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Old 08-19-2014, 10:32 AM
 
21,207 posts, read 30,420,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
You're pretty much describing Seattle, except that it's expensive and rents are on the up and up. Perhaps Denver or Mineapolis.
I thought Minneapolis too originally but the OP wanted a more moderate climate which Minneapolis (nor Pittsburgh or Cleveland) are especially known for.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:36 AM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,022 posts, read 1,040,499 times
Reputation: 1797
Default Consider Philly

Quote:
Originally Posted by novaquinn View Post
Where in the US would be a good city that matches the following criteria?:


* Good IT job market. We're both IT professionals, my boyfriend can keep his job and work from home, but I would need an office to go to.

* Moderate climate. We're both fed up with 110+ degree summers, and want somewhere a little cooler. We want something with a season other than stupidly hot or icy for a week.

* Artsy, interesting, liberal crowd. We don't necessarily need a college town, but somewhere refined and/or expressive. We like the "weird" in Austin.

* Low Crime. This one may be a taller order in a downtown area, but we'd prefer not to get mugged.

* FOOD. We are major foodies, and want a city that has a variety of good options. This is why we're looking at downtown options, to have choices and not have to drive everywhere.

* Decent-Sized City. We are looking for a moderate to large downtown area with lots of options and at least a few things going on each night.

* Quality for the money. We're not exactly interested in California or its prices, and the same goes for Austin downtown living (starts at a cool 1 million). We'd like to stay under 500K and get a good bang for the buck. So it doesn't have to be super cheap, but what's most important is if it's worth the money.

While we are not sporty or outdoorsy-folks (we're more BBQ and wine people) scenery would be a "nice to have". So, we're looking for a place we can stay and call home.

Ideas? Opinions? Things to stay away from?
Consider Philly:

good IT market (Comcast is expanding its presence downtown; lots of pharma, health-care companies)

Climate isn't perfect, but consider we've only had one heat wave (I think that's 3 consecutive 90+ degree days) this summer. Winters can be mild or nasty (two of the worst have been in the last 4 years). Spring (when it finally arrives) and Fall are spectacular. If you like 4 seasons, Philly's climate zone is a good choice for you.

Arty stuff - mainstream (Barnes, etc.) and offbeat (Mutter Museum, Kinetic Sculpture Derby, and many others) - galore. Also, lots of historic sites: Independence Hall, etc.

Crime is present in downtown (aka "Center City"), but isn't as bad as a lot of non-Philadelphians may think. I've never felt unsafe being in Center City at night.

Philly's one of the best foodie cities in the US

Big Bang for the buck, housing-wise, especially when you compare to other cities in the Northeast corridor.

Scenery? meh ... vista is in short supply (it's not a Philly thing per se, but it you consider pretty much any big/medium city on the East coast - Pittsburgh may be the exception - you're not going to have the big sky that you have in Texas and the West).

Like you, my wife and I moved from a "why would you ever want to move from here" place (Chapel Hill NC) because we were tired of growth, traffic, and stupidly hot & humid summers. People scratched their heads when we chose Philly, but once they saw where and how we lived they understood.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Even within cities with overall high crime rates, any downtown worth living in is going to be low crime.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Cleveland
3,179 posts, read 3,854,417 times
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Cleveland's downtown is growing and getting better every day. The downtown population has doubled in the past 10 years, and apartment occupancy is at 98%. New projects are announced almost daily. It's definitely the most vibrant city between Chicago and the East Coast, and it's not nearly as crowded as either. Lots of good dining too. Cleveland is definitely an up and coming place, and something to get in on early, before the prices start to rise. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find high quality dining and housing is relatively cheap here.
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Old 08-19-2014, 01:55 PM
 
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WOW thanks for the input folks! To answer questions, we're not necessarily married to the idea of living downtown, but want somewhere with a lot of restaurants, shops, or drink places within walking distance. So we're open to districts. We're looking to buy, not rent.
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
3,145 posts, read 2,832,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatty5011 View Post
You are kidding correct? You must not look very hard.
No, I am not kidding. Worst food ever. I have been to small southern towns in the mountains that have a better catfish platter than the dinners offered at the so-called upscale restaurants in the city. Pittsburgh's claim to fame is a sandwich topped with fries. I can see why.
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:54 PM
 
12 posts, read 14,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaquinn View Post
WOW thanks for the input folks! To answer questions, we're not necessarily married to the idea of living downtown, but want somewhere with a lot of restaurants, shops, or drink places within walking distance. So we're open to districts. We're looking to buy, not rent.
I have to second Philadelphia as a nice option for downtown living. Philadelphia has a lot of flaws, but life in Center City is probably the best thing about the city. There are a lot of unique neighborhoods to explore, and they don't feel too close together or too far apart -- and they're all extremely walkable.

