Skyline of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Best Cities To Live In For Young Professionals And Millennials

Emma Tomsich9-Minute Read
December 22, 2020

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or have been in the workforce for a few years and are looking to relocate, it’s important that you move to a city where you feel engaged in your personal and professional lives. Moving to an unknown city can be difficult for young adults. To help out, we’ve comprised a list of the best cities for young professionals to live in. We hope this list will help inspire your city search and kickstart this next part of your life!

10 Of The Best Cities For Young People And Professionals

To better assist you in your city search, we made a list of the best cities for young professionals to live in based on cost of living, unemployment rates, affordable housing, nightlife activities and other factors.

These are the best places to live for millennials:

1. Austin, Texas

2. Denver, Colorado

3. Des Moines, Iowa

4. Portland, Oregon

5. Salt Lake City, Utah

6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

7. Seattle, Washington

8. Omaha, Nebraska

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Let’s learn a little more about each city:

1. Austin, Texas

It’s no surprise that Austin, Texas is ranked at the top of our list. With a strong job market and energetic culture, it’s sure to please young professionals during both the day and night.

Many industries are present in Austin, but its health care and tech company scenes are most attractive to young professionals. Austin also has an affordable cost of living and a low unemployment rate, setting people up for success. 

  • Population: 988,218 
  • Median monthly rent: $1,225 
  • Median age group: 33
  • Unemployment rate: 9%

The presence of major tech companies like Adobe, Amazon, Google, Intel and IBM draw many young professionals to Austin, but its entertainment and activities make them stay. Austin has outdoor recreation in its beautiful, year-round weather, and has incredible nature and mountains even though it’s an urban environment.

Austin is also a sports-centric city, focusing its pride on college football at the University of Texas. Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, featuring many live music acts at bars and restaurants in the downtown area.

To experience Austin’s growing food scene and its best nightlife, Sixth Street is the place to be. As a young professional in Austin, Texas these bars, restaurants and other activities will keep you so busy that you’ll never run out of things to do!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

2. Denver, Colorado 

Within the last 10 years, Denver has become a hub for young adults looking for a down-to-earth community with beautiful scenery and engaging opportunities and adventures. As one of America’s most popular cities for entrepreneurs, Denver is attracting creative thinkers to its bustling range of industries, especially tech and health care. Both Denver’s job market and population are growing at a rapid rate, attracting even more young professionals to the city.

  • Population: 734,134
  • Median monthly rent: $1,217 
  • Median age group: 4
  • Unemployment rate: 4%

Denver’s scenic views, nightlife and activities are also important reasons why young adults move to Denver. Known for its large mountains and beautiful nature, residents of Denver have many opportunities to hit the slopes, hike or do yoga outside. Denver is also popular for its entertainment, offering concerts at the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, sea life at its Downtown Aquarium, and art pieces of all varieties at the Denver Art Museum. Of course, Denver is also popular for its restaurant and bar scene, particularly breweries, so be prepared to taste new craft beers and try new foods upon moving to Denver.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

3. Des Moines, Iowa

If we’re being honest, you’re probably wondering why Des Moines, Iowa is on this list. But there’s no reason to be skeptical! Des Moines is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, offering affordable housing prices and a modest cost of living perfect for young professionals. Not to mention, Des Moines has a growing job market, attracting professionals in the finance, insurance, tech and manufacturing industries. You’re probably thinking that young adults move to Des Moines for work and not for pleasure, but you’d be surprised to see everything Iowa’s capital city has to offer!

  • Population: 217,891
  • Median monthly rent: $822 
  • Median age group: 9
  • Unemployment rate: 6%

Des Moines’ vibrant culture sets it apart from most other cities in the Midwest. With over 5,000 pieces of art on display at the Des Moines Art Center, and the 80/35 Music Festival featuring musicians and dancers, Des Moines is a great city for lovers of art. Residents of Des Moines also get their entertainment fix in each year at the Iowa State Fair, which features traditional deep-fried food and exciting rides perfect for all ages.

Young professionals in Des Moines can grab a cup of coffee at a local cafe before visiting the downtown farmers market to buy fresh produce. Des Moines is also known for its craft beer scene and famous, trendy restaurants known across the country. If you move to Des Moines, there’s one thing for sure: you’ll never run out of exciting places to eat!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

4. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is another city that has gotten more popular for young professionals in recent years. With its “Silicon Forest” attracting young professionals to various startup and tech companies, there are many job openings for passionate, critical thinkers eager to get involved with new opportunities. Because Portland has become such an attractive city for young professionals, its cost of living has increased, but it still remains one of the best places for young professionals to live.

  • Population: 664,103
  • Median monthly rent: $1,187
  • Median age group: 9
  • Unemployment rate: 4%

Known as one of the hippiest cities in the world, Portland has an eclectic culture perfect for many young adults. Portland offers beautiful scenery, a diverse food scene, and endless forms of activities and entertainment. With over 300 annual events in “Portland’s Living Room,” the Pioneer Courthouse Square, residents of Portland will never be bored. Not to mention Portland also has its international speedway, Lan Su Chinese Garden, and Providence Park to keep its residents busy. Portland is also known for being America’s best city for beer drinkers, in addition to having unique wines, so pour yourself a glass after move-in!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

5. Salt Lake City, Utah

As salaries rise and the unemployment rate falls, young professionals are flocking to Salt Lake City, which is becoming one of the hottest job markets in the United States. Young professionals here have the opportunity to work in a variety of growing industries, while earning good money. To put the icing on the cake, Salt Lake City has reasonably priced housing and an affordable cost of living, so residents can save their earnings.

