20 Colleges with the Most Out of the Ordinary Amenities

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 26, 2024, Reading time: 13 minutes

Being a college student isn’t just about hitting the books and getting top marks – you’re not in high school anymore, Toto! You should enjoy the college experience to the fullest, and it’s possible with the extraordinary amenities offered by your college or university. 

Read on and find out if your college or university is featured here or if it has similar extraordinary amenities that will make you want to stay longer!

Colleges with the Most Out of the Ordinary Amenities - fact

Colleges with the Most Out of the Ordinary Amenities

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is the home of the best and the brightest, but that doesn’t mean that Engineers are a bunch of joyless nerds. Just venture into Simmons Hall, ask the students about the Meditation Room, and open the door to find a childish delight. Yes, welcome to the Meditation Pit, er, the giant ball pit

You will find plenty of Engineers destressing from their rigorous coursework by jumping into, swimming in, and even playing tag amidst the colorful balls.

Here’s a video of Simmons Hall, which houses the giant Ball pit:

Boston University

Getting into BU isn’t a walk in the park and neither is rock climbing at its Fitness and Recreation Center’s Barreca Climbing Wall! Students – or Terriers, as they call themselves – can be found huffing and puffing their way up the 30-foot top-rope belay stations and the 12-foot bouldering structure. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner because there are lessons, spotters and crash pads for your safety. 

Every BU student has full access to the Barreca Climbing Wall for free, too, during the open hours. You can also rent the climbing gear from the Pro Shop at affordable prices.

University of Michigan

Go into a 24/7 library at Michigan and you will find Wolverines hitting their books at all hours of the day and night! Fortunately, Michigan has designated napping stations for Wolverines to catch up on sleep without leaving the library. 

Located in the Shapiro Library, the napping area first consisted of several cots with disposable pillowcases. Students can use the cots for 30 minutes at a time on a first-come, first-served basis. But the cots were later replaced by the more high-tech, if claustrophobic, MetroNaps Energy Pods.

Pomona College

Study-abroad opportunities are expensive, but Pomona College offers Sahegens the opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign country without leaving the campus! Welcome to the Oldenborg Center. A place where living accommodations are offered to about 115 Sagehens every year and where they can learn about their choice in a foreign language and culture. 

Just imagine being so immersed in a foreign culture and language – a native speaker leads every program – that you forget you’re in the States. You will also enjoy the luncheons, summer research and travels, and the exchange visitor activities while you’re here.

Texas State University

Bobcats who want to develop their golf skills – or just hit balls into small holes to release stress, for that matter – head to the golf simulator at TXST’s Student Recreation Center. There’s no need to wait for good weather, too, since it’s an indoor facility, not to mention that it’s within walking distance anywhere within the TXST campus. 

Every Bobcat has full access to the golf simulator throughout the year, too. Bobcats not only enjoy free recreational play but also pit their golf skills against each other during tournaments and leagues.

Here’s an overview of TXST’s The Rec, featuring the golf simulator, among other exciting amenities:

Bowdoin College

Getting your hands dirty, enjoying the farm-to-table experience, and hanging out with your friends are among the best college experiences for Polar Bears, thanks to the Bowdoin Organic Garden! What we love most about it are the yummy food and drinks that are served in Bowdoin’s dining halls. The entrees and salads are made from fresh ingredients harvested from the garden.

Did we mention that Bowdoin has consistently been rated among the best on the Princeton Review’s Best Food rankings? Plus, you can even buy the college’s homemade maple syrup!

University of California – San Diego

Tritons not only work, play, and study near sand and surf but also enjoy extraordinary amenities that make their student life something to be envious of! Take, for example, its Undocumented Student Services, a space that offers plenty of freebies, including free snacks, coffee and tea, school supplies, printing services, and personal care items. 

UCSD also offers a study area and outdoor patio space where you and your fellow Tritons can just chill.

Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College has a beautiful campus along the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The core area of its 3,250-acre campus is designated as a National Register Historic District with its Georgian Revival architecture, while its surroundings include a vineyard and a greenhouse, an apiary, and wildflower meadows.

