Millennials love bustling city metropolises and smaller cities with strong communities and hip social scenes.
Our priority was to find the best cities that will align with your values, help you find community, or just help you find a place where you can get a job.
Key Point: A new life is calling and we’re here to help you choose yours from our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials.
But wait, what even is a millennial?
Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, and Gen Z — what do these labels really mean, anyway?
Before telling you about your next hometown, we want to straighten one thing right up front.
What is a Millennial?
The Millennial generation follows Generation X and precedes Generation Y, so a millennial is really anyone born between 1981 and 1996.
Defining generations isn’t an exact science, of course, and some say the Millennial generation starts as early as 1976, and ends as late as the early 2000s.
Are Xennials also Millennials?
Xennials are a micro-generation on the cusp of Generation X and the Millennial generation — born between the late 70s and early 80s.
This generational cohort is sometimes called the Oregon Trail Generation, or Generation Catalano. It’s also sometimes said Xennials were born analog, but grew up digital.
Does that sound like you?
What Defines a Millennial?
Ok, so you were born between 1981 and 1996. But what does it really mean to be a part of the Millennial generation?
Here a few of the defining characteristics:
- An electronic childhood and a networked adulthood
- A high value for ethnically diverse groups of people and ideas
- Abounding confidence
- A highly positive outlook on the future
Since everyone is different, you may relate to some of these traits and not to others. How well do you feel you fit within the Millennial generation?
What is the Current Generation Called?
Following millennials, there’s Generation Z, sometimes shortened to GenZ.
But what generation follows GenZ? Turns out, there’s already a term for this generation: Generation Alpha.
Common characteristics of generation alpha include the following:
- Tech savvy from the moment they’re born
This is a generation practically born with cell phones in their hands.
- Information processing differences
A constant stream of information means this generation will process information differently.
- Redefining what it means to be physical
At the expense of traditional sports and games, this generation will experience a new tech-world and real-world interface that could change sports as we know them.
But you’re a millennial, and you’re looking to relocate. After settling on a new town or city, how do you prepare for your move? Here’s what you need to know.
How Do You Prepare to Move?
Whether it’s across town or to another state, moving is a lot of work. Here are a few tips and pointers to make the process easier.
Before the move, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- Will you pack your own stuff, or pay someone else to do it?
- Will you move your stuff, or hire a moving service?
- What about moving insurance?
- If you plan on flying, how will you get your car where it needs to go?
- Do you have enough boxes?
And if you’ve ever moved before you know the answer to that last question is always, “No.”
After you’ve answered those questions, it’s time for a moving checklist.
- Get rid of extra stuff
That My Little Pony collection no longer sparking joy? Then get rid of it prior to your move. When moving, the less stuff the better. To help declutter, consider a yard sale.
- Know what supplies you need
Besides boxes (a variety of shapes and sizes is always best), other must-have packing supplies include packing tape, some kind of padding to wrap your fragiles in to keep them safe, and some nice sharpies because carefully labeling your boxes is a must.
Here’s a pro tip: Taking a picture of how your electronics are configured will make setting them back up in your new home much easier.
- Pack in stages
It’s never too soon to start packing, and it’s best to pack in stages. Pack up stuff you aren’t using first (bulky sweaters in August, for example) and your “Open First” box, as well as important documents, valuable keepsakes, and your pet care supplies last.
- Hire a professional
Or maybe forget all this and just hire a professional. Don’t hire just anyone, though. Check the company’s history and licensing before signing on the dotted line.
Here are a few more loose ends to tie up before setting off on your next adventure: update your address, cancel or transfer services like internet, garbage, and recycling from your old home to your new home, solicit friends to help (beer and pizza required!), and of course, one of the most important steps when preparing to move is to notify your landlord!
Feeling that wanderlust flowing through your veins? Ready to start planning of your new life in a new town? Here are the 50 most attractive cities for millennials.
Finding the Most Attractive Cities for Millennials
We’ve all heard about San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Despite how unaffordable those cities have become, they’ll likely continue to attract young people for generations to come. You won’t find any of those cities in our ranking.
What we set out to do in this ranking was instead show you some cities around the U.S. that have a lot going for them, but get a little less publicity than those major metropolises. Places like Fargo, ND or Akron, OH. And that goes beyond Portland, OR, and Denver, CO, already well-known towns for young people and creative-types.
While we included some towns like that in our ranking, we knocked them down the list in favor of some surprises and best-kept-secrets. Did your town make it?
