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View Poll Results: Best Metro Areas Near Indianapolis
Minneapolis/St. Paul 7 30.43%
St. Louis 5 21.74%
Kansas City 0 0%
Cincinnati 6 26.09%
Indianapolis -- Don't give up on Indiana! 1 4.35%
Chicago/Atlanta -- Don't discount the big city! 3 13.04%
Other (Please List) 1 4.35%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-26-2011, 11:35 AM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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Hey everyone,

After recently turning down a job offer in Denver, I'm refocusing my search a little closer to home (east central Indiana)...but not too close. I'm looking at roughly a 6-700 mile radius around Indianapolis, max 8-10 hours driving distance, and wondering what metro areas people feel might fit what I'm looking for.

My biggest draws about Denver were the feel of the downtown district, the climate (esp. sunshine), the excellent public transit system, and the enthusiasm people had for the area and the outdoors.

In looking at nearby locations, Atlanta and Chicago are out. Both are a bit too big for my tastes--somewhere in the sub 4-5 million metro population is about right.

That said, the current cities on the radar are:
  • Kansas City
  • St. Louis
  • Cincinnati
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
Others include Memphis and Iowa's major MSAs, among others. The general draw seems to be to move West--for no definitive reason.

At the moment, I'm most intrigued by the Twin Cities, as I've seen a lot of comparisons drawn, culturally, to Denver. I'm also interested in seeing how active TCers seem to be (based on various "most active cities" reports).

My biggest hesitancy is climate. Part of my draw for getting out of Indiana is a bit of a respite from the 'winter gray'. Though perhaps that's more a required change in perception on my part.

What I'm looking for in a move is somewhere with a bit of a feel like east central Indiana (Midwestern, smaller town/city feel, rural/suburban housing options) while still taking advantage of the benefits of a larger metro (wider variety in software dev. job market, better public transit/pedestrian walkways, wider variety in dining/grocery options).

So what cities fit those criteria? Why?

Last edited by reticentwebdev; 11-26-2011 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: Wanted to add a note about looking for towns with a smaller feel.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:51 PM
 
3,008 posts, read 4,313,414 times
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Metro's within 8 hours of Indianapolis are Chicago (out), Detroit, Columbus, Cincy, Louisville, Lexington, STL, KC, Milwaukee, ATL (Out), Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and out toward Baltimore so it's a wide swath you are choosing from that far out. If you are looking for that East Central Indiana feel which is mostly rural/small town, the metros really aren't a fit. If you aren't wanting winter blues, MSP would probably definitely be out of the question since it gets colder there than it does in Central Indiana and they can have winters people in the lower midwest would find harsh and it be rather mild for them.

Kansas City has a nice emerging technology market with the google project taking off and drawing in ancillary businesses to the region.

Nashville/Cleveland are major healthcare markets and definitely need developers for the various healthcare systems. Cleveland being midwest has the same winters as east central Indiana with more lake effect snow.

PBG, is also an emerging technology market, with a very compact downtown, probably more compact than Indianapolis due to its configuration. Beautiful scenery, lower crime than most of the larger metros.

Since you consider Chicago too large, Milwaukee may be an alternative for you. Madison just down the road. You have the lake, the north end of the 94 corridor so a trip to the city is a short trip away.

Chattanooga has gorgeous scenery, smaller area but a little over an hour from Nashville and 2 hours from ATL if you need a bigger fix for the weekend. It's definitely an area you would love as far as feel. Knoxville, maybe or maybe not, to me it's one of those cities you either really like or can't stand but the mountains are cool.

Cincy/Dayton, depending on how close to the Ohio border you are, you can probably relate more to Dayton than Indianapolis. Columbus and Indy are extremely similar. Cincy has some good scenery and can get rural pretty quick esp. heading east so you might like that and ditto for Louisville but their technology markets might not be what you are looking for although software developers are always needed and cross almost every market.

If you like that Alabama heat, you'd probably like Birmingham. Like Chattanooga, it's a smaller metro with great scenery and a lot of tradition and history. ATL and Nashville not too far away for a weekend getaway.

Detroit, very urban, not as urban as Chicago but might be too urban for you. Baltimore would definitely be too urban for you as it's very dense along the 95 corridor.

