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Old 07-25-2017, 09:29 AM
148 posts, read 104,776 times
Reputation: 197


There are a fair amount of threads about "I'm moving from big city X, what smaller city Y would fit the bill?" Or "Other than big city X/Y/Z, what place offers the best..."

Major US cities are great and challenging each in their own ways. Each has a unique personality, but sometimes you can find a similar vibe on a smaller scale. And sometimes that smaller place has its own advantages in terms of affordability, livability or climate.

I'd be interested to hear what big-little city pairs people could imagine would work for people. Here are a few possibilities. I'm sure some might have strong reactions, as happens when cities are compared. Also, people tend to make knee-jerk comparisons of cities that are in the same region- but I'd like to see some pairs that are in different regions.

Also, feel free to list similar sized cities that feel the same (Sister cites)


LA - Austin (weather, hip vibe, sprawl of suburbs?, I'm sure many will disagree with this one)
Chicago - Philly (neighborhoods, dense urban core, transit, pace) Philly big in its own right, but not Chicago big, maybe closer to Sister cities category?)
NYC-Chicago (urban car free lifestyle, diverse, huge walkable urban core, vibrant urban neighborhoods... but NYC unique in size and extent of 24 hour vibrancy)
SF/Bay area - Seattle and region (Bay area much bigger than Puget Sound in terms of population)
Seattle - Portland (vibe, vibrant urban low-rise neighborhoods, climate/PNW)
Columbus - Madison - Ann Arbor (and a ton more large college towns)
Miami - Vegas (not at 1st glance, but both hot, lively and a bit focused on celebrity, Strip vs South Beach)
DC - Sac (a reach, but both are dominated by government and are a couple hours from a much larger urban area... but not sure they feel in any way similar)

Sister Cities
Hou - Atl (Does Houston feel bigger in terms of downtown?)
St. Louis - Clev (both have similar strengths and weaknesses. Eg Nice parks, museums/culture, older established neighborhoods, sports scenes.)
San Diego - Tampa
Chicago-Toronto (almost twins in some ways)
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:37 AM
148 posts, read 104,776 times
Reputation: 197
Some responses from original posting in another thread:

Originally Posted by Ebck120 View Post
I could see - not necessarily smaller but a decent next step

LA > Austin/SD/Atlanta/Honolulu
Chicago > Milwaukee/Minneapolis
SF > Seattle/Portland/Sacramento
Houston > San Antonio/Atlanta
Atlanta > Houston/Dallas/Austin (?)
NYC > Philly/Boston/DC/Miami/SF/Chicago
Miami > Tampa/SD (?)
DC > Philly/Richmond/Boston/Pittsburgh
Philly > DC/Bmore/Pittsburgh
Smaller DC:
Originally Posted by biscuit_head View Post
Possibly Richmond. Similar architecture, culture, etc. Also, maybe Atlanta, but their MSA's are pretty similar in size...I see you used Houston as an example, but its MSA is larger by about 700,000 ppl or so.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:53 AM
494 posts, read 254,706 times
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A good big brother little brother comparison would be Atlanta and Charlotte.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:50 AM
1,013 posts, read 2,373,428 times
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DC and Baltimore
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:57 AM
Location: Seattle, Washington
1,875 posts, read 2,695,481 times
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SF to Seattle is a good one. Both are large but obviously the Bay Area is heavily populated. Both have top tech industries, proximity to natural beauty, and on the water. I wouldn't call them Big Bro/Little Bro though. Similar cities with their own distinct features, in much different climates. To me they are more like cousins as while Seattle/Vancouver/Portland is a direct Big Bro/Little Bro complex.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:57 AM
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,331,720 times
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Chicago>Philly does not make sense to me. The culture, architecture, setting, people, etc...none of it really matches all that much.

I would much more say NYC > Philly - Both in the same family of cities (older NE cities); both have similar cultures, architecture, food, etc. Now, NYC may be 22 and Philly 8 years old, but they are much closer siblings than Chicago.

I could also see Philly > Baltimore.

DC is an interesting one...
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:15 AM
Location: DMV Area
1,004 posts, read 602,222 times
Reputation: 1872
Atlanta > Charlotte/Raleigh
LA > San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami
Miami > Tampa or Las Vegas
NYC > Philly
Philly > Baltimore
Chicago > Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Phoenix (lots of Chicago transplants there, mainly due to weather)
Houston > Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville(?)

Nashville > Memphis > Jackson, MS
New Orleans > Savannah or Charleston

Denver > Albuquerque? Omaha? Kansas City?

Last edited by biscuit_head; 07-25-2017 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:17 AM
148 posts, read 104,776 times
Reputation: 197
If I were 25-35, making an early career salary (<100K) and wanted a city with a dense, lively urban core with lots of walkable neighborhoods, lots of culture, food, nightlife and affordable on my budget... and was OK with seasonal weather... then Chicago and Philly would both be at the top of my list. Both have good transport options, have lots of multicultural neighborhoods, interesting architecture, somewhat intense styles, vibrant cores yet also large areas of poverty/crime outside that core and both have a bit of inferiority complexes at times. So yeah, I find them quite comparable.
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:33 AM
Location: Baltimore - Richmond
501 posts, read 331,165 times
Reputation: 808
Originally Posted by NC2ATL60 View Post
A good big brother little brother comparison would be Atlanta and Charlotte.
Beat me to it lol.

Seattle-->Tacoma/ Portland
New York-->Philadelphia
New Orleans-->Savannah
LA-->San Diego
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:06 PM
Location: Nashville, TN
5,069 posts, read 4,101,525 times
Reputation: 3692
Indianapolis>Oklahoma City
St. Louis>Memphis
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