#2. Bellevue

From the shores of Lake Washington to the top of Mount Rainier, residents of Bellevue, Wash., have access to amazing outdoor adventures throughout the year. Bellevue’s economy is as lush as the deep green forests that surround the city, giving recent grads fertile ground to launch a new career. Companies like REI, Eddie Bauer and Outdoor Research were kick-started in Bellevue, which has a growing tech and communications industry.

Not only is the economy in Bellevue diverse, so are the people. Roughly a third of all residents here are foreign born, and more than a quarter of the population are Asian. Bellevue offers a high number of well-paying jobs that attract college grads. More than 61 percent of Bellevue residents between the ages of 25 and 34 hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. In addition, around 45 percent of all homes in Bellevue are rental properties, and more than 80 percent of residents find housing costs highly affordable.

Newcomers quickly discover the city perfectly balances urban sophistication with rugged natural beauty. More than 100 parks, including the 20-acre Bellevue Downtown Park, allow residents to exercise, unwind or just relax outdoors. A growing network of paths and bike lanes give residents an alternative to commuting by car. Nearby camping areas, blueberry farms and wineries make great weekend getaways. In the shadows of high-rises in downtown Bellevue lie an assortment of entertainment venues that include restaurants, bars, concert venues and nightclubs. With Seattle being just across the lake, Bellevue residents often venture over to the “big city” to catch major sporting events and superstar concerts.


Number of 25- to 34-year-olds: 21,344

*Number of available jobs: 33,054

Hot jobs: software, Internet, environmental management and engineering

Top employers: Boeing Shared Services Group, Expedia, T-Mobile

*According to Indeed.com

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