As a young professional who recently finished college looking to move to a new city, finding the right place with everything you enjoy while affordable is a daunting task.
Yet, the United States offers thousands of great places to live and new cities to explore. So, as you start your journey in adulthood and a new career, you're looking for an affordable city, somewhere with a low cost of living, great nightlife, with a population that's young.
Relocating from one state to another, or even cross-country, is a bold move, and you want this to be the perfect city right from the start. However, you also should consider whether you’re renting out a new apartment or perhaps willing to put down some money to buy a new house?
Well, after reviewing U.S. News 150 Best Places to Live and the Decennial Census, let's dive into 11 top cities for young professionals.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs, located on the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, offers a selection of indoor and outdoor activities for thrill-seeking younger professionals. In addition, the city has become a popular destination for tourists to visit Pike National Forest, with its hiking trails and the Pikes Peak glacier.
Known as Olympic City, Colorado Springs recently opened the doors of the recently built U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in 2021, a significant tourist attraction for residents and tourists. With more than 50 different activities to choose from and a variety of parks to visit, Colorado Springs is a thrilling destination with lots of young professionals.
It was ranked as the 6th Best Places to Live by U.S. News, with its desirable lifestyle, affordable housing, and a selection of job opportunities that pay well above the national average.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Found to be one of the cheapest cities to live and work in, with the largest share of the population under 30. Salt Lake City is the capital city of Utah. It's also the most populous city that offers trendy local wine cellars, bars, friendly neighborhood eateries, and a wide selection of arts and culture attractions.
Salt Lake City brings together both an urban and rural experience, with exciting sights and curiosities to discover throughout the city.
Younger professionals looking to escape the city can enjoy a few of the many hiking and biking trails, river expeditions, birdwatching, adventure sports, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the many golf estates.
Salt Lake City has a medium-sized population, with more than 45% under 30. As a result, full-time job opportunities are plentiful, and housing is relatively affordable if you’re someone who’s looking to buy. Additionally, the city is known for affordable rent, one of the key attractions for those looking to relocate.
Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham, North Carolina
Usually referred to as the Research Triangle, home to Duke University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University. Young, ambitious, and recently-graduated students reside all over Raleigh and Durham.
Raleigh is the most notable, topping the list for being the best city to live and work in. With its blend of southern and northern communities, the town is a thriving entrepreneurial destination and still somewhat family-orientated.
There’s a lot to enjoy in the city, with a selection of high-end restaurants and bars. In addition, the North Carolina Museum of Art is located about 30-minutes from Durham and 40-minutes from Chapel Hill.
While it’s not too big and not too small, U.S. News ranked it the 2nd best city to live in for 2021-2022 as there’s a sufficient amount of work opportunities in research and technology. With a low cost of living and the median age still under 40 years, Raleigh and the rest of the Research Triangle are quickly growing to become the number one destination for young professionals.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City has risen in recent years to become a popular relocation destination for young professionals in the south-central region of the U.S. Its rich cowboy culture and history draws in thousands of new residents each year from local universities, including Oklahoma City University and The University of Oklahoma situated right in the heart of the city.
Buying a home here is relatively cheap, with a majority of the residents here owning a home. It’s become a permanent residence for many young and thriving individuals looking to enjoy the best of the Modern Frontier. Its low cost of living and almost unrealistic rents have sparked the interest of many retirees and young working professionals.
A collection of local breweries, bars, and restaurants in the city creates a vibrant nightlife. In addition, the Boathouse District draws in the more thrill-seeking crowds and a selection of outdoor events throughout the year.
The city has become a symbol of American culture and history. While its identity is mainly tied to the historical past of the frontier, there’s now a variety of exciting job roles that have sprung up in the city.
Situated on the foothills of the Great Plains, Boulder is a small town that is teeming with professionals of all ages. Anyone who enjoys the great outdoors is in for an adventure in Boulder, with more than 150 miles of hiking trails, 60 national parks to visit, and just a short hour’s drive away from the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Recent development in the town has made Boulder one of the most liveable places in America, with a decent cost of living, affordable rental property, and of course, a variety of exciting jobs. Spending the winter in the mountains at one of Colorado’s famous ski resorts becomes second nature after a while.
With colorful streets, art markets, and local artisan merchants, Boulder offers a more sensible community atmosphere, family-oriented leisure activities, and recreational facilities designed for younger crowds of its population.
Moving here might take a bit more out of your pocket than you’d like, with median home prices slightly above the national average. Overall, there’s nothing that comes close to the type of lifestyle you’ll be enjoying in Boulder.
On the peninsula of Casco Bay sits Portland, Maine, a city that has been ranked as one of the best and safest cities to live in the United States in recent years. The city has a generous selection of things to do, including water activities such as fishing and kayaking, cozy coffee shops and bookstores, and a sizable arrangement of modern art museums.
Moving here might see your work for one of the big companies headquartered here, and job opportunities include tourism, retail, hospitality, fishing, and medical research. Its somewhat younger population can choose from a variety of exciting places to visit and see, as over the summer, the surrounding nature reserves attract a plethora of natural life each season.