When evaluating the most attractive cities for millennials we considered the following, all priorities for millennials when choosing a place to live:
- Job market
- Overall economy
- Housing affordability
- Population diversity
- Public transit
- Civic Engagement
- Food, entertainment, and nightlife
We also consulted similar rankings from trusted and reputable sources from all over the internet. Cities like Portland, OR that ranked well in some areas, but struggle with issues like high unemployment got knocked down the list, while smaller towns like Colorado Springs, CO got a little extra love.
Overall, we feel this approach produced the most accurate results, and we can’t wait to get started. Will you find your next hometown in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials?
The Most Attractive Cities for Millennials
Coming in first in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials is Rochester, NY Despite those tough winters, Rochester has shown strong growth in the millennial demographic in recent years, scoring high in home affordability, as well as job market and overall livability.
The popularity of Rochester with millennials is in keeping with the recent resurgence in the appeal of mid-sized cities, where millennials can more easily reach the top of their profession, buy a home, and raise a family.
Rochester also offers a lot for a millennial to do. Several prominent universities are located in Rochester, and Rochester is home to Strong National Museum of Play, The George Eastman Museum, on the early-1900s estate of the Kodak founder, and the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
And Rochester also scores well in the nightlife category, with nightclubs, bars, dance clubs and plenty of quality restaurants to keep millennials occupied. There’s plenty of art, theater, music, and dance. And located right on the Finger Lakes, outdoorsy types will love all that Rochester offers by way of natural scenery and wilderness adventure.
Des Moines, IA
Second place in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials brings us to Des Moines, IA. With a recent resurgence in Des Moines’ downtown, and efforts to enhance Des Moines’ arts and culture scene, as well to attract and retain a younger workforce, Des Moines is booming, and millennials agree.
Des Moines scores particularly well in affordability and low unemployment. In fact, Forbes ranked Des Moines fifth in the nation for business and careers, and in recent years, hiring in the tech center has been strong. On top of all that, Des Moines has hot restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife. We suggest checking out Wooly’s for live music, or Des Moines Public Market for a bite to eat.
And Des Moines has managed all this while keeping their housing costs 10 percent lower than the national average. Housing options include brand new or refurbished historic buildings in downtown Des Moines, in keeping with millennials’ desire to have a strong sense of community, while staying close to the action at all times.
So if you’re a millennial looking for a new home in the Midwest, skip Chicago, Minneapolis or Milwaukee and try Des Moines instead.
Kansas City, MO
Staying in the Midwest, the next city in our ranking is Kansas City, MO. What millennials are loving about Kansas City is its vibrant arts and culture scene as well as affordable cost of living — all the perks of a big city, with none of the headaches. Overall, Kansas City scores well in affordability, but suffers some from a relatively high unemployment rate.
Nevertheless, entrepreneurial millennials are flocking to Kansas City. And what they’re finding is a culture receptive to food-industry startups. There’s also a strong market in health care jobs. Kansas City’s downtown area has kept with what millennials desire in housing, with relatively affordable high-rise options as well as plenty of quirky neighborhoods to choose from, like Waldo, Brookside and North Kansas City.
Kansas City has plenty to offer for nightlife as well, with the Crossroads Arts District, just north of Union Station, as well as the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Kansas City is also good for millennial sports fans, with MLB’s Kansas City Royals and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Fourth in our ranking is Dayton, OH. What millennials like in particular about Dayton is the affordability of housing. In addition, Dayton ranks high in job opportunities and livability, and while Dayton is a relatively small city when compared to some other cities with a population of only about 140,000 people, there’s still lots to do.
In fact, Apartmentguide.com ranked Dayton’s nightlife in the nation’s top 10, with 70 bars, 9 breweries, and 38 clubs for every 1,200 residents. And best of all, the average rent in Dayton is under $800. Top employers in the Dayton area include Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Premier Health, and Kettering Health Network.
But most of all, if you’re a millennial frustrated by the high cost of buying a home in larger metropolitan areas, consider Dayton,. Where and over 50 percent of the millennials population could afford to buy a home.
Grand Rapids, MI
What really caught our attention about the next town millennials are moving to, Grand Rapids, MI, was the affordability. In fact, the National Association of Realtors ranked Grand Rapids the number 2 destination for millennials in the entire U.S, and Business Insider called Grand Rapids America’s number 1 destination for millennials.
What millennials are loving about Grand Rapids is its low cost of living. 27% of Grand Rapids’ population classifies as part of the Millennial generation, with an average income of about $53,000, plenty of money to buy just over 20 percent of houses in Grand Rapids.
