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Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2022

Trying to find the best places to move to in 2022? Whether you’re looking to get your career off the ground, exciting nightlife, affordability, or all of the above, check out these 11 best cities for young professionals!

Arlington, VA

  • Population: 226,092
  • Home Price: $623,300 median purchase price; $1,861 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $108,706
  • Median Age: 34.1
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.6%

While the cost of living and housing prices may be a bit higher in Arlington, this Virginia locale comes with all the advantages of living in a big city! Convenient public transportation helps commuters in Arlington, including those commuting to Washington, DC. Residents in Arlington benefit from the city’s low unemployment rate and median household income, which is well above the national average. Young professionals in Arlington tend to live in Ballston-Virginia Square and the Clarendon-Courthouse neighborhoods because they offer bar spots like Crafthouse, Pentagon Row, and Screwtop. Residents can also see award-winning musicals and comedy acts at Signature Theatre, hike the Mount Vernon Trail, and so much more!

Austin, TX

Downtown Austin Skyline with View of the River. Photo by Instagram user @johnnyronca

Photo via @johnnyronca

  • Population: 907,779
  • Home Price: $257,800 median purchase price; $1,106 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $60,939
  • Median Age: 32.4
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

Austin ranks among the best big cities and best places to live in the South, making it one of the best places to live in your 20s! This major tech hub is a great place for entrepreneurs to launch startups and has the added benefit of being in a state with no income tax. Nicknamed the Bright Green City, Austin has doubled its sustainable living efforts by implementing hydroelectric energy along Lake Travis and a community solar project. Meanwhile, you can find the best nightlife in the country here in Austin, from the cocktail lounges and cowboy bars on 6th Street to the music venues that make Austin the Live Music Capital of the World. You can find more to do in Texas’ capital city at outdoor spots like Mt. Bonnell and Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. And with fun events like the world-famous SXSW Conference and having some of the nation’s best BBQ, Austin is the perfect city for young professionals to live!

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Columbus, OH

  • Population: 837,038
  • Home Price: $131,800 median purchase price; $856 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $47,156
  • Median Age: 32.1
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.8%

If you’re searching for an affordable city where you can have fun and get a jump-start on your career, consider moving to Columbus! With a cost of living 11% lower than the national average and reasonable home prices, Arch City is one of the most affordable places to live. Plus, with five Fortune 500 Companies—headlined by Nationwide and L Brands—it’s easy to develop your career or find a new job. And, with opportunities to network at events and groups like the Dublin Area Networking Group, it’s no wonder why Columbus is one of the best cities for young professionals! Plus, you can take advantage of the city’s 400 parks in Columbus and sample unique craft beers from breweries on the Columbus Ale Trail, or participate in epic events like the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and March.

Denver, CO

View of Downtown Denver, CO Skyline with Rocky Mountains in the Background. Photo by Instagram user @agellerphoto

Photo via @agellerphoto

  • Population: 663,303
  • Home Price: $292,700 median purchase price; $1,035 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,258
  • Median Age: 34.2
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

For several years now, the capital city of Colorado has been named among the best places to live for young adults! Denver‘s low unemployment rate and headquarters for major companies like Xcel Energy, US Bank, and Dish Network help make Mile High City one of the best cities for job seekers. But work isn’t all that has young adults moving here—residents are able to go skiing, mountain climbing, and hiking, making Denver one of the best cities for outdoor recreation. Living in Denver also puts you in the heart of one of America’s best beer cities, so you can spend your weekends exploring breweries like Great Divide Brewing Company or nearby headquarters of Coors, exploring the beer trail, or attending the annual Great American Beer Festival. And of course, Denver’s social scene is hot—from jamming out at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, to hanging at the South of Colfax Nightlife District, you can always find something to do!

Des Moines, IA

Women of Achievement Bridge with Downtown Des Moines skyline and buildings in the background

Photo via @barbkev

  • Population: 212,859
  • Home Price: $119,800 median purchase price; $775 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $48,088
  • Median Age: 33.7
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.0%

Des Moines is not only one of the best mid-size cities—but it’s also a top city to live in after the pandemic! The “Hartford of the West” is a great place to jumpstart your insurance career as the region is an insurance hub, but Des Moines still offers plenty of other opportunities with major employers like Wells Fargo and Principal. Beyond job opportunities, there are plenty of things to do in Des Moines, like finding your new favorite coffee shops, clubs, and shops in the historic Downtown Des Moines neighborhood, East Village. Take a walk through the Blank Park Zoo, ride over 800 miles of biking trails, or shop local vendors at the Downtown Farmers Market. The Des Moines art scene promises additional attractions, like the Des Moines Art Center, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the Des Moines Art Festival, which is a 25-year-old tradition!

Madison, WI

Capital square with government building during a winter sunset in Madison, Wisconsin

Photo via @ovjphotography

  • Population: 246,034
  • Home Price: $217,000 median purchase price; $959
  • Median Household Income: $56,464
  • Median Age: 30.8
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

Young adults love living in Madison, which ranks as one of the best cities for singles and one of the best places to live in the Midwest! Madison also finds itself as one of the best cities for jobs—but maybe even more notable is that Madison is ranked as the best city for work-life balance. And while you can pick your next career from Madison’s major industries, you can find jobs in Mad City at Fortune 500 companies like Spectrum Brands and American Family Insurance. Have a weekend out enjoying things to do in Madison, like exploring Capitol Square in Downtown Madison, cheering on Badgers football at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and checking out Dane County Farmers Market, the largest farmers market in the U.S. The City of Four Lakes (which actually has five lakes!) offers plenty of water recreation, too, like fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming, and more, as well as events like the Marquette Waterfront Festival, which is held on the shore of Lake Monona.

