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The Best Cities For Young Professionals And Millennials

Emma Tomsich9-Minute Read
October 15, 2021

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. Still, 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.

According to 2020 data from World Population Review, these are the best places to live for young adults:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Let’s learn a little more about each city:

1. Austin, Texas

Downtown Skyline Of Austin Texas

It’s no surprise that Austin is ranked at the top of our list of the best places for young people to live. 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: 33
  • Unemployment rate: 9%

The presence of major tech companies like Adobe, Amazon, Google, Intel and IBM draws many young professionals to Austin, but its entertainment and activities make them stay. Austin has beautiful weather year-round, and has incredible opportunities for outdoor recreation in the surrounding 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. Music lovers, meanwhile, likely already know that Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, featuring many live music acts at bars and restaurants in the downtown area.

Speaking of bars and restaurants, to experience Austin’s growing food scene and its best nightlife, Sixth Street is the place to be. So, if proximity to foodie hotspots is a priority for you, keep that in mind while you check out available homes in Austin.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

2. Denver, Colorado

Union Station 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, 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 the 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: 34
  • 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 bustling with 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 known for its restaurant and bar scene, particularly breweries, so be prepared to taste new craft beers and try new foods in your new home town.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

3. Des Moines, Iowa

Aerial View Of Des Moines Skyline And Pappajohn Sculpture Garden

If we’re being honest, you’re probably wondering why Des Moines 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, the city 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: 34
  • Unemployment rate: 6%

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

Portland is another city that has gotten more popular 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, 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: 37
  • Unemployment rate: 4%

Portland has an eclectic culture perfect for many young adults, with a diverse food scene and endless forms of activities. With over 300 annual events in “Portland’s Living Room,” the Pioneer Courthouse Square, residents will never be bored. Not to mention Portland also has its international speedway, the Lan Su Chinese Garden and Providence Park to keep its residents entertained. Portland is also known for being America’s best city for beer drinkers, in addition to having unique wines, so pour yourself a glass while you peruse the homes currently available there!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

5. Salt Lake City, Utah

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, there are many reasonably priced homes for sale in Salt Lake City. The city has an affordable cost of living, so residents can save their earnings.

  • Population: 213,367
  • Median monthly rent: $938
  • Median age: 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 activities to take part in. Skiing at Solitude Mountain and hiking or biking at Antelope State Park are just a few of the many options for outdoor recreation. In addition to those attractions, Salt Lake City has plenty more amusing activities to enjoy, including going to a Utah Jazz game, watching a comedy show at Wiseguys Comedy Club or seeing a Fire Fountain Show at City Creek Center.

Food and nightlife are also big in Salt Lake City, as the city is home to a vast array of upscale restaurants and bars.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Lovely Park In Sioux City South Dakota

In Sioux Falls, young professionals can live affordably while also making good money. Sioux Falls is also known for having a low unemployment rate and one of the hottest job markets in the U.S., with opportunities in 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 all the activities the city has to offer!

  • Population: 190,519
  • Median monthly rent: $791
  • Median age: 34
  • Unemployment rate: 5%

Sioux Falls was named after the waterfalls in the aptly named Falls Park, and this outdoor marvel should be your first stop when arriving in town. 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 thriving arts scene with pieces from famous and up-and-coming 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

Seattle Skyline At Sunset with Space Needle

Moving to Seattle is a dream that many young professionals share. The city is known for having low rent and dozens of 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: 35
  • 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 one of the many local coffee shops the city is famous for. On your lunch break, visit the Pike Place Market for a bite to eat, and go to the top of the Space Needle or another one of Seattle’s amazing conservatories after work. You can also stop by Seattle’s other famous attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel, Museum of Pop Culture or another exciting museum!

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

8. Omaha, Nebraska

City Skyline in downtown Omaha Nebraska

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

  • Population: 470,702
  • Median monthly rent: $896
  • Median age: 35
  • Unemployment rate: 7%

If you’re a lover of music, Omaha is the perfect city for you, as the city 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, flexing its reputation as the birthplace to the Reuben sandwich! When you’re not eating or rocking out, stay busy by visiting one of Omaha’s museums, its parks, the zoo or the conservatory. 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

Minneapolis Skyline

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: 32
  • 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. The city also has a great music scene, where many famous and upcoming musicians have performed.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Skyline

Pittsburgh deserves more recognition for being a prime location for young professionals. Not only is it a great community, but it’s also affordable and is one of the best cities for new jobs, as it’s home to 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: 33
  • 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 the famous museums or conservatories, and take part in the creative art scene. The Steel City, also known today as Geek City, is home to many comic book fans, and to Steel City Con, one of the largest comic conventions in the United States! Whether you have a nerdy side or not, you will geek out over moving to Pittsburgh.

[Source: worldpopulationreview.com]

The 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. If you’ve already pinpointed your ideal location, you can browse houses for sale to get one step closer to finding the house of your dreams, in 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.