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Old 08-10-2010, 01:41 PM
 
56,612 posts, read 80,910,543 times
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Buffalo might be a sleeper.

Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

BURCHFIELD PENNEY ART CENTER

UB Art Galleries

CEPA Gallery : the Art of Photography

Shea's Performing Arts Center

Alleyway Theatre Incorporated

Irish Classical Theatre Company (ICTC): Buffalo New York (NY) theatre company1

Theatre of Youth

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Actually, the other major Upstate NY cities aren't too bad either.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:54 PM
 
Location: West Midtown Atlanta
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I mean I'll go to H&M with the quickness just like the next person, but since when did a city having an H&M = culture???
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:30 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 814,740 times
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Since one of the criteria is cheapness, I think we might want to consider factoring that in... Chicago is definitely cheap for what you get, it's a fantastic city (other than horrible weather for a large portion of the year IMO). However, it's not cheap as a whole. Keep in mind, the OPer is coming from Raleigh, not a big expensive city. With that in mind I used a COL calculator and a hypothetical $50k in Raleigh to see what he would need (theoretically) in each of the cities bulleted in an earlier post. You'll see he needs over $10k more (that's 20%!) to live in Chicago. Philly is even worse. A large portion of this is due to housing which is a large expense that's not easily avoided or reduced. As such I would venture to say that it's not cheap enough on absolute terms for what was desired in the OP. IMHO, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and the TX cities seem to be the best for you. They're all actually cheaper than where you're living now while still being legit cities with amenities, culture, etc.

BTW, what is culture to you? Different people define that differently. Professional sports? Modern music and touring acts (rock, hip-hop, etc.)? Classical music? Theater and opera? Book stores and coffee shops? Clubs and restaurants? Swanky sophistication? New architecture? Old architecture? History? Museums? Celebrities?... The list goes on. So what exactly is culture to you? That will make a difference as to which city is right for you. Pittsburgh, Miami, and Houston all have culture, but they're very different kinds.

Also key is what kind of climate do you like? There are vast differences in weather between say, Buffalo NY and Houston TX. That can play a huge role in one's happiness. Personally, I can't live in most of the cities mentioned here because I hate the cold. I even struggle with winters (and late fall / early spring) in the DC area!

$50,000 salary =
- Chicago $60,111
- Philadelphia $64,278
- Pittsburgh $46, 493
- Baltimore $60, 518
- Cleveland $51,117
- Dallas $46,138
- Houston $46,443

A couple more that were mentioned:
Austin / Round Rock (they didn't have Austin listed?) $46,595
Buffalo $48,373
Omaha $44,664
Milwaukee $52,591
Minneapolis $55,741
St. Louis $45,782
Denver $51,829
Tampa $47,052
Richmond $53,861
Lincoln $47,408
Boise $48,475
Kansas City $49,593
Columbus $47,103
Detroit $52,134

Here's the calculator I used: Cost of living: Compare prices in two cities - CNNMoney.com
There are others out there and who really knows about their accuracy but they should give a pretty good relative idea. I've found that I agree with the relative COL for most of the cities that I know that I looked up
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:38 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,161,575 times
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^^ This is a fair point

To that end end though for larger cities (meaning downtowns) Chicago and philly would still be less costly when compared to NYC, Boston, DC, or SF etc.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 814,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
^^ This is a fair point

To that end end though for larger cities (meaning downtowns) Chicago and philly would still be less costly when compared to NYC, Boston, DC, or SF etc.
Agreed. They're good values for what they are (though I've never personally been a big fan of Philly). They're still expensive though. They'd both be hard to make ends meet as a non-management (or even lower-management) retail employee living on one's own. Even if that was done it would be difficult to experience a lot of the culture being offered.

Taking this site's cultural rankings into consideration Top 25 U.S. Cities for Culture — Infoplease.com (though again, who knows the true value / accuracy of that) along with the above, it appears to me that Houston is the obvious top choice (even if I'm not a huge fan of that city either) to the question posed. It is among the cheapest of the cities listed and is #7 overall in culture (3rd highest of those listed). Cleveland (high culture at #6 overall and not too much more expensive than Raleigh) and St. Louis (2nd cheapest listed and #13 overall in culture) are up there as well.

