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Old 05-09-2014, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
5,303 posts, read 7,642,284 times
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Have you ever considered Portland? It's still relatively close to Seattle and Vancouver, and a weekend trip away from San Francisco, Wine Country, Sacramento, all that region. It also seems to have quite a bit in common with Austin in terms of culture.

That said, I would pick Seattle. It is close to Vancouver which you have always wanted to see. If you are tired of Texas weather, Seattle will give you something else-lots of rain so everything will be green, as opposed to the desert-like scenery of Austin. Warm summers (75-80F during the day, 55-60F at night), but with a nice sea breeze, cool nights, and rarely gets too hot. You can also take quick vacations to Mexico's Pacific Coast or Hawaii to escape the rainy, cool winters of Seattle. If you move east, the chances of you visiting Hawaii or any oth of the tropical Pacific destinations is going to be significantly lower.

Boston is cool because it is close to Europe, the Caribbean, only a train ride away from places like New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington DC, Montreal, etc. And there is some beautiful scenery around there. The thing is, it is very fast-paced and crowded. While the Pacific Northwest may be more isolated, the natural beauty is far superior to anything back east, and it is nice to be able to take trips in nature for the weekend after a busy work week. Boston's summers will be not quite as oppressive as Texas summers, but the heat and humidity coupled with warm nights will be less pleasant to you than Seattle. Then there is the bone-chilling cold and snow in winter.
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Boston
7,339 posts, read 15,312,712 times
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Others have made excellent points re: Boston and Seattle. Both excellent choices and both have a lot of what you like. There's only a little more I'd add.

Boston has great parks and awesome proximity/connectivity to the ocean. However, to really get to the great, uncrowded outdoors, you have to head a few hours outside of the city. That's not the case in Seattle. It's right next door. Depending on how big into the outdoors you are, that may be a problem in Boston. Seattle is much better for a real year-round outdoors enthusiast.

Boston is absolutely better for public transportation and walking. Living without a car in Boston isn't just possible, it's the easier way to live (unless you're fairly wealthy). Many nice outdoorsy areas are connected to Boston by train (Wachusett ski area, Salem/Gloucester/Rockport, Cape Cod in the summer where you can transfer to a Nantucket/MV ferry, etc). You can also consider Zipcar which is useful in Boston.

As a resident of Boston, I don't find it to be too difficult to meet new people. That being said, it's a complaint that a lot of new residents do have. My guess is that while it may not be as easy as in some places, it's not impossible even if you have to work a little harder to crack through some shells. I can't really compare it to Seattle as I've only visited and haven't attempted to meet people there.

Boston really isn't an "artsy" place, surprisingly. Yes, it has some great art museums, and Cambridge, JP, and a few other pockets are fairly artsy, but it doesn't have the same creative vibe that places like Austin, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. have. For live music, Boston is good, but Austin is the greatest live music city I've been to in the U.S. I don't think there's really a comparison. Seattle gets an edge for artsy/creative. Providence is the most creative/artsy city in New England (more on that below).

Boston's airport is a few subway stops from downtown which is great for when you want to see family. JetBlue also has non-stop service to Austin at reasonable rates. I'm not sure what the non-stop Sea/Tac situation is.

As you mentioned, Boston is very well connected to the major Northeastern cities. Buses can be had for as little as $3 round trip to NYC ($1 each way plus $0.50 service charge each way on Megabus), but typically cost around $20-40 r/t. Acela Express can get you there in under 3.5 hours but it's pricey. Short BOS-JFK or LGA flights are commonly $80-120 r/t (as long as the train when you factor in security and transfer from the airport to Manhattan). Day trips to NYC are not unusual at all. It's easy to get to DC and Philadelphia as well. There are also dozens of great little cities within a few hours (Newport RI, Portland ME, Burlington VT, Portsmouth NH, etc.) and Montreal and Québec City are great international cities within 6 hours or so (a little more for QC). It's definitely a less isolated area. Personally, I get to NYC once every two months just about. It's a great Europe hub as well. Flights to London and Dublin are about the same distance out of Boston as flights to San Francisco or LAX.