Philadelphia is an excellent food town; a little bit of everything is here. The city has this weird, homey-but-vibrant feel and doesn't feel overwhelming. It's nice being able to walk into a good restaurant during peak hours and wait only a few minutes for a seat -- something that rarely happened to me when I lived in NYC. And if you do want to check out NYC or DC, those cities are only a few hours away.

Regarding crime, I often roam around Center City late at night and rarely feel I'm in danger.

Philadelphia has some warts, but you really do get some serious bang for the buck here. Hope you consider it!
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Southwest Minneapolis
493 posts, read 576,210 times
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If you don't mind crippling taxes, miserable traffic, corruption, and being surrounded by but not necessarily directly exposed to ridiculous crime, Chicago might be a decent fit. You can get quite a bit for your money downtown and on the near north side if you're ok with a condo. Lincoln Park would also be a great fit, but you would still be in condo territory based on your budget. There are decent neighborhoods nearby where you could get a nice house for $500k.

The aforementioned downsides are no joke. If you can accept them and the moderately brutal climate, you will be in an urban foody paradise. Lincoln Park has good public schools if you have kids, the rest of the city doesn't.

The economy isn't great but a metro area of nearly 10 million should have a few decent paying IT jobs.

In any case, despite my issues with Chicago, I would move there before Philadelphia in a heartbeat. Some of the people take themselves a little too seriously but its not a city full of mean spirited mal-contents that would boo Santa Claus. (Sorry Philadelphia)

I don't really know Philly that well, but have spent enough time there to not recommend it. If cold, crime and corruption aren't your thing, I would jump on the Denver bandwagon as others have suggested.

Last edited by MidwestRedux; 08-19-2014 at 10:30 PM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:56 AM
 
21,207 posts, read 30,420,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archibaldness View Post
Philadelphia has some warts, but you really do get some serious bang for the buck here. Hope you consider it!
Not so much when one begins weighing the taxation issues, especially the Philadelphia Wage Tax. Philadelphia has the second highest tax rate in the country....

2. Philadelphia, Pa.
Taxes for family earning $25,000: $3,794 (7th highest)
Taxes for family earning $150,000: $25,317 (3rd highest)
Unemployment rate: 8.6%

"Philadelphia's poorer families were subject to a much higher tax burden than those in most other large cities. A family of three earning $25,000 in 2012 paid $788 in income taxes that year, more than all but one other large city. The city's property tax burden was also considerably high for most income levels that year. A family whose earnings fell into the $100,000 tax bracket, for example, paid more than $11,806 in property taxes in 2012, second-most among large cities. After a new property tax valuation system was implemented and some residents' tax assessments more than tripled, the city introduced a "gentrification relief program" at the end of 2013. Fuel was also heavily taxed in 2012, with gasoline costing an additional 31 cents per gallon due to state taxes, which were among the highest in the U.S."



Also while deemed overall affordable in which to buy housing (median home price of 214k), much of the Philadelphia's housing is rather rundown and in neighborhoods where the OP is not likely to want to buy into. Many talk about the small gentrified areas (in proportion to the rest of the city) as being swell to live in, but rest assured the average home price of 214K will not apply there...as evidenced by the attachment below where the home prices in the neighborhoods being extolled are well into the 350K and up bracket, with some even well over 400K. That's not exactly considered "affordable" downtown living.

Philadelphia, PA average and median listing prices - Trulia.com
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,295,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
Also while deemed overall affordable in which to buy housing (median home price of 214k), much of the Philadelphia's housing is rather rundown and in neighborhoods where the OP is not likely to want to buy into. Many talk about the small gentrified areas (in proportion to the rest of the city) as being swell to live in, but rest assured the average home price of 214K will not apply there...as evidenced by the attachment below where the home prices in the neighborhoods being extolled are well into the 350K and up bracket, with some even well over 400K. That's not exactly considered "affordable" downtown living.

Philadelphia, PA average and median listing prices - Trulia.com
Since they're willing to spend up to 500k, 350-400 seems reasonable.

Both Chicago and Philadelphia share many similarities. Both are huge, mature cities with highly gentrified