The great thing about being young is that you have the freedom to live pretty much anywhere. And for recent college graduates, the choice on where to settle after college often has a lot to do with your career path.
Like most colleges, cities throughout the United States tend to specialize in particular industries - film production in L.A. and politics in Washington D.C. being the obvious examples. But most grads tend to fall outside those high-profile industries, instead hoping for something that provides a steady paycheck in an otherwise unsteady economy.

The five cities listed below have been selected for the range of opportunities they provide as well as a number of lifestyles concerns, including weather, cost of living and the potential for entertainment and cultural opportunities.

1. New York

The Big Apple is No. 1 on the list simply for the expansive range of potential careers available to the new college graduate. Specializing in industries that include fashion, finance, advertising and publishing, New York is the city of choice for those in creative fields as well as suit-and-tie grads with their eye on Wall Street. Ideal for the twenty-something crowd, New York's continuous hum provides 24-hour access to shopping and entertainment. However, the one sour note is that it's also one of the most costly cities in the country, with a hyper-competitive real-estate market and rents that easily top $2,200... for a one bedroom apartment.

2. Los Angeles

If the cold weather and crowds aren't your thing, L.A. offers an expansive city to spread out in, with temperatures that rarely drop below 50 degrees (even in the winter). In addition to working directly for the film and TV industries, L.A. offers a diverse assortment of opportunities that support the entertainment industry - ranging from high-end catering to interior décor. Cultural opportunities abound, whether it's a small music venue on Sunset, a major movie premier or one of L.A.'s world-class museums. Plus, aside from the famed "muscle beach" in Santa Monica, southern California provides miles of blue water and warm sand, extending from Malibu all the way down to San Diego. Plus, with the housing market in the tank and the state itself struggling to stay afloat, the cost of living has gone down in recent years, with the average rent for a one-bedroom currently around $1,200.

3. Seattle

If you're looking for the polar opposite of L.A., look north. Seattle's year-round cloud cover and consistently moderate temperatures are definitely an acquired taste. But as L.A. is to the entertainment business, Seattle is to the tech industry. Home to Microsoft, Google, Amazon.com and an endless number of related software and hardware development houses, Seattle's cornered the market on big-business technology and tech-related venture capital. In addition, cost of living is far more affordable than New York or L.A., with rent for a one-bedroom easily had for less than $1,000.

4. Boston

If you worked hard to earn that MBA, you mostly likely have your sights set on the east coast. And there, Boston is a hard city to pass up. Known affectionately as "America's college town," bars and nightclubs are plentiful and it also features some highly-notable museums and historical sites. Popular among those seeking careers in consulting or venture capital, Boston features four very distinct seasons, allowing for a variety of outdoor activity depending on the conditions. However, like New York and many major metropolitans on the east coast, it's a pricey place to live, with rents on a one-bedroom currently up around $2,000.

5. Denver

Sure the coasts are great. But if you're not into congested freeways, long lines at every store and a high cost of living, consider the wide open space you'll find in Denver. Known as the "Wall Street of the Rockies," Denver offers opportunities in energy, finance and even government, featuring the largest population of government employees outside Washington D.C. Equally popular for its ski resorts - if not more so - Denver provides an unparalleled winter experience that includes snowfall from October to April. Plus, it's also the most affordable city on this list, with a one-bedroom available for around $800.