The Best Places to Live & Explore…
For Every Lifestyle


The College Graduate City Search, Part II: 10 Best Places for Recent Grads

Category: Singles

By Shannon Keating

In our first installment of this article, The College Graduate City Search, Part I, we offered suggestions for the factors to consider regarding your needs and priorities in the transition  from university life to post-college city. Now, we have assembled a list of our 10 favorite places for the recent college grad.

These cities are vibrant, youthful, and jam-packed with things to do for the young professional. They are doable, if not the most easily affordable, for the college-loan-burdened set, some with low costs for rentals and all with good average entry-level salaries. They are diverse, hubs of industry, cultural capitals, and the perfect places to start off fresh and launch your life.

Boston, Massachusetts Transitioning to this post-grad city will be a breeze; since it’s one of the country’s biggest and brightest college towns, you can feel at home in this very young city. It’s rumored that Boston sinks a little every September when the new school year starts. Education is easily one of the top industries, making Boston the perfect place for graduate students, young professors, and anyone who thrives in an academic environment. While rent and cost of living can be incredibly daunting, Boston reassuringly has a low unemployment rate. It also boasts excellent public transit, nearly 20 Fortune 500 countries, a boisterous sports culture, and great nightlife.

Average rent: $1,814

Top industries: health care, financial services, education, technology


Seattle, Washington Information technology, including the internet giant Amazon, draws thousands of career seekers every year to the Emerald City. With a low average age of 36, Seattle is young and fresh. It’s a mecca for coffee and book lovers, as well as scenic and walkable. Seattle also boasts the best public library in the country. It’s certainly pricey, but rent can be found for cheaper than some other selections on this list.

Average rent: $1,517

Top industries: green industry/sustainability, biotechnology, software development and information technology

Washington, D.C. Those interested in pursuing careers in public service can’t do any better than D.C. Living and rent costs can be high, but to make up for it, so are the salaries. There are also plenty of free or very cheap modes of entertainment in the city, from museums to festivals. Public transportation is also excellent.

Average rent: $1,696

Top industries: information technology, government, defense

New York, New York No list would be complete without New York. NYC is chock full of singles, particularly young singles, who have long since dreamed of making the move to the States’ most famous city- and most likely, you’ll end up living with quite a few of them. New York’s astronomical cost of living means that bringing friends, or finding roommates once you arrive, is more or less necessary. Manhattan may be out of the picture, especially if you’re looking for the safety of a doorman building, unless you’re willing to sacrifice on neighborhood, comfort and space. More affordable options can be found in Brooklyn or Hoboken. Job-seekers in the arts, advertising, finances, and international business have some of the best chances of making it here.

Jesse, a Connecticut College graduate of the class of 2012, is working in Manhattan in the film industry. His advice: “For college graduates, living in Manhattan might help you forget the extent to which you miss college, but this certainly comes at a cost. It’s really hard to find another city that is as full of life and culturally stimulating. Unfortunately, finding an affordable living situation is stressful and you will most likely end up looking across the bridge. Everyone is different, but for me the best thing about living in Manhattan is the commute to work, which is a ten minute walk. It was worth it to me to give up space and neighborhood (I’m hugging the Lincoln tunnel) for a doorman building in Manhattan.”

New York is all about balancing your priorities.

Average rent: $1,789

Top industries: information technology, healthcare, financial services

Iowa City, Iowa, a bustling college town, is a top literary capitol of the US. The best and brightest writers can be found at Iowa writer’s workshops here. In this incredibly literate community, anyone not big on writing is almost certainly big on reading. You will be among good intellectual company in this small but growing city, where almost half of the population has never been married. There is a lively riverfront downtown and a popular pedestrian mall, so you’ll never be without something to do, and oftentimes with a scenic backdrop. Perhaps best of all, the rent can’t be beat.

Average rent: $816

Top industries: education, medicine

San Diego, California

California strikes again. The second largest city in Cali is great for young single professionals looking for perfect year-round weather, a world-renowned zoo, and plenty of different neighborhoods to explore; the Gaslamp Quarter, in particular, has a fun and youthful feel. There is a major US base on the waterfront and University of California at San Diego is the heartbeat of the community. San Diego can get pricey, so it’s all about the rent hunt. Urban renewal has been successful here in this vibrant city; while large, it has an intimately small-town feel.

Average rent: $1,431

Top industries: defense (U.S. Navy), education, health care, international business

Madison, Wisconsin

For entry level creative or professional positions, Madison has plenty to offer. This exciting university town of 41,000 students is a commuter’s dream, with 30 miles of always-cleared paved trails, walkable streets and a top-notch bus system. Madison is young, liberal, and both naturally and structurally lovely.

Average rent: $936

Top industries: state government, education, health care, technology

Atlanta, Georgia

The bronze-winning Atlanta is a home to many international businesses as well as world-class universities, museums, and performing arts centers. With a median starting salary of $43,000 ($8,000 above average) recent grads will be doubly blessed financially by a low cost of living. The winters are mild, the people are warm, and the coast is close.

Average rent: $855

Top industries: sales, health care, information technology

Houston, Texas

This cultural powerhouse has a dynamic museum district and boasts six performing halls in the downtown theater district, where nine major performing arts organizations have set up camp. If you’re okay with big (the largest city in the largest contiguous state), Texas is the 30 youngest city in the country, so with a population of 2.3 million you’re bound to be in lots of recent-grad company. Houston is also home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies; those interested in pursuing careers in energy should especially consider this big-hearted city.

Average rent: $910

Top industries: engineering, energy, health care

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is decidedly grand but assuredly manageable. Through great public transportation or by foot in a very walkable downtown, it is easy to explore the many corners of this vibrant city. Jam-packed with great bars, clubs, and restaurants, Chicago is at the top of the heap for nightlife. Museums, theater, and various other aspects of cultural life are also top notch. Like many cities, Chicago has a high crime rate – double the national average – so finding a safe neighborhood is key.

Average rent: $1,224

Top industries: marketing, sales, health care


What do you think of our top ten? Leave your comments below!

You can also check out some other great cities for singles.

Posted by admin on February 11th, 2013

Comments (0)
Entries (RSS) & Comments (RSS)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.