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Old 08-04-2010, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
43 posts, read 126,179 times
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What cities / towns have a reasonable to low cost of living, but with lots of amenities such as museums (both art and history), performing arts, and nice restaurants (not chains)?

I am currently in Raleigh, NC, and I think that it fits this definition reasonably well. Most apartments are out of my range, but I can still find a decent affordable place on retail wages, and within the whole Triangle there are multiple museums, theatres, hopefully a contempory art museum opening sometime, and H&M Also like the grass-roots festivals such as SPARKcon.

The things I wish Raleigh did have: better public transportation, a more condensed urban core (everything is so spread out I feel like I am driving all the time), a more diverse landscape, and a larger or perhaps easier-to-find singles population.

I don't mean to start a pro/con Raleigh thread, just wondering what other cities fit this bill. Based on research so far, it seems like Chicago and Pittsburgh might be possibilities.

Thanks!
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:26 AM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,460,677 times
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I think Pittsburgh sounds like a good option (although have only visited, so say that from an outside perspective). Minneapolis is our choice, and offers a relatively low cost of living in return for a lot of amenities. (we also have a child, so the fact that public schools are also good definitely is a major plus, and not one found in every city of its size)

Of bigger cities, Philadelphia always seemed to offer a great ratio of cost of living to big city amenities. I wouldn't call it "low cost," but it seemed like a bargain when compared to the other NE big cities.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:29 AM
 
Location: where my heart is
5,642 posts, read 7,995,554 times
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Philadelphia
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX/Chicago, IL/Houston, TX/Washington, DC
10,171 posts, read 12,844,279 times
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Philadelphia, easy choice really.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:45 AM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 24,626,395 times
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cleveland is in there too, I think coming from Raleigh all of those will fit your needs, though Philly and Chicago as mentioned might be beyond what you need if you are on a retail budget, though certainly doable.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,954 posts, read 4,514,852 times
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Cleveland or Pittsburgh are definitely cheap cities with big time cultural amenities. Probably your best options.

Chicago is not what I would call cheap. If you rent and do not need a car in Chicago it is not bad though. Just don't expect a prime neighborhood on a tight budget.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:20 AM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 24,626,395 times
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Yeah Chicago is only cheap when thrown in the context of SF/NYC/Boston/DC. It is certainly doable with roommates/budgeting though, for what you get it is actually a bargain. But again, coming from Raleigh, it might be overload for you where it seems like you are looking for "just enough"
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX/Chicago, IL/Houston, TX/Washington, DC
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Milwaukee works also.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:50 AM
 
976 posts, read 1,886,768 times
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philadelphia
saint louis
pittsburgh
baltimore
detroit
cleveland
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:03 AM
 
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 8,961,313 times
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Chicago, the Twin Cities, or Philly. The added advantage of Philly is that it's very close to New York and busses are surprisingly cheap. I took a Bolt Bus from NYC to Philly and it was only $10 each way (cheaper than a cab from my apartment to the Met).

Even though I wouldn't live there, the big Texas cities are edging up on the cultural scene. Dallas has built a lot of major performance venues and museums recently. This is part of what distinguishes Dallas from the other sunbelt cities like Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas (which are decidedly low-brow). It allows well educated people to move to Dallas without feeling they're in a cultural wasteland.
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