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The Best Cities for Young Tech Professionals

6 minute read

It’s a familiar story. You’ve just accepted a flashy tech job across the country. The benefits are superb. The pay is incredible. They’ve promised three coolers full of Diet Coke and an employee incentive plan chalk full of stock options.

The only problem? The surrounding city is terrible. Somewhere between “flexible hours” and “free snacks,” you forgot that the closest decent bar is 15 miles out of town.

At FindTheBest, we gathered data for thousands of cities so you can scope the landscape before you sign the contract. And since we’re talking tech, we’re keeping things data-driven. We counted up the number of venues per 10,000 people for a handful of key businesses. Which cities have the most restaurants, cafés and bars? What about gyms and yoga studios? Where can you have a bit of fun on Saturday night (vice), and atone for your sins on Sunday morning (religious centers)? For today’s purposes, we’ll focus on just eight of the biggest tech-friendly cities in the nation.

The Candidates

San Francisco – the reigning champ

New York – Silicon Alley

Los Angeles – Silicon Beach

Denver – the rising star

Boston – blue collar meets Bitcoin

Austin – down south but not out

Seattle – because they’re more than just coffee


Winner: San Francisco (53.4 per 10k)

Runner-up: Seattle (50.6 per 10k)

What better place to blow your engineer’s salary than one of San Francisco’s 4,000+ restaurants? With 97% more eateries per capita than the United States as a whole, you’re bound to find something you like, even if lunch tends to cost nearly as much as a refurbished iPad.

Last place: Los Angeles (30.2 per 10k)


Winner: San Francisco (10.3 per 10k)

Runner-up: Seattle (9.47 per 10k)

After spending all day pitching your crowd-sourced, mobile-first, local deals coupon app to investors, you’ll want a decent bar to forget all those blank looks and awkward silences. Once again, San Francisco and Seattle emerge on top, with plenty of clubs, lounges, and dives to serve you over and over (and over) again. Three beers in, maybe you’ll even come up with an idea for a better app.

Last place: Los Angeles (2.95 per 10k)

Fitness Centers

Winner: Seattle (5.91 per 10k)

Runner-up: Denver (4.51 per 10k)

Who says the tech industry is out of shape? Thousands of beer-bellied, Cheeto-consuming web developers, that’s who.

Still, the rise of the fitness tracker means more geeks at the gym, and for the trim tech professional, Seattle beats its rivals handily, offering over twice as many fitness centers per capita than the country as a whole.

Last place: New York (2.04 per 10k)


Winner: San Francisco (18 per 10k)

Runner-up: Seattle (17.9 per 10k)

We can talk all day about “office synergy” and “inter-departmental collaboration,” but sometimes the best tech breakthroughs happen outside the office—with the smell of Ethiopian coffee, the sound of temperature-controlled roasters, and the company of impatient baristas with names like Sebastian, Bianca and Antonio.

San Francisco roasts its rivals here, while sporting three times the cafés per capita compared to the rest of the nation.

Last place: Austin (7.94 per 10k)


Winner: Seattle (2.39 per 10k)

Runner-up: Denver (1.58 per 10k)

Nothing says “tech” like ballooning valuations, insane CEOs and midday trips to a yoga studio. With nearly seven times as many yogis as the the average city, Seattle is your best choice for incense-fueled exercise.

New York comes in last, although you could argue that a daily subway commute in Manhattan provides many of the same sweaty, meditative, semi-spiritual benefits.

Last place: New York (0.4 per 10k)

Alternative Medicine

Winner: Seattle (3.79 per 10k)

Runner-up: San Francisco (3.25 per 10k)

The best tech CEOs think for themselves, disrupting years of tradition and shattering decades of traditional business wisdom. So why limit yourself to the tired old practices of modern hospitals and scientific health research?

Both Seattle and San Francisco offer over three times as many alternative medicine businesses than the average American city, including acupuncture, herbal wellness and restorative massage. But for Boston? Sorry: you’re stuck with proven medical procedures and the world-renowned surgeons at Massachusetts General. So much for thinking differently.

Last place: Boston (0.62 per 10k)


Winner: San Francisco (6.15 per 10k)

Runner-up: Denver (5.85 per 10k)

Starting a new tech venture is always a gamble, but nothing beats the thrill of throwing two paychecks on a single spin of the roulette wheel. Per capita, San Francisco offers more casinos, liquor stores and adult entertainment establishments than any other city on this list—and over double the average across the nation. Meanwhile, Denver sneaks in as the runner-up.

Last place: New York (2.97 per 10k)

Religious Organizations

Winner: Denver (17.4 per 10k)

Runner-up: New York (14.5 per 10k)

Tech employees taking advantage of Denver’s dirty nightlife will be happy to hear they have (literally) over 1,000 options for cleansing themselves of the previous evening’s adventures. And then there’s New York’s squeaky clean performance—last in vice but the silver medalist in religion. Who would have guessed?

But neither city should be too proud of its godly edge over rivals. Denver might beat all seven others on this list, but it still fall shorts of the national average.

Last place: Los Angeles (13.5 per 10k)

– – – –


With four victories out of eight tries, San Francisco—already the big favorite going in—wins easily. Sneaky Seattle grabs 2nd place, dominating the fitness and yoga categories while earning a string of second-place finishes. And last place? LA narrowly loses to its East Coast rival, NYC. Each had three dead last finishes, but in the end, the synagogues, churches, and mosques of New York were—appropriately enough—able to save the city from LA’s ignominious fate.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.

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