Best US Cities for Freelancers and Self-Employed Workers 2024

Ditch the cubicle, ditch the commute β€” the freelance revolution is here. More and more Americans are choosing the freedom and flexibility of self-employment. 

Whether you’re a web developer coding from your couch or a graphic designer brainstorming at a coffee shop, freelancing lets you be your own boss. But where you set up shop can make a big difference.

For freelancers, location is about more than just a pretty view. Sure, sunshine and good vibes are lovely, but there’s more to it. Freelancers need a city that supports their hustle.

That means keeping your costs in check, from rent and groceries to taxes. It’s also about having a strong Wi-Fi connection and a comfy workplace spot β€” hello, co-working spaces!Β 

But don’t forget the people! A thriving freelancer community provides valuable connections, networking opportunities, and a friendly face to bounce ideas off of (or vent to about a tough client).

So, which US cities are best for freelancers and self-employed workers in 2024?

We’ve done the research to uncover the top spots that offer the perfect blend of affordability, resources, and a vibrant freelancer scene. Let’s get started!

Top US Cities for Freelancers and Self-Employed Workers

Top US Cities for Freelancers and Self-Employed Workers

With so many great options, where do you even begin? Let’s dive into the top US cities for freelancers and self-employed workers.

πŸ“1. Nashville

Nashville is rapidly becoming a haven for freelancers. The city boasts a moderate cost of living, with rents and groceries that won’t break the bank. 

Plus, Tennessee is one of those freelancer-friendly states with no state income tax, leaving more of your hard-earned money in your pocketβ€”Nashville’s galore co-working spaces β€” everything from trendy open-plan setups to quiet, focused environments. 

But the real gem is the city’s booming freelancer community. From meetups to online forums, there are endless opportunities to connect, collaborate, and share the joys (and maybe some frustrations) of the freelance life. 

And when you’re not hustling, Nashville offers a vibrant atmosphere with world-class music, delicious eats, and stunning outdoor recreation.

πŸ“2. Miami

But what if you’re craving sunshine, culture, and a thriving freelance scene? Then Miami might be for you. This city offers a dynamic atmosphere to fuel creativity and productivity. 

While the cost of living can be higher than some on this list, Miami has beautiful beaches, a melting pot of cultures, and a delicious food scene. Florida boasts no state income tax, a significant perk for self-employed workers. 

Regarding workspaces, Miami has a wide range of co-working options, from trendy oceanfront spots to sleek, modern facilities. 

And the freelancer community? It’s as vibrant as the city itself. There are endless opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and build your professional network. So, fire up your laptop, grab your shades, and experience the freelance life Miami-style!

πŸ“3. Phoenix

Phoenix is another rising top spot for self-employed businesses in the US. With a booming job market and a growing freelance scene, this desert metropolis offers exciting career opportunities. 

The cost of living in Phoenix is generally lower than the national average. Rents, groceries, and utilities are affordable. Plus, Arizona has no state income tax, leaving you with more money to invest in your freelance business.

Co-working spaces are plentiful in Phoenix, ranging from trendy hubs in converted historic buildings to modern facilities with all the bells and whistles.Β 

But the real perk might be the weather. Phoenix boasts tons of sunshine year-round, perfect for working outdoors or taking a midday hike to clear your head. And the freelance community β€” from tech meetups to artist collectives. So, if you’re looking for an affordable and inspiring city, Phoenix might just be your freelance oasis.

πŸ“4. Long Beach

Sun, surf, and serious hustle β€” Long Beach! The West Coast offers a laid-back beach vibe alongside a thriving entrepreneurial spirit. 

Yes, the cost of living can be on the higher side, but California does have a plethora of resources for self-employed workers. Plus, Long Beach itself tends to be slightly more affordable than its neighbor, Los Angeles. 

When it comes to workspace options, Long Beach has great co-working spaces, from converted warehouses with ocean views to tech-focused hubs in the downtown area. Even though the freelancer community is as diverse and dynamic as the city, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow freelancers and build a strong network. 

But beyond work, Long Beach offers a ton of fun. Take a break for a beach stroll, explore the vibrant art scene, or catch a concert at the iconic Queen Mary.