There’s a lot to do in Grand Rapids besides by a house, however. With over 15 colleges and universities, there’s that college town feel, plus plenty of arts and culture, outdoor activities, restaurants and bars. The Frederick Meijer Garden Sculpture Park has been named among the top 30 must-see museums on the planet.
If only Grand Rapids had ranked a little higher in arts and culture surveys and if it weren’t for those Michigan winters, Grand Rapids would’ve moved up our ranking as well.
The next stop in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials brings us back to Ohio. Akron, OH, home to the University of Akron, makes this ranking based on the affordability of housing, nearly 36% of millennials residing in Akron hold a college degree.
There are interesting cultural things happening as well. Akron’s downtown has recently been redesigned by millennials, and with the interests of millennials in mind. Like Hive Mind, a space for art and creativity, as well as Kling Thing, just off the University of Akron campus.
In addition, University of Akron’s polymer is providing jobs for young people. The Rust Belt is just now coming out of tough economic times, but Akron, like a lot of the Northeast Ohio area, in on the comeback, and millennials are liking what they see.
Our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials brings us now to Madison, WI. Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. What’s attracting millennials to Madison, in particular, is the low unemployment rate and mix of big city amenities with the feel of a college town.
Bloomberg reports that millennials are also moving to Madison due to the affordable cost of living, coupled with abundant jobs centered around the university and tech sector. Madison has a lot to offer culturally as well, from Badger football games to live music.
Are you a millennial that’s into staying fit? We’re asking because fitness is kind of Madison’s thing, according to Fitbit, and the Reebok CrossFit Games is set to relocate to Madison from Los Angeles in 2021.
Another college town millennials love is Lincoln, NE, home to Nebraska Cornhuskers, one of the most storied college football programs in history. So if you’re a millennial that loves college football and small towns, listen up.
In addition to football, what millennials are loving about Lincoln is the low unemployment rate, and low violent crime rate. In addition, Livability.com ranked Lincoln number 9 in their 2019 top 100 Best Places to live.
Employers in Lincoln include Care.com, the University of Nebraska and the State of Nebraska. In terms of cultural offerings, Lincoln has a lot going for it, with Pinnacle Bank Arena frequently hosting live music from some of the industry’s biggest names.
If bigger city living is more your style, consider the next city in our ranking, Pittsburgh, PA. In recent years, Pittsburgh has been coming back from a poor economy, gaining ground on more well-known millennial destinations like Portland, OR and Austin, TX.
What sets Pittsburgh apart, however, is the abundance of arts and culture, without any of the high cost of living and unemployment that has come to plague those other cities. Mayflower.com ranked Pittsburgh ninth in their Top 10 Cities for Millennials, citing affordability, a thriving food scene, plenty of job opportunities, and vibrant downtown with an active nightlife.
Livability.com also loves Pittsburgh, ranking the city eighth in the nation for best places to live based on affordability., and industries in Pittsburgh include robotics, steel, healthcare, and nuclear engineering. Pittsburgh’s also a great place for a sports fan since its home to the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fort Wayne, IN
Rounding out the top 10 in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials is Fort Wayne, IN. Fort Wayne ranks well for affordability, with a home ownership rate of nearly 63%. In addition, Fort Wayne also ranks low in unemployment.
For nightlife, Fort Wayne offers a diverse mix of live music venues, restaurants and nightclubs, including The Club Room, Clyde Theatre, and The Q. More than anything, Fort Wayne is a good choice for any millennial looking to start a family without completely giving up on their social lives.
Next in our ranking is Nashville, TN, also knowns as Music City USA. Nashville has recently become a hotspot for millennials due to its unparalleled nightlife, and arts and culture community. There’s live music everywhere in Nashville, and it’s not just country music. In Nashville, music fans will find a little of everything.
In recent years, Nashville has also ranked as one the U.S. fastest growing cities. Nevertheless, Nashville has managed to keep the cost of living relatively affordable, while maintaining the feel of a tight-knight community.
Major employers in Nashville include Vanderbilt University & Medical Center, Nissan North America, and HCA Holdings. Something that knocked Tennessee out of our top 10 was a subpar public transportation system, but with so many people, jobs, and money pouring into the area, that’s sure to improve.
Another town millennials are migrating toward is Portland, ME. Low unemployment is attracting millennials to Portland, but also the area’s diversity, low cost of living, and thriving arts, culture, and food scene.
Running with Scissors Art Studios is a recently renovated building in downtown Maine, intended as an artist studio collective, helping artists share space, inspiration, and tools.