The economy is good in Boston, but as with anywhere, it's a good idea to look see what's available that you're qualified for before moving. There's always restaurant work and it pays well (my ex worked at a bar downtown and could afford her on 1br on the subway easily). Rents are going to be high in Boston but you can live along a transit line a little ways outside of the city and do fairly well (particularly in Quincy, Medford and Malden). Seattle is definitely more affordable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Restless_In_Austin View Post

You grew up in RI? What do you think of Providence? I'm definitely open to other East Cost towns like Philly or Baltimore or Providence.
I lived in Providence for a while. I loved it. It's a great little city. However, don't let the metro numbers fool you. It's small. It feels like an urban area of around 500,000. You can walk most of it and bus service is good. It's the best city for foodies outside of Boston (plenty of vegan/vegetarian options), and there's a lot of good local music for a city of its size. It's definitely the most artsy/creative city in New England. More so than Boston. Rents will also cost you a good deal less than BOS.

Providence is also a great jumping off point for exploring the region as it's on Amtrak (inc. Acela), Boston's MBTA commuter rail, has a nice little airport (with rail service from Providence and Boston), and good regional bus service (RIPTA covers the whole state so getting to the beach in Newport by bus isn't too difficult). Providence has a light rail line in the works as well, but that's a few years out. The East Side, particularly college hill, is in my opinion one of the best collegiate neighborhoods in the country with Brown and RISD right there (great art museum at RISD too). Google the Providence Waterfires. It's one of the best free art programs in the country.

The downside of Providence is that the economy is bad (though you can theoretically commute to work in the Boston area by rail, bus or car). There are a lot of people in Providence who are poor, uneducated and unemployed. Even if you have a job, you'll notice this and feel it.

Rhode Island is VERY provincial. Boston gets a lot of crap for this, but Providence is smaller and it's more pronounced. Rhode Island is the opposite of Texas in every way. It's tiny, but there are a lot of old school locals who are going to strike you as strange. They're a stark contrast from Texans. Read up about Del's, New York System Weiners, and Autocrat Coffee Milk and you'll surprise a lot of people. If you're looking for real culture shock, Providence will offer it. It's a cool, artsy, quirky little city with a lot going for it. Some people love it, some can't handle it. If you manage to get to Boston to check it out, jump on the train to Providence for a day and explore. It's close enough and I think you'll like it.

Chicago is a great suggestion for most of your criteria, but it's probably not the best for being outdoors (especially if you like the mountains). It's also hotter than both Seattle and Boston in the summer and colder in the winter. It's definitely one of my favorite American cities and you will get more bang for your buck there.

Philadelphia is a great option as well. It's more reasonably priced than Boston, but offers just about everything Boston does in a slightly grittier package. It's also closer to NYC and DC than Boston, but Boston does have better access to great natural beauty (Cape Cod, Maine Coast, White and Green Mountains). If money's tight and you're going in without a job lined up, Philadelphia may be the better choice. I would consider Philly to be a bit more creative and artsy (if not a little bohemian) when compared to Boston.

*edit*
Based on your criteria, I would say San Francisco may be the best bet for you (you can find a room with a roommate for $750-850 in neighborhoods like the Sunset or the Richmond even though San Francisco is very expensive) as it really fits the bill completely. Portland would be my second choice and Philadelphia would be my third. Boston and Seattle are both great choices and you wouldn't be making a mistake moving to either.

Last edited by lrfox; 05-09-2014 at 03:06 PM..
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
35 posts, read 43,055 times
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Gee whiz, thanks for all the info! You both have helped immensely.

Hawaii4ever: You make some excellent points. I do think I would like Seattle, but have two major concerns: 1. that I would get depressed with the hardly-ever-changing weather. I like overcast and rain, but I also love to lay in the grass and I can't help thinking Seattle is always a little bit damp and 2. that it's just too similar to Boulder, CO. Been there, done that.

lrfox: thank you for your very thorough answer. Providence sounds a bit weird, I admit haha. If I were to secure a job in Boston, it might be nice to save on the rent by living there though. I used to commute 2 hours each way in Colorado so distance/time doesn't bother me too much. I've been looking into the Somerville neighbourhood in Boston, but really have no idea if that's the way to go or not.

San Francisco has definitely crossed my mind, but I always wrote it off as prohibitively expensive, so thanks for the insight!

