The reasons they picked these cities are likely different from those a Forbes or Business Insider would highlight, but it's great to have options. The diversity revolves around opportunity and lifestyle. We liked Outside Magazine's different take on cities they liked for their readers. The beautiful thing about being a CPA is how every option is possible. From New York City to a heli-ski operation in Alaska, there are accountants everywhere. Since Outside honed in on their top 25 choices based on great things like places to raise kids, enjoy great food and drink, and be super active, we thought we'd trim the list down with a professional oriented eye.
#8 - Austin, TX
Median home value: $241,000
Median household income: $58,000
This one isn't too far off the radar of popular cities and is a clear pick if you want a fast growing city with matching growth potential for your career. Great for the fresh out of college and established CPA. Sprawling neighborhoods give you plenty of diversity to choose from when it comes to things to do, home value, school options, and activities. The city itself is one of the most rapid growing in the nation, so property values closer to downtown are likely to rise in the near future. Tenth on our list but one of the top cities to invest in if you're looking for a lucrative life with a bigger payoff in home value down the road.
Best fit: Family oriented lifestyle, stable, long term.
#7 - Salida, CO
Median home value: $248,000
Median household income: $41,000
Contrasting completely to our #10 pick is this small mountain town. There's going to be less opportunity here, especially for higher paying jobs, but a number of small businesses, tourism, and restaurants make it a great place to start up your own firm. If you can make it work here, you'll be part of a small town where locals are tight-knit and happy.
Best fit: Out of the rat race, slower pace, highly active, enjoys outdoors
#6 - St. Petersburg, FL
Median home value: $145,000
Median household income: $46,000
This one may be a bit of a surprise, but #9 is a great spot for an affordable paradise. The city itself may not be the fastest growing or have the most opportunities but is a place you could establish a great career. You've got the ocean, affordable homes, and consistency. It may be off the radar in terms of cities that first pop into your head but how could you not be happy here?!
Best fit: Dislikes cold winters, enjoys the beach, wants a well rounded professional/family life.
#5 - Bend, OR
Median home value: $271,000
Median household income: $53,000
Think of this as Denver before Denver boomed into the go-to spot for Millennials to move. Bend is a low-key, under the radar town just two and a half hours east of Eugene. The great thing is that it feels like a small town and a big town at the same time. You'll have plenty of breweries and day trips to choose from or just stay downtown.
Best fit: Jack of all trades lifestyle, wants to experience all four seasons, long term or short term minded work well here.
#4 - Seattle, WA
Median home value: $453,000
Median household income: $71,000
This sustainably growing city is home to Amazon, Starbucks, Capital One, Filson, and plenty of other thriving companies. It's also the city with the most recognizable culture - young, trendy, and social. You'll likely follow up the day with happy hour with friends or a quick bike ride. Cost of living is a little higher than in most places, but you get what you pay for in things to do, ease of travel to amazing places, and social life.
Best fit: Someone wanting a fast paced yet relaxed culture, corporate mindset, dog and coffee lovers.
#3 - Santa Fe, NM
Median home value: $260,000
Median household income: $51,000
The capital of New Mexico is unassuming with new buildings required to have an old time look. While there is plenty of tourism with the outdoors, it would be amiss not to mention the arts. There's an opera house, amazing exhibits, and of course food to match. The social scene may not be the norm for a big city, but it might be what you're looking for. You can go for a mountain bike ride or ski before work and have a nice run or grab cheap tickets for the opera and drinks with friends.
Best fit: You want to live in a big city without feeling like you live in a big city. You also revel in getting away for lots of short weekend trips.
#2 - Grand Rapids, MI
Median home value: $109,000
Median household income: $40,000
This city was just edged out for the number one spot. Ten years ago it wouldn't have made the list. Not even close. But a revamping of downtown through healthcare facilities, colleges moving in, great schools districts, and for a few weeks the entire downtown becomes an art exhibit have brought it new life. Art Prize changed the year round culture of this river town. Artists from around the world are invited to propose plans to build and display art around town. They use the sides of buildings, inside bars, the river, and even the light around town to create art. The job market is rich with colleges and hospitals around town, but you can also commute to neighboring Holland or Kalamazoo. Lastly, and most practically, the cost of living here for what you get is the best bang for your buck on the list.
Best fit: Looking for a diamond in the rough, want to save for retirement without skimping on life style, but don't mind harsh winters.
#1 - San Louis Obispo, CA
Median home value: $546,000
Median household income: $46,000
This is the winner for one simple reason: it's got a little bit of everyone's paradise. A quaint college town (Cal Poly is in the heart of town) with culture overflowing will leave you in wonder that it is a real place. The college and nearby farms provide a strong economy, and the youth of the city along with California-coast surfer lifestyle make for a relaxed way of life. Your neighbors will want to hang out on the porch at night and catch up. You'll enjoy surfing or kayaking on the weekends and can grab a quick hike on any of the peaks that surround the town. The cost of living is high, but you get what you pay for - paradise.
Best fit: Willing to pinch the budget in some ways to invest in your lifestyle and future as property values here are only going to go way up.