#5. Birmingham AL

Birmingham earns its Best Gamer City cred because esports are huge in schools here. In 30 high schools across the state of Alabama, esports has recently been dubbed an official varsity sport. It’s one of only a few states that have recognized competitive video games as a sport, and it is the first new sport the state has sanctioned since bowling in 2014. Like several other cities on this list, Birmingham also landed a spot on Wallethub’s list of Best Cities for Gamers, in part because of its “Gaming Environment Ranking.” You won’t run low on games here — the city’s game shops have all you need.

Going hand-in-hand with its love of video games, Birmingham has also made a name for itself in the tech world as an up-and-coming tech hotspot. Successful startups like Shipt and Daxco are based here, and more startups are flourishing thanks to the city’s Velocity Accelerator. If you’re looking for a place to begin your startup career without a huge West Coast price tag, Birmingham is a solid bet.

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