πŸ“5. Dallas

Dallas is a dynamic metropolis with a friendly vibe, a booming job market, and a surprisingly affordable cost of living. Rents, groceries, and utilities tend to be lower than the national average, leaving more room in your budget to invest in your freelance business. 

Texas also boasts a significant perk β€” no state income tax! That’s right, you get to keep more of your hard-earned cash.

When it comes to workspaces, Dallas has you covered β€” from sleek, modern co-working spaces in trendy neighborhoods to collaborative hubs in historic buildings, there’s something for every freelancer’s style.Β 

The freelancer community is as friendly and supportive as a Texas drawl. So, if you’re looking for a city with a can-do spirit, a booming freelance scene, and a touch of Southern charm, Dallas might just be your next big thing.

πŸ“6. Portland

Portland is a unique blend of outdoor adventure, artistic energy, and a thriving freelance scene. While the cost of living can be a touch higher than some on this list, Portland offers a ton of value for your freelance dollar. 

The city itself is known for its walkability and abundance of green spaces. So, you can ditch the car and save on gas. Plus, Oregon has a progressive tax structure that can be beneficial for freelancers, depending on your income level. 

When it comes to workspaces, Portland offers a vibrant selection of co-working spaces, from funky to eco-conscious hubs.

The freelancer community is passionate and collaborative. You’ll have lots of chances to connect with fellow freelancers and share ideas.Β 

Portland also offers a smorgasbord of activities for your work-life balance β€” hike in the lush forests, explore the renowned coffee scene, or catch a show at a quirky independent theater.

πŸ“7. Tucson

The Southwestern city of Tucson offers affordability, cultural richness, and a growing community of self-employed workers. 

Unlike some coastal cities, Tucson has a much lower cost of living. Renting an apartment, stocking your fridge, and keeping the lights on won’t break the bank. So, you’ll have more financial freedom to invest in your freelance business. 

Arizona is another state with no income tax, which means more money stays in your pocket. For workspaces, Tucson offers a surprising variety β€” from funky, converted bungalows to modern facilities with stunning mountain views. 

Plus, Tucson is home to a tight-knit freelancer community. From tech meetups to artist collectives, you’ll be able to connect with fellow freelancers, share ideas, and build a strong support network. 

Beyond work, Tucson offers a taste of the Southwest β€” desert landscapes, rich history and delicious Sonoran hot dogs. So, if you’re looking for an affordable city with a growing freelance scene and a touch of desert charm, Tucson might just be for you.

πŸ“8. Atlanta

Atlanta is another rising top spot for freelancers in the US. This Southern city offers a winning combination of affordability, a booming job market, and a thriving freelance scene. 

The cost of living in Atlanta is generally lower than the national average, with rents, groceries, and utilities that won’t leave you feeling squeezed. Plus, Georgia boasts a relatively low tax burden for freelancers.

While there is a state income tax, it’s on the milder side, and freelancers and the self-employed can often benefit from write-offs and credits.Β 

When it comes to workspaces, Atlanta has you covered. There’s something for every freelancer’s style and budget. And the freelancer community? It’s diverse and energetic, with tech meetups and industry-specific networking events. 

But Atlanta isn’t just about work. Catch a Falcons game, explore the world-class museums, or savor some delicious Southern cuisine, with your thriving freelance career. Atlanta might be your next big move.

πŸ“9. Salt Lake City

Nestled against the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City has a growing community of self-employed workers. 

Unlike some major coastal hubs, Salt Lake City boasts a significantly lower cost of living. Renting an apartment, filling your pantry, and keeping the lights on won’t eat away at your budget, leaving you with more room to invest in your freelance business. 

Plus, Utah has a relatively freelancer-friendly tax structure with a flat income tax rate, meaning you can keep more of your hard-earned cash. 

When it comes to workspaces, Salt Lake City offers a surprising variety of co-working options. You’ll definitely find a space that inspires productivity. But the real perk of this city might still be the emerging freelancer community.

You’ll find plenty of fellow freelancers to share ideas and build a strong support network with.Β 

And beyond work, Salt Lake City offers an adventurer’s paradise. Hike, ski or explore the Great Salt Lake.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable city with a growing freelance scene, and endless outdoor activities, Salt Lake City is your perfect freelance basecamp.

