Live the Urban Dream without going Broke in these 10 Cities

Move over, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. And you’re no innocent bystander, Seattle. Sure, these cities offer a nice mix of diversity, walkability and opportunities, but their price tag has become too high for most to even consider building careers (and lives) in them.

Affordable & Awesome: A Tall Order

Cost of living is a simple matter of supply and demand. Certain cities cost more to live in, since the demand to live in them is higher than others. Except… That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It turns out, you don’t need to settle: You can live in a place with a reasonable cost of living and access to opportunities, while earning a very good wage.

In no particular order, here are the top 10 cities where you can kickstart your dreams, without sacrificing fun, savings, or square footage.

Salt Lake City, UT

Known for: Dumbfounding National Parks, plenty of outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking, and having a significant Mormon population. Plus, being the backdrop for the budding ‘Silicon Slopes’ start-up scene booming in the heart of Utah.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: eBay , Goldman Sachs and NetflixCS.

Percentage of population under 35: 55%

State tax rate: 5%

Austin, TX

Known for: Being the capital of Texas (yup, it’s not Houston!), live music, and Silicon Valley expats.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Oh, just the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook; NBD. If you’re looking for an Austin native employer, look no further than multi-national giant Freescale Semiconductors.

Percentage of population under 35: 58%

State income tax rate: 0%

Cleveland, OH

Known for: Historical birthplace of the US automotive industry, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and (arguably) sports teams.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Cleveland Clinic and Kroger.

Percentage of population under 35: 50%

State income tax rate: Up to 5.33% (based on income bracket)

Raleigh, NC

Known for: The Smoky Mountains, craft beer and being home to some of the most influential writers in American history, including Maya Angelou and Thomas Wolfe. Oh, and we should mention North Carolina has been in the news for controversial anti-LGBT legislation.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Bank of America, Sharefile and Epic Games.

Percentage of population under 35: 54%

State income tax rate: 5.75%

Atlanta, GA

Known for: The best peaches in the US, the delectable combination that is chicken & waffles, and having the busiest airport in the world.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Delta, Coca Cola, CNN, First Data, Sun Trust and plenty of other Fortune 500 companies.

Percentage of population under 35: 53%

State income tax rate: Between 1% and 6% (based on income bracket)

Minneapolis, MN

Known for: Beautiful lakes, Canadian-reminiscent temperament and having the largest mall in the US, Mall of America.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Retail giants Target and Best Buy, as well as 3M and food manufacturer General Mills.

Percentage of population under 35: 45%

State income tax rate: Between 5.85% and 9.35% (based on income bracket)

Phoenix, AZ

Known for: Dry heat, the Grand Canyon, spectacular desert views, golf courses and spas. Oh, and a rapidly growing tech scene.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Yelp and Intel, plus smaller-but-still impressive Vixxo, Infusionsoft, DoorDash and Life Lock.

Percentage of population under 35: 54%

State income tax rate: 0%

Orlando, FL

Known for: Being a hugely popular tourist destination, thanks to being the home of the happiest place on earth. Plus, you know, alligators.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Disney World, and pretty much every major theme park chain in the world.

Percentage of population under 35: 67% — highest on this list!

State income tax rate: 0%

Denver, CO

Known for: Sunshine, skiing, the Rocky Mountains, and pioneering marijuana legalization.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: OpenTable, RTL Networks and Western Union.

Percentage of population under 35: 51%

State income tax rate: 4.63%

Portland, OR

Known for: Coffee brewing, indie culture, pretty much inventing ‘hipsters’, and being home to ‘Silicon Forest’ — the friendlier, more-northern and more-affordable (for now) version of Silicon Valley.

Millennial-friendly employers nearby: Nike and Adidas, and in case you’re not a fitness buff, try your luck with tech mainstays Intel and Applied Materials.

Percentage of population under 35: 45%

State income tax rate: Between 7% and 9% (based on income bracket)

Booked your flight yet?

Assuming you don’t already live in these booming urban centers, you’ve got some thinking to do. If you’ve got big dreams, a practical mindset and an open mind,

Start small and talk to any friends you may have in your chosen destination. If you like what you hear, take an exploratory, non-committal trip. Finally, apply to a few jobs, put your best foot forward and let fate take care of the rest.

Originally published at on August 30, 2017.