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Old 04-19-2015, 02:30 PM
 
10 posts, read 9,996 times
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I currently live in the Chicago area. I've lived here my whole life, and while I enjoy certain things about it, I'm getting tired of the long winters, high COL, and crowds/traffic. A lot of my friends have left the area, and the remaining friends aren't very close to me. Beyond family, there's not a lot left for me here.

I'm in my mid 20's, I make money online, I make electronic music, I am into health/outdoors/fitness, I'm into nerd stuff (board games, video games, DnD), and I'm quiet but I love being around friends and good people.

I've been trying to decide where to move for months, and it's been a very challenging decision. Right when I think I've found a good place, I discover big negative.

For instance, Portland sounded pretty cool, then I read that the people we're pretty snobby/exclusive, which was a big turn off. Not to mention the weather is gloomy.

San Diego might have worked, then I read that their in the middle of a "mega drought", which isn't exactly appealing either.

Boise might be ok, but it might feel kinda small/boring for someone coming from Chicago. Also its in one of the least socially progressive states in the union.

So I'm in a weird place now. I know I want to move, but I feel like I've exhausted the options. I'm hoping people will come up with suggestions of cities I haven't considered yet, or explain why the above cities might still work.

Here are my criteria (ranked by importance, with 1 being the most important, things towards the bottom are nice to have but far from necessary):

1. Affordable rent near an urban center or in a close in neighborhood (affordable for me is under $1200)

2. Nice weather (to me nice = warm, sunny, low humidity, mild seasons - no brutal 6 month winters)

3. Lots of of young, educated people

4. Plenty to do (bars, nightlife, hiking, outdoor rec, fun neighborhoods, etc.)

5. Easy to make friends - nerdy, down to earth types

6. Safe, low crime

7. Good electronic music scene (not giant EDM festivals, but support for more underground stuff)

8. Scenic (Mountains, beaches, greenery, etc.)

9. Low COL besides rent - food, utility, taxes, etc.

10. Not too crowded or sprawling, but not tiny either (somewhere between 500k and 3-4mill Metro area would be good)

11. Moderate, Independent, or libertarian politically (extreme liberal or conservative areas are a turn off for me)

12. 420 friendly

13. Walkable/bikable

14. Close to a beach

Note - I run an online business, and for tax reasons, I CANNOT move to Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri, Rhode Island, or Vermont.

What city do you think would be right for me? Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:42 PM
 
Location: First Hill, Seattle
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Phoenix or Tucson could work though summers are not mild. Asheville hits a lot of your criteria too. Though it may be a little small, it punches above its weight for culture and things to do IMO. It is great for people in their 20s, in the mountains, and relatively close to the beach. Weather even in summer isn't too bad because of the elevation, though it will not be a dry climate like out west.

Austin is also a possible consideration but again, summers are hot!
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:52 PM
 
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Thanks Bluefox. I looked at Arizona, but the desert just doesn't appeal to me. I've visited, and it was beautiful, but I just can't imagine living there. Super hot, and snakes/scorpions freak my GF out. Also seems to be heavily Hispanic-influenced, which is fine but not for me.

Also checked out Asheville. Seems pretty cool, reasonably affordable, but the south is another place that doesn't appeal to me very much. Although its not totally out of the conversation.

Austin seems to have a lot, but has been a "cool" city for a few years now, and rent is getting quite high.

I know, I'm looking for a needle in a haystack.
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:22 PM
 
Location: First Hill, Seattle
5,485 posts, read 5,805,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubting_Thomas View Post
Thanks Bluefox. I looked at Arizona, but the desert just doesn't appeal to me. I've visited, and it was beautiful, but I just can't imagine living there. Super hot, and snakes/scorpions freak my GF out. Also seems to be heavily Hispanic-influenced, which is fine but not for me.

Also checked out Asheville. Seems pretty cool, reasonably affordable, but the south is another place that doesn't appeal to me very much. Although its not totally out of the conversation.

Austin seems to have a lot, but has been a "cool" city for a few years now, and rent is getting quite high.

I know, I'm looking for a needle in a haystack.
Yeah, I really don't think there are any cities in the US that will hit all your criteria. If you find one, let me know.

Denver/Front Range would have been my first suggestion but you said CO is out plus rents are skyrocketing there now. Boise probably would be a snooze fest coming from Chicago but tons of outdoor activities. Couer d'Alene is also a really scenic area in N Idaho. Still pretty small and mostly families of ex Californians it seems, but definitely booming right now. I was a gambling man I would bet that will be one of the next "it" areas in the west in the next 20 years or so.

I wouldn't rule out Asheville too hastily. I personally wouldn't live in most of the south either but Asheville is one city where I would live. Definitely not your typical southern city by any means.

Finally, I know MO is out, but you could do KC and live on the KS side. Winters here are a joke compared to the rest of the Midwest/Northeast. The past two winters we've averaged about 15 inches of snow which consisted of a few dustings throughout the season. Lots of sunny days in the 60s even in January. Spring and fall are long and mild with a lot of sun. The season that sucks the most though IMO is the summer. Much hotter than Chicago and humid. And no beach. But definitely cheaper and has a good nightlife scene for those in their 20s. Good amount of culture, different sorts of people, etc.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
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Atlanta seems like a good fit (checks almost all the boxes). Also possibly Charlotte and Dallas but I've never looked for rentals in those cities so I don't know about your #1 criteria.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Try Philadelphia. It's similar to Chicago but everything is a notch better. Winters are not as cold.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Nashville TN
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Why is everyone moving out of Chicago and NYC these days? I seen about 10000 of these threads lately
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:16 AM
 
11,024 posts, read 21,617,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKWildcat1981 View Post
Why is everyone moving out of Chicago and NYC these days? I seen about 10000 of these threads lately
They're very much transient cities for young people. People move to them out of college in their 20's, then when they settle down and get older they move on.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:15 PM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,372 posts, read 6,265,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKWildcat1981 View Post
Why is everyone moving out of Chicago and NYC these days? I seen about 10000 of these threads lately
Because you're that age when people change cities and because the economy has improved making it more worthwhile for people to move around the country. A lot of people are moving *to* New York and Chicago, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
They're very much transient cities for young people. People move to them out of college in their 20's, then when they settle down and get older they move on.
... and realize they're not going to move as far or as fast up the ladder as they hoped ...
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:16 PM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
4,372 posts, read 6,265,348 times
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I was initially going to suggest Cincinatti, although the winters are still cold and snowy.

Have you considered places like Austin or Raleigh or Annapolis or Nashville or Asheville, NC?
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