8 Beautiful College Campuses in the Midwest

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A beautiful college campus is a harmonious blend of natural and built elements, creating an atmosphere that inspires learning, fosters a sense of community, and cultivates a connection with the surrounding environment. Here are eight of the most beautiful college campuses in the Midwestern United States:


University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana)

Notre Dame‘s commitment to preserving its rich history and traditions enhances the campus’s beauty and creates a sense of continuity. Whether it’s the colorful foliage in the fall, the glistening snow in the winter, the blooming flowers in the spring, or the vibrant greenery in the summer, each season brings its own unique beauty to the campus. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, with its stunning stained glass windows and soaring spires, is a place of reverence and architectural brilliance. It serves as a spiritual center, hosting religious services and ceremonies that contribute to the campus’s overall beauty and significance.


University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the University of Chicago benefits from its urban surroundings. The blend of urban energy and green spaces provides a unique backdrop for the campus, offering students and visitors access to the vibrant city while maintaining a distinct sense of campus community. The UC campus is rich in green spaces, parks, and tree-lined walkways. The Botany Pond, the quadrangles, and Midway Plaisance provide serene spots for relaxation and contemplation amidst nature’s beauty. The Gothic-inspired buildings, such as the iconic Hutchinson Hall, evoke a sense of tradition and history. The use of intricate stone carvings, pointed arches, and grand entrances adds a timeless elegance to the campus.


Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota)

Nestled in the charming town of Northfield, Minnesota, the Carleton College campus is situated on a beautiful, expansive landscape. The campus is home to Lyman Lakes, two picturesque bodies of water that add to the natural beauty. The lakes offer peaceful spots for relaxation, scenic views, and recreational activities like kayaking and canoeing. Historic buildings like Goodsell Observatory and Willis Hall are carefully preserved and contribute to the campus’s timeless beauty. These architectural gems highlight Carleton’s rich history and traditions.


Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)

Abundant trees, expansive lawns, and beautiful landscaping create a serene and idyllic atmosphere. Indiana‘s Bloomington campus boasts a mix of architectural styles, blending both historic and modern buildings. From iconic limestone structures like the Sample Gates and the Student Building to contemporary designs like the Kelley School of Business and the Jacobs School of Music, the campus showcases a rich architectural heritage. The campus is also home to an expansive arboretum that encompasses over 15,000 trees and numerous gardens. It provides a peaceful retreat for students, faculty, and visitors, offering opportunities for leisurely walks, outdoor study sessions, and enjoying nature.


Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)

The beauty of the Northwestern’s campus lies in its seamless blend of natural elements, impressive architecture, and vibrant student life. The combination of the lakefront location, historic and modern buildings, cultural institutions, and well-maintained green spaces creates a visually captivating environment that inspires learning, creativity, and community engagement. The iconic arch at the entrance of campus is a landmark that welcomes students and visitors and serves as a symbol of the university’s history and traditions, adding a touch of grandeur and a sense of arrival to the campus.


University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin)

UW Madison is situated on the shores of Lake Mendota, providing breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere. The expansive lake serves as a picturesque backdrop, offering stunning sunsets and opportunities for recreational activities. Bascom Hill is an iconic feature of the campus, showcasing a steep slope covered with green lawns and majestic trees. At the top of the hill stands Bascom Hall, an impressive neoclassical building with a towering dome that serves as a symbol of the university. Picnic Point is a scenic peninsula with walking trails, woodlands, and peaceful picnic spots. It offers stunning views of the lake and downtown Madison, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility.


Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio)

Kenyon College showcases exquisite Collegiate Gothic architecture, characterized by stunning stone buildings, arched entrances, and intricate detailing. Buildings such as Old Kenyon, Gund Commons, and Rosse Hall epitomize this architectural style, adding a sense of elegance and historical charm. Middle Path is a signature feature of the campus, a picturesque tree-lined walkway that stretches through the heart of the campus. It offers a serene and peaceful ambiance, providing a beautiful route for students and visitors to traverse while enjoying the natural surroundings. The Church of the Holy Spirit, with its stately presence, adds to the campus’s visual appeal.


University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

The Michigan campus features several vantage points that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The overlook at the Ross School of Business, the roof garden at the School of Social Work, and other elevated areas provide panoramic vistas of the campus and the city. The campus is meticulously landscaped, with well-maintained lawns, flowerbeds, and trees. The attention to detail and the abundance of green spaces create an inviting and aesthetically pleasing environment. The Diag is the central hub of campus activity and serves as a gathering place for students. It features open green spaces, tree-lined walkways, and benches for relaxation.


This list is not exhaustive and there are many other beautiful college campuses in the Midwest. Each campus has its unique charm and architectural style, so it’s worth exploring further and considering personal preferences when determining the most beautiful campus for yourself!


credit to the University of Notre Dame for the image