In the end all of the midwest metros will have that cold grey feel at times during the winter, it's just a matter of geographic location. But in order I would say:

1. Pittsburgh
2. Kansas City
3. Nashville (weather)
4. Cleveland

But that's just my opinion.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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My opinion ( based upon experience traveling to them, working there and/or job availability) the best metro areas within a reasonable distance (>6 hours) from Indianapolis are:

  1. Milwaukee
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Des Moines, Iowa
  4. Pittsburgh,PA
  5. Nashville,TN
There are a few cities a that are near to Indianapolis(including my own, Fort Wayne, Indiana) that are doing well economically.Many would be nice places to live if the economy was better; but a poor economy makes me not recommend several areas ( Dayton, OH,Cincinnati, Lexington, KY, Naperville,Il,etc for example) that I normally would.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:45 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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Minneapolis and Denver beat all the cities you mentioned. I recommend you visit both cities in person also please stop by the Minneapolis-St Paul or Denver forum and browse around or ask questions

Minneapolis Downtown Council
: : : UPTOWN MINNEAPOLIS : : :
50th & France
DownTownStPaul.com 2011 - Welcome
Grand Avenue Business Association - Home
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:01 PM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobMarley_1LOVE View Post
Minneapolis and Denver beat all the cities you mentioned. I recommend you visit both cities in person also please stop by the Minneapolis-St Paul or Denver forum and browse around or ask questions

Minneapolis Downtown Council
: : : UPTOWN MINNEAPOLIS : : :
50th & France
DownTownStPaul.com 2011 - Welcome
Grand Avenue Business Association - Home
I have had the fortune of visiting Denver recently. That's what has lead me on such a focus as somewhere with that type of a feel. I really liked the area. The east/northeast area was a little industrial for my tastes, but downtown was quite a treat. Hoping to get a chance to visit Minneapolis sometime soon!
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:07 PM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmx66 View Post
My opinion ( based upon experience traveling to them, working there and/or job availability) the best metro areas within a reasonable distance (>6 hours) from Indianapolis are:
  1. Milwaukee
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Des Moines, Iowa
  4. Pittsburgh,PA
  5. Nashville,TN
There are a few cities a that are near to Indianapolis(including my own, Fort Wayne, Indiana) that are doing well economically.Many would be nice places to live if the economy was better; but a poor economy makes me not recommend several areas ( Dayton, OH,Cincinnati, Lexington, KY, Naperville,Il,etc for example) that I normally would.
I have briefly looked at Madison. Best I could tell the only heavy hitters (job wise) in town are the state government and the university. Is that a fair assessment?

You had also mentioned Cincinnati doing poorly economically. This is the first I've heard of such, though admittedly I haven't done full research yet. Is it more the general status of the state (I know Ohio hasn't done so well in the downturn), or is Cincinnati in particular doing poorly?

As for the others, they were places that came up. I'll have to look at those more closely. Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:20 PM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
[...]If you are looking for that East Central Indiana feel which is mostly rural/small town, the metros really aren't a fit.
I suppose it might be better to say I'd like a city with some more suburban areas that are close to downtown. I guess I'm just looking to avoid the "big city" feel. Sorry if it's a little fuzzy--having not lived many places leaves one with a rather vague idea of what they're looking for exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
If you aren't wanting winter blues, MSP would probably definitely be out of the question since it gets colder there than it does in Central Indiana and they can have winters people in the lower midwest would find harsh and it be rather mild for them.
With this, my main issue is the sunshine, which I honestly suspect won't be much different. I can take or leave the cold, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
PBG, is also an emerging technology market, with a very compact downtown, probably more compact than Indianapolis due to its configuration. Beautiful scenery, lower crime than most of the larger metros.
I was not aware of the expanding market in Pittsburgh. I'll look more into that. As far as the crime rate, I was actually under the impression it was a bit higher than others. Am I wrong here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
Baltimore would definitely be too urban for you as it's very dense along the 95 corridor.
I'm actually OK with a city being dense. I'd prefer that vs. the hour-ish drive to get from one side of Indy to the other. Of course, I say that knowing that a denser metro also means we're venturing further away from that classic Indiana/midwest sprawl. Guess you can't have everything!

As for your other input, I'll take it all in to consideration. Thank you for all the insight!
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:25 PM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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So based on feedback so far, and my own research the past few days, here are the major contenders:
  • St. Louis
  • Minneapolis
  • Pittsburgh
I'm still entertaining other options, and trying not to narrow down too much, but that's what I've got at the moment. Anyone have any other input?
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Maryland
4,217 posts, read 5,432,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reticentwebdev View Post
I have briefly looked at Madison. Best I could tell the only heavy hitters (job wise) in town are the state government and the university. Is that a fair assessment?
Epic software company (Epic) is pretty big in the Madison area, too.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:36 AM
 
32 posts, read 53,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintainschaos View Post
Epic software company (Epic) is pretty big in the Madison area, too.
Ah, I forgot to mention them! I briefly looked in to them, but, without providing a laundry list, I decided that was not an organization I was particularly interested in. Thanks for the input, though!
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