When you were a junior in high school and starting your college search, did you immediately negate staying in state, choosing colleges that were at least three states away, or better yet, the opposite side of the country?
If that’s you, we’ll bet you’re just as likely to graduate and seek the next horizon. And it won’t be your college town. Your location can be as important, if not more, than whatever you find yourself doing there. Fortunately, unlike college, you’re not committed to four years there. In fact, it’ll likely be less, as today’s Gen Z entry-level employees tend to stay at positions for less than 1.5 years.
So where’s next? (If an employment offer hasn’t come your way yet, that is). Here’s our list of best cities to move to based on your interest.
Best City for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Bend, Oregon
Bet you thought we’d say Boulder, Colorado, didn’t you? Beat the crowds that surround Denver and head to Bend. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in Oregon, with startups and corporates alike now calling the city home -- meaning finding a job shouldn’t be as hard as the middle of South Dakota for most career tracks. But along with its proximity to Pacific Northwest ranges, you’ve got whitewater rafting, phenomenal hiking, hundreds of miles of bike trails, sick climbing, and did we mention that ultramarathoners train here?
Best City for Runners: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hear us out on this one. While Michigan might make you think of brilliant autumnal colors as seen in the commercials they ramp up just before fall, or down-trodden rust belt cities like Detroit, there’s more to Michigan than you think. Particularly Grand Rapids. Recently one billion dollars plus was injected into the economy to create thousands of jobs, many in the medical industry, tech sector, and research institutes. So why is it perf for runners? Grand Rapids has more than 70 parks, in a county that has an additional 38. You’d never have to run the same route twice in three months!
Best City to Hermit (But Not Really): Missoula, Montana
Missoula is a small college town and a perfect gateway to some of America’s best national parks. But you don’t have to go far to cloister yourself in a small mountain cabin and write the novel you told every girl you’d write. Plenty of mountains, trails, rapids and rivers -- and enough snow in January that you’d better have 30 days supply worth.
Best City for the Finance-Minded: Kansas City, Kansas
Not only did you major in accounting and start putting money into an IRA your freshman year, but you’re hyper-conscious about your next move’s relative inflation, cost of living, and employment opportunities in your field. If all that’s true, then Kansas City is for you. The IRS calls this city home, so no doubt you’ll be in good penny-wise company.
Best City for Techies Who Actually Aren’t: Seattle, Washington
You love everything tech, code for fun, and subscribe to Google’s Download, but you’re studying art history. Head to Seattle, where the likes of Microsoft and Amazon call the city their HQ home. Ranked as one of the top 10 places to live in the US by US News & World Report, Seattle is also known for its strong job market.
Best Place for Entrepreneurs: Salt Lake City, Utah
The youngest business founders in the US call Salt Lake City home. According to Reader’s Digest, the area is known as “Silicon Slopes,” and is home to billion-dollar tech companies such as Overstock.com, PluralSight, Qualtrics and more. Along with being a great place to be around like-minded individuals, SLC boasts a walkable downtown, great restaurants -- including some of the best sushi spots in the country -- and more culture than you’d think.