How does Galesburg compare with other college towns that are home to liberal arts colleges?

What kinds of restaurants and entertainment venues are in Galesburg? Do Knox students spend much time in town?

There are quite a few good restaurants in Galesburg right in the town that you can walk to, most of the awful chain restaurants are on the typical suburban type strip and you’d need a car to get to them. As far as entertainment, most of that is on campus, although there is a theatre (not movie) that has performances and concerts occasionally. Again, out on the strip there is a movie complex. I don’t think kids spend much time in town, the college is very busy with all sorts of activities (shows, concerts, improv, sports, lectures, etc.) that takes care of most of the students needs.

The town had a big factory that was closed down about 7 years ago and it is still trying to recover from that. It is still somewhat depressed but there are signs of recovery and I think the college is trying to help with that as well - using or taking over buildings, etc. I don’t think it’s all that atypical of many midwestern communities.

^ I agree with amtc’s summary. As far as comparisons to other LAC towns, here’s my “armchair analysis” (based on my recent visit to Knox and my children either attending or having graduated from Carleton, Grinnell, Beloit and St. Thomas).

  • Galesburg and Beloit are very similar, both in size (a little over 32,000) and in the fact that they have been rejuvenating themselves after difficult economic times. Each town has done a good job of establishing some nice restaurants and stores, giving the downtown areas a quaint feel rather than a depressed one. The Antique Mall in Galesburg, for example, was a hit with my daughter and her friends.

It is my impression, however, that Galesburg is more “homey” than Beloit, with nice residential areas and beautiful big old houses. We had lunch with a professor at Knox who told us that most of the profs and their families have homes there. At Beloit, I know that several profs commute from Madison or its suburbs.

Beloit is closer to Chicago if you have an occasional yearning for the big city; however, travel from Knox to Chicago is fairly easy, as the Amtrak runs from Galesburg to Union Station (the trip for my daughter was about two hours and forty minutes). The Amtrak station in Galesburg is within walking distance of campus.

  • The towns of Grinnell and Northfield (Carleton and St. Olaf) are attractive but miniscule, with populations of about 10,000 and 20,000, respectively, and located in farm country. That said, it really makes no difference to Grinnell or Carleton students, because there is so much to do on campus, all the time. For that matter, the same goes for Beloit and Knox students: Their lives are campus-focused and the size and offerings of the nearby town are not of primary importance to them.
  • Macalester is another story. It is in St. Paul and you really feel the hustle and bustle of the city. There is an unlimited number of things to do and places to eat off-campus, plus (in my daughter’s experience) lots of interaction with students of other schools (St. Thomas, St. Kate’s, Hamline, U of M, etc.) The location can also be beneficial when scouting for internships or employment. My daughter found both quickly in St. Paul. Students in the Twin Cities often find jobs and settle there after graduation, whereas places like Grinnell or Northfield are towns that you leave behind (with great affection and wonderful memories, of course).

I hope that helps answer your question!

Thanks very much Mary13!

You can google street view and “walk” the town. I found that very valuable.