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To avoid the real world, head for the Pacific Northwest

Portland is a great place to start a career while enjoying a carefree lifestyle.

Portland is a great place to start a career while enjoying a carefree lifestyle.

To start a career without giving up a fun, affordable student lifestyle, recent college grads should pack up a moving van and head for the Pacific Northwest, according to a recent Best Cities for Avoiding the Real World list compiled by The Street.

Portland, Oregon, topped the rankings, thanks to its strong business sector and diverse recreation options. A mecca for sportswear companies, the Portland area is home to Nike, Adidas and Columbia, as well as tech companies Intel and Netflix. When it's time to have fun, Portlanders can chill in one of the city's many coffee shops, peruse the selection at Powell's Books, hit one of the many local bike trails or check out one of the city's many festivals.

Those looking for a similar vibe in a bigger city than Portland might move to Seattle, number two on The Street's list. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks are the city's flagship businesses. Like Portland, Seattle hosts plenty of free festivals, is near outdoor recreation areas, and boasts scores of cafes, bookstores and record shops.

Austin, Texas, and Madison, Wisconsin, two university towns and perennial contenders on best cities lists, are ranked third and fourth. A less expected location grabs the number five spot: Hoboken, New Jersey. Easy access to the wonderland of New York City helps its cause, though Hoboken stands out for its many bars and restaurants and high concentration of residents 34 years old or younger.

OnNumbers recently named Austin the best city for young people, and Forbes conferred the honor on Des Moines, Iowa.