Portland ranks high among U.S. cities with the smallest business per capita.
What might be attracting millennials to Maine most of all is the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit program, helping college graduates pay down student loan debt with a tax credit.
The winters are tough in Maine, but with lobster, beer, and the kind of views available in Portland, ME many millennials are deciding to stay.
Durham, NC is the next stop in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials. A college town, home to Duke University as well as several other institutes of higher education. Durham scored top spot for millennials from Growella, a real estate website.
In recent years, nearly 70 percent of new residents in Durham were millennial, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the population, with a median income of $50,000. Forbes ranked Durham in their top 5 most popular destinations for millennials, and what we found millennials like most about Durham is the abundance of jobs, as well as the minimal time spent commuting, quality of public transportation, Durham’s nightlife, how far a paycheck stretches in Durham, and its youthful population.
Major employers in Durham include Duke and North Carolina State University and IBM, and one of the region’s most successful research parks is in Durham, helping to bolster employment.
Given its harsh winters, the next town in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials might come as a surprise for some: Fargo, ND. Nevertheless, millennials are setting course for Fargo. In fact, North Dakota boasts the highest number of residents in the 18 – 34 demographic in the nation!
What are millennials loving about Fargo? First off, the affordability and low unemployment. Wallethub ranked North Dakota second best for millennials, and Millennial Tracker shows Fargo leading the region in millennial mortgage applications.
Fargo has also undergone a cultural resurgence as of late, becoming a craft beer capital, live music destination, and arts hub. Most of all, employers are loving the high population of millennials, among the most diverse and educated generations in history.
Syracuse, NY, home to Syracuse University, is next in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials. In fact, a recent study from the National Association of Realtors found nearly three-quarters of Syracuse’s population were millennial, the third-highest percentage in the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas.
Syracuse ranks among the youngest cities in all of upstate New York, and with a median income of about $50,000, millennials can afford to buy nearly half the homes for sale in Syracuse.
In addition to housing affordability, millennials are loving Syracuse’s cultural vibrancy, from the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park. to the bars and restaurants in Armory Square.
Next stop is Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg-Carlile. Factors attracting millennials to this twin city region demographic are the job market, housing prices, the number of homes on the market, and the overall livability of the area.
In fact, the Harrisburg metro area U.S. News and World Report ranked Harrisburg in the top 50 Best Places to Live, the top-ranked Pennsylvania city for that year, but what millennials really love about Harrisburg is the urban atmosphere without the expense of a big city.
In addition, Harrisburg offers easy access to the outdoors, with running trails right on the Susquehanna River on the trails of Riverfront Park, and the nearby Appalachian Trail for camping or mountain biking, as well as a whole host of other nearby forests and parks.
Ohio is winning the war to attract millennials, as can be seen in the next stop in our ranking, Cincinnati, OH. A recent study from Clever Real Estate ranked Cincinnati the 10th best city in the U.S. for millennials interested in buying a home.
And research from SmartAssets found Cincinnati the 13th most popular destination for millennials. Popular neighborhoods in Cincinnati include the downtown area, and Hyde Park neighborhood, both full of restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
Overall, Cincinnati scores well in all the metrics millennials are looking for, including one very important factor: diversity. Sports fans will also love Cincinnati, home to the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds and the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. Major employers include Kroger and Proctor and Gamble.
The Lone Star State is also getting some love from millennials, and Arlington, TX, a Dallas suburb, is leading the list. Niche.com ranked Arlington the third best city for millennials in the nation, and Arlington is home to AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play.
Things millennials are finding most appealing about Arlington include easy access to coffee shops, restaurants and bars, diversity of residents, as well as walkability, higher education rate, and the relatively low cost of living.
And if diversity is what you’re looking for, Arlington is also home to the 10th-largest Vietnamese-American population of all U.S. cities. A millennial hotspot in Arlington is the Viridian neighborhood, with a nice mix of affordable housing options.
Saint Paul, MN
Saint Paul’s twin city Minneapolis is a popular destination for millennials in its own right, but Minneapolis’ little sibling, St. Paul, is gaining attention as well, with the millennial population in the overall region growing by as much as 25 percent since 2008.
What millennials are finding in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are career opportunities with an urban, diverse, and affordable, standard of living. In St. Paul the median income is around $50,000 year with an average home price of just under $175,000.
The greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area has also grown to be a hub for arts and culture, with trendy, walkable and diverse neighborhoods. Other fun things to do in St. Paul include catching a Minnesota Wild Hockey game at the Xcel Energy Center, ranked among the finest arenas in the nation.
