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Top 10 Cities for Recent Grads

By Gradspot Dot Com

#9: WASHINGTON, D.C. (pop. 591,833)

[Photo by nubianeagle]

Ever the town for movers and shakers, DC is riding the wave of excitement ignited by the election of Barack Obama. It's often said the dynamics of the town shift according to who’s in office, particularly during the summer when the nation's capital is flooded with party-hardy interns. If you are coming from a large city, D.C. can feel comparatively small and segregated, but it is also rife with young people in politics, academia, and journalism (a plus for guys: women outnumber men by about five to four). Whether Obama will bring a spark of energy to his new home remains to be seen, but you certainly wouldn't be crazy for wanting to find out.


Major Industries: Government, non-profit
Climate: Four distinct seasons with hot summers (Winter—30°F, Summer—80°F)
Transportation: The DC "Metro" system is famously clean and efficient, and it will get you most places you need to go. However, stations close at 3AM on the weekends (midnight during the week) and cabs are expensive, so some complain that going out can be a pain.
Avg. Price of a One Bedroom Apartment: $1,535*
Cost of Living Index Value: 166**
Closing Time: Su-Th 2AM, F-Sa 3AM
Professional Sports: MLB—Nationals; NFL—Redskins; NBA—Wizards; NHL—Capitals
Famous Foodstuffs: Chili half-smoke (made famous by Ben’s Chili Bowl)
You'll love it if… you're an aspiring politician or academic who thrives on youthful naïveté
You'll be miserable if… you can't stand arguing and want a "big city" feel
Best Thing Ever: Bountiful green space
Worst Thing Ever: Political blowhards and people who use the phrase "inside the Beltway"


It's a city where the Saturday night drinking scene can revolve around rousing rounds of "Name That Senator." It's a place where you're forever spotting people you know, either because you met them last night at Local 16, or you saw them that morning on MSNBC. It's full of colorful neighborhoods with eclectic groups of people—everyone from the U street corridor hipsters to the Vineyard Vine-toting prepsters. Mr. Smith went here, Bush left here, and Obama's here now. It's D.C. — Faryl, journalist

Unless you're a monument-junkie or a Capitol Hill staffer, I wouldn't say DC is the coolest place to live. But it certainly has its perks. Like free museums (with extra emphasis on the word free), some really good music venues, and a short drive to the mountains. Also, if you like sharing a huge house with four to five other young folks, that's available. And I admit that sometimes I still get excited when I walk by the White House. — Thomas, National Public Radio

Gradspot.com Rating: 70/100

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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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