πŸ“10. Los Angeles

Los Angeles beckons with its sunshine, star power, and thriving scene for self-employed workers. Now, we know what you’re thinkingβ€”isn’t LA notoriously expensive? 

Sure, Los Angeles can be pricey, but for many freelancers, the potential rewards outweigh the costs. LA offers a massive, dynamic job market with opportunities in every creative field imaginable. This means 2 things β€” a wealth of potential clients and a booming freelance community. 

Whether you’re a web developer, a graphic designer, or a social media whiz, you’ll find your tribe here. Plus, the abundance of co-working spaces is mind-blowing, ranging from trendy beachfront setups to sleek, tech-focused hubs. 

While California has a state income tax, deductions and credits can help freelancers minimize their tax burden. And hey, who can put a price tag on perfect weather year-round? From catching a concert under the palm trees to exploring world-class museums, LA offers lots to unwind after a productive day.

πŸ“11. Jacksonville

Jacksonville offers a laid-back beach vibe alongside a growing community of self-employed workers. 

Unlike some of its Florida counterparts, Jacksonville is much more affordable. Renting an apartment, filling your fridge, and keeping the lights on won’t break the bank. Plus, Florida’s a freelancer’s tax haven β€” no state income tax means you get to keep more of your hard-earned cash. 

When it comes to workspaces, Jacksonville’s got you covered β€” converted beach bungalows to modern, tech-focused hubs downtown. There’s a space to suit every style and budget. 

Yes, the freelancer community is smaller than some on this list, but it’s full of friendly and supportive individuals. 

Beyond work, Jacksonville offers a taste of coastal living. Hit the beach for a midday surf session, explore the art scene, or catch a concert.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Freelance-Friendly City in the US

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Freelance-Friendly City in the US

We agree that beach bungalows in Hawaii sound tempting! But there’s more to consider than just sunshine and good vibes. Here are some key factors to weigh in on your quest for the perfect freelance city in the US:

βœ… Cost of Living

This is a big one for freelancers. Cities with lower rents, groceries, and utilities will give you more breathing room (and money!) to invest in your business. Consider factors like the average rent for your desired apartment size, grocery costs, and utility bills.

    βœ… Tax Landscape

    Taxes can take a big chunk out of your income. So, understanding a city’s tax structure is crucial. Look for states with no income tax or freelancer-friendly deductions and credits. Remember, federal income tax applies nationwide, but state and local taxes can vary significantly.

      βœ… Co-working Spaces

      These shared workspaces offer a professional environment, networking opportunities, and a sweet escape from the home office blues. Research the availability and cost of co-working spaces. Consider the amenities offered, location convenience, and pricing structures (hourly, monthly memberships, etc.).

        βœ… Freelancer Community

        Isolation is no friend to the freelancer. A thriving freelancer community provides valuable connections, collaboration opportunities, and a built-in support system. Look for cities with active forums, industry-specific meetups, or co-working spaces with a strong freelancer presence.

          βœ… General Vibe and Amenities

          While work is important, a healthy work-life balance is vital. Consider the city’s overall vibe β€” is it energetic and inspiring, or relaxed and low-key? Does it offer cultural attractions, outdoor activities, or a strong coffee scene to fuel your brain breaks? Remember, a city that keeps you happy outside of work hours is a city that sets you up for freelance success.

            Lastly, remember, the perfect freelance city is ultimately the one that feels like the right fit for you!

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            From sun-kissed beaches to bustling tech hubs, these top US cities offer a vibrant landscape for freelance success. Remember, the best city for you depends on your unique needs and lifestyle. Whether you crave a thriving community or a budget-friendly haven, this list provides a springboard for your freelance journey.

            Ready to ditch the W-2 and embrace the freelance dream? Don’t forget about taxes! doola can help you navigate the self-employment tax maze. Get started today β€” our expert tax services cater to freelancers and self-employed workers.

            You can even schedule a free consultation with a doola tax expert to discuss your specific tax situation β€” because, hey, being a freelancer shouldn’t mean doing it alone!

            doola's website is for general information purposes only and doesn't provide official law or tax advice. For tax or legal advice we are happy to connect you to a professional in our network! Please see our terms and privacy policy. Thank you and please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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