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Old 02-19-2010, 09:10 AM
 
221 posts, read 535,104 times
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My husband and I are exploring other places in the country to live... We've been in the Chicago area for years and would prefer somewhere that has a little more in the way of natural beauty, still has four seasons, and ideally winters that aren't as harsh and ongoing as they are here. We also like good restaurants and want to live in a place that while maybe not drop-dead gorgeous, is at least attractive and stirs the soul a little bit. We're not finding that in the western suburbs of Chicago, but I could be missing something. The Boulder area -- or more affordable communities around Boulder (e.g., Louisville?) -- seem appealing because there is culture, plus natural scenery. I should mention that we're also finding that just because we live outside of Chicago itself, that does not mean that Chicago's great restaurant scene is readily accessible; it's actually a bit of a "production" to muster up the time and energy to go into the heart of the city to interesting restaurants. Hence, we're generally stuck with the somewhat limited restaurant options we have in our particular municipality... so, a good "foodie" life would also be welcome.

There seem to be a lot of people on this board who made the move from Chicagoland to Colorado. I'm curious if it's met your expectations, what's been good, what hasn't been, what's been an adjustment. We love national parks, and while I understand that living in Colorado isn't necessarily tantamount to being in a national park -- we feel that it would make natural beauty (both of Colorado and of the national parks of the West) that much more accessible. I'm currently feeling that the Chicago suburbs are ranking pretty poorly on the "natural beauty scale" -- and I really don't require a lot of natural beauty to be content-- but more would definitely be welcome!

So, please tell me how your transitions have been.... Looking forward to your responses!! Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,901 posts, read 8,933,593 times
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Denver has good restaurants from almost every part of the world. There's even a Russian restaurant and several Ethiopian ones.

Boulder is located at the base of the mountains, which means easy access to hiking trails. The extreme western parts of Denver are close to the mountains too. The farther east you are in Denver, the more city you must drive through, but still it's not bad.

In both places, winter is not as bad as Chicago.

There are definitely a lot of national parks and natural beauty around the area. Rocky Mountain National park is close to Denver. In my neck of the woods (western colorado), the Monument and Moab with Arches and Canyonlands. Up north, Yellowstone and the Flaming Gorge.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:17 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,662,894 times
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Suburbs are mostly the same (in terms of restaurants, culture, etc.), whether outside Chicago or Denver.

Big city life, culture, restaurants = downtown Chicago (or thereabouts). Denver (the city proper) just isn't on the same scale (although it is way easier to get to the city of Denver from the suburbs than in Chicago; the associated hassles of traffic, parking are on a much, much smaller scale).
Access to nature = Denver and suburbs for sure (especially if you live west of the city).

While Denver suburbs are pretty sprawling, they're nothing compared to the Chicago suburban sprawl. You can get around the suburbs pretty easily in/around Denver, compared to the seemingly interminable traffic-clogged streets in Chicagoland (my wife's family lives in Tinley Park; every time we visit, it seems like going anywhere takes at least 30-45 minutes on packed roads).

Winters in Denver aren't as harsh as in Chicago in the sense that it's sunnier and warmer. But also harsher than Chicago in that big storms dumping several feet of snow are not uncommon in Denver.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,056 posts, read 99,058,791 times
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There is another thread about this somewhere in the archives. You could probably find it through a search. I came here from Champaign. The winters are much less harsh, even than Champaign's. Warning: you might miss that for a few years. I did.
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