Ask someone to name cities with thriving tech, media, fashion or food scenes, and you?ll hear the usual suspects: San Francisco; New York; Portland, Ore. But there?s a slew of other metro areas with established infrastructure and skilled work forces that can match those more established locations at a fraction of the cost of living and with less day-to-day stress. These are the places where startup dreams come easier and cheaper, but can still pay off big. Start packing.
1. Salt Lake City
Image credit: Adam Barker
Best for: Software and hardware
Metro-area population: 1.1 million
Median household income: $53,036
Median home price: $243,300
College graduates: 31%
Tech companies such as Adobe and Workday are moving to ?Silicon Slopes? in droves, inspired by startups launched by alumni from software pioneers Novell and WordPerfect, not to mention the easy access to world-class skiing. On the hardware side, everything from flash memory chips (one of every 14 worldwide is made here) to Skullcandy headphones calls the Wasatch Front home. VCs invested nearly $1 billion in local startups last year, making Salt Lake tops nationally in dollar-per-deal average.
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