What qualifies a city as up-and-coming? Population increase and job growth are strong indicators that a city is on the rise. In short, people will go where there are jobs. Next, comes the hot restaurants, interesting museums and unique events. Whether you’re looking to make a move or just want to take a fun trip, make sure to keep your eye on these seven up-and-coming U.S. cities.
A town that was once considered a suburb of Salt Lake City is now proving itself on its own. In an annual ranking of best-performing cities by Milken, Provo, Utah, earned the number one spot two years in a row, even beating out Silicon Valley’s San Jose. The tech industry continues to boom in Provo, with companies such as Qualtrics and Vivint Smart Home choosing this Utah metropolis to house headquarters. With nice neighbors, a low crime rate and proximity to world-class skiing, like Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort, Provo’s quality of life is hard to beat.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
The midwestern town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is beginning to gain some serious traction. Ranked #12 and #6 in U.S. News Best Places to Live and Retire, respectively, Grand Rapids is also one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., according to WalletHub. And while the population may be increasing, Grand Rapids manages to retain the small town charm and friendliness that the midwest is known for. Not only is it lauded as Beer City U.S.A., but Grand Rapids also has a diverse art scene that draws art lovers to its shores. As the host of ArtPrize, a worldwide art competition, and home to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids is a nice place to stop and stay for a while.
Raleigh, North Carolina
The capital city of North Carolina is home to 12 universities, including North Carolina State University, one of the state’s premier research centers. Notable nearby institutions also include The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, a geographical coincidence that creates the aptly named “Research Triangle.” A significant part of this triangle is Raleigh, a city that is becoming known for its research facilities, tech enterprises and significant job growth. A family-friendly city with numerous parks, art museums and relatively mild winters, people who move to Raleigh for job opportunities will be happy to stay.
The city of Dallas may be the next big thing. A city fast on the rise, this Texas metropolis grew more than L.A., Seattle and Atlanta in 2017, according to Patch. And in 2018, Dallas-Fort Worth was number one in the real estate market for new homes, according to Metrostudy. What makes Dallas so enticing? It has all the trappings of a big city — restaurants, art galleries, good schools and vast suburbs — paired with a relatively low cost of living. Plus, Dallas still retains a down-home Texas feel, with Friday night football games and backyard barbecues, one of the reasons it draws scores of young professionals looking to settle down.
Who wants to live in Idaho, you may ask? As it turns out, a lot of people. Boise, Idaho, topped Forbes list of fastest growing cities in 2018 and is becoming a rather surprising epicenter for the tech boom. Located in a valley not far from the Sawtooth National Forest, Boise allows outdoor enthusiasts to ski, hike, bike, rock climb and fish not far from city limits. And with the Greenbelt Bike Path running through town and seasonal farmers markets, it offers the same healthy lifestyle found in San Francisco and Denver, at only a fraction of the cost.
Although Louisville isn’t growing as rapidly as other cities on this list, it's swiftly rising in the ranks when it comes to street cred. Recently recognized by Forbes as one of The Coolest Cities to Visit, Louisville’s culinary scene isn’t just up-and-coming — it’s already arrived. From its many hot restaurants, its top-notch bourbon and its annual Kentucky Derby, this small city is a draw for people who want to eat, drink and have a good time. And it’s not just a fun place to visit. Ranked in the Top 100 of Best Places to Live by U.S. News, it’s clear that Louisville is more than just a weekend destination.
Fort Myers, Florida
For those of us living in colder climates, who hasn’t wanted to drop everything and move to Florida? Fort Myers is a city currently debunking the myth that the Sunshine State is only for retirees. Ranked as the fastest growing city in the U.S. by Wallethub in 2018, Fort Myers has something for everyone. Its proximity to the Gulf Coast offers beachgoers, boaters and anglers plenty of sun and surf for their pastimes, while the River District has restaurants, hotels and plenty of history to keep city-goers happy. So whether you’re looking for a week away or a place to settle down, Fort Myers could be calling your name.