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Old 05-15-2014, 03:48 PM
19 posts, read 25,677 times
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My husband and I currently live in Chicago with our toddler. We also lived in Seattle for 1.5 years - I disliked many things about it and we moved back to Chicago. Mainly the weather (the grey/cloudiness) and something I didn't anticipate, the "Seattle freeze" (essentially the unfriendly nature of people). Seattle was great because of the smaller scale and natural beauty vs. Chicago. It also allowed us to get more property (with a yard) while still being close to the city, and had good restaurants, cute areas to walk around, okay shopping, and was fairly liberal.

We are now considering a move to Denver or the Research Triangle in HOPES of gaining more of the positives of all of those things all in one place. Are biggest concerns (loosely in the order of importance to us are): good scale (smaller than Chicago, but not suburban), need restaurants and stores that are unique and interesting (i.e., not chain), want people to be generally friendly (I consider people in Chicago very friendly, as a reference), weather (we can assess this one), able to get property with a yard while still being close to a city (say within 20 minutes), has natural beauty (trees, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife) within a few hours.

I hoping to hear from people that have actually lived in


If you've lived in three or more, all the better

If you'd post which of the cities you've lived in and and if you think Denver or the Res. Triangle would get us what we are looking for, in your experience, that would be FANTASTIC.

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Old 05-15-2014, 05:17 PM
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We have been in Chicago for the last 6 years and are moving to the Triangle next month. Have twin toddlers. Move is primarily for a job but we are also hoping to gain from the positives like affordable housing, better weather (the weather today, May 15, is AWFUL in Chicago), less of a 'public school roulette' system, etc.

We are still concerned about whether we will be able to adjust from real urban living to suburban, though we both grew up in the 'burbs so its not completely foreign to us. Also diversity is really important to us (political, cultural, ethnic, sexual orientation, etc) so we are going to see how that works out in NC. We are currently on our farewell restaurant tour of Chicago - went to Hot Doug's today - and will miss the great food scene here, but I am confident there will be enough good options in the Triangle.

So I can't give you much right now since we aren't yet in the Triangle, but let's stay in touch...best of luck with your decision and feel free to PM me or post here for more discussion
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:30 PM
Location: NC
645 posts, read 835,179 times
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Hey skittles...lived in Seattle and Denver prior to Raleigh. I am heading out the door in a few, but wanted to offer help. A few quick points:

- It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but I have often told folks that Denver is a bit like Seattle only a heck of a lot sunnier and friendlier. I personally did not get the Seattle freeze thing, but I will tell you, it was a lot more laid back and easier going making friends in Denver than in Seattle. Raleigh is friendlier than Seattle as well...but in terms of comparing Denver and Raleigh...very different. It all comes down to what you are seeking.

- If you are looking for the urban/city vibe...you are not going to find that here in Raleigh. The Triangle is definitely suburban. It has a ton to great things to offer...but urban/city vibe is not one of those things.

- Local culture wise, you are going to feel a lot more at home in Denver coming from Chicago than the Triangle. Denver is a solid midwestern town. Yeah, yeah...it's in the "Rockies" blah, blah, blah...if we are talking maps. But in terms of folks and "feel" it is a midwest town.

- If you like the college vibe and all that comes with it, then you will definitely like the Triangle.

- If you are into pro sports...move to Denver. If you are into college sports, move to the Triangle.

- Arts, culture, entertainment, museums, festivals, .... It is a wash.

- Restaurants and shops...unfortunately, chains are everywhere. However, good local food and stores are plentiful in Denver and the Triangle.

- Denver and Raleigh...both great outdoors! If you lean towards snow sports, well, go mile high...if you prefer ocean sports, well, hello Tarheels! But for hikes, bikes, and fun for tikes, yeah, you can't lose either way!

I can go on and on here...but it would help if you provided more on what you are looking for. From the gut, based on your OP, I would say 80/20 go with Denver. But bottom line, you gotta visit both places and spend some time to truly get a feel.

Good luck!

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Old 05-15-2014, 06:11 PM
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I haven't lived in any of three cities though I did spend several months contract work in Chicago back in the late 90's so I'm somewhat familiar with the area.


good scale (smaller than Chicago, but not suburban) = For the most part this entire area is one big suburban sprawl with some rural outside of it though there is little city center-ish like big cities. The downtown area is not big at all and very easily walkable unlike bigger cities (NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, NYC, Boston)

need restaurants and stores that are unique and interesting (i.e., not chain) = there is a mix of both though it appears to me more chain stores and restaurants. Durham and Chapel Hill seem to have more of the unique type shops though there are a handful in Raleigh.

want people to be generally friendly (I consider people in Chicago very friendly, as a reference) = people are generally friendly but naturally you are going to get a share of rude ones. it's to be expected with growth. besides that is also relative. to some people Northeasterners are rude for whatever reason but to others Northeasterners are blunt and honest so some people may take to it as being rude.

weather (we can assess this one) = 4 seasons for sure; winters get cold but nothing like Chicago, summers are hotter & more humid than Chicago for the most part

able to get property with a yard while still being close to a city (say within 20 minutes) = doable but with the growth and traffic maybe 30 mins is more realistic.

has natural beauty (trees, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife) within a few hours. = This will be fulfilled
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:41 PM
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Lived in Seattle (Mercer Island) for 5 years. Our two daughters graduated from high school there. we loved the Seattle area. We found everyone to be very friendly. Two daughters very active in high school activities helped meet great friends for life. Overcast alot but we just went about our lives. Never bothered us. We rusted instead of tanned. LOL. Seattle was our favorite city and we lived in 10 different states.
Raleigh is lacking in the restaurant scene of Seattle. No comparison. We got 2" rain today in the Triangle. Some months it was overcast all month in Seattle and not nearly 2" rain all month. But we also dearly love living in the Raleigh area.
If you are actively involved in the community you live in, active in church, etc. you will like the city you presently live in. We enjoyed living in Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Salt lake City, Seattle, New Orleans, Dallas, Memphis, New Your area, Detroit and now Raleigh. Go with the attitude you are going to like your new city, get involved and all will be well. Best wishes to you and your family!
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:51 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
4,034 posts, read 5,551,753 times
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I lived in Chicago for 8 years in the 90's. I've been in Raleigh for 5 years now. I also lived in Oregon so I understand the comments about Pacific NW weather. I would definitely head over to the Denver forum. As the previous poster said, Raleigh is suburban. Raleigh is nothing like Chicago and is much smaller than Chicago. Denver seems to have more going on, and you don't have the killer humidity in the summer.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:19 PM
19 posts, read 25,677 times
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Thank you all so much, so far this is really helpful!

(I posted the same Q on the Denver forum too!)

Beans&Cornbread - that is exactly what I was wondering - if Denver had a midwestern vibe! What would you say about this in relationship to Raleigh (and the area). And so when you are in "downtown" Raleigh or other areas around, what is it like? Are there several streets (together) with nice/interesting shops and restaurants?

CHI2RTP - oh wow! I will PM you now.

Thanks ALL!

We are actually headed to Denver tomorrow. Frankly, I am debating if we should spend $$ and our vaca time to check out Raleigh. My husband thinks it'll be suburban for him, whereas I appreciate it for the weather, and several other things I listed above.

Any help people can offer is great!
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:30 PM
19 posts, read 25,677 times
Reputation: 19
Darn! They deleted my message in the Denver forum because it was the same as this posting.
Lol - well how am I supposed to get the opinions of people from Denver?!
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:47 PM
Location: Raleigh NC
7,754 posts, read 6,114,541 times
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Denver's bringing out the seattle freeze on you, or they're skeered of Rawlee.

Denver is more urban than Raleigh
Denver is more Midwestern than Raleigh
Denver is more outdoorsy than Raleigh
Winter to us is when the temp doesn't get above 40. We're all talking how bad winter was, and we got about 8 inches of snow
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:49 PM
360 posts, read 543,289 times
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Retail in downtown Raleigh is practically non existent, aside from a few places here and there. Most destinations in downtown are office buildings, the state government complex, museums and bars.
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