10 Best Cities for Young Professionals

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Are you a young professional looking for a city with the best work opportunities, vibrant culture, and the most suitable environment to help you make it professionally and personally?

Look no further! We've gathered data on all the top cities and created an essential list of where young professionals should start their careers. After crunching the data, here are the ten best cities for young professionals.

So if you're ready to embark on a new adventure far from home or want to know what options are available nearby – buckle up; It's time to explore the best places to live to start your career.

10 Best Cities for Young Professionals

1. Austin, Texas

Austin is very popular with people from a younger age group because it has lots of job opportunities and great nightlife.

With a low unemployment rate, getting a job here is reasonably easy, making it one of the fastest-growing cities.

In terms of rent, costs are higher than average, meaning there isn't a lot of affordable housing. However, residents enjoy higher-than-average salaries, meaning that young professionals can get a good start and should have enough money to get by. For many people, the economics balance out.

It also offers excellent weather with plenty of sunshine, which residents love. In terms of activities, there's a lot to do, with many bars, parks, comedy clubs, and more. Finally, people who live in Austin love that the city is walkable, making it easy to get from place to place.

2. Madison, Wisconsin

People of all ages, not just young professionals, move to Madison as it's the cheapest place to live on this list. It has many bars, restaurants, parks, coffee shops, and more. It's often said to be one of the best midsize cities in the country.

As for employment, Madison has a diverse job market with employers in healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and bioscience.

Furthermore, there's a lot of beautiful outdoor scenery, and activities like fishing, boating, and swimming are popular. Relax with your friends alongside a lake, or check out some great summer festivals.

You'll also enjoy excellent bike routes, meaning you don't need a car to get around this place – which can be ideal for the younger demographics.

Because people fall in love with this town, many settle down and raise a family here.

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Another Midwest city, Minneapolis, is one of those cities that has it all. It's great for students, offering some world-class educational institutes, but it's also perfect for professionals, whether you're already employed or looking to start your career.

There are parks, bars, restaurants, and so much more. This city ranks as one of the U.S.'s best cities for quality of life, and although its cost of living is a little higher than Madison, WI, it is still cheaper than most other cities.

Median home prices are roughly $300,000, over $100,000 less than the national average, so those looking to own a home or rent an apartment can find affordable housing.

Finally, the city has sports teams in all four major sports, which is a bonus for any sports lover.

4. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville could be the answer for those prioritizing affordability but still looking to live somewhere nice. The economics can undoubtedly work in your favor, at least for now. This is because Nashville is becoming a popular place to move to, and as a result, the cost of living is increasing, especially in terms of housing.

Music lovers are the heart of the city, as it is arguably the live music capital of the United States. That means there are many great bars, and you can see some truly amazing bands. You may come into contact with some famous figures here. Some people call it the “Country Music Capital of the World,” – so don't underestimate how important music is here.

There are also good restaurants and breweries, meaning you can enjoy going out regularly if your income allows.

Location is another significant factor in the popularity of Nashville. You have large cities within driving distance and the Smokey Mountains, which offer all the outdoor adventure one could hope for.

Regarding jobs, tourism and music top the list, but finance, healthcare, higher education, and automobile manufacturing are also popular. The final benefit for young professionals is that Tennessee has no state income tax, which is a blessing if you move from a higher tax state like California.

5. Portland, Oregon

Portland is among the best if you want to go somewhere with a young, vibrant atmosphere. It has excellent public transportation and offers its residents good food, access to fantastic nightlife, and a friendly community feeling.

If you're wondering about the rent, it's important to be aware that Portland also has relatively high housing costs, and many other living costs are high, making it one of the most expensive cities on the list.

Because of this, it's not an ideal place if you're on a budget, but if you're a young professional with a good job, it's one of the top cities for you. Some people even say it's one of the best places on the West Coast.

If you're trying to kickstart a career in tech, this could be the perfect place for you. People of all ages move to Portland, and data suggests that it also attracts wealthy investors.

Aside from job opportunities, the biggest drawback to Portland is the crime rate. Violent and property crimes are both high in the city, causing some young people to have second thoughts about moving here.

6. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is also among the best metropolitan areas for young professionals, with a wealth of employment opportunities both now and in the future. Estimates have future job growth for Seattle to be higher than the national average.

Industries that call Seattle home include health services, technology, construction, health sciences, and logistics.

