The 10 Best Cities for College Graduates

Are you a recent graduate? These cities could be the perfect place to kickstart your career!

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Best Cities Recent Graduates pinned around the globe

For recent grads, the world is their oyster. Untethered by university commitments and equipped with the education and skills needed to kick off a career, many decide to start afresh in a new city.

However, not all cities will give you the best chances of success – and some are better than others at accommodating bright-eyed grads. When considering relocating to a new city, it’s important to consider various factors, such as employment opportunities, quality of life and the cost of living.

So, if you’re curious to know which cities are the most favorable for recent graduates, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten below.

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is not only a world class city for art, architecture and culture, but is also a great place to live as a grad. One of the main appeals of the city is that you don’t need a car and can get around very easily with just a bike. As someone who is just starting out their career, not having the expense of a car is a big advantage.

Another appeal of the city is the booming startup scene. In fact, 80 Dutch startups were included in Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500 list. So, if you are hoping to break into the tech industry, Amsterdam offers ample opportunity.

2. Glasgow, Scotland

Nearly half of Glasgow’s graduates choose to continue living in the city post-studies. The low cost of living, high quality of life, entertainment and culture are just a few factors that make this city so attractive to recent graduates.

As the third biggest city in the UK, with 600,000 inhabitants, Glasgow has all the perks of a big city without being too overwhelming. Therefore, getting your bearings and widening your social and professional network is not as challenging as other, bigger cities. This could make Glasgow just the right fit.

3. Manchester, England

Like Glasgow, Manchester does a great job at retaining graduates. Although the average starting salary of £20,870 is on the lower end compared to other cities in the UK, Manchester has various other attractive attributes. 

With the cost of living being significantly lower than London’s, Manchester makes an affordable alternative. The city also provides numerous opportunities to work in media, science and the financial sector. The nightlife and cultural offerings are further reasons why recent grads are drawn to Manchester.

4. Munich, Germany

As one of the top five most livable cities in the world, Munich has much allure for recent graduates. The robust German economy, varied job sector and high quality of living are all reasons why it makes such a great starting point for an entry-level professional.

With a population of over 1.5 million, Munich is no small town. However, it has retained its quaint, old-world charm. So, if you are looking for a city that provides a mix of both modern and traditional, Munich is a great choice.

5. Perth, Australia

With nearly half of the population of Perth being under 30 years old, young grads certainly won’t feel out of place in Perth. However, there are also various other attributes that make it so attractive for young professionals.

The weather, beaches, outdoor activities and public transport make Perth a top destination for new grads. The city also has a strong job outlook and low unemployment rate, which are further reasons it has made this list.

6. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague has consistently ranked as one of the most expat-friendly cities. So, if you’re looking to start your postgrad career abroad, this could be a great choice.

Prague has ample employment opportunities but also offers great work-life balance, an excellent public transportation system and free healthcare. Plus, its central location within Europe, and natural beauty make the city all the more alluring. For these reasons, Prague is definitely one the top destinations for recent graduates.

7. Seattle, USA

Although Seattle may be best known for its coffee, the city has much more to offer. As a major tech hub and one of the most sustainable cities in the United States, Seattle is a great place for young people to start off their careers.

The booming tech scene and low unemployment rate in Seattle also offer ample job opportunities for grads. So, if you’re looking for a city with culture, a high employment rate and a cool climate, the Emerald City might just be the place for you.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

For grads interested in starting off their careers in tech, Stockholm is a great place to live. Along with Spotify, the Swedish capital is also home to many other successful startups that are now valued at over $1 billion – otherwise known as “unicorns”. In fact, after the Silicon Valley, Stockholm has the most unicorns per capita.

However, Stockholm’s success with incubating startups isn’t the only draw for recent grads. Workers in Sweden also get a minimum of five weeks’ vacation time. So, for young professionals looking to work hard but also play hard, you’ll have the time to do it.

9. Toronto, Canada

Ranked as one of the world’s most influential cities by Forbes, Toronto has much to offer to recent college grads. One aspect that is particularly appealing is its diverse population and multiculturalism.

Another great aspect of Toronto is its relatively low crime rate. In fact, Toronto was even ranked by The Economist as the safest city in North America. If you’re looking for a city that has all the benefits of a big city, but the safety of a smaller town, Toronto is a great place to live.

10. Vienna, Austria

It would be hard to find a list of the world’s best cities that didn’t include Vienna. However, Vienna is particularly enticing for young professionals. With higher-than-average wages and a high employment rate, Austria’s imperial capital is a great place to kick off your career.

In addition to being home to many multinational companies, Vienna also has a robust startup sector that makes the city particularly attractive to entrepreneurs. You’ll experience no shortage of coworking spaces. So, if your goal is to start a business after graduation, Austria could be the place to do it.

Key takeaways

Graduating from college can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. Not only is it a huge accomplishment but it is also the beginning of a new chapter. And many graduates decide to start this chapter in a new city.

If you’re considering starting afresh as a recent graduate, here’s a small recap of everything we have discussed:

  • Vienna, Stockholm, Prague, Munich, Manchester, Glasgow and Amsterdam are among the most attractive European cities for recent grads.
  • Seattle’s employment opportunities and focus on sustainability makes it one of the top cities in the United States for young professionals.
  • Toronto is not only one of the best cities in Canada for recent grads, but also the safest large city in North America.

Before taking the leap and relocating to a new city, it’s important to do some research to ensure it will be a good fit for you. This way, you can start your post-grad life off on the right foot and in a promising new place.


Which of these cities would you choose as a graduate? Let us know in the comments section below!