Have you heard of that quote, "Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." Well, let's just say I'm pretty soft already and part of the thrill of the east coast is seeing what I can learn from it. Sounds odd maybe, but I seek challenging adventures: ) I keep leaning towards Boston/Philly but the allure of lush landscapes and mountains always pulls me back a little bit...

I also just really wanted to say thanks for all the positive responses. It's such a drag when people get into the "don't move" attitude. I've decided that I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen, so I appreciate the constructive answers as that is much more helpful.

Cheers,
B.
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
35 posts, read 43,055 times
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and I suppose I should clarify, that by artsy I mostly mean that I'm hoping to get involved with community theater or whatever the equivalent would be up there.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:26 PM
 
32,752 posts, read 22,697,194 times
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I love Boston, but for a safe, vibrant area that a female will be comfortable in, double you're rent. $1400-1500 1 bedrooms are the norm. If youre young (20s, early 30s) a roommate or two is the norm.

I live in Somerville and love it. Open studios was last weekend. It's a great place.

It's not cheap though.

Providence is very cool. I'm considering buying there. The RISD influence is strong and it is cheaper overall so the artistic types can stick around.

I've live in SF too, it is more expensive... but not that much more.
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Old 05-09-2014, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
5,303 posts, read 7,642,284 times
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Have you consided somewhere outside the country, like Toronto? Not as expensive as NYC or San Francisco, but gives you some of the same vibe. I know that a lot of people on City-Data compare Toronto to Chicago, but I actually have been twice for a week each time. It felt more like New York City to me. Much more international than Chicago, as diverse (maybe even moreso) than New York City. Big skyline with the iconic CN Tower. Friendly people, the beautiful Toronto Islands nearby and Lake Ontario with its calm, clear waters (the Lake is 77F in summer so you can enjoy a swim in them). A new city so it may not have the same historic feel as much of the Northeastern US, but there are a lot of art galleries, concerts, museums, opera/symphony, etc. Toronto is a very clean city with lots of diverse and cool little neighborhoods (Little Azores, Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, a South Asian neighborhood, a few 'gayborhoods'). Easy to get around either on foot or using the public transportation. And the city is still building many more skyscrapers. If you like 4 seasons, Toronto definitely has that. The only downside I can think of is the long, cold winters, but they aren't even as bad as much of Canada or even Chicago. And Toronto also isn't as crowded as somewhere like NYC, and the crime rate is low and going even lower. I plan on moving there myself after college.
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Old 05-09-2014, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Macon, GA
16 posts, read 16,555 times
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Visit Atlanta by internet.....Buckhead, Midtown, Meritta.....You will find all that you mentioned culturally, plus you have several professional sports teams...you are 3 hours from the beach and about 2 hours from the mountains....Weather is great....Do that yahoo search on "what to do in ______> on all the cities you are interested in.....
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:08 AM
 
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
8,305 posts, read 11,815,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restless_In_Austin View Post
Gee whiz, thanks for all the info! You both have helped immensely.

Hawaii4ever: You make some excellent points. I do think I would like Seattle, but have two major concerns: 1. that I would get depressed with the hardly-ever-changing weather. I like overcast and rain, but I also love to lay in the grass and I can't help thinking Seattle is always a little bit damp and 2. that it's just too similar to Boulder, CO. Been there, done that.

.......
The weather isn't that monotonous. The summers are the best in the US hands down - high temps around 70, sunny, perfect level of humidity. The rest of the year can be gloomy, but the sun does break through a little on most days. The actual amount of rain is about the same as NYC, though of course more misty than downpours.

Why didn't you like Boulder? Seems like a very nice place from what I've heard.

There's nothing wrong with trying Boston first if that's what you want, especially since you don't mind sharing an apartment.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
35 posts, read 43,055 times
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Atlanta looks like a great city, but I think I want to try something outside the south for a bit.

I would love to live in Canada, but its going to be hard enough to get a job and move across the country...I can't imagine adding the international element in they're too!

I didn't not like boulder necessarily, I'm just looking for something different out of this move. I don't KNOW that PNW has a similar vibe, that's just the impression get. But feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

Thanks so much for your thoughts!
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:19 PM
 
20 posts, read 22,130 times
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Seattle rates will double what you are paying now for rent
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