The city also boasts a vibrant social scene, including restaurants, great coffee shops, and outdoor activities.

It's nicknamed the Emerald City because of its unique evergreen forests. If you love outdoor recreation and want access to outdoor spaces, this is the place for you. A bonus is the coastline of Puget Sound for water lovers.

The main drawback to the area is the relatively high cost of living and expensive rent. In an ideal world, you will have a job lined up before moving to Seattle.

7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Regarding the best cities, Pittsburgh is an under-the-radar town that few people think of. While Pittsburgh suffered when steel mills shut down, the city has become one of the best places to live.

The city offers affordable housing and job opportunities in various industries, including healthcare, finance, energy, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Most people don't realize Pittsburgh ranks eighth with the most Fortune 500 companies headquartered here.

There are many colleges and universities in close proximity to downtown, giving Pittsburgh a college-town feel. If you head out to Carson Street, you will see this for yourself, as the South Side has a vibrant nightlife.

8. Denver, Colorado

Next on the list is the Mile High City, Denver. Hands down, Denver's most significant advantage over other cities is outdoor adventure. High in the mountains allows young professionals looking to unwind many options, including a simple hike, mountain biking, skiing, and more.

Most people come to Denver for the outdoors and stay for job opportunities. Speaking of which, top industries in the area include aerospace, biotech, electronics, and renewable energy.

The cost of living is not the lowest, but it is not high either. You can comfortably get by making an average salary.

9. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is not missed on our list of the best cities for young professionals. It's a city saturated with history, so if you love museums and learning about the past, this is the place for you.

It isn't a cheap city, especially regarding rent and housing prices, but young workers generally can afford to live here.

Furthermore, the economy is thriving, and you should find it reasonably easy to earn a good income. Popular industries include healthcare, finance, and insurance.

It's also a particularly sustainable place to live, and there's a lot to do in terms of recreation. The weather can be very good in June and July, but be aware that this city sees cold, snowy winters.

Some great activities include the Franklin Park Zoo, the New England Aquarium, and the Boston Public Garden.

10. Washington, D.C.

Our nation's capital is an excellent area for young professionals, regardless of whether you have a degree in political science. Top industries include education, technology, healthcare, and tourism.

The main drawback to Washington D.C. is the high cost of living, ranking as the fourth most expensive behind New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco.

As with other places listed with high living costs, it is best to have a job before moving here. If you cannot find something fun to do, know that Philadelphia and NYC are short train rides away.

Finally, Washington has endless amounts of opportunities when it comes to recreation. From museums, parks, national history, and more, you will always enjoy the options to explore.

What Should You Consider Before Moving to a New City

Moving, whether nearby or to the other side of the country, must be well thought out ahead of time.

The most important thing to consider is job opportunities and affordable housing. Without a job, it doesn't matter how amazing a city is. It will be a nightmare for you.

Along the same lines, you will not be happy if you do not have the income to afford the rent or purchase a home.

Of course, there are other things to take into consideration as well. Knowing about restaurants, the arts, and other entertainment options is critical if you are social.

Knowing yourself is also paramount. If you are from a small town, moving to a metropolitan area with a large population might be too much of a shock to you. The reverse is true as well.

Finally, be sure to look at the prospects of the city. If unemployment rates are increasing or crime rates are skyrocketing, the future might not be as bright as in other areas. Both of these could have an impact on the long-term employment situation.

Other Cities for Young Professionals To Consider

There are many great places to live, and while these ten are great, there are many more. Here are a few locations that didn't make it onto our list but are worth looking into.

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  •  Des Moines, IA
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Sioux Falls, SD

Final Thoughts

Young professionals, the world is truly your oyster. There is an infinite array of cities across the United States that could be the perfect place to get your career off the ground and potentially turn into your forever home.

Whatever environment you're hoping to find – from bustling and innovative cities to charming small towns with a vibrant local culture – there is a city for you. It is essential, however, to remember to carefully consider all your options before making any decisions.

The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision and spend money and wasted years in a place that is not the right fit for you or your goals.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Author: Jon Dulin


Jon is the founder of MoneySmartGuides, which helps people dig out of debt and start building wealth so they can achieve their dreams. He has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and 20 years of investing in the stock market. He has both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Finance and is FINRA Series 65 licensed, and has a Certificate in Financial Planning.