If you haven’t heard, the e-commerce giant Amazon is expanding. That means new jobs, other new businesses, and a new dynamic to whatever city is ultimately chosen. Maybe that’s why hundreds of cities, both big and small, put in their bid to be the home of the second Amazon headquarters. Now, Amazon has narrowed their search down to 20 cities, and at the end of 2018, they’ll announce the winner. If you’re considering a new move, here are three Amazon HQ2 contender cities that should make your short list too.

 

Austin, Texas skyline

Austin, Texas

Job Growth

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the capital of this giant state is no exception. According to Forbes, Austin tops the list of Best Cities for Future Job Growth. The city has a projected annual job growth of 4.0%. As the headquarters of Whole Foods and location for other major employers like Apple and Dell, these high-paying jobs increased the median household income to $59,554.

Environment-Friendly

If you’re ready to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, then Austin is the place to go. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Austin ranks first in Texas and sixth in the nation for energy efficiency. If you move to Austin, you’ll be joining a community with several initiatives to make a smaller carbon footprint.

Dog-Friendly

Dogs are man’s best friend, and in Austin, you’ll never have to leave your four-legged friend behind. Start your day off with some outdoor shopping at The Domain. Then, enjoy a nice evening out with your furry friend at restaurants like Crown & Anchor Pub. Finally, turn it to a night out on the town by heading to dog-friendly bars like The Brixton. And, of course, there are plenty of dog-friendly Austin apartments

 

Nashville downtown logo

Nashville, Tennessee

 

Food

Ranked #11 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA, Nashville has a bustling food scene. The city is home to several upscale restaurants, like Sperry’s, and mom-and-pop establishments, like Pancake Pantry. Nashville is also famous for its hot chicken, a spicy fried chicken that’s a local speciality. There’s a fantastic meal mere footsteps away from most Nashville apartments!

 

Music

Nashville isn’t called The Music City for nothing. Every global artist on tour makes a stop in this famous city, which means Nashville offers a wide variety in artists and genres for concerts. Nashville is also home to several music festivals like CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which is only a short drive from the big city.

 

Sports

Besides the huge music scene, Nashville has a big and diverse sports scene as well. If you’re a football fan, the city is home to the NFL team Tennessee Titans. You can also catch the Nashville Predators in play. If you’re more of a baseball fan, Nashville has a minor league team called the Nashville Sounds. But if the 2018 Fifa World Cup has got you wishing for more soccer, don’t worry. Nashville is home to a future, un-named Major League soccer team that will begin play in 2020.

 

Raleigh, North Carolina skyline

Raleigh, Virginia

 

Cost of Living

Most of the cities on Amazon’s HQ2 list have a high cost of living. If you’re fresh out of college and have a lot of student loans to pay, most of those cities are out of the question. Raleigh, however, is one of the most affordable cities when it comes to renting. If you’re looking for a bargain, look for Raleigh apartments.

 

Climate Recreation

While summers can get hot and winters cold, neither seasons are on extreme ends of the spectrum. This makes Raleigh perfect for year-round outdoor activity. That’s even better because Raleigh is geographically perfect for any outdoor activity. Head east and you’re only hours from the Atlantic beaches and Outer Banks. Head west and you’re only hours away from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

A Fit City

The residents of Raleigh sure do know how to work up a sweat. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, Raleigh is ranked the 18th fittest city in America. It also ranked as the sixth most active city in America. The city has plenty of walking and hiking trails, plus traditional gyms, boot camps, and Barre studios too. If you move here, maybe you can binge watch Netflix on the treadmill.

 

Text by Kendal Harris