The 10 Best Cities For New College Grads


As the new school semester starts, many young people will find themselves mourning the days of college - endlessly combing their social media networks, with envy, for photos of their undergrad-friends at the campus bar or statuses about tailgating before a big football game.

There's good news! Life goes on. It's time to embark on the next adventure: starting a career.

For those wishing to branch out in a new city, deciding where to settle is tough. To help them make a decision, Livability curated a list of the towns with the most potential for new college grads.


To determine the best cities, Livability analyzed factors such as "the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living in each city, the availability of rental properties, unemployment rates, educational attainment levels, use of public transportation, and the types of jobs these places offer." Bonus points were awarded to cities that provide tons of recreational opportunities, nightlife, and a cool vibe.

Here are the top 10 cities for recent college grads:

10. Mountain View, CA

mountain view, california, google HQ


In 2013, Business Insider named Google, based in Mountain View, California, the best-paying company in the U.S.

Even if you're not a Googler, the techie dream town of Mountain View contains endless amenities for its amenities, including shoreline pathways, a network of bike trails, and coworking spaces and coffee shops offering Bitcoin ATMS and free WiFi, according to Livability


9. Naperville, IL

moser tower, naperville, IL, Illinois

Wikimedia Commons/John D. Buell

Naperville's Riverwalk Quarry provides a clear view of Moser Tower, one of four bell towers worldwide that spans six octaves.

Located 30 miles west of Chicago, Naperville combines small-town charm and big-city amenities, according to Livability. It's a hotbed of jobs in the technology, energy, and distribution sector - with a low unemployment rate of 5.5% among 25- to 34-year-olds.

8. Fargo, ND

fargo, fargo theater, north dakota


Built in 1925, Fargo Theater is the only remaining vintage movie palace with a vaudeville stage in the area.


While you may know it as the wintry town that gave the dark comedy thriller "Fargo" its title, the real-life city is considered one of the safest places to live in the U.S., according to Livability. Nearly 80% of jobs in Fargo are considered non-service and come with high salaries, spanning health care, technology, manufacturing, and financial services.

7. Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor Michigan


Ann Arbor's Fleetwood Diner heals hangovers with its Hippie Hash, which are hash browns topped with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom, and broccoli.

So much more than just a college town - and one of the best, at that - Ann Arbor boasts above-averages wages to college-educated workers and a solid track record of successful entrepreneurs, according to Livability. Residents can find ample opportunities in automotive research, software development, and research in life sciences.


6. Hoboken, NJ

hoboken new jersey


More than 50,000 people pass through Hoboken Terminal every day, many of whom commute back and forth to Manhattan for work.

Before cracking a Jersey joke, bear with us. There are nearly 122,000 job openings in and around the city, Livability reports, and the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds is 1.6% - a pretty solid indication that qualified applicants can land a job here.

5. Minneapolis, MN

Wild Rumpus Bookstore, Minneapolis


Minneapolis' Wild Rumpus bookstore has a BYOB graphic novel book club for beer-and-comics-enthusiasts ages 21 and over.


According to Livability, the average citizen spends less than 30% of their annual income on housing. This frees up funds for entertainment (Minneapolis has one of the best music scenes outside Nashville, NYC, and LA), eating out at one of the city's four James Beard Award-nominated restaurants, and, of course, retirement.

4. Bethesda, MD

bethesda maryland


From a low-fat latté to high-end fashion, an exciting collection of shops, restaurants, cafés, and more can be found on Bethesda Row.

Considered a Washington, D.C. suburb, Bethesda is home to some of the leading research facilities in the country, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, Lcokheed Martin, and IBM. Plus, 98.7% of its residents are employed, according to Livability.


3. Austin, TX

austin st


Sixth Street, with its bars, music venues, and restaurants, is considered one of the staples of Austin's nightlife.

While rapid population growth has sucked some of the weirdness out of Austin, the overgrown college town holds on to creative culture through small businesses, South by Southwest, and a ripe culinary scene. According to Livability, major industries include computer technology, research and development, engineering, and the arts.

2. Bellevue, WA

bellevue, bellevue downtown park, washington


Bellevue Downtown Park is a 21-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue.


Home to Lake Washington and Mount Rainier, Bellevue also plays host to a slew of earthy-crunchy companies, including REI, Eddie Bauer, and Outdoor Research. Outdoor enthusiasts can find employment opportunities in industries spanning software, internet, environmental management, and engineering, according to Livability.

1. Cambridge, MA

harvard square, harvard, harvard coop, cambridge


The annual membership fee of The Coop, a cooperative bookstore started by students in 1882, is only $1 - just as it was the year it opened.

With more than 600 companies and two internationally renowned universities based here, Cambridge is well stocked in jobs, most of which are high-paying compared to the average American salary. The Boston suburb's compact layout, vibrant arts scene, and ample food trucks draws tens of thousands of 25- to 34-year-olds to the area, Livability reports. The top employers are Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, and Biogen Idec, which Business Insider named the second best employer in America in 2014.