH): Durham is a classic college town and will probably rank higher on many lists for that reason. The place revolves around UNH, and as such has the kinds of things you’d expect (pizza places, college bars, apparel shops, rows of frat houses, etc). Probably belongs higher on the list but is dragged down considerably by the presence of UNH, the Whittemore Center, and UNH fans generally.
- Hartford, CT (UConn): When does the Yard Goats stadium open? How about the new Patriots stadium? How about Hartford City FC? How about the new UConn hockey rink?
- Orono, ME (Maine): I mean, yeah. There’s something vaguely fun and charming about the fact that Tim Horton’s is the hoppin’ local hot spot on a Saturday night, but that’s all I got. Alfond Arena is awesome, though, and Maine fans are great, probably the best in Hockey East (if a bit strange).
- South Bend, IN (Notre Dame): Naturally.