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Old 10-09-2008, 11:59 PM
 
2 posts, read 12,182 times
Reputation: 10
Default Where to move? Minneapolis vs. Portland vs. Seattle

Hey guys...I'm moving from my not so awesome southern town in the spring, but am undecided on where to go. I'm not going for a job or anything, but simply because I need a change. After doing some research I've narrowed my options down to Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland (Oregon), but am unsure of what would be the best fit for me.

I'm looking for the following:
-city feel without being too huge and expensive (basically, something that feels like NYC or SF, but less hectic and definitely cheaper). I guess...big enough to offer the commodities of a city, but not too big to trump all sense of community.
-affordability
-good and diverse restaurants (important for two reasons--I love good food and I work in the restaurant business...bonus if they have tea shops)
-an active film or theater scene I could participate in
-language schools/lessons available...not a top priority, but would be nice
-second hand/consignment/vintage shops...love them, want them
-good, dependable, clean public transit, bike lanes, walkability...my main goal is to be car free. This is the biggest issue.
-active music scene
-vegetarian friendly
-relatively safe for a single female (as much as a city can be)


Weather honestly doesn't matter that much..I've gone from the nasty heat/humidity and rainy seasons of Florida to snowy Boston winters, so weather is hardly a factor. You have to deal with it no matter where you are.

So..if you know anything about these cities..which one do you think fits this criteria the best?
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:15 AM
 
363 posts, read 1,074,915 times
Reputation: 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by sallycitrus View Post
Hey guys...I'm moving from my not so awesome southern town in the spring, but am undecided on where to go. I'm not going for a job or anything, but simply because I need a change. After doing some research I've narrowed my options down to Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland (Oregon), but am unsure of what would be the best fit for me.

I'm looking for the following:
-city feel without being too huge and expensive (basically, something that feels like NYC or SF, but less hectic and definitely cheaper). I guess...big enough to offer the commodities of a city, but not too big to trump all sense of community.
-affordability
-good and diverse restaurants (important for two reasons--I love good food and I work in the restaurant business...bonus if they have tea shops)
-an active film or theater scene I could participate in
-language schools/lessons available...not a top priority, but would be nice
-second hand/consignment/vintage shops...love them, want them
-good, dependable, clean public transit, bike lanes, walkability...my main goal is to be car free. This is the biggest issue.
-active music scene
-vegetarian friendly
-relatively safe for a single female (as much as a city can be)


Weather honestly doesn't matter that much..I've gone from the nasty heat/humidity and rainy seasons of Florida to snowy Boston winters, so weather is hardly a factor. You have to deal with it no matter where you are.

So..if you know anything about these cities..which one do you think fits this criteria the best?
Out of all those three cities, I think Minneapolis would be best for you. It is very affordable. Even Portland is way, way more expensive than Minneapolis, and Seattle doesn't even begin to compare. Food and gas are very, very expensive in Seattle and relatively cheap in Minneapolis. You can get a VERY NICE 1BR apartment in a nice area of Minneapolis for 800-900 a month. That won't even buy you a nice studio in Seattle.

Minneapolis has nothing that compares to a New York feel, though. None of the cities you listed do, but Seattle probably comes closest as it is the most cosmopolitan of the three cities. There are places you can be car free in Minneapolis and public transit is getting better.

MN also has a pretty good but not great restaurant scene and a lot of theaters so you shouldnt have a huge problem there. Quite a few popular actresses (Amy Adams, Winona Ryder, etc) started their careers acting in minnesota.

Minneapolis winters are among the worst in the US, though. Expect below zero temperatures with wind chill for weeks at a time, tons of snow, and grey skies from January through March and into April. Last winter while in Minneapolis in January I had been carrying my ID in my hand while walking to a bar, and I dropped it on accident and it shattered into 3 pieces when it hit the ground. Not kidding.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:06 AM
 
Location: Reno, NV
1,137 posts, read 2,999,020 times
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I would definitely recomend Portland. It is fairly reasonably priced, although the job market isn't great. It is also very walkable and bike friendly. Also, a great place for vegetarians. I would probably say Minneapolis 2nd, because Seattle is expensive.

