Millennials Are Flocking to These 4 Cities

by Brittney Myers | Published on Aug. 15, 2021

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A group of laughing friends drinking beers at a restaurant patio table.

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The perfect blend of big-city appeal and small-town charm.

Although you still hear headlines referring to millennials as youngsters and college kids, the average member of the now-largest generation is actually in their 30s. Though the youngest may be recent college grads, most millennials are career-oriented professionals, many with young families in tow.

So, when looking for a new town to call home, millennials are starting to worry more about school districts rather than night clubs -- though a happening food scene is still high on the list, as eating out is a popular activity amongst millennials of all ages.

With that in mind, our list features metro-adjacent cities with strong economies, lots of activities, and plenty to do for young families. In no particular order, here are four cities with a ton of millennial appeal.

1. Grand Rapids, Michigan

The second-largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids is a mid-sized city with a big-city feel. Of the nearly 200,000 people, more than two-thirds are below the age of 45, and the median age is just over 31 years.

Mortgage rates in Michigan are reasonable, and with median home prices in Grand Rapids around $143,000, more than half of residents own their own home. Also, unemployment is below the national average at just 4.4%. Grand Rapids is a rare bastion for the manufacturing industry, though the health, retail, and education industries are also big sources of employment.

There's plenty to do in Grand Rapids as you enjoy the culture and cuisine. You can find a number of interesting museums, several live event venues, and a happening brewery scene. You're also a short drive from Lake Michigan where watersports abound.

2. Boulder, Colorado

Less than 45 minutes from Denver, Boulder is a mid-sized city that's close enough to the capital city to enjoy the amenities it provides. The town is youthful and lively; the median age is below 30, and nearly three-quarters of the population is below 45 years old, making it great for young families.

Housing prices are quite high in Boulder -- the median price is around $700,000 -- so buying a house will likely mean taking on a major mortgage. However, rent can be reasonable, depending on where you live, and household incomes are also above average, with a median around $70,000. Education and tech jobs are abundant.

You shouldn't run out of activities in Boulder. You'll enjoy all of the perks of nearby Denver, including its sports teams and event venues. Plus, the mountains all around offer copious opportunities for outdoor adventures.

3. Durham, North Carolina

Located just outside of Raleigh, Durham is a mid-sized city with a lot of Southern charm. Durham has a slightly older population than other locations on this list with a median age of 34.5, but it still has a young feel as more than half the population is under the age of 45.

The median home value around $250,000 will come with a decent-sized mortgage, but the median household income over $65,000 can make it more attainable. Plus, as part of the Research Triangle -- the tri-city area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill have several major research universities -- high-paying education and tech jobs are relatively easy to find.

Durham itself has a lot to do, offering plenty of entertainment venues, museums, and other cultural activities. You can also head into nearby Raleigh for even more options. If you're more into the outdoors, head a little out of town to enjoy a weekend in the Appalachians.

4. Bellevue, Washington

A suburb of Seattle, Bellevue has all the perks of the big city -- with a bit less of the traffic and crowding. Bellevue is a good place for older millennials, since the median age is 37.7, and just over a third of the 144,000 residents are under the age of 45.

Mortgage rates in Washington are low, but because Bellevue is so close to Seattle, housing prices are roughly the same as in the city. That means you should be prepared for a big mortgage loan. But career-minded professionals should have a fair go at it, as the median household income is a whopping $120,000. Science and technology is the major industry in the area, making up more than a quarter of jobs, with education and healthcare also contributing quite a bit to the local economy.

It's hard to beat the location for things to do with all Seattle has to offer practically at your doorstep. This provides you with sporting events, major concerts, and tons of culture. Head a little east to enjoy what the Rocky Mountains have to offer, or a little west for an ocean adventure in the Pacifc.

Build your career and your family

Modern millennials aren't the college-age troublemakers of headlines past. These days, they're career professionals with budding families looking for vibrant cities to call home. The options on our list balance both professional and personal needs while offering a small-town feel with big-city neighbors for the best of both worlds.

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