#4. Sandy Springs
Located less than 20 miles north of Atlanta, Sandy Springs is a place where you can have your cake and eat it, too. That’s because the community is home to one of the highest numbers of Fortune 500 companies per capita in the U.S., giving residents access to high-paying jobs in a variety of sectors, and Sandy Springs’ cost of living is still pretty reasonable — so affording rent or a mortgage payment is entirely feasible, even for recent grads just beginning their careers.
This North Georgia city is also a major draw for those looking to spend time outdoors, as it has 950 acres of parkland. Many locals enjoy visiting the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, which offers 48 miles of rafting, canoeing, kayaking and boating opportunities, as well as year-round fishing and more than seven miles of cycling trails. Another favorite Sandy Springs spot is the 30-acre Big Trees Forest Preserve, which features quiet hiking trails and plenty of wildlife.
Sandy Springs has its fair share of dining and entertainment destinations, too, and its offerings are continuing to expand. For example, a new civic and cultural center called City Springs is opening downtown in the summer of 2018, and it will be home to a 1,070-seat theater and a black box space for more intimate shows, plus shops, nearly 300 apartment units and a small park.
“Sandy Springs attracts college graduates for many of the same reasons the city attracts other audiences: convenient location, amenities conducive to enhanced quality of life and diversity of housing options,” says Sharon Kraun, the City of Sandy Springs’ director of communications. “We have a city vibe and neighborhood charm that makes you feel at home.”