Minneapolis aerial with Downtown Minneapolis skyline in the background and Loring Park with Loring Pond in the foreground, during early autumn
Bailey Zelena; Davel5957/Getty Images

What makes a city attractive when you’re in your late teens and early twenties? Well, it depends who you are and what you want, of course.

So close your eyes for a minute and picture your ideal college or post-grad life. What do you see? Are you jogging around a lush neighborhood park? Surrounded by fun friends around your age? Checking out restaurants, museums, shows, and sports games? Thriving at a great job? Maybe living your best life working from home (and also streaming your fave shows) with speedy internet?

Everyone’s image is different, but a recent study by CommercialCafe—a commercial real estate listing service—ranked the best cities for Gen Z to live and work. Here are the factors they evaluated to come up with their list:

  • Cost of living
  • Gen Z educational enrollment
  • Gen Z as percent of the population
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average internet speed
  • Number of entertainment establishments, including sports venues, museums, amusement parks, arcades, bars, and restaurants
  • Green commuting score
  • Prevalence of parks

You can take a look at the top 10 winners based on this criteria below—and click through to see internship and job opportunities in each city.

But remember that your own considerations may be different—and that’s OK. Maybe you don’t want to live in a major city at all. Maybe you just want to be near your family or cultivate connections in a smaller community. Maybe you’ve dreamed of working for a particular company headquartered elsewhere. Maybe you’re one of two-thirds of U.S. workers who’d consider relocating in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned and only want to live and work in a state that protects abortion rights.*

Whatever it is, if it’s important to you, it’s worth factoring into your decision.

*We’ve made notes on abortion rights below, but laws are in flux, so please check the details and most up-to-date information before making any decisions.

1.
Atlanta, GA

In addition to landing the top spot overall, Atlanta was no. 1 when it came to number of parks per resident. Note that abortion is banned after six weeks in Georgia.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Atlanta, GA

2.
Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis has a high percentage of Gen Zers in its population and many of them are (or were recently) enrolled in school, scoring third on both metrics.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Minneapolis, MN

3.
Boston, MA

Boston is often described as one big college town, so it’s not surprising it came in at no. 1 for Gen Z educational enrollment. It also did well on green commuting options, but it’s not as affordable as some other options on this list.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Boston, MA

4.
Tucson, AZ

Tuscon, the top-ranked Southwest city on this list, also has the most Gen Zers as a percentage of the overall population. Note that a ban on abortion after 15 weeks is set to take effect on September 24, 2022.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Tucson, AZ

5.
Raleigh, NC

Raleigh and the “Carolina Triangle” area—which also includes Durham and Chapel Hill (home to the University of North Carolina)—has seen a tech boom in recent years that continued even during the pandemic. Note that abortion is banned at 20 weeks in North Carolina.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Raleigh, NC

6.
Columbus, OH

Columbus did particularly well when it comes to affordability, with a cost of living 11% below the U.S. average. Note that Ohio has an abortion ban after six weeks of pregnancy, though a judge temporarily blocked it on September 14, 2022.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Columbus, OH

7.
Seattle, WA

The tech hub of the Pacific Northwest was named the most desirable post-college landing spot for new grads in a recent Axios poll. Seattle suffered when it came to affordability—where it scored on par with Boston—but did well when it came to factors like internet speed, walkability, and access to parks.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Seattle, WA

8.
Austin, TX

Yet another tech hub, the population in the Austin metro area is growing quickly. Note that abortion is banned in Texas with no exception for rape or incest.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in Austin, TX

9.
El Paso, TX

El Paso may not be the first Texas city that comes to Gen Z minds, but they make up a higher percentage of the population than in Austin. Note that abortion is banned in Texas with no exception for rape or incest.

Find internships and entry-level jobs in El Paso, TX

10.
New York, NY

New York City has been such a staple of post-grad moves (and movies about post-grad moves) that it seems too obvious, but it’s worth noting that it placed first for entertainment, internet speed, and green commuting (let’s be real, who has or needs or can afford to keep a car in NYC?). Where it bombed, unsurprisingly, was affordability. 

Find internships and entry-level jobs in New York, NY

Updated 9/15/2022