At night, when your classes and assignments are done, or you just want to chill with your friends, you can gather around the fire pits! Choose between the barn’s fire pit and the boathouse fire pit, and be sure to bring your firewood and food.

High Point University

When your campus offers the amenities of a luxury resort, you will have a difficult time choosing the most extraordinary amenities! This is true at HPU, where every nook and cranny offers amazing amenities, many of which are the result of its $700 million campus renovations. Every place here is Instagrammable, too. 

But if we are to choose the best amenity, we have to say it’s the Extraordinaire Cinema. You and your fellow Panthers will love watching every genre of film in the state-of-the-art cinema, as well as enjoy the concession and arcade areas.

Here’s a quick peek at the RG Wanek Center, where you can find the Bertram L. Podell Extraordinaire Cinema (among other excellent amenities):

University of North Dakota

Cooking can be challenging for college students, and making healthy food choices can be an even thornier issue! Fighting Hawks, fortunately, have access to the Culinary Corner located at the Wellness Center. 

At the demo kitchen, students participate in fee-based and free cooking classes that teach cooking skills, provide easy and nutritious recipes, and give tips on making healthy food choices. With recipes like apple pie oatmeal and balsamic chicken with Caprese salad, you’d be surprised by your expanding repertoire.

New York University

The Big Apple is an expensive city to live in, but savvy Violets know that their NYU student status paves the way for freebies and deep discounts in many of NYC’s best places! The Museum Gateway program, for example, allows Violets free entry into a dozen of NYC’s best museums, including the Museum of Modern Art. Just flash your NYU school card, and voila!  

You can also get huge discounts for sporting events, Broadway shows, operas, and movie tickets, as well as for Apple Education and Skinly Aesthetics services. You can get as much as 25% discount.

Love museums? Let’s take you on a tour of NYU’s Museum Studies program:

Oberlin College

Being a Yeoman or Yeowoman is always exciting because of the extraordinary amenities available at Oberlin College! For one thing, you can rent famous works of art for just $5 – and we’re not talking about artworks from obscure artists either.

The Allen Memorial Art Museum rents out the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso, among other art masters, and allows students to hang them for decor. 

You can also play the Steinway grand pianos scattered across the campus for free and showcase your prowess for an appreciative audience.

Here’s a tour of Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum:

Michigan Technological University

Huskies love Mont Ripley, a ski resort owned by Michigan Tech, where for $180, you can rent the equipment and ski for an entire season. You, along with your friends, can hit the slopes, forget whatever your academic troubles are with the powdery snow under your feet, and come back reenergized! You can also just gaze at the panoramic views that Keweenaw Peninsula offers. 

Then again, with 24 trails, a 440-foot vertical drop, and 112 acres of snow-filled terrain as well as glade runs, a tubing park, and terrain parks, missing the skiing, snowmaking, and other snow activities is such a shame!

Kenyon College

College students often worry about eating well, even with a meal plan. But at Kenyon College, Owls don’t have to worry about eating less than what they want or eating noodles more often than they want! When you pay for your room and board, you will also get an all-you-can-eat pass at the dining hall – and we mean all-you-can-eat, too. 

You can choose from three dining areas, too, where several culinary stations offer delicious dishes, most of which are made from locally sourced ingredients.

Rice University

Laundry is as much a bane for college students at their colleges as it is in their homes! But with Rice University’s Owl Laundry system, you can save time and effort on washing your dirty clothes and spend it on more fun activities. 

You can choose from annual or semestral plans where up to 30 pounds of your laundry can be picked up per week. You will receive large bacterial-resistant bags, too, and track your laundry’s movement.

Learn more about Living on Campus at Rice University:

University of Central Florida

Located in the world’s theme park capital, UCF’s campus is among the most beautiful in the country. If you have a drone, you will also see that the UCF campus has a series of interlaid circles similar to EPCOT’s layout.