Located in the center of so much natural beauty, Boise, ID is the next town in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials. Forbes picked Boise as the sixth best city in the nation for young professionals, and Matador network included Boise in their ranking of the 10 most underrated cities for millennials.
What’s attracting millennials to Boise is low unemployment, median income at right around $50,000, and an educated and diverse population. About a third of Boise’s residents hold a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to being a great place for outdoors-oriented millennials, it’s perfect for fitness-minded millennials as well. Landing in the top 5 best towns for both Men’s and Women’s health, and Conde Nast calls Boise the Western U.S.’s best kept secret. We agree.
Fort Worth, TX
Our next stop takes us back down south to Texas, where Fort Worth has been rising in popularity with millennials. What millennials are finding in Fort Worth is affordability mixed with easy access to urban amenities, both in Fort Worth and the greater Dallas area.
A recent study from Langston Co. ranked Dallas-Fort Worth the third best town for millennials. Taken into consideration were factors like job opportunities, cost of living, taxes, traffic, and cleanliness.
Nail & Key selected four Fort Worth neighborhoods perfect for millennials, including the “hipster” and “up and coming” Fairmount area, with easy access to downtown Fort Worth, and the “artsy” Cultural District. Major employers in Fort Worth include AMR Corporation and Bank of America Corp.
Staying in Texas, we now turn to Lubbock, home to Texas Tech University, and the birthplace of Buddy Holly. In recent years, Lubbock landed in Growella’s top 20 U.S cities for people under 35.
In 2019, Smart Asset put Lubbock in their top 20 best cities for millennials. What we found millennials are liking about Lubbock is the availability of entry-level jobs, limited time spent commuting, public transportation, nightlife, young population, and how far a paycheck will stretch. Overall, Lubbock millennials are spending less time commuting, and affordability.
A third of Lubbock’s residents are millennials, bringing diversity to the town with nearly half identifying as part of a minority group.
Affordability a priority for you? If so, consider the next cities in our ranking, Winston-Salem, NC. Millennials are beginning to notice Winston-Salem as it ranks among the most affordable places in the country for millennials to buy a home.
Known as a city of arts and innovation, Winston-Salem maintains a low unemployment rate, with a relatively brisk job market. And while the area certainly has more of a suburban feel than other locations in our ranking, there are lots of cultural amenities in Winston-Salem to keep millennials busy.
Such offerings include the West End Historic District and Foothills brewing, and major employers in Winston-Salem include Wake Forest University and Novant Health.
Is hot and dry your preferred climate? If so, then the next city we want to tell you about is Henderson, NV, a suburb of Las Vegas that’s quickly gaining popularity among millennials.
In fact, SmartAsset found Henderson, as well as the greater Vegas area, was the 10th most popular destination for millennials.
What’s drawing them is the desert climate, but also a cost of living roughly 2 percent below the national average, relatively cheap rent and home prices, and an abundance of work opportunities.
In recent years, Henderson has invested in neighborhoods like the Inspirada housing community, designed specifically for the growing millennial population. Needless to say, there’s a ton to do in the Las Vegas metro area, both outdoors and on the strip, and Vegas draws a diverse population from all over the world.
The weather is hot, however. So before choosing Henderson, make sure that’s going to work for you.
Staying in the desert Southwest, our ranking brings up now to Scottsdale, AZ, a small town with tons of appeal for members for millennials. Scottsdale landed fourth in Gogotbot’s ranking of best mid-sized town for millennials, based on the number of Millennial-friendly restaurants and the nightlife found in Old Town Scottsdale.
According to Capitalfund1, millennials in Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix metro area are finding jobs, a diverse population, and healthy living. Plus, unbeatable weather.
Millennials seek a good work-life balance and they’re finding it in Scottsdale, with nearby Phoenix available for more urban amenities. Scottsdale hosts festivals, an art walk, and is home to all sorts of up and coming restaurants and bars.
Our tour of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials brings us now to Raleigh, NC, also known as the Triangle Region and home to three major research universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Forbes picked Raleigh 12th best city for millennials, with an average rent under $900.
Other things millennials are liking about Raleigh is a strong job base, anchored by industry-leading tech companies.
Raleigh also offers diverse cultural offerings centered around Raleigh’s thriving downtown core, with great places to eat, museums, parks, live music and other events. In addition, homes are still pretty cheap in Raleigh, a definite draw to the area.
