You’re young, ambitious and unattached. The world is literally your oyster. You could go anywhere in the US tomorrow, and the thought is both exciting and a little scary. All you have to do is decide what you’re looking for in your next place of residence. Easy, right?
Well first you need to have an idea of what’s out there. Do you want a city hot for night life, or prefer a place ripe for professional growth? Maybe you’re even dying to try out some of that southern hospitality. Whatever you’re looking for this helpful list of the best US cities will get you moving in the right direction, and quite possibly get you started packing your bags.
10. Provo, Utah
If you’re an aspiring tech-expert a great place to break into the field is Provo, Utah. Growing rapidly in the healthcare and tech industry, it’s been ranked as one of the smartest places in the country. To add to the appeal, the city offers a great historic downtown district with plenty to do. It’d be a great place to think about getting your career off the ground.
9. Boulder, Colorado
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Boulder would be your city of choice. It has some 150 miles of hiking and biking trails for you to lose yourself on, and it’s got a laid-back vibe that Colorado loves to share with anyone and everyone that comes their way. To add to it, the city has a lower unemployment rate than the country’s national average, and they pride themselves on a great work/life balance.
7. Greenville, South Carolina
Perhaps a more agreeable climate is on your list of requirements for your next city. Throw in that great southern hospitality and great options for entertainment, and you’ll find yourself right at home in Greenville. The average temperature tops out at 61 degrees Fahrenheit and has so much sun you’ll never leave those shades at home. The median age for the city is also 35 years old, so you’ll also find a young crowd looking to hit the town just like you.
6. Madison, Wisconsin
Sure, the winters might be a bit chilly, but Madtown, as it is often affectionately referred to, is a burgeoning millennial city with craft beer for days and the blessing that is cheese curds. It’s also a city uniquely nestled between two lakes, and as a big university town, always has something on the menu for nightlife and entertainment. Job-wise it’s home to large corporations like American Family Insurance and Epic Systems Corp. It’s a perfect place to jump start your career.
5. Portland, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest has something that appeals to just about every person in the planet. The city of Portland is no exception. Get your fill on Voodoo doughnuts, sample wine or beer and take off into the mountains – your options will never run out. Not to mention this city is just epically cool. You’ll fall in love the minute you set your suitcase down.
4. Seattle, Washington
Single? No problem. Seattle is one of the five best cities in the country for those independent spirits living the single life. In fact, 30% of the population is flying solo, so you’ll find plenty to do out and about after a long day at work. Tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft also call Seattle home, so it’s also a great locale for breaking into your dream tech job.
3. Austin, Texas
This anomaly in the Lone star state has lower than average cost of living for urban areas in the US, and was ranked fourth out of ten in 2015 for quality of life and job opportunities. But, keep in mind too that this city is full of music, entertainment, and lovingly adores their motto ‘keep Austin weird,’ so there will never be a dull moment if you decide to call this place home.
2. Chicago, IL
On the same scale of opportunity and range of entertainment offerings as New York or Los Angeles, the Windy City also won’t squeeze your pocketbook quite as much. It’s a perfect location for finding a new job or creating a start-up. You also can easily move about the city without a vehicle, a bonus for saving some cash. Not to mention the great of the skyline on Lake Michigan. Sweet Home Chicago has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
1. Washington, D.C.
If you’re looking for a hub of political activity, then the nation’s capital is a great choice for your next job search. You’ll also never run out of sightseeing options, and the foodie and bar scene is exploding with amazing choices. So, you’ll keep your stomach a happy camper too.
Still, haven’t found what you’re looking for above? That’s okay, too. You can check out the American Institute for Economic Research to compare all different cities and see a breakdown in actual numbers on livability. Don’t be intimidated at the thought of striking out into a new place. Instead, embrace it, and think of it as your next adventure with exciting things to come.