Jun 30, 2022
As remote work opportunities accelerate faster than experts predicted, job seekers face never-before-seen options when it comes to choosing where to live.
By the end of the first quarter, 24% of all jobs moved to remote work, exceeding earlier predictions from data scientists at Ladders, who examine remote work data from the 50,000 largest employers in North America.
A clear advantage of remote work? Choosing where to live. Whether you’re starting your first remote job or ready for a change of place, take a look at these best cities for young professionals — some of which offer relocation incentives to remote workers — to narrow down your search.
In listing 10 best cities for young adults, in no particular order, we sought up and coming cities providing a mix of high quality of life, affordability, and a variety of community amenities attractive to young, professional remote workers. Many cities offer added perks for remote workers, such as coworking spaces to empower work, or after-hours social opportunities so remote workers can connect with each other in their new communities.
When it comes to a mid-sized city with a big-city feel, look no further than Tulsa. It offers numerous parks with walking and mountain biking trails to highly rated restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. It’s home to the Philbrook Museum of Art and adjoining Philbrook Gardens, named “the most beautiful place in Oklahoma.”
Through Tulsa Remote, the city has already welcomed 1,700 remote workers. The incentive program offers $10,000 cash and other exclusive benefits to eligible remote workers who choose Tulsa as their new home.
“You get all the perks of a big city with upscale restaurants and events, but without all the crowds of a usual big city,” says Joel Meine, a software developer who moved from Texas to Tulsa.
Looking for a small-town vibe combined with an energetic college atmosphere? The city of Muncie may be the answer. Located in east central Indiana and about an hour’s drive from the state capital, Muncie is home to Ball State University. The state’s longest rail-to-trail paved trail runs through the city and downtown Muncie offers a lively mix of arts, entertainment, breweries, and pubs.
The city offers a $5,000 cash incentive for remote workers. Remote workers will find other young professionals in the area, also attracted by the low cost of living and a strong community connection.
“If we go out of town, I can run next door and ask our neighbor to keep an eye on our house and pick up our mail,” says remote worker Carla Donahue. “We never made those connections in Dallas. That’s something that we really missed — having that sense of community.”
As Northwest Arkansas’ metropolitan area experiences rapid growth, more professional remote workers discover the area offers just the right mix of modern city life and gorgeous Ozark scenery. If that’s not enough, Northwest Arkansas offers a $10,000 cash incentive for remote worker relocation.
"We found the incentive for Northwest Arkansas on MakeMyMove when daydreaming about leaving Washington, D.C.,” says Anela Malik. “We visited, loved the area, and ended up moving.”
Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville offers experiences like historic Dickson Street, a year-round farmer’s market, live music venues, and unique eateries. Nearby attractions like the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville place the growing area on the map. Those who visit may find it’s just the right place to put down roots.
For outdoor enthusiasts, five lakes offer plenty of opportunities to make a splash or relax on beaches. Scenic hiking and biking trails abound in the city, as do trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city ranks among the top tech hubs in the nation. Remote workers will find other young professionals who chose Wisconsin as the place to advance their career.
Situated in the Allegheny Mountains, Charleston combines a lively college town atmosphere with the flavor of local culture. Home to the University of Charleston and nearby West Virginia State University, the city features diverse restaurants and the year-round Capitol Market.
The area also offers plenty of outdoor adventures, from hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing to ziplining and whitewater rafting.
Charleston offers a $5,000 cash incentive for working professionals who relocate to the city, proving the city has a lot to offer young professionals looking to take the next step.
Ranking sixth in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Places to Live in 2022-2023, the area boasts of a high quality of life with a low cost of living, an appealing combination to young, professional remote workers.
Whether it’s art, science, history, or outdoor activities like kayaking, Raleigh’s got you covered. The area features top-rated restaurants and a nightlife scene to ensure a welcome variety of food and entertainment.
The Triangle area (so named for the institutions in the three cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) is the second-fastest growing tech hub in the nation. Remote workers living in the Triangle area can connect with other remote workers for socialization and skill-sharing.
First on the list of U.S. News and World Report’s 25 Best Places for Young Professionals in 2022-2023, Colorado Springs also placed second for best places to live in the nation.
Well known for attractions such as Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs offers climbing, biking, hiking, and the Garden of the Gods public park. The state boasts more than 400 hundred established craft breweries, while art and music festivals round out the local community experience.
Groups catering to young professionals in the area provide networking opportunities, showing why the city adds up to one of the best places to live for young people.
Albuquerque, located in the high desert, possesses rich Native American and Hispanic history that permeates its culture. Those who live there enjoy bright sunny days and cool evenings. The perfect weather means more time for exploring the outdoors by hiking or biking, or immersing yourself in the art, culture, and food. Known as quirky and eccentric, Albuquerque features unique landmarks and attractions reinforcing this vibe.
From a diverse community and culture to a variety of affordable housing choices, Albuquerque may check all the boxes on your must-have list.
New York Times ranked the city No. 25 in a “52 Places to Go in 2018” (one of 11 U.S. cities named). From its Civil War and train history to outdoor draws like rock climbing, hiking, biking, and rafting, Chattanooga offers activities for a wide variety of interests. Plenty of restaurants and distilleries provide chances to unwind.
If you’re on the search for a coastal town atmosphere, you may want to consider Southwest Michigan. The area along the shores of Lake Michigan offers an incentive package toward a home mortgage, along with other benefits, for eligible full-time remote workers moving to the area.
In St. Joseph, you’ll discover beaches and lighthouses, or you can meander down the quaint downtown streets for shopping, art, and numerous wineries. Don’t forget your dog (or cat), as you can pick up treats at a gourmet pet bakery. Nearby Benton Harbor offers plenty of amenities, too, including the beautiful coworking space Dwellers Coworking for creatives, entrepreneurs, and others.
Choosing where to live requires consideration, and isn’t a decision solely based on a “best cities for young professionals” list or a quick online search. Once you’ve thought about your priorities (and any work requirements), you can better narrow down potential places to live. A visit will help you decide whether it’s time for a move, or if you need to research a few more cities.