A couple other intriguing ones from that list that weren't mentioned here include Providence (expensive at $61,839), Charleston (one to consider at $49,949), Santa Fe (not listed on that COL site but prob not too expensive), and Nashville (very cheap at $44,867 and still #20 overall)
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:51 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,161,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsamon View Post
Agreed. They're good values for what they are (though I've never personally been a big fan of Philly). They're still expensive though. They'd both be hard to make ends meet as a non-management (or even lower-management) retail employee living on one's own. Even if that was done it would be difficult to experience a lot of the culture being offered.

Taking this site's cultural rankings into consideration Top 25 U.S. Cities for Culture — Infoplease.com (though again, who knows the true value / accuracy of that) along with the above, it appears to me that Houston is the obvious top choice (even if I'm not a huge fan of that city either) to the question posed. It is among the cheapest of the cities listed and is #7 overall in culture (3rd highest of those listed). Cleveland (high culture at #6 overall and not too much more expensive than Raleigh) and St. Louis (2nd cheapest listed and #13 overall in culture) are up there as well.

A couple other intriguing ones from that list that weren't mentioned here include Providence (expensive at $61,839), Charleston (one to consider at $49,949), Santa Fe (not listed on that COL site but prob not too expensive), and Nashville (very cheap at $44,867 and still #20 overall)

That is fine after I lived a few years in DC, I am not a big fan (though i will say when I lived just off King Street I was very happy, do really like Old Town) . Good link BTW - never quite sure how to read these but think all do offer some pretty good amenities. Surprised actually to see Philly ahead of Chicago on the list, Chicago is a city I love as well.

I also think as stated in here that Pittsburgh (or Minneapolis) could be the sleeper, getting better and pretty good mix of offerings and cost, plus pretty good proximity to the NE cities, even if DC is the closest

On the sunbelt cities, many people do like this lifestyle obviously so i think it comes down to prefered type of city then some good choices.

I also agree a bit on your premis, although Philly is cheaper, the nicer more accesable neighborhoods can be very expensive, moreso than Chicago in some ways.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 814,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
That is fine after I lived a few years in DC, I am not a big fan (though i will say when I lived just off King Street I was very happy, do really like Old Town) . Good link BTW - never quite sure how to read these but think all do offer some pretty good amenities. Surprised actually to see Philly ahead of Chicago on the list, Chicago is a city I love as well.

I also think as stated in here that Pittsburgh (or Minneapolis) could be the sleeper, getting better and pretty good mix of offerings and cost, plus pretty good proximity to the NE cities, even if DC is the closest

On the sunbelt cities, many people do like this lifestyle obviously so i think it comes down to prefered type of city then some good choices.

I also agree a bit on your premis, although Philly is cheaper, the nicer more accesable neighborhoods can be very expensive, moreso than Chicago in some ways.
I love Chicago too. I'm not really a big-city person myself, but that's probably the one city that I've been to that I would really like to live in the heart of. Unfortunately, I hate the weather for about 3/4 of the year...

I have a love/hate thing with DC. I want to get out of here at this point. The COL, traffic, and winters (can you tell I hate cold?) are all getting to be too much for me. That said, I love the cultural stuff (sports, concerts, museums, etc.), the recreational sports, the open feeling, the diversity of people, the amount of high-quality jobs, and the multitude of great ethnically diverse restaurants.

I currently live in Huntington because it's a cheaper section of Alexandria, but it's still only a 30 min walk or 5 min drive to old town so I go out there. I love Old Town. It's beautiful, there's lots of good restaurants and bars with some decent deals (sometimes you have to go off the beaten path a bit), and it's not as presumptuous as lots of DC. If I could transplant Old Town to somewhere warm, along the coast, and find a mediocre single family home or even a nice town home for < $400k that'd be about perfect. Unfortunately, none of those things are reality.

I think the thing with DC that a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of its culture is actually in what are technically its suburbs. Places like Alexandria (Old Town and otherwise), Arlington, Bethesda, Clarendon, Silver Spring, and even places like Falls Church, Fairfax, Reston, and Gaithersburg all have their own pockets of stuff to do. Good portions of the city proper are primarily just centers for jobs.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,161,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsamon View Post
I love Chicago too. I'm not really a big-city person myself, but that's probably the one city that I've been to that I would really like to live in the heart of. Unfortunately, I hate the weather for about 3/4 of the year...

