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What Are the Best Cities for Grads?

By Gradspot Dot Com

Q: What is the best city for a recent grad? –Michael T., Boston, MA

A: Let me respond your question with one of my own, kemo sabe: Best city for what? There are a ton of “best” cities for recent graduates, depending upon what you’re looking for. Here is an admittedly stereotypical but also somewhat accurate overview of some cities that we love.

New York City: Finance Geeks, Fashionistas, Writers, and Marketing Creatives

  • Pros: it is truly the epicenter of these industries, so if you want to be in them, best to be in the epicenter; extremely grad-heavy so you’ll be surrounded by people who are in similar situations as you; it’s an incredibly diverse city with endless culture opportunities and parties.
  • Cons: there’s such a focus on setting yourself up for when you’re fifty years old that it can create a pressure-cooker of undue stress and expectations; it’s insanely expensive; you will freeze on the streets in winter.

Los Angeles: Entertainment Industry Wannabes and Beach Bums

  • Pros: hub of the entertainment industry; beautiful weather almost all year round and beaches galore; beautiful people
  • Cons: beautiful people; need a car to get around and traffic is horrendous; money-grubbers, hangers-on, wanksters, and incessant celebrity-fueled conversations can be soul-sapping.

San Francisco: Computer Dorks and Internet Entrepreneurs

  • Pros: Los Angeles like weather mixed with a much more down-to-earth crowd; charming city; close enough to Silicon Valley to be at the center of any Internet bubble; strong gay community
  • Cons: down-to-earth people may be too down to earth; very expensive.

Atlanta: Business People Looking for Inexpensive Alternative to New York City

  • Pros: good weather; laid-back lifestyle; home to many large companies with great just-out-of-college programs (e.g., Home Depot, Coca-Cola); comparatively inexpensive; beautiful new housing communities at rock-bottom prices (includes a pool); young, up-and-coming city
  • Cons: may be too slow for some people; more of an urban-sprawl as compared to a city

Washington, D.C.: Aspiring Presidents and Think-Tank Leaders

  • Pros: center of U.S. politics; lots of young people (and, as a bonus for some, women far outnumber men)
  • Cons: really have to be into politics to enjoy the place as most conversations turn to it as a topic; if you are coming from a large city, D.C. can feel comparatively small and segregated

Miami: Models and People Who Want to Work with Latin America

  • Pros: did you see the ill-fated MTV realty show about models called 8th and Ocean? I did, and I learned that Miama has beautiful weather and beaches all year round; business center for Latin America
  • Cons: the modeling/club scene may be overwhelming

Boston: Consultants and Venture Capitalists

  • Pros: historical city; great sports; loads of colleges; headquarters for many major consulting firms.
  • Cons: smallish and reasonably expensive; extremely cold in the winter.

Seattle: Techies and Wilderness Lovers

  • Pros: Home to Microsoft and other major technology companies; easy access to great skiing, hiking, and other outdoors opportunities
  • Lots of rain; lots of traffic; nightlife may feel tame to the most devoted partiers

Chicago: Aeronautical Geniuses and Midwest Enthusiasts

  • Pros: Big city with Midwestern charm; United and Boeing HQs; good finance and consulting options; diverse neighborhoods; stunning architecture.
  • Freezing winters; in the Midwest.
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