Have you considered Austin, TX?
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:28 AM
 
2,506 posts, read 5,620,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortablyNumb View Post
Out of all those three cities, I think Minneapolis would be best for you. It is very affordable. Even Portland is way, way more expensive than Minneapolis, and Seattle doesn't even begin to compare. Food and gas are very, very expensive in Seattle and relatively cheap in Minneapolis. You can get a VERY NICE 1BR apartment in a nice area of Minneapolis for 800-900 a month. That won't even buy you a nice studio in Seattle.

Minneapolis has nothing that compares to a New York feel, though. None of the cities you listed do, but Seattle probably comes closest as it is the most cosmopolitan of the three cities. There are places you can be car free in Minneapolis and public transit is getting better.

MN also has a pretty good but not great restaurant scene and a lot of theaters so you shouldnt have a huge problem there. Quite a few popular actresses (Amy Adams, Winona Ryder, etc) started their careers acting in minnesota.

Minneapolis winters are among the worst in the US, though. Expect below zero temperatures with wind chill for weeks at a time, tons of snow, and grey skies from January through March and into April. Last winter while in Minneapolis in January I had been carrying my ID in my hand while walking to a bar, and I dropped it on accident and it shattered into 3 pieces when it hit the ground. Not kidding.
That really isn't all that accurate. Wind Chills will drop for a while with temperatures, but some of the sunniest days of the year are in winter. Mpls. gets less than 50 inches of snow, which is comparable to any city on the East Coast. This isn't Buffalo. The worst part of winter is the short day.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Western Chicagoland
18,533 posts, read 48,397,692 times
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Portland for COL, Minneapolis for just about everything else. I dont know about living w/o a car though... In fact, Id want a car in every one of the cities youre looking at.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:04 AM
 
Location: New York City
3,947 posts, read 4,564,852 times
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I lived in Minneapolis for five years without a car. It's not easy, but it's doable. It's also affordable, as cities go, and it's very easy to find an apartment. Seattle, like Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco, is hemmed in by water and thus, if you want to live in the center of things (i.e., either without a car or with minimal use of a car), you have to pay a huge premium.

Check out places downtown or in the Warehouse District. The new light rail runs straight through the area and you're in walking distance to the Guthrie Theater and all of downtown. There's a lot of new construction down there, which created a bit of glut, so prices have come down at lot. Also, when I live there, I lived in Uptown/Lake of the Isles. It's also very close to downtown (about a 10 minute bus ride) and a cool area. Lots of 20- to 30-something singles. I'd compare it to the Capital Hill area of Seattle, only much more affordable.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:18 AM
 
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Seattle is the most cosmopolitan of the three and will give you the best "big city" experience. As far as weather, you have to consider the blasting cold winter of Minneapolis vs. the grey, wet winter of Seattle and Portland. Portland has the best public transit of the three. All three have great music scenes, and all three you will be able to find thrift shops and veggie restaurants.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:03 AM
 
5,231 posts, read 8,987,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnehahapolitan View Post
That really isn't all that accurate. Wind Chills will drop for a while with temperatures, but some of the sunniest days of the year are in winter. Mpls. gets less than 50 inches of snow, which is comparable to any city on the East Coast. This isn't Buffalo. The worst part of winter is the short day.
Minne--This is exactly right! I was going to respond to Comfortably's post, but you said what I would've. I'm originally from Western NY. That region has lots more snow and much less winter sunshine than do the Twin Cities, where I live now.

Sallycitrus--You picked 3 excellent choices based on your criteria. I've been to Portland and Seattle and highly recomment them also. If, as you say, cold winter days are not a factor and COL is, Mpls probably wins. (personally, I like mountains and ocean (Seattle), but the Twin Cities suites me just fine also)
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:06 AM
 
5,231 posts, read 8,987,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
Portland for COL, Minneapolis for just about everything else. I dont know about living w/o a car though... In fact, Id want a car in every one of the cities youre looking at.
Spoken like a true suburbanite, Steve-o. I live in St Paul. We have a car, but could easily get along just fine without one. You just have to choose your neighborhood carefully, not fear taxis and public transportation, and perhaps rent a car or join HourCare for those few occaisions when you really do need one.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
24,570 posts, read 29,948,526 times
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Portland is my favorite out of the three. Seattle is gorgeous but driving north into Portland on the 5 just made me fall in love with the place. Reminded me of Auckland.
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