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Top 10 Cities for Recent Grads

By Gradspot Dot Com

#1: CHICAGO (pop. 2,853,114)

[Photo by kthypryn]

The jewel of the Midwest combines cosmopolitanism with a refreshing dose of hospitality, catering to those who like city life but don't like the "f*&k you, a*^hole!" mentality of places like New York. There are few big cities that are prettier than Chi-Town, which offers a mix of leafy neighborhoods, an architecturally stunning downtown, and a gorgeous lakefront. Tons of bars, live music, and museums keep recent grads entertained, but beware: The winters are not for the faint-hearted.


Major Industries: Aerospace, finance, and consulting
Climate: Four distinct seasons, but beware of freezing winters (Winter—28°F, Summer—74°F)
Transportation: The 'L' and buses will get you where you need to go (Fare: $2.25)
Avg. Price of a One Bedroom Apartment: $1,106*
Cost of Living Index Value: $126**
Closing Time: Su-F 3AM, Sa 4AM
Professional Sports: MLB—White Sox, Cubs; NFL—Bears; NBA—Bulls; NHL—Blackhawks
Famous Foodstuffs: Hotdogs with the works and deep-dish pizza
You'll love it if… you like your big city flavor tempered with a dash of Midwestern hospitality
You’ll be miserable if… you are suspicious of nice people
Best Thing Ever: The coolest architecture in America
Worst Thing Ever: The wind off Lake Michigan


The two things that stand out about Chicago for me are sports and the arts. The Cubs, Bears, and Bulls are always on the tip of someone's tongue, to the point where its even annoying if you're not into sports. The concert scene is wicked, especially during the summer when there are lots of festivals going on in the parks, a major highlight being the Pitchfork festival which is two days of chill indie rock. The ringer for me is that you can find cheap housing and beer. I'd pay double in New York for the studio I have in Chicago. — Ben Herzberger, store clerk

No matter what you're in to, this city has it all: from extravagant nightlife, to a relaxing night at a theater, or getting together with your friends to engage in social and sports clubs. The best part about Chicago is everyone in the city is about the same age looking to experience the same thing, a great time. — Kelly H., teacher

Gradspot.com Rating: 95/100

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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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