  • Population: 213,367
  • Median monthly rent: $938
  • Median age group: 32
  • Unemployment rate: 1%

If you love the outdoors, Salt Lake City might be your optimal destination. With gorgeous mountain ranges, panoramic views and nature, you will never stop being in awe of Salt Lake City’s picturesque landscape.

You’ll also never run out of outdoor reaction activities to take part in. Skiing at Solitude Mountain and hiking or biking at the Antelope State Park are just a few of the many options for outdoor activities. Salt Lake City has plenty more amusing activities, including going to a Utah Jazz game, watching a comedy show at the Wiseguys Comedy Club, or seeing a Fire Fountain Show at City Creek Center. Food and nightlife are also big in Salt Lake City, with upscale restaurants and bars.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In Sioux Falls, young professionals can live affordably while also making good money at their jobs. Sioux Falls is also known for having a low unemployment rate and one of the hottest job markets in the U.S., with many industries, including health care and finance.

Sure, living in Sioux Falls is an economically smart decision as a young professional, but let’s not forget the activities Sioux Falls has to offer!

  • Population: 190,519
  • Median monthly rent: $791
  • Median age group: 2
  • Unemployment rate: 5%

Visiting Falls Park’s waterfalls that Sioux Falls was named after is the first stop when arriving in Sioux Falls. Next, you can quench your hunger and thirst at one of Sioux Falls’ famous bakeries, breweries or pizzerias. Not only is the food delicious, but the one-of-a-kind craft beers and cocktails will leave you wanting more!

Sioux Falls also has a big artist culture with pieces from famous and upcoming artists at various galleries. Don’t forget to see Andy Warhol’s art at the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

7. Seattle, Washington

Moving to Seattle, Washington is a dream that many young professionals share. But living in Seattle is not as impractical as it might sound. The city is known for having low rent and dozens of startups and other companies constantly looking for creative, critical thinkers to hire. Another reason why you should turn your dream of moving to Seattle into a reality – it doesn’t actually rain as much as people think!

  • Population: 783,137
  • Median monthly rent: $1,496
  • Median age group: 5
  • Unemployment rate: 2%

On your way to work in the morning, you can stop for a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks, or another local coffee shop. On your lunch break, visit the Pike Place Market for a bite to eat. After work, go to the top of the Space Needle or another one of Seattle’s amazing conservatories. You can also stop by Seattle’s other famous attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel, Museum of Pop Culture, or another exciting museum! At night, take part in Seattle’s nightlife scene at a bar or restaurant downtown.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

8. Omaha, Nebraska

Within the past 25 years or so, Omaha has transformed its urban environment, bringing in new industries and transforming the business scene. Omaha moved from the insurance and livestock industries to the tech world, attracting numerous young professionals to the city. Omaha also has a low cost of rent and reasonable cost of life, making it the perfect destination for a young professional.

  • Population: 470,702
  • Median monthly rent: $896
  • Median age group: 5
  • Unemployment rate: 7%

If you’re a lover of music, Omaha, Nebraska is the perfect city for you. Omaha has a number of famous and on-the-rise performers, livening up the city’s nightlife. Omaha also has a large number of bars and restaurants to visit and is even the birthplace to the Reuben sandwich! Visit one of Omaha’s museums, parks, or the zoo and conservatory to keep you busy, and don’t forget to stop by Cool Stuff which features a variety of artsy and eclectic knickknacks and accessories!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

This twin city has a lot to offer young professionals looking to live in the Midwest. Minneapolis may seem like a more expensive city to live in, but residents generally make an annual salary $5,000 above the national average. In addition, only a fraction of Minneapolis’ median household income covers housing costs, leaving more cash to spend during your free time!

  • Population: 437,069
  • Median monthly rent: $985
  • Median age group: 1
  • Unemployment rate: 5%

If you’ve never been to Minneapolis before, there’s a lot you’re missing out on. Indulge in nature at Minnehaha Falls, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Chain of Lakes, or one of the city’s other parks. If you’re looking for more urban activities, visit one of downtown Minneapolis’ museums or professional sports games. Don’t forget that Minneapolis has a great music scene, where many famous and upcoming musicians have performed. While in Minneapolis, make sure to get involved with the city’s nightlife, and visit a bar or restaurant for some good eats and drinks!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania deserves more recognition for being a prime location for young professionals. Not only is Pittsburgh a great community, but it’s also affordable and is one of the best cities for new jobs. Pittsburgh also has a large number of industries with stellar health care. If you’re thinking of buying a house or starting a family in the near future, you’d be happy to learn that Pittsburgh is ranked the top city for first-time home buyers, and one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania!

  • Population: 294,860
  • Median monthly rent: $922
  • Median age group: 9
  • Unemployment rate: 2%

With three major league sports teams and a thriving downtown, you’ll never run out of things to do in Pittsburgh. While you’re in the city, visit one of Pittsburgh famous museums or conservatories, and take part in the creative art scene. Head downtown for even more fun at local bars and restaurants, and make sure to take part in the city’s nightlife. The Steel City, also known today as Geek City, is home to many people who geek out over comic books and other nerd-related things. Whether you have a nerdy side or not, you will geek out over moving to Pittsburgh. 

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

Bottom Line

As you continue to search for a city to move to after graduation or relocate to in the near future, keep in mind these 10 destinations for hardworking young professionals. Think about what your priorities are and continue to make strides with your search. Read about the most affordable cities in the U.S. to expand your search, and get one step closer to finding the city of your dreams.

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    Emma Tomsich

    Emma Tomsich is a student at Marquette University studying Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Relations. She has a passion for writing, and hopes to one day own her own business. In her free time, Emma likes to travel, shop, run and drink coffee.