When combined with its reflecting pools and fountains and resort-style buildings, the on-campus experience feels like a daily vacation, too. 

But it’s the Recreation and Wellness Center that makes us go, “Wow!” With its luxurious amenities, you will want to exercise every day. We also love UCF’s Lake Claire, its campus lake where just hanging out is encouraged.

University of Missouri

We agree with Sports Illustrated when it selected MizzouRec as the best recreational center in the United States. Every nook and cranny of the 293,000-square foot MizzouRec offers Tigers nearly every exercise and recreational activity college students want! 

You have so many choices that it will likely take your entire college career just to explore and enjoy every facility offered, too. The facilities are categorized into outdoor facilities, indoor facilities, and the Aquatic Center.

You can reach your full physical potential at the Jungle Gym, Cardio Gallery and Pump Room; play racquetball, squash and basketball; and hang out at the Gaming Lounge. There’s even an indoor lazy river with palm trees and a waterfall!

Western Washington University

Are you the outdoorsy type? Then, you should consider becoming a Viking! WWU’s Outdoor Center welcomes students, faculty and staff members, and alumni to enjoy its outdoor programs and take a break from the stress of being indoors.

With the snow-capped Mount Baker in the background – and Canada so close – you will find plenty of adventure during these outdoor breaks.

You can choose from several activities organized by the Outdoor Center, such as rock climbing, kayaking and skiing excursions, and even camping. You don’t have to buy your gear either, as the Outdoor Center rents out everything needed for the outdoor activities.

South Dakota State University

If you’re a fan of ice cream and everything dairy, then come and visit SDSU’s expansive dairy bar! Here, you can choose from over 60 delicious ice cream flavors made with the university’s cow-to-cone process; the university owns the cows and lives on campus.

We have to agree with the Food Network, too, in its judgment that SDSU offers among the best ice cream in the country. 

Take your pick from an extensive variety of cheeses, butter and dairy snacks!

University of Minnesota

Golden Gophers will tell you that the Gopher Way is the best way to travel between places at UMN’s campus without setting foot outdoors. You will also be warm and dry when walking the campus, especially during the harsh Minnesota winters, not to mention that you don’t have to worry about losing umbrellas or getting frizzy hair. 

The underground tunnels and skyways aren’t for a one-day exploration, however, because of their complicated layout. If you’re planning on using it to walk between classes, you should conduct a test run first, preferably with someone more experienced and with a map.

Five Most Interesting Amenities That Your College May Offer

Meditation and Mindfulness Rooms: Many colleges now offer dedicated spaces for students to relax and practice mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. These rooms often have comfortable seating, soothing décor, and quiet atmospheres to help students de-stress and refocus.

Rock Climbing Walls: Some colleges have state-of-the-art indoor rock climbing walls as part of their recreation and fitness facilities. These walls offer a fun and challenging way for students to stay active and work on their physical strength and agility.

Pet-Friendly Dorms: As more students struggle with mental health issues, colleges are beginning to offer pet-friendly dorms to help ease stress and anxiety. These dorms allow students to bring their pets with them to college, providing companionship and a sense of home.

Maker Spaces: These specialized spaces on college campuses often include 3D printers, laser cutters, and other tools to help students bring their creative ideas to life. Many of these spaces are open to all students, regardless of their major or area of study.

Bike Repair and Maintenance Stations: With the increasing popularity of biking among college students, more campuses are installing bike repair and maintenance stations. These stations typically include tools and air pumps for students to fix their bikes, promoting sustainability and healthy transportation options.


Colleges with the most out-of-the-ordinary amenities offer unique and unconventional features that enhance the overall college experience for students. These amenities may include state-of-the-art sports facilities, luxurious residence halls, innovative learning spaces, and even on-campus spas and wellness centers.

Some colleges also provide niche amenities such as pet-friendly dorms, recording studios, and rooftop gardens. These amenities not only attract prospective students but also contribute to a vibrant and diverse campus culture, making these colleges stand out from traditional institutions.

Additional Information: