Abilene is a former cow town in west central Texas that still maintains a pioneering feel. It’s surrounded by agriculture and agrarian lifestyles, which are celebrated annually in the 11-day West Texas Fair and Rodeo. The Western Heritage Classic in May is also popular for its campfire cookoff, sheepdog competition, and cowboy poetry. Of course, Abilene is filled with modern pioneers, too. The petroleum industry provides jobs for many in the surrounding area, and the Hendrick Health System (Abilene’s second largest employer) has been lauded as one of the most productive and engaged workplaces in the world. With four major universities in the area—Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, McMurry University, and Texas State Technical College—Abilene boasts a large student population that keeps the town’s culture fresh.
Students will find most of their housing options clustered in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of town. No matter which college they attend, the minimal traffic and convenient highway system in Abilene make student free to choose the apartment they want, not just the one next to campus.
The Northeast has long been a popular choice for students. It contains Abilene’s largest university, Abilene Christian University, and sits within Abilene’s historic section. In general, renters look north of campus for the swankiest neighborhoods and newest apartment complexes, and south for more of a historic vibe that’s close to downtown life.
McMurry University is located in the city center, near the railroad that divides the north side of the city from the south. Students value finding housing in this area as it’s square in the middle of Abilene’s rich downtown, which happens to be its most historic district.
In the Southeastern portion of Abilene, students have seen remarkable growth in housing, particularly near I-20 business along Loop 322. Texas State Technical College sits in this area, but students from all over Abilene have an easy commute from this expanding community.
Finally, the western portion of town is mostly dominated by the Dyess Air Force Base. Growth in recent years make it a popular choice for many young people moving to the area, and although further from campus, Loop 322 still makes commuting a realistic option.