The 10 Best Party Schools in Texas

There’s no reason for any student to feel alone at the ten best party schools in the Lone Star State! 

In addition to offering stellar educational programs, Texas schools are rich in tradition and abundant in social offerings.

“Party schools” often get a bad rap, but the schools that follow on this list bring more to the table than run-of-the-mill house parties. 

Situated in thriving cities like Austin, Dallas, and Houston, there is plenty to explore by way of the food, music, art, and film scene. 

Student applicants shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to have a good time in college; after all, the college experience is often touted as one of the greatest benefits of attending college. 

Attending a school with a lively social scene gives young adults the chance to meet new people, experience diverse cultures, and broaden their interests and horizons.

Sporting events are naturally at the heart of the schools’ social scenes – for most schools in Texas, tailgating before a football game is a way of life. 

Homecoming matches are also heavily anticipated events that come equipped with their own traditions, chants, and celebrations.

So let’s put on school colors, memorize the alma maters, and start making plans – students are bound to have a nicely-balanced academic and social calendar with these party schools in Texas!

University of Dallas (Irving, TX)

University of Dallas Carpenter Hall
Wissembourg, Carpenter Hall front, CC BY-SA 4.0

Despite their small population of less than 2,500, students at the University of Dallas know how to do it big. Students voice their love of the social dormitory atmosphere and the availability of extracurricular opportunities and clubs.

Approximately half of the student body is involved in some facet of Greek life, and there are 26 active fraternity and sorority chapters on campus. 

That being said, there are plenty of fun offerings outside of the Greek community.

One of the students’ favorite campus events is Groundhog – the week-long celebration includes a Quiz Bowl, complimentary brunch, 5K race, Powderpuff football game, rugby match, and party in the park. 

Other fun traditions include Charity Week, Spring Formal, Oktoberfest, and the Student Film Fest.

One of the best off-campus social activities is to take the University of Dallas DART rail for a night out in Dallas. 

There are tons of attractions in the city center, like playing TopGolf, hanging out at lively country-western joints, and visiting the AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys).

Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX)

Stephen F Austin State University
Michael Barera, Stephen F. Austin State University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Stephen F. Austin State University is located in Nacogdoches, the first official town in Texas, the best city for young people in Texas, and the #1 small city in Texas. 

With a population of 10,300 undergraduate students and over 1,500 graduate students, approximately 10% of students are members of the Greek community.

Students at Stephen F. Austin enjoy a wealth of traditions and activities. Homecoming Week features a step show, 5K race, torchlight parade, giant bonfire and concert, and Lumberjack football game.

Students frequently attend basketball games, baseball games, and Greek-hosted parties. Some favorites during the year include “Phiesta” and Cinco de Mayo.

Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

Clocking in at over 70,000 students, Texas A&M is a supremely fun place to get a great education and have a great time!

There is plenty of fun to be had in College Station. Students rave about Grand Station, where you can bowl, throw axes, and play laser tag, arcade games, or mini-golf. Northgate offers all the saloons and bars a student could desire, while Century Square is home to shopping boutiques and fitness-related events. 

One of the students’ favorite traditions at Texas A&M is the Midnight Yell – the night before any home game, over 25,000 Aggies flock to Kyle Field and get pumped for the game with band music, the Aggie War Hymn, and…you guessed it…lots of yelling!

Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)

Texas Tech University
Bubbahotepblues, College of Human Sciences Building at Texas Tech, CC BY-SA 4.0

With a student population of over 40,000 undergraduates and graduates, fraternity and sorority chapters make up the most visible student organizations on campus; in fact, over 15% of the student body belongs to a Greek organization.

Located in Lubbock, Texas Tech is a school where students enjoy a friendly college town vibe. McKenzie Park is a favorite hangout that spans 248 acres and includes two championship-level golf courses and the Joyland Amusement Park (complete with roller coasters).

Varsity sports are a major component of campus life – some of the students’ favorite events and traditions include Homecoming, the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, and the Tortilla Toss. Yes, students throw literal tortillas onto the football field after opening kick-off (despite the assurance of penalties)!

A less frowned-upon tradition is the Carol of Lights, where student resident halls go all out with decorations and host festive winter social events.

University of Houston (Houston, TX)

University of Houston
BrianReading, University of Houston I-45 entrance, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Houston Cougars know how to have a good time, especially when it comes to college football. 

Over 45,000 students love to partake in traditions like Cougar Red Friday – those who wear red in support of the Cougars and post their pictures to social media are eligible to receive shopping sprees, t-shirt giveaways, and other free merchandise.

