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I own an apartment just outside the city center/city's center.

Can I say both? Which one would native speakers usually go with?

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city center is more idiomatic, though the other option isn't wrong (at least not from a grammar perspective). One way to see this is through the Google Ngram Viewer, which shows city center is used about 10 times as often as city's center:

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  • Although the question uses the spelling 'center', I would add that 'city centre' has a similar preference of usage over 'city's centre'. – Sydney May 10 at 13:16
  • Heh, true. British English speakers would indeed go for city centre. – Glorfindel May 10 at 13:23

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