The 15 best cities for information security pay

Job site Indeed analyzed salaries and cost of living in top U.S. cities to find where information security jobs really pay the most. The results may surprise you.

downtown Minneapolis
High-flying salaries in some unexpected places

Before moving to this top city for InfoSec pay, you might want to read the latest John Sanford novel, brace for a bitter cold winter and develop a taste for tater tot hot dish. Yes, that's right, if you want to get the most bang for your InfoSec salary buck, a move to Minneapolis might be in your future.

To find out how far your security salary dollars stretch in 15 popular cities, job search site Indeed looked at the average amount an information security specialist earned in its top job search destinations and then, using cost of living data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), adjusted those salaries to find their "real" value.

Here, in reverse order, are the 15 top cities for security specialist pay.

Arlington, VA
15. Arlington, VA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $74,254 (unadjusted: $92,587)

3 things to know before you go

  • The Pentagon is the world's largest office building and has 6 ZIP codes
  • DARPA invented not just the internet, but also GPS, Siri, and the cloud
  • The only wooden crosses in Arlington National Cemetery mark the graves of Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy
Los Angeles, CA
14. Los Angeles, CA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $86,072 (unadjusted: $104,584)

3 things to know before you go

  • There are more cars here than people
  • The Hollywood sign originally read "Hollywoodland," which seems fitting
  • The Getty Museum uses goats to clear brush and prevent fires
Boston, MA
13. Boston, MA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $88,453 (unadjusted: $99,274)

3 things to know before you go

  • There is no happy hour here
  • Firsts: subway, free public library, lighthouse, public beach, public park, witch execution, phone call
  • The Back Bay neighborhood and Logan airport were both built on landfill
Washington, DC
12. Washington, DC

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $92,191 (unadjusted: $114,951)

3 things to know before you go

  • One of the grotesques on the National Cathedral is Darth Vader
  • Dancing isn't allowed in the Jefferson Memorial or for more than 12 out of 24 hours
  • There's a typo on the Lincoln Memorial
San Diego, CA
11. San Diego, CA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $98,303 (unadjusted: $119,300)

3 things to know before you go

  • San Diego is a top producer of avocados (intentionally) and fleas (unintentionally)
  • WD-40 was invented here
  • It's illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar or swim in one of the city's man-made lakes
San Jose, CA
10. San Jose, CA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $99,075 (unadjusted: $125,889)

3 things to know before you go

  • Mind your dog:cat ratio. You're allowed 5 total, but no more than 3 of them can be dogs
  • You can see a lock of Beethoven's hair at the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University
  • You can play on the world's largest Monopoly board at Guadalupe River Park
New York, NY
9. New York, NY

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $102,271 (unadjusted: $131,623)

3 things to know before you go

  • Central Park hot dog vendors can pay more than $200,000 for an annual license
  • They Wyckoff Farmhouse in Brooklyn, built in 1652, is the city's oldest standing building
  • Invented here: toilet paper, Eggs Benedict and air conditioning
Salt Lake City, UT
8. Salt Lake City, UT

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $106,207 (unadjusted: 105,889)

3 things to know before you go

  • It's home to the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and the leading manufacturer of rubber chickens. Coincidence?
  • The streets are wide because… oxcarts
  • At the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Memorial Museum you can see some unique exhibits, from tools used by pioneer doctors to Victorian hairpieces
Austin, TX
7. Austin, TX

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $110,190 (unadjusted: $108,776)

3 things to know before you go

  • The biggest urban bat colony in North America lives under the Congress Ave bridge
  • You're free to sunbathe topless on any of the 300 sunshiny days of the year
  • Austin was first in wanting citizens to keep it weird
Chicago, IL
6. Chicago, IL

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $111,303 (unadjusted: $119,168)

3 things to know before you go

  • That bean-shaped sculpture is actually called Cloud Gate
  • Twinkies and hot dogs (hold the ketchup) were invented here
  • Wrigley Field rarely sells out so you don't need to plan ahead to take in a game
Denver, CO
5. Denver, CO

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $117,308 (unadjusted: $123,222)

3 things to know before you go

  • The 13th step of the State Capitol building is exactly one mile above sea level
  • You can also get a mile high from the comfort of your living room
  • Denver turned down an offer to host the 1976 Winter Olympics
Dallas, TX
4. Dallas, TX

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $117,890 (unadjusted: $118,841)

3 things to know before you go

San Francisco, CA
3. San Francisco, CA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $119,346 (unadjusted: $149,744)

3 things to know before you go

  • The median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment was $4,780 in March, 2016
  • Nudity happens
  • Walking will get you just about everywhere you need to go, just watch where you step
Seattle, WA
2. Seattle, WA

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $119,349 (unadjusted: $128,470)

3 things to know before you go

  • Locals never go to the space needle, but they do go to Pike Place Market
  • Umbrellas are for tourists
  • Raising chickens in your yard is perfectly normal
Minneapolis. MN
1. Minneapolis. MN

Average salary for security specialists, adjusted for cost of living: $127,757 (unadjusted: $131,302)

3 things to know before you go

  • It's illegal to chase skunks
  • Cheeseburgers with cheese on the inside is a thing here
  • The country's largest urban sculpture garden can be found here