Minneapolis, MN

View of Downtown Minneapolis Looking at the Hennepin Ave Bridge. Photo by Instagram user @loganfalzone

Photo via @loganfalzone

  • Population: 404,670
  • Home Price: $212,800 median purchase price; $898 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $52,611
  • Median Age: 31.9
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1%

With ample career opportunities in business, finance, and publishing, Minneapolis finds itself among the best cities for young professionals, and even one of the best big cities in the U.S.! As the headquarters for major corporations like Target, US Bank, and Ameriprise Financial, in addition to opportunities at publishing companies like Graywolf Press and Milkweed Editions, it can be easy to find a job here. Minnesota’s largest city is also one of the healthiest cities in the U.S., thanks to its abundance of parks and outdoor activities. And while it may be a thriving metropolis, Mill City ranks high for climate efforts thanks to its Green Zones Initiative, which supports communities that have been disproportionately affected by pollution. Living in Minneapolis gives you access to a thriving live music scene and incredible pro sports teams like the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), Minnesota Twins (MLB), and Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA).

Omaha, NE

Downtown Omaha skyline during fall sunset

Photo via @edperez.photos

  • Population: 443,072
  • Home Price: $139,800 median purchase price; $819 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $50,827
  • Median Age: 34.2
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Want to find a good city where you can live, work, and have fun? Omaha may be the place for you! Nebraska’s largest city is recession-proof, offers low costs of living and housing, and is one of the best cities to buy real estate. You’ll find plenty of jobs in Omaha with established companies like Mutual of Omaha and Union Pacific, and new startups continue to emerge in one of America’s fastest-growing tech hubs, earning Omaha the nickname “Silicon Prairie.” The Omaha arts and culture scene offers several opportunities for fine artists and audience members alike, with locales like the Blue Barn Theater and Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, or annual events like the Midwest Play Festival. Residents can find lots of things to do in Omaha, including seeing over 1,000 different species at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, cheering on the best teams in college baseball during the College World Series, or dining out and shopping about in The Old Market.

Pittsburgh, PA

View of Pittsburgh, PA Skyline Looking Across the Allegheny River. Photo by Instagram user @berksbr

Photo via @berksbr

  • Population: 305,305
  • Home Price: $100,800 median purchase price; $844 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $42,450
  • Median Age: 32.9
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.8%

Pittsburgh is more than welcoming to young professionals seeking remote career opportunities! With major employers like PNC Financial Services, PPG Industries, and Alcoa, it makes sense why Pittsburgh is one of the best U.S. cities for jobs. The Steel City’s cost of living is well below the national average, as are its median home prices and rental rates, which is a major draw for young professionals. Get to know the community through beloved festivals like Go Green at Market Square, which has eco-friendly vendors and live music, Juneteenth & Black Music Festival, and Pittsburgh Irish Festival. For more fun things to do in Pittsburgh, check out the local watering holes in one of America’s best bar-hopping cities, including great options in the famous Strip District. Gather with friends in massive Frick Park, or grab some friends and spend a day at the Andy Warhol Museum!

Salt Lake City, UT

  • Population: 191,446
  • Home Price: $248,700 median purchase price; $844 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $50,353
  • Median Age: 31.8
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Salt Lake City is one of America’s best places to live after college—and thanks to major employers like Energy Solutions, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and the rising tech companies within the Silicon Slopes, SLC is one of the best places in the country to start a career. But that’s not the only reason why young professionals are flocking to this city—the Capitol of Utah ranks as one of the best U.S. cities for outdoor enthusiasts, with all kinds of opportunities to ski, hike, bike, jog. And with residents in such close proximity to the Bell Canyon Trail‘s beautiful waterfall, Alta Ski Resort‘s fun slopes, and the city’s namesake, Great Salt Lake, it’s no wonder why Salt Lake City is among the country’s healthiest cities. Events like the famous Sundance Film Festival, Utah Pride Week, and queer film festival Damn These Heels are also huge attractions for young people moving to SLC.

Seattle, WA

  • Population: 668,849
  • Home Price: $484,600 median purchase price; $1,266 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $74,458
  • Median Age: 35.8
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

Seattle is experiencing tremendous growth year after year, and with its low unemployment rate and the presence of tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle is recognized as one of the best cities for young professionals to live and work. Along with easy access to plenty of outdoor activities—like kayaking at Discovery Park or hiking up scenic Mount Rainier—Emerald City’s passion for sustainability helps keep the city more eco-friendly, with initiatives to increase electric transportation and a Seattle Climate Action Plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Seattle residents can also peruse goods from over 500 vendors at famous Pike Place Market, contribute to the Gum Wall, catch interesting movies and documentaries at the annual Seattle International Film Festival, and rock out to show-stopping musical performances at Showbox. Plus, you’ll never be without a cup of Seattle coffee—the birthplace of Starbucks is also one of the best cities for coffee lovers!

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