Vegas isn’t the only area of Nevada attracting millennials. In recent years, Reno has become a popular spot for millennials to call home. CrazyTourist.com picked Reno number one in their 15 best places to live in Nevada, citing reasonable housing prices, and a strong public school system.
What we found millennials are liking about Reno is a farm to table food scene, progressive politics, “thrift stores and microbreweries,” and Movehub.com tapped Reno as one of the hippest towns in America.
In addition, nearby Lake Tahoe is one of the world’s leading outdoor destinations, and Reno’s job market in the tourism and hospitality industry remains strong.
For the 28th spot in our ranking, we picked Baton Rouge, LA. Baton Rouge is both a capital city and a college town, and the Brookings Institute found Baton-Rouge to be among the most millennial places in the country, with about a quarter of the population falling into the millennial demographic.
What’s attracting millennials is a diverse population and affordable housing. Nearly half of Baton-Rouge’s millennials hold a mortgage, and job growth remains robust. Major employers in Baton Rouge include Parish Water Company and AT&T.
Community engagement is a big draw for millennials in Baton Rouge, and hip Baton Rouge neighborhoods like Mid City offer great opportunities for nightlife, remaining walkable with a good mix of local businesses.
St. Louis, MO
What’s bringing millennials to St. Louis, the 29th pick in our ranking of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials is a strong startup scene, economic development, and small business growth.
In addition, Business Insider found St. Louis to be among the top 25 most affordable cities for millennials in the entire country, mentioning St. Louis’ affordability, and finding that millennials in St. Louis score a high happiness rating.
In addition to a strong job market and affordable housing, there’s plenty to do in St. Louis as well, like visiting Forest Park, home to museums, zoos, restaurants, and all sorts of other cultural offerings.
Staying in the midwest, the next city we want to tell you about is Indianapolis, IN, a metropolitan area that has seen strong growth in the millennial population, both in the downtown core and in the suburbs of the city.
What’s drawn millennials to Indianapolis in recent years is affordability and housing options, from hip downtown apartments, to suburban family homes. Our research shows Indianapolis has more millennials than any of the other top 100 metro areas In the country.
Average home prices in Indianapolis average under $150,000, nearly 60 percent less than the national average. There are several colleges and universities in Indianapolis, and sports fans will appreciate the proximity to live sports from teams like the Indianapolis Colts or the Indy 500 car race.
In 2017, Vogue.com asked if the next town in our ranking, Savannah, GA, could be the next Brooklyn due to an influx of millennial transplants, and Pennyhoarder.com gave Savannah strong marks in millennial happiness, affordability, and overall economic prosperity.
What we found Savannah is offering millennials is a good mix of history, diversity, and style. There are bars and restaurants, museums and arts centers as well, centered in part around the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Are you a millennial not quite ready to settle down? Then Savannah might be right for you. Hipmunk ranked Savannah among America’s most underrated party cities for millennials, citing the warm weather and open carry of alcoholic beverages on city sidewalks.
Walkability and easy access to the outdoors are just two of the things attracting millennials to the next city in our ranking, Roanoke, VA. In addition, Roanoke is an affordable option, and a capital for coffee fanatics.
Roanoke also landed on Penny Hoarders list of 25 cities millennials can afford and actually want to live in. Roanoke’s natural beauty is centered around Explore Park, Mill Mountain Park and the trail system along Roanoke Mountain among many others.
A recent downtown renovation is also drawing millennials into Roanoke, with a mix of small retail and restaurants and a population of downtown residents swelling to nearly 2000 people.
Major employers in Roanoke include Carilion Clinic, Kroger.
The next city in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials is Columbia, SC. In 2017, Columbia saw a net increase of nearly 7,000 residents falling in the millennial demographic, or just under 5 percent of the cities population.
Some reasons millennials are settling in Columbia include the job market, affordable housing — whether renting or buying — and overall quality of life. Columbia also has plenty of big city amenities like a farmers market, an art museum, a zoo, and an art walk in downtown Columbia.
Also downtown is The Congaree Vista, home to over 60 restaurants, nightclubs, and nightlife destinations, and the Five Points area is another tourist hotspot. Large employers in Columbia include Palmetto Health and UPS.
34th in our ranking is Minneapolis, MN. Among all the things that bring millennials to Minneapolis, home buying tops the list. In fact, recent statistics say 48% of all new homeowners in Minneapolis are 35 and under.
Millennials are finding the usual list of plus-sides to living in Minneapolis, including jobs, an affordable cost of living, urban lifestyle meets access to the outdoors, and plenty of stuff to do, including sports, arts, and culture, as well as a civic and community-minded population.