Both land and sea have something to offer, with more than 8 different beaches to enjoy, and 6 lighthouses located within 20 minutes of the city. During the spring and summer months, the city is teeming with activity with tourists coming from everywhere. Although, during colder seasons, you can enjoy the snow-covered boulders being splashed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Arlington is located just 12 minutes away from the U.S. Capitol, and Washington D.C. The city which borders Alexandria, one of America’s most historic cities during the founding of the U.S., has both old-world charm and modern charisma. It's no wonder it was selected as the location of Amazon's new HQ2.
Being so close to the nation's capital, and high-ranking government institutions, you can easily find a job at a local law firm, health care, federal or state institutions, or select from an attractive list of private corporations. With a short commute, some residents tend to live in Arlington, but work in the greater D.C. area.
Depending on your interests, there’s a wide variety of attractions that can vary from U.S. history, arts, culture, outdoor recreational activities, and retail. Although your living expenses, such as rent are slightly higher than the national average, those who do live here appreciate the higher median income when compared to the rest of America.
Popular places to live for young professionals include Ballston-Virginia Square, Clarendon-Courthouse, and Waverly Hills.
As the capital seat of Texas and situated in Travis County, Austin is a social hub for young professionals who are looking to enjoy everything a vibrant and culture-rich city has to offer. It’s more than music in Austin. With ample theaters and exciting outdoor activities that have attracted so many to the city, it boasts affordable housing, low costs of living, and a generous selection of job opportunities.
Residents frequently enjoy popular cuisine that blends both American and Mexican culture, coined as Tex-Mex. Other than the beloved diners and restaurants, a variety of sports bars and cozy cafes can be found in trendy neighborhoods all over the city.
When it comes to outdoor activities, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail are among the most visited stops for residents. Views of the city can be enjoyed by kayak or canoe launching from the Rowing Dock.
From the city to the outskirts that offers a more pristine natural environment such as the McKinney Falls State Park, and a wildflower sanctuary, named after former first lady Claudia Alta Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson; Austin is a friendly and laid back city that captivates nearly all your desires as a young professional.
Known as the westernmost city in Florida, Pensacola has a diverse set of attractions ranging from pristine white sandy beaches, bright marble-colored water, and a host of interesting activities for both the young and old.
While it might not be anything like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, or Jacksonville, the city has a mirage of attractions that sees younger and younger, working professionals migrate to enjoy each year. Pensacola has now established itself as one of the more affordable cities to live in Florida for 20-year olds who have started working recently.
There’s a lot to do here, and if you’re an adventure seeker, this is one of the cities you’ll enjoy the most. From the white-sandy beaches to the selection of beautiful public parks, libraries, sports centers, and museums, cultural attractions are anything but limited.
With no state income taxes, younger employers usually make more than their neighboring counterparts. Rents within the metro itself are relatively affordable, and property taxes are also below the national average.
The city of Pensacola itself has a blend of different age groups, with residents ranging from post-graduate students to mid-level professionals and an enclave of retirees.
Rated as the 3rd best place to live according to the U.S. News 150 Best Cities to Live, Huntsville is a charming town with a growing younger population. As more and more younger Americans move out of the city and seek to settle down in low-cost and affordable towns, Huntsville is probably right at the top of that list.
During the 1960s, Huntsville played an important role in the Space Race and you’ll easily notice this from all the NASA and space-themes attractions scattered across town.
The larger, more well-known, U.S. Space and Rocket Center includes attractions such as The Science of Guinness World Records, Underwater Astronaut Trainer Adventures, a Multi Axes Trainer, and is famous for Space Camp.
Other than astronomy, Huntsville, a city in the Appalachian Region also features some beautiful outdoor scenery including the Monte Sano State Park, a Japanese Garden, and Big Spring International Park. Some of the more thrill-seeking outdoor activities are scattered across Huntsville and do cater to a variety of age groups.
The trendy downtown neighborhoods are the place to be over weekends and during the summer, with live music events, and performances that take place right in the streets. Seeing that Huntsville is so popular, rent and property rates are quite affordable even for someone who recently just landed their first full-time job.
Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville gives those young at heart an opportunity to relive their college years with local bars, restaurants, and artisan merchants right in the heart of the city. The general popular is quite young with a median age of 34, Fayetteville ranked 4th on U.S. News 150 Best Places to Live in 2021.
The job market in Fayetteville is relatively diverse as the city has a below national average unemployment rate, with most jobs in railroad trade, construction, manufacturing, healthcare and social assistance, and scientific and technical services.
The metropolitan area has distinct points of interest including the Downtown Square & Gardens, TheatreSquared and for sports fans, there’s the Baum Stadium. Nearby is Pivot Rock Park, and Eclectic Ozark Mountain.
Fayetteville has a generous amount of young working individuals, and although it might be smaller than its larger, more frequented neighbors Little Rock and Hot Springs, the city is a charming and fun place for any person who wants to experience true Arkansanian culture and American history.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
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Pierre Raymond is a 25-year veteran of the Financial Services industry. Driven by his passion for financial technology he has transitioned from being a quantitative stock picker, to an award-winning hedge fund manager, credit risk manager to currently a RISK IT Business Consultant. Pierre is the cofounder of Global Equity Analytics & Research Services LLC (GEARS) and a current partner at OTOS Inc.