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View Poll Results: Which city would be best for us?
Boise 8 20.51%
Denver 15 38.46%
San Diego 16 41.03%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

Old 04-11-2015, 01:28 PM
4 posts, read 7,342 times
Reputation: 10


We're a couple in our 20's looking for a change of pace. We're coming from Chicagoland, and we're fed up with long, miserable winters, traffic, high cost of living, lack of nature, and a generally irritable population.

We're not looking to "settle down" quite yet - we're more concerned with having things to do for young people than having good schools, family vibe, etc.

We've narrowed it down to Boise, Denver, and San Diego based on the following criteria:
-Great weather (we can take winters as long as they're short and mild, but sunny and warm is our ideal climate)
-Close proximity to nature/aesthetic beauty (mountains, beaches, forestry, etc.)
-Affordable rent (Right now, I'm paying almost $1k/mo to live near a strip mall in a crowded suburb, looking for places in 500-1250 range)
-I'm an artist and he's into underground electronic music, so we're looking for places that have decent art/music scenes (local art shows, non-EDM electronica scene, decent venues for both art and music)
-Pet friendly (we have a rabbit son)
-Low crime
-Decent market for graphic design jobs, and easy enough to get part time work (I do graphic design and he does online business, but would like a part time job to fall back on if necessary)
-Less stress, healthier than Chicago (more laid back people, focus on fitness/wellness, plenty of healthy food options)
-Plenty of activities for 20 somethings (outdoor rec, bars/nightlife, beaches and/or skiing, cafes, not swarming with retirees or families)

So we've found that Boise/Denver/San Diego share a lot of these criteria, but we've been stuck for weeks (months?) trying to decide the best one. Basically we want a city that will be fun for 2-3 years, then we can decide where to go from there. Again, not too concerned with family friendliness, housing market (except rent prices) and schools in the area.

We'd love to hear from people that have lived in one or more of these cities during their 20's or 30's.

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Old 04-11-2015, 04:54 PM
4 posts, read 7,342 times
Reputation: 10
bump >.<
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:20 PM
21 posts, read 26,212 times
Reputation: 17
All are good cities!!!
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:47 PM
5,619 posts, read 13,301,589 times
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-Great weather: SD will get you away from winter. Denver and Boise can get snow in many months of the year
-Close proximity to nature/aesthetic beauty: SD gets you to beaches and mountains while Denver and Boise are near mountains
-Affordable rent: NOT SAN DIEGO
-Decent art/music scenes: Art/music scenes generally require more liberal/educated/worldly citizens and you'll find that in Denver or SD
-Pet friendly: No clue
-Low crime: All are safe enough
-Decent market for graphic design jobs: Not sure
-Less stress, healthier than Chicago: Boise. Denver and especially SD are still quite stressful in terms of traffic and city life.
-Plenty of activities for 20 somethings: SD and Denver

I chose Denver. IMO, if you can put up with Denver winters which you probably can coming from Chicago, it has more to offer for the money. It's becoming more expensive, yes. But SD is one of the most expensive cities in the country. Denver can get a dumping of snow and be as cold as Chicago, but in a few days it could be back up to the 60s and perfectly. You'll never get the weeks of snow falling, snow on the ground, and gray skies like you do in the midwest. And snow is fluffier. Summers are dry and hot, but not any hotter than Chicago can get--just less humidity in Denver.

So SD has the better weather if you want to get away from winter, but traffic there is bad and the city is expensive. 500-1250/mo if you wanna be in a good area will be extremely difficult there. Nowhere that young artistic urban residents will want to live will offer much in that price range.

Boise is just too small town and conservative. Coming from Chicago, as a young couple, and as individuals interested in the arts and music, I'm assuming you're politically and socially liberal. Boise is extremely Republican and conservative compared to Denver and SD. However, if I assumed wrong, then my vote changes to Boise. Winters are similar to Denver with great access to mountains. Rent is dirt cheap compared to the others. And there is a college there to give you the arts/music scene you'll be interested. From my personal experience, I would never move there simply because I'm as far left politically and socially as you can get, but the hard core right wingers from my hometown who wanted a cheaper version of their hometown moved to Boise and they all love it. To each their own though.

