What Are the Best Cities for College Grads?

If you’ve just graduated from college – congrats! Talk about a life-changing accomplishment! Here’s the big question; where do you go now? Sure, some of you will move back home or some already have a city in mind. However, we’re willing to bet most of you are still fumbling around your post-college plans. Where should you go? Where are the best cities for college grads? Don’t sweat it – these questions are totally normal.

According to a study by NSA, 25% of college students said they planned on living in the same city post-graduation. However, 21% of that sample size said they wanted to move somewhere out of state. If you’re part of that 21%, we put together this list of the Best Cities for College Grads just for you!

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

College graduates taking selfie in gowns and caps

Best Cities for College Grads #1: San Francisco

San Francisco, CA is a fabulous city; there’s no doubt about that. It’s also excellent for fledgling college grads who need a great job and all the experience it delivers. Yes, it’s one of the more expensive cities on our list, it’s true. There are many pros and cons of living in San Francisco, CA.

  • San Francisco is the #1 city in California for entertainment and nightlife!
  • The unemployment rate here is one of the lowest in the U.S.
  • Median earnings for bachelor’s degree holders is about $60,000.00 per year, which isn’t bad at all.
  • The weather in San Francisco is stellar most of the year
  • San Francisco is one of the most diverse cities in America.
Best Cities for College Grads San Francisco
Historic cable cars in San Fransico, CA

Best Cities for College Grads #2: Cincinnati, OH

There are many major companies in Cincinnati, OH. It’s the perfect place for college grads to get experience. There’s also culture, plenty of millennials, and a terrific NFL rivalry between the Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers! Below are a few other reasons to put Cincinnati on your list of possible new home cities:

  • Cincinnati is one of the most affordable big cities in America.
  • Kroger, Procter & Gamble, Cintas, and many other significant companies call Cincinnati home. 
  • Cincinnati is one of the country’s most culturally diverse cities, with a vibrant arts and food scene.
  • Median rent prices in Cincinnati are very affordable at $740.00 per month! Indeed, it’s one of the lowest in the U.S., which means your first paychecks will stretch much further!
Best Cities for College Grads?
The downtown and waterfront in Cinnianti, OH

Best Cities for College Grads #3: Minneapolis

When you’re a newly-minted college or university grad, job opportunities are vital. The more a city offers, the better, making Minneapolis a prime location. The Twin Cities metro area is in the Top 10 when it comes to job opportunities. A few other fine reasons that make Minneapolis one of the best cities to move to after college include:

  • Minneapolis has one of the strongest job markets in the United States.
  • The park system in Minneapolis is excellent, with many beautiful green spaces to enjoy.
  • The city has a sound, well-run infrastructure that makes getting around less stressful than most cities.
  • “Lake Life” is a thing in Minneapolis on one of their thousands of lovely lakes. (They don’t call Minnesota “The Land of 10,000 Lakes for nothing!)
  • Minneapolis is #21 on U.S. News & World Report’s “25 Best Places to Live” list
Best Cities for College Grads?
Minneapolis, MN skyline from downtown

Use Storage When Moving to Your New Home

Wherever you decide to go, self-storage is a vital part of settling into your new city. In that same study by NSA, 50% of students used storage for moving during or after college. It’s essential to make sure you’re putting your roots down in the right spot but also with the right help. Luckily, we’re here! At iStorage, we have storage units in several states. Clean and safe, they’re also affordable enough for new (or soon to be) college grads like yourself! Give us a call or chat with us if you want more information!

More info on these cities on the iStorage blog:

#4: Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix is an excellent choice if hot, dry weather and 300 days a year of sunshine float your boat! Arizona’s largest city has all the amenities you want and costs less than many cities of its size and stature. Check out some of the other reasons to pout Phoenix on your list of best cities for college grads:

  • From live music to dance clubs, Phoenix’s nightlife is booming.
  • Nearly 25% of the population is between the age of 21 and 34.
  • The median rent in Phoenix is a low-ish $870.00 per month.
  • The median earnings with a bachelor’s degree are $52,500.00, which is very good.
  • There are many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in Phoenix.
Downtown Phoenix Arizona at night all lit up
Phoenix, AZ’s downtown cityscape

#5: Hoboken, NJ

OK, granted, many people might say. “Hoboken, NJ?! Really?!” After all, the Garden State has a (mostly false) reputation as New York’s whipping boy. Below, however, are a few facts that make this north-central New Jersey city one of the best for college grads:

  • It’s a suburb of the Big Apple, New York City, and a 20-minute commute away.
  • The job market is stellar in Hoboken, especially in finance, engineering, and several other high-end degrees.
  • Hoboken has the feel, flavor, and excitement of New York City, but you can rent an apartment substantially cheaper.
  • The median household income in Hoboken is one of the highest in the country at just over $147,000 per year.
Best Cities for College Grads?
Hoboken, NJ’s waterfront viewed from the Hudson River

#6: Dallas, TX

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Dallas holds true to that in every way. It’s not only one of the fastest-growing cities in America; it also has one of the strongest economies. A whopping 22 of America’s 100 largest companies make their home here, also offering ample opportunities for the right grad. A few more reasons that make Dallas a top city for college grads include:

  • Dallas is #1 in job growth in the United States. Impressive!
  • Time magazine voted Dallas #2 on their “Best City for Recent Grads” list in 2019.
  • For a major city, Dallas is only 2% higher than the national average for cost of living. Compare that to New York (129% higher), LA (156% higher), or even Miami (15% higher), and Dallas looks excellent!
  • Getting around Dallas without a car is actually attainable, easy, and safe. Millions here do it every day!
Best Cities for College Grads?
Dallas, TX’s downtown skyline at night

#7: Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, or HOTLanta as the citizens call it, is a city that offers more opportunities than you might think. There’s a booming movie industry here (Welcome to Y’allywood, y’all!), great weather, and nightlife hot as fire! What else makes Atlanta one of the best cities to move to after college? They include:

  • A thriving job market, especially in the entertainment and film industry.
  • Fantastic and varied opportunities for outdoor adventures! Kayaking, hiking, biking, rafting, you name it!
  • The weather in Atlanta is practically perfect for nine months out of the year. Warm, dry, and pleasant. Winter is quick and, usually, mostly painless. 
  • While not the most affordable, Atlanta rents aren’t much higher than the national average. That’s good news for a city this size.
Best Cities for College Grads?
Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA after sunset

Good Luck with Your New City, College Grad!

We hope you enjoyed this list, and it helped you decide where to go next on your life’s journey! Wherever you go next if you need help storing stuff while you job search and apartment hunt, we can help! Chat with us online anytime or come on into your local iStorage and say hi! A friendly, on-site manager will show you around and answer all your questions! Until then, choose wisely, young graduate!

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