In the spring, students attend Frontier Fiesta, which is essentially a giant student-organized talent show combined with amusement rides, cook-offs, live music, and cash prizes.

Houston is full of cultural and social activities. The Blaffer Art Museum is free to students and all members of the public, while The Nook Cafe and coffee shop houses plenty of board games for rainy day activities.

Rice University (Houston, TX)

Rice University
Jim Evans, Rice University Mechanical Laboratory and Power House, CC BY-SA 4.0

Also located in Houston, Rice is a place where students create their own fun. There are no fraternities or sororities on campus; rather, students are randomly sorted into one of 11 colleges and stay there through their undergraduate years.

Each college is known for its own traditions and social gatherings.  Baker College hosts Houston’s longest-running Shakespeare Festival Bakeer Shake; Hanszen College hosts their own Mardi Gras; Jones College hosts the Floor Olympics, and Lovett holds traditions like the Casino Party.

Students wanting to travel outside of campus have over 10,000 restaurants at their disposal, representing more than 70 ethnic cuisines. 

Fun fact: Houstonians dine out more often per week than any other U.S. city’s residents. There are also plenty of distilleries to tour, professional sports events to watch, and weekend farmer’s markets to attend.

Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)

Texas Christian University
Michael Barera, Texas Christian University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Riff Ram Bah Zoo! TCU students chant this oldest cheer in the Southwest Conference every time the Frogs play. There is a great deal of campus pride among the 11,000+ students that attend Texas Christian. 

The first football game is always the biggest event of the year, and you can expect to see most students tailgating around campus. 

Frog Camp is a jam-packed orientation celebration that welcomes students to the TCU community. Most students end up joining a Greek organization – with over 43 chapters on campus, 41% of men belong to fraternities and 58% of women join sororities.

In Fort Worth, students can visit an abundance of museums, concert venues, and Cowtown Cycle Parties – two-hour rides around the city on a pedal-powered bar!

University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)

UT Austin
Larry D. Moore, Biological Laboratories Building UT Austin, CC BY-SA 4.0

UT Austin is one of the largest schools on this list, with over 50,000 students and 60 sorority and fraternity chapters. Most students agree that varsity sports and Greek life are a significant part of campus.

The biggest party of the year is, without a doubt, the Roundup, organized by the Greek IFC. The two-day festival includes crawfish boils, DJ parties, and concerts featuring highly recognized rappers.

Other fun events include Halloween on 6th Street and Gone to Texas, UT’s version of a welcome week. Of course, Austin is nationally known as the Live Music Capital of the World, and students can enjoy regular concerts, film productions, art venues, and outdoor recreation activities.

Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)

Texas State University is full of traditions. Students enjoy activities like tailgating before football games, jumping in the San Marcos River on Graduation Day.

In San Marcos, students generally frequent coffee shops, visit outlet malls, go hiking, and lay out or swim at Sewell Park by the river. 

There are over 400 academic, artistic, social, and service-oriented student groups, as well as 30 fraternity and sorority chapters.

Halloween, the Summer Pool Party, and Gaillardia Fest are some of the students’ favorite events. Gaillardia Fest is a carnival-like set-up by the San Marcos River that is free to all students at Texas State University.

The Bobcat Build is a more philanthropic tradition that acts as the most expansive campus service project. 

Taking place in 24 hours, it witnesses nearly 5,000 Texas State students volunteering their time by landscaping, completing clean-up projects, improving local parks, tutoring in schools, and more. 

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)

Southern Methodist University
Michael Barera, Southern Methodist University (Gail O. and R. Gerald Turner Pavilion and Blanton Student Services Building), CC BY-SA 4.0

Back where we started, Dallas is home to Southern Methodist University, a school of over 10,000 students where Greek life is a significant part of campus life. In fact, 28% of men belong to fraternities, and 36% of women join sororities.

In anticipation of football games and the annual Homecoming celebration, students and alumni generally gather for tailgating and socializing on The Boulevard. 

PerunaPalooza occurs in the spring in honor of the SMU mascot’s birthday. The carnival-like atmosphere provides free games, food, and amusement park rides.

Students look forward to the Celebration of Lights. In this one-night ceremony, SMU students perform songs, the school president reads the Christmas Story, and the giant Christmas tree is lit. 

Later on, students can take photos with reindeer, have their caricatures drawn, and fill their stockings with candy. There is also a philanthropic opportunity to write holiday cards to children in the Dallas Fort Worth community.

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