For as large as the United States is in terms of square miles, there are only a handful of cities that are tailor made for the vibrant, and adventurous, young adult. The reality is that 80% of Americans end up living (i.e. settling down) within 20 miles of where they went to high school. The other 20% venture out into the country and occasionally, the world to stake a new claim. Idiots Guide has decided to compile a list of 10 of the best cities for the American young adult, defined by the age range of 25 to 35. At issue were entertainment options, employment prospects, youthful demographic, housing, and public transportation. This is a list where the rankings fluctuate from year to year, but over the past decade these listed cities have consistently resided in the top 10. Enjoy this years (2016) catalog!
Honorable Mention (Foreign City) Calgary, Canada…
The Top 10 Best Cities for Young Adults….
#10. Washington, D.C. / Population: 660,000
Washington, D.C. is much more than just the political center of the universe. It’s a unique city with a palpable heart beat. This is a smart city, with smart residents who are armed with over 1,200 coffee shops to gather and exchange thought. There are also more Michelin rated restaurants in D.C. than anywhere else in the country. True story. The public transportation system ranks among the very best in the country. Progressive marijuana laws as well.
#9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma / Population: 611,000
‘There is work down there in Oklahoma City’. That’s what they say anyway, that work includes a number of opportunities within the energy sector, there are many large energy companies that make their headquarters, Oklahoma City. The unemployment rate here is among the lowest in the United States. Housing, especially rental housing, is very reasonable. On average, $750 per month will get you a two-bedroom apartment. In addition, it is Oklahoma so there is a lively bar and restaurant (steak houses) scene worth investigating. The beer is always cold, and fairly cheap.
#8. Chicago, Illinois / Population: 2.7 Million
Chicago, Illinois made this list largely because of it’s innate, youthful energy. It ranks #1 in entertainment options, and possesses a large variety of music venues, multiple sports teams and stadiums, 1st rate museums, lots of local bars. Excellent transportation system. It’s not the cheapest city on this list, but it’s not the most expensive either.
#7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Population: 306,000
Are you the type of person who enjoys a good bar with great micro-brewed beer? Then perhaps the ‘Steel City’ is for you. Why, you ask? Well, as it turns out Pittsburgh has more drinking establishments (i.e. bars) per capita than any other city in the United States. Public transportation is quick and efficient. The downtown area is 1st rate and the cornerstone of the aesthetic and cultural transformation of the city. There’s the MLB Pirates and their excellent ball park ‘PNC Park’. Wonderful new eateries, trendy coffee shops, plenty of available outdoor activities (i.e. Hiking trails) If you can handle the wintertime here, you’ll love the spring and summer months…
#6. Scottsdale, Arizona / Population: 227,000
Scottsdale has the look and feel of an upscale city, and for the most part it is, it boasts of a number of luxury hotels and high end spas. However with the abundance of popular universities and the significant number of young persons in residence, Scottsdale is a great city to be young. This city is perhaps the most expensive of any on the list but if you can manage it, it’s a great, really fun, city to live in.
#5. Austin, Texas / Population: 888,000
As it turns out, Austin, Texas isn’t just an amazing city for live music with a plethora of young, talented residents and University of Texas students. It’s also a place with a decent amount of available government jobs, and high-paying tech sector jobs. Austin ranks #2 in employment on the ‘Livability Index’. The cuisine is largely fusion ‘Tex-Mex’ (Lots of meat) and it’s relatively inexpensive. So to recap, cheap food, and cheap beer, with a great live music scene. In addition to available, well paying work = ‘Great place to be young’.
#4. San Diego, California / Population: 1.5 Million
Listen, when it comes to the city with the absolute best weather in the entire United States, there’s San Diego, California and then every place else. It’s simply wonderful. The blue skies are free of the smog that haunts big brother Los Angeles, so the sun shines that much brighter. In addition, you’re always just a few miles from water or mountain playgrounds. San Diego is also the number one city for people who ride and/or walk to work everyday. The food scene is underrated, as it is pretty damn awesome, (especially if you’re into fish tacos) There’s plenty of great eateries from the sidewalk cafe, to the food truck, to the Michelin rated. San Diego is definitely worth a look…
#3. Portland, Oregon / Population: 610,000
If you’re the kind of person who lives for the outdoors and loves the activities associated with the outdoors, then Portland, Oregon is a place you should strongly consider. The average age of the residents of Portland tend to skew young. It consistently ranks near the top of the ‘Livability Index’ (was #1 in 2015) the job market in Portland is relatively strong, the cost of living is fairly easily manageable. The music scene is awesome, and there are plenty of live venues to catch great shows year round. Portland is quietly becoming known as a hotspot for the young, and talented entrepreneur. There is a significant number of creatives that call Portland home. Why not you?
#2. Los Angeles, California / Population: 3.9 Million
Look, the simple truth is that Los Angeles, California is an amazing place to live regardless of your age. It’s also true that it’s not a cheap place to live. It probably costs more to live in this city than most of the others on this list. To make it in LA means that you have to hustle, and can do it well. The upside is that those who make it are surrounded by opportunities to have maximum fun on your down time. This is the ‘City of Angels’. Surrounded by a great bar, club, and restaurant scene. There’s the beach, the mountains, Hollywood, Malibu, and everything in-between. LA’s public transportation is improving everyday, and soon will be a point of pride. Los Angeles living comes with some of the best entertainment options anywhere. So to recap: Beaches, Hiking, Sports, Hollywood, Wining and Dining. There is no limit to the fun one can have in LA. The only question is…Can you run with the big dogs?
#1. Boston, Massachusetts / Population: 647,000
Boston, Massachusetts is the crown jewel of the New England region of America. It’s also one of the oldest, most historically relevant cities in the nation. This city’s population skews young, with tons of college students and recent college graduates. In fact the city’s population has a median age of 30.8 (or 31 years old), which is among the youngest average populations in the U.S. However, rental rates tend to skew toward expensive. But if you can swing it, what a great city to live in. Great public transit system, plenty of nightlife options. Do you have New England in your blood?