Forbes picked the North Loop area of Minneapolis as the best neighborhood for millennials. Millennials in Minneapolis are finding jobs as software analysts, market research analysts, and computer systems analysts.
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI, is the next stop on our tour of the 50 most attractive cities for millennials. Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also frequently lands near the top of rankings of America’s best college towns.
But there’s a lot more than college life going on in Ann Arbor, things like a great arts and food scene, strong schools, and a diverse and highly educated population. Other things Ann Arbor has going for it include a low crime rate, and a booming economy.
Ann Arbor came in third in Mayflower and Liveability survey of Top 10 Cities for Millennials, and also scored 16th place in HometoGo.com’s survey of the best places in Michigan for millennials to visit.
College towns — large or small — make a strong showing in our ranking because of their relatively low cost of living, diverse population, and cultural amenities. By this standard, the next town in our ranking Lawrence, KS, homebase for the University of Kansas, belongs in any ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials.
In fact, nearly 25% of Lawrence’s residents fall into the millennial generation, scoring well with millennials for an overall strong economy and low cost of living. Many millennials say they’re just happier in Lawrence, and downtown Lawrence is vibrant, particularly around Massachusetts Street, full of vintage architecture and craft breweries.
Salt Lake City, UT
The 37th spot in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials takes us to Salt Lake City. Mayflower.com picked Salt Lake City in its ranking of America’s top 10 cities for millennials for its mix of progressive lifestyle, natural beauty, and affordability.
And the nearby mountains make Salt Lake a great place for any millennial that likes to ski.
What we liked is SLC’s appealing downtown, where many millennials are choosing to settle. But there’s a lot to do in Salt Lake, besides skiing, including great bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and live music venues.
Some of Salt Lake’s best employers for millennials include the tech company Pluralsight, and the educational tech firm Instructure.
Many of America’s largest cities are losing millennials for more affordable locations, but Houston, TX is stemming the tide. Statistics show nearly 75,000 millennials moved to Houston between 2012 and 2017 alone!
What’s keeping millennials interested in Houston, when compared to other large cities, is a diverse population, and amenities for children. What we liked about Houston was the potential for job growth, low unemployment, wage-earning potential, affordable housing, and overall quality of life.
One of America’s leading metropolitan areas, Houston has it all: music and culture, live sports, and a great international food scene. Some great places in Houston for millennials to find work include Ultimate Software, Salesforce, and Workday.
The 39th pick in our ranking keeps us in Texas, Austin, TX to be exact, home of the University of Texas and capital of the Lone Star State. What millennials are loving about Austin is the job growth, since Austin is home to major employers such as natural foods grocer Whole Foods, as well as tech giants like Apple, Dell, and Google.
Austin is also known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so needless to say, Austin’s nightlife is exceptional, and housing has stayed pretty reasonable as well, with ample options to rent or buy a home.
There’s also easy access to the outdoors in Austin, and the overall population is diverse, progressive, and fitness-minded. It all explains why in 2019, Havenlife.com found millennials made up almost 21 percent of Austin’s population.
40th in our ranking is Omaha, NE. Like several other midwest cities, Omaha is rocketing up rankings of the best places for millennials to move based on a strong job market, higher than average income, cheap housing, upward mobility, diversity, and an overall educated and progressive population.
What we like about Omaha is the Little Bohemia neighborhood, recently undergoing a two-million-dollar revitalization project and home to art galleries, art exhibits, bakeries, outdoor dining areas and more.
The 41st city in our rank is Columbus, OH. What millennials are finding in Columbus, home to Ohio State University, are jobs. Several Columbus-based companies and businesses have made the Fortune 500 list, like L Brands, Cardinal Health, and Nationwide Insurance. In addition, retailers like Abercrombie and Express are based in Columbus.
In addition, Columbus has managed to remain affordable, especially compared to other major U.S. metropolitan area. And that’s not just in housing but transportation, groceries, and healthcare as well. Columbus also has a great food and beverage scene, loads of arts and culture, a diverse population, and everything in Columbus is easily accessible on foot.
Portland, OR is next up in our list. For quite some time, Portland’s been a well-known destination for all things youthful and creative. As recently as 2017, nearly 26,000 millennials moved to Portland, a pace that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Portland’s cost of living is a bit higher than other towns in our ranking, and we found unemployment and expensive housing can be an issue, despite being home to large companies like Nike. But millennials in Portland make up for this with start-up businesses and creative environment.
