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Old 03-29-2012, 05:23 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,267,639 times
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Hey, friends! I just registered on this website because I usually learn a lot about cities I'm going to visit just from reading your accounts.

So, I'm moving from Seattle, and I'm originally from a suburb outside Philly. I only have spent a year in Seattle, but I hate it! I'm not sure where to go next, so can you guys help me discover a city/town in the US that fits this criteria OR is in reasonable driving distance to a place that meets this criteria:

-Access to nature (parks, mountains, lakes/rivers or the ocean)

-Plenty to do; at least a few places open late, late at night

-Progressive, friendly people

-Has the textbook seasons (no place where it's summer or winter most of the year) and/or a mild climate

-Affordable but still has some expensive places to splurge

-Not too far away from other major cities or travel destinations

-No high crime rate

-People of all ages (I'm only 19 and living on my own, but I honestly don't want to be someplace that's all college students and I definitely don't want to be someplace that's all retirees)

-Jobs available and at least one decent college/university nearby

Any ideas would be much appreciated. I don't have much time to decide. Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
3,895 posts, read 4,566,727 times
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I would recommend looking into Indianapolis.
3 hour drive from Chicago and the beautiful Lake Michigan.
Cost of living is half that of SF. Nations Most affordable housing market and 8th fastest growing city/metro. Fastest growing city in the midwest. Indy is also a very safe city with low crime rates compared to similar sized cities. We have all 4 seasons too. Monument Circle is turned into the Worlds Largest Christmas Tree every holiday season to kick off the winter.
Were the most affordable city to live in the nation but we also have the high end stuff you would be looking for. Like Nordstrom/Bently in Zionsville and other high end retailers etc. Within a days drive to 75% of the US population for easy vacation/travel plus we have a brand new International Airport.
Also a very clean/green city. Indy looks like it was built into a forest
Plus just an hour south is the great Hoosier National forest which is fun to do anything outdoors from camping to hunting to swimming and canoeing.

Indy also is a 1.5 hour drive to Cincy and 2 hours to Louisville and 3 hours to St Louis Which makes it easy to enjoy what those cities offer too.

Very strong job market here too.
Have any questions feel free to ask me or the Indianapolis forum.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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Do the majority of the people need to be progressive or are you looking for like minded thinkers to hang out with?
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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Ithaca NY, Ann Arbor MI, Burlington VT, Amherst MA, Columbus OH and Madison WI.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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Omaha, Lincoln, des Moines and Kansas city. All within a 7-10 hour drive to Denver or many scenic regions in western Nebraska, south Dakota and Wyoming. All are along some major rivers (omaha is along three major rivers, on some big hills and sitting alongside the loess hills. Plenty of very good entertainment in this region.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:54 PM
 
994 posts, read 1,267,639 times
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Wow, some great places mentioned! I knew you guys could help.

I love the idea of Ithaca. Never crossed my mind. Indianapolis sounds pretty cool, too. But I'd be afraid it's like Seattle in the sense that maybe it's beautiful and people are nice, but if you go too far out the city things...change.

@Creeksitter, I'd like most of the people to be progressive. Not necessarily liberal, but where everyone feels free to be themselves and communicate outside of their niches.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:19 AM
 
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Not sure how large of a city you are looking at, but have you thought about Denver, or even the Ft. Collins area?
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Not necessarily liberal, but where everyone feels free to be themselves and communicate outside of their niches.
I'm not sure I undertand this. I ask because Knoxville meeets your other criteria and has some people I consider progressive and a progressive mayor but overall is moderate with a fair amount of conservatives. OTOH, people feel free to be themselves, it's just that themselves are as likely to be moderate or conservative as anything else.

Quote:
maybe it's beautiful and people are nice, but if you go too far out the city things...change.
I'm not familiar with Seattle but if you are saying the whole region needs to be "progressive" that rules out Tennessee.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:13 AM
 
994 posts, read 1,267,639 times
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I was guess what I was politely trying to say is I don't want live somewhere that's like going back in time as far as how you're perceived if you're not white and Christian.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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I live in Washington DC, and I really love it here. I'm into the outdoors but I also love living in the city which makes DC a really good place for me. The mountains are just outside of the city to the west (Shenandoah National Park) and Chesapeake Bay is 30 minutes outside of the city to the east if you are into kayaking or sailing. In downtown Washington and Arlington there are hundreds of places to hang out, listen to live music, get a cup of coffee, find a bookstore, or enjoy our great public spaces. We have the 2nd highest transit usage in the nation (over 1 million users per day) due to the accessibility of our subway and bus system. And streetcars are on the way in about two years. Therefore, you can easily live here without a car. And you can get non-stop flights to several international destinations from Dulles International Airport.

Several communities offer weekend farmer's markets in summer due to the proximity of abundant farmland down the road. There is also a large year-round market (Eastern Market) that offers a lot of "one of a kind" stuff from various vendors.

A lot of people think Washington life is all about politics but honestly most of us who live here couldn't care less. There are a few who are into the power scene, but that's a small minority. Our style has been described a "New York Lite" as we tend to be more Northern than Southern in nature. And if you have a college degree, the job market here is fantastic.

There are four distinct seasons here. Spring is beautiful and a little cool, with flowering cherry blossom and dogwood trees. Summer can be hot and humid but the evenings are very comfortable. Fall is great with colorful leaves on the mountains outside of the city, and winter here ranges from 50 degrees to -5 degrees with just a little snow or 30 inches in a single storm (depending on the weather pattern off the ocean).

We are a three and a half hour trip to New York City via Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, or four hours via bus. If you are into the beach, wild horses and lighthouses are a three hour car trip to the south. The mountains to the west rise above 4,000 feet (that's pretty high for the East) 60 miles from downtown. Also, there are several wineries in Loudoun County, Virginia which makes for fun day trips to the countryside.
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