I lived in CS for the majority of high-school, left for a couple years and returned for another couple years before going off to school elsewhere. It took me about that long to find anything worth doing there.
Firstly it’s A&M-centric… Without it CS really wouldn’t have anything to offer. Bryan on the other hand has more of a history(more on that). That being said it requires a mass quantities of alcohol for the town to sustain itself. The downtown string of bars consumes an astounding amount of beer per establishment/capita/sq. foot. Read “beer”, as half of the bars don’t serve straight up liquor. The Dixie Chicken is especially popular for some reason I can’t understand, maybe the availability of dominoes for drunken patrons? Or maybe it’s that underage kids can walk in the back and play pool or sit on the rear deck and have a “big chug”(32? oz beer cup) brought to them to consume on the premises by their of age friends/relatives. Clearly anyone under the age of 21 has no legal use for this area.
The feel of the town is pretty generic, it’s been growing rapidly and has drawn the attention of every food chain and retail store in the book. Indeed if you ask some of the less than content students attending A&M they may tell you tales of “Fish Camp”, something that all freshman are encouraged to go through as a future Aggie. Stories include boot camp like schedules with techniques of social sculpting normally reserved for brainwashing. Things to help isolate those of your fellows who may not be trying to fit in and give “100%” to being an Aggie. Isolation is then treated with a bombardment of manipulation to make you “Want to fit in” for fear of being ostracized by your peers, thus leading to the slightly abnormal kinship and group mentality of all Aggies regarding A&M.
On/around the campus itself are a couple places that are willing to allow local musicians to play their hearts out without censorship(there was a venue for teenage recreation but I forget the name, strict rules apply). It’s not ideal but gives non-alcoholics something to do.
If you’re looking for something quieter there’s a couple coffee shops where people spend LOTS of time for lack of somewhere else to relax and wax intellectual. I prefer the Coffee Station over Eugene’s due to it’s unique style. Run by an overtly friendly and genuinely caring man named Vlad, he is there almost everyday and gives a feeling of welcome to the establishment. It’s also home to a real “coffee bar” when you can have brewed a cup of coffee of any style, blend, roast just for you(something I’ve yet to encounter anywhere else). It’s the ONLY thing I miss about CS, Starbucks sucks.
The Student Center also provides for somewhere you can go to tickle your brain at it’s various hosted art displays and events that run the whole gambit of interests. A great resource for creative minded people, or for those lacking somewhere better to go as it’s always open(an A&M student made it his home while writing his thesis or something along those lines)
Radio station KEOS is a rare gem for the CS area, unsurprisingly it’s broadcast out of Bryan. Revolutions coffee house/bar/venue has been mentioned and is worthy of being checked out. Lots of quiet, fine dining in Bryan are a worthwhile alternative to things like Outback or Cheddar’s.
The main difference between College Station and it’s next-door buddy Bryan? CS is notably “whiter” and its populace more affluent. The roads are better as taxes are clearly spent on things not dealing with the slew of low income areas around Bryan and renovating it’s Historic buildings. One standing on the dividing line could go so far as to draw a racial and socioeconomic boundary in between.
Bryan however has plenty to offer, perhaps just not in as shiny a wrapper as CS provides.