Overall, millennials in Portland are enjoying a world-class food scene, and urban environment well-balanced with easy access to the outdoors.
Oklahoma City, OK
Traveling back down south, the next place in our ranking is Oklahoma City, OK, a city millennials are discovering — and loving! — at an increasing rate. What’s attracting and keeping millennials in Oklahoma city is a booming job market and wages that rank among the best in the country.
In addition, millennials are finding a lot of like-minded people of their own generation in Oklahoma City, as well as a cost of living that has remained more reasonable than other large American cities, at nearly eight-and-a-half percent below the national average.
Besides downtown, OKC neighborhoods where millennials are calling home include The Village, with a small-town feel and easy access to downtown, or Edmond for a more family-friendly vibe.
Next up, we have Charlotte, NC, where the millennials population is starting to explode. In recent years, in fact, Charlotte has led the nation in millennial population growth. Things that millennials are loving about Charlotte include a hot job market, a trendy downtown, abundant art and culture offerings, and a low cost of living.
Millennials are also attracted to the outdoor opportunities and mild weather offered by Charlotte, since Charlotte is near both the ocean and the mountains, and nearby two national forests. The job market in Charlotte is particularly strong for statisticians and operations analysts.
Hot neighborhoods in Charlotte include Dilworth, a walkable locale full of restaurants and trendy nightlife, as well as Plaza Midwood, a diverse neighborhood that’s also very family-friendly.
Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs takes the 45th spot in our ranking of the most attractive cities for millennials. What’s bringing millennials to this town at the edge of the rocky mountains is the ability to balance work and play, proximity to the outdoors, an active arts and culture scene, and a strong job market.
For arts, there’s the Colorado Springs Broadmoor Art Academy and the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. In addition, Colorado Springs has proven to have a strong job market anchored in tech startups. In addition, Colorado Springs’ food scene is catching fire in its up-and-coming downtown core.
Our nation’s capital has attracted its own fair share of millennials in recent years. Millennials in DC are finding a booming economy, and a higher-than-average quality of life. Millennials also rank DC high for education, healthcare, and civic engagement. In fact, studies show millennials in DC earn more money than anywhere else in the nation.
Millennials in DC are loving the Chinatown area, earning high marks from young professionals, as well as Mount Vernon Square, and downtown DC. In their free time, they’re enjoying augmented reality cocktails at Artechouse, or taking a jog around the C&O Canal.
Denver, CO has also shown strong growth in the millennial demographic, due mainly to a strong economy, a diverse and progressive population, proximity to nature, and overall job opportunities. Expensive housing is one of the few drawbacks millennials are finding in the mile-high city.
Millennials are loving the River North, or RiNo, neighborhood in particular, where they’re finding co-working spaces and mix-used developments with residences, retail, and office space. In addition, Denver’s food scene is world-class, all three major professional sports are represented, and there are tons of opportunities in Denver to get outdoors as well.
The next city in our ranking is Alexandria, VA, where millennials having been moving in droves. One neighborhood they’re loving in particular is Old Town Alexandria, an area that’s shown a nearly 30 percent increase in its millennial population.
Otherwise, millennials in Alexandria are finding abundant job openings, tons of great bars and restaurants, cheap housing, and a lot of peers in their same age range. And many of the jobs millennials are finding in Alexandria are in the tech sector, with companies like VSE, DCS, and Vision Technology Systems leading the pack.
The next city we want to tell you about is Baltimore, MD, a municipality drawing millennials in based on the strength of its cheap rent prices and refurbished, historic buildings, and urban-industrial feel. Plus, unlike San Francisco or New York, Baltimore has stayed cheap enough to allow millennials to lead a creative lifestyle and still pay the rent.
Millennials are finding jobs in Baltimore with Under Armour, a global apparel company, and others even commute to jobs in nearby Washington DC. As far as neighborhoods are concerned, millennials and loving the recently refurbished Port Covington area, full of restaurants, breweries, yoga studios, and a whole lot more.
San Diego, CA
The last city on our list, San Diego, CA, has some of the best weather in the nation and one of the highest percentages of millennial residents as well, topping off at about 27 percent. Millennials migration to San Diego has slowed somewhat in recent years.
But this can make it even easier for millennials to find a job in San Diego, particularly in the tech, engineering, and math. And millennials continue to choose San Diego as a place to live, with strong public transit, and even ski resorts only a few hours away. In addition, San Diego has a great food scene, lots of beaches, beautiful architecture, and a diverse and progressive population.
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