So if you're right wing, move to Boise. If you're left wing and want affordable, move to Denver. If you're left wing and willing to pay more in rent to receive better weather, move to SD.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:22 AM
4 posts, read 7,342 times
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Good stuff
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:27 AM
Location: Los Angeles
1,235 posts, read 1,268,332 times
Reputation: 1532
Affordable and San Diego are two words that do not go together. Prepare for sticker shock if you move there. Very nice city though, if you can live with the high housing costs.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:37 AM
21 posts, read 26,212 times
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I've been looking at San Diego, and while it isn't cheap, rent prices are about on par with Chicago. The only difference is you don't have 7 months of winter to deal with in San Diego XD
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:50 PM
Location: Seattle, WA
60 posts, read 63,640 times
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Minus the rent, San Diego definitely has all what you're looking for. You seem to want some place where it's sunny and warm and if you're dreading those Chicago winters, the Mountain West might not be the best place to escape from it so SoCal is a good way out, plus it has plenty of activities for a younger couple as well and there should be plenty of good art shows and non-EDM clubs in the area. If you don't want to pay lofty rents, I'd pick Denver. To me, Boise seems like it could bore you after a while simply because there won't be much to do compared to San Diego or Denver.
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:59 PM
446 posts, read 518,976 times
Reputation: 764
This is an interesting comparison for me because I've actually vacationed and researched the three cities listed.

-Great weather - Can't be San Diego for this.

-Close proximity to nature/aesthetic beauty - This is really subjective to your own personal tastes. San Diego is quintessential southern California - the ocean, rugged hills, and chaparral flora are very unique to the area. Denver is near the heart of the southern Rockies and is right where the great plains meet up with the mountains. Boise is in the high desert, right at the foothills of the northern Rockies. Outside of town the forest starts and stretches all the way to Alaska. The three look very different from each other and it depends a lot on what you like to do outside as to what city I'd recommend for the outdoors. Surfing, skiing, whitewater rafting - I'd tell you to go to a different city for each.

-Affordable rent - Boise is going to be significantly cheaper than the other two. You could live right in Downtown Boise near Boise State University, the Greenbelt, etc. for the same price or cheaper than a Denver or San Diego suburb. San Diego's prices are especially insane. If "affordable" is an important component, you're probably going to struggle to find something in San Diego that matches up to what you're looking for. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just that affordable rent and San Diego don't go hand in hand. Denver's prices have steadily gone up over the past couple of decades as well - it is no longer a cheap place to move either. Not sure how it compares to Chicago though.

-decent art/music scenes - I'm not going to pretend to know the specific art scenes of each place, but this is usually reflective of the size of the area. San Diego and Denver being roughly equally with Boise trailing farther behind. All three have major universities in town and the surrounding areas which would serve a strong supporter of local arts scene. For a while Boise had a really strong dance/ballet scene, especially for a city its size - not still sure if that's the case.

-Low crime - Compared to Chicago, I would think all three cities would rank better, however Boise is routinely labelled one of the safest cities in the country. Crime tends to be highly localized to certain areas. I've lived in cities that weren't particularly safe, but I knew which areas of the city were bad and avoided them. Crime isn't evenly distributed within city limits.

-Decent market for graphic design jobs - Denver and San Diego are major metropolitan areas with roughly 3 million people in them. Finding graphic design work or other part time jobs should not be more challenging than any other major city. Boise's metro area is closer to half a million than a million and finding specific job openings or free lance work is going to be more difficult and require greater networking to get. The job market is also going to pay less in Boise than the other two cities.

-Less stress, healthier than Chicago (more laid back people, focus on fitness/wellness, plenty of healthy food options) - All three cities, IMO, are focused on fitness and wellness. This is a bit more in-your-face in the Denver area, but it's true in all three. I would imagine of the 3, Boise would be the least stressful, but that depends on what stress you out I suppose. All three have plenty of healthy food options. Really these days, there aren't many cities that don't have Trader Joe or Whole Foods type stores, even if they don't have those specific brand-named stores.

-Plenty of activities for 20 somethings (outdoor rec, bars/nightlife, beaches and/or skiing, cafes, not swarming with retirees or families) - IMO, all three offer plenty of things to do and aren't really known as huge retirement destinations. All three have plenty of families, although perhaps in Denver's case families/retirees typically are concentrated in exurbs or nearby Colorado Springs instead of the Denver area proper. I'd also imagine Boise to be a bit more family friendly or attract larger families than the other 2 areas.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:40 PM
21 posts, read 26,212 times
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I'll say it again, I don't think she'll experience "sticker shock" coming from Chicago unless she's moving to NYC or DC.

A 1 bedroom goes for an average of $1752 in Chicago.

Boise is $941, Denver is $1275, and San Diego is $1537.
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