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Top 10 Cities for Recent Grads

By Gradspot Dot Com

#10: ATLANTA (pop. 537,958)

[Photo by justjennifer]

A sprawling metropolis with a southern swagger, ATL is where pop culture phenomena are made. Coca-Cola ships out its sweet elixir by the truckload, and music industry players (especially R&B and hip hop) scour clubs for the next big thing. Despite a slow, Southern pace of life, the city has plenty of ways to keep recent grads occupied at night, including bar-heavy Buckhead and lounge-heavy downtown. If you ever get bored, leaving town is an easy option—Savannah and Charleston are just a road-trip away, and Delta's Atlanta hub is the busiest airline hub in the world, offering affordable flights to almost anywhere.


Major Industries: Big business (e.g., Coca Cola, Home Depot, Delta)
Climate: Semitropical, with long and humid summers (Winter—45°F, Summer—78°F)
Transportation: The MARTA train system gets mixed reviews but is functional for most major areas. However, a car certainly adds a ton of convenience.
Avg. Price of a One Bedroom Apartment: $786*
Cost of Living Index Value: 112**
Closing Time: 2:30AM
Professional Sports: MLB—Braves; NFL—Falcons; NBA—Hawks; NHL—Thrashers
Famous Foodstuffs: Fried chicken, sweet tea, and Krispy Kreme
You'll love it if… you want a city where affectation will get you smacked the F up
You'll be miserable if… you hate traffic and R&B
Best Thing Ever: Affordable housing still exists, and there’s a possibility that it's really just like this
Worst Thing Ever: Never-ending urban sprawl


The city gives a person in their 20s the freedom to do whatever they want. Even if you have an entry-level job that doesn’t pay much, you can afford to pay rent with enough cash left over to enjoy any type or nightlife of adventure you choose. There’s a very metropolitan scene that helps transplants from other cities find a niche, plus plenty of Southern culture to embrace. You can wear a t-shirt nine months of the year, which is nice for relaxing in Piedmont Park or cruising the younger Virginia Highlands, Midtown, Little 5 Points, or Buckhead neighborhoods looking for solid grub or your next date. — Brian K., sales

Atlanta…where do I begin? I guess that depends on the mood I am in. Atlanta has become the melting pot of the South, bringing together all sorts of young people and satisfying the uniquely blended interests that result. On any given day I can throw on my skinnies and join the hipsters at an indie concert in Little Five Points, or find my favorite flip flops and polo and join the more preppy folk in Buckhead to listen to a live cover-band. When I'm feeling earthy, I pack a bag and head to the not-so-far mountains with my dog and some friends for a weekend hike. Or, if I'm itching for some culture, I'll stop by the acclaimed High Museum to view some of the world's finest art. It’s truly impossible for any young person with an appetite for life to regret moving to this gem of a city. —Rebecca S., lawyer

Gradspot.com Rating: 68/100

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This top 10 list is extremely helpful and interesting to a soon-to-be graduate like myself! I referred this top 10 list on my own blog, aftergradavenues.com.

Considering a move to Chicago in the near future. So glad to see it's #1!

This entire list is entirely bogus. NYC is number 2? Are you kidding me? Fine, NYC has alot of fun stuff going on but were not talking about fun places to take a quick weekend. How about a place where 90% of the grads that move their have to move back out within a year!? I would not take this list as anything but a fun little description of a few cities. I live in LA and can say that only 15% of my city thinks it is in 'entourage', get a clue before you start judging cities based on average rent and 'closing time' (which is 4am in LA btw)

Houston is a great city to live in, but be careful of some of the neighborhoods. After Katrina, the murder rate has gone through the roof. Also if your gay, your only safe in, like, a handful of neighborhoods.

Do not move to CA unless you are moving here for a job that you have already been offered! I know a lot of people that have moved out here excited to start their career, just to find that the job market sucks and they can't get a job. You would be much better off on the east coast.

This list was helpful, but as a recent grad (and life-long resident) of Boston, I was disappointed in how one-sided the description of Beantown was. It seemed like whoever wrote it took a very cliche snapshot of "bro" culture (frats, Sox, beer) instead of actually realizing the unique diversity (one of the largest percentages of international residents), enormous push for arts and alternative culture (MFA, ICA, MassArt), and a pretty serious knack for fashion. C'mon guys! Let's wake up and smell the cliches and try to steer away from them.

I just looked through the blog rankings, and I have to say, they are pretty worthless. Seems like something a couple nitwits whipped together over a weekend, without any real analysis. Their descriptions of the cities are so one-dimensional they are practically worthless.

At first I thought Boston may be ranked only #5 because rents are so high, but NY #2?? NY is a great city, but for recent college grads, it's not so great.

And the blog makes Boston sound like the entire city consists of frat guys watching Red Sox games. Are you kidding me???? North End is worlds apart from Back Bay, which is distinctly different than Southie, which couldn't be more different than the South End, which has a very different population than Beacon Hill. And NOT ONE of those neighborhoods is populated by drunken frat guys types. If the blog were only rating the neighborhoods of rating Allston or Brighton, sure maybe. But you're hard pressed to find much of that outside of those 2 neighborhoods (and if you were just rating those 2 neighborhoods, then the rent drops to about $800 for a 1 BR).

The T stops running too early, but aside form that, it really is a perfect city for young adults (recently ranked #1 for dating scene for young adults). There's the club scene, the preppie scene, the monied crowd scene, the sports-guy scene. It's about as diverse as a city gets.

Knock it for high rent, sure. But the reason rents are so high is because demand is so high. Young adults flock to the city. Let's get some better analysis here, guys.

BTW, as someone who lived in Boston, NY, and L.A. in my 20's, and traveled frequently to Chicago, Atlanta, and D.C. for work, I'd rank them as follows (for recent college grads):

1. Boston
2. D.C.
3. Chicago
4. L.A.
5. Atlanta
6. NY

Boston is exactly as you describe it. This place sucks.

Boston is just like Scranton, with clams!

Atlanta is a fecund garden of kewlness! It's like a breeding ground for an indie-hound like meh! I saw a Throbbing Gristle concert back in the early eighties. I saw R.E.M. when they were just a faint "murmur." My girl Emma gave Robert Pollard a handj0b to get backstage passes to a G.B.V. concert. The place is still kicking too! I bought a thrift store t-shirt for 30 bucks in Little Five Points. I LOVE THIS TOWN BABY!

I was born and bred in NY so I may be biased and would have to say NYC is the greatest city in the world! If you just graduated college and are exploring a move, check out www.postgradapartments.com. We are currently in NYC, Boston and Chicago and plan to be in ten more cities by December of this year!

Ummmm...Chicago summer avg is definitely higher than that (try about 88-95F) and the winters are colder (10-20F)

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