I have a love/hate thing with DC. I want to get out of here at this point. The COL, traffic, and winters (can you tell I hate cold?) are all getting to be too much for me. That said, I love the cultural stuff (sports, concerts, museums, etc.), the recreational sports, the open feeling, the diversity of people, the amount of high-quality jobs, and the multitude of great ethnically diverse restaurants.

I currently live in Huntington because it's a cheaper section of Alexandria, but it's still only a 30 min walk or 5 min drive to old town so I go out there. I love Old Town. It's beautiful, there's lots of good restaurants and bars with some decent deals (sometimes you have to go off the beaten path a bit), and it's not as presumptuous as lots of DC. If I could transplant Old Town to somewhere warm, along the coast, and find a mediocre single family home or even a nice town home for < $400k that'd be about perfect. Unfortunately, none of those things are reality.

I think the thing with DC that a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of its culture is actually in what are technically its suburbs. Places like Alexandria (Old Town and otherwise), Arlington, Bethesda, Clarendon, Silver Spring, and even places like Falls Church, Fairfax, Reston, and Gaithersburg all have their own pockets of stuff to do. Good portions of the city proper are primarily just centers for jobs.

Try Charleston SC
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:43 AM
 
56,612 posts, read 80,910,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Try Charleston SC
Or Savannah GA. Nashville TN might work too. If you to go even smaller Asheville NC could be a possibility.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
519 posts, read 814,740 times
Reputation: 402
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
That is fine after I lived a few years in DC, I am not a big fan (though i will say when I lived just off King Street I was very happy, do really like Old Town) . Good link BTW - never quite sure how to read these but think all do offer some pretty good amenities. Surprised actually to see Philly ahead of Chicago on the list, Chicago is a city I love as well.

I also think as stated in here that Pittsburgh (or Minneapolis) could be the sleeper, getting better and pretty good mix of offerings and cost, plus pretty good proximity to the NE cities, even if DC is the closest

On the sunbelt cities, many people do like this lifestyle obviously so i think it comes down to prefered type of city then some good choices.

I also agree a bit on your premis, although Philly is cheaper, the nicer more accesable neighborhoods can be very expensive, moreso than Chicago in some ways.

Pittsburgh is 50/50 I think. Some people love the culture and the city, others hate it. My family's from that area, so I've been to the city many times. It seems to have a little bit of everything in it, but not much of anything. So no matter what you like, you'll probably find something for you in Pittsburgh. However, you also might not find enough of that something. It gets concerts, but nowhere near as frequently as some other cities. It has a symphony, but it's not exactly world renown. It has a few new buildings with cool architecture, but not many. It's got old, historical buildings, but they tend to be more gritty than pretty. It's got a couple museums and a zoo (I think). The Carnegie Science Center is pretty sweet. I'm not sure on the theater scene... it doesn't really seem like their type of thing though. It's got pro sports teams, but no basketball, and lets face it, might as well not have baseball either. Hockey and Football are awesome there though. It's close to other major cities, but not close enough for a day trip IMO (Philly, DC, Baltimore are all about 5 hours away, Atlantic City / the beach is 6.5, NY 7). It is close to Cleveland though at about 2 hours. The airport isn't very big, and the snow in the surrounding mountains can really block you in in the winter. It's not very ethnically diverse and its lacking in interesting restaurants IMO (Promonti Bros sandwiches are awesome though and I need to get one from the original restaurant). Basically, it's a midwestern city that's closer to the east coast cities and has a little more diversity thrown in. It also has some great universities (Pitt, Duquesne, Carnegie Melon).

Minneapolis I don't know much about. I've only really passed through it when flying to WI for work and I think I had to stay there overnight once... It's still a midwestern city though, so that will give it a lot of the same positives (COL, great down to earth people, etc.) and negatives (WEATHER (IMO), isolated, etc.). Unfortunately, it was a lot more expensive than I expected if that site I used is to be believed. It was a little over 10% more expensive than in Raleigh. Since retail job salaries don't tend to scale well with the COL of an area due to their low skill-set requirement this 10% could potentially be problematic. That could easily be an extra $100 / month or more out of his pocket.
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