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Old 06-03-2013, 06:11 PM
1 posts, read 588 times
Reputation: 10


Recently, I've found it to afford the current city I live in, and I also dislike how the once-independent businesses are all being replaced with big box stores that you can find anywhere else in America.

I'm looking for a place that (ideally):

1. Has a general lack of big box national chains in the city proper (some is fine...of course grocery stores, etc. are necessary...but an overall lack of them).
2. Affordable all-around living, especially in housing.
3. Would have a city population between 100k and one million people; I would consider populations on either side of these boundaries, however.
4. Friendly people without social circles that are seemingly impossible to break into.
5. At least some variety in food (different ethnicities, etc.) and some sort of arts/culture/nightlife scene. It doesn't have to be New York City-level, but at least some places that younger people hang out a few nights a week.

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Old 06-03-2013, 07:34 PM
56,846 posts, read 81,192,796 times
Reputation: 12570
Buffalo may be a good choice and even the grocery stores will be local or based in Upstate NY. It is big enough, affordable, has some diversity and has its share of nightlife. You could possibly do Rochester or Syracuse, but Buffalo's size and location I think would be more appealing to you.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:13 PM
Location: Minneapolis
1,704 posts, read 2,770,530 times
Reputation: 2336
You are describing Des Moines.
1. Very few chain restaurants compared to cities of a similar size. There are only a couple chains downtown. Tons of small business all over the city proper. No reason to ever go to a national chain for food if you don't want to. Des Moines has been ranked as one of the best cities for small businesses and startups
2. Definitely affordable. Lower than average cost of living.
3. Metro population of 589,000; city population of 207,000.
4. Can be hard sometimes, but no worse than any other city between 100k and 1 million.
5. Food: Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, German, French, Italian, Mexican (both high end and more gritty), British, Japanese (lots of sushi), Bosnian, African, Cajun, Greek, I could go on. Arts/culture/nightlife: Yes to all three. You're right, it's obviously not close to New York or even Minneapolis, but it's there and it's embraced in the community.

Des Moines is the one I know most about, but you could also look at Omaha, Madison, and Grand Rapids.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:20 AM
390 posts, read 786,632 times
Reputation: 504
Denver sounds like the right place for you
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:17 PM
178 posts, read 350,853 times
Reputation: 177
Cleveland or Cincinnati, are great areas to reside
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:45 PM
Location: San Diego
939 posts, read 2,833,306 times
Reputation: 438
Mesa, AZ
Austin, TX
Aurora, CO
Boulder, CO
Tucson, AZ
Wichita, KS
Yonkers, NY
Portland, OR
Hartford, CT
Louisville, KY
Charlotte, NC
Ann Arbor, MI
Lafayette, IN
Savannah, GA
Providence, RI
Saint Paul, MN
Indianapolis, IN
Minneapolis, MN
Kansas City, MO
New Orleans, LA
St. Petersburg, FL

Last edited by SouthCali4LifeSD; 06-04-2013 at 03:05 PM..
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:16 AM
21,233 posts, read 30,478,027 times
Reputation: 19705
Durham NC would be an excellent choice. It has an excellent restaurant/food scene that the NY Times has picked up on (twice), affordable housing/cost of living, lots of independent retailers and average (or less) big box stores and a friendly, diverse, well-educated population thanks to nearby Duke University and the University of North Carolina in neighboring Chapel Hill (plus a large research park in-town with hundreds of firms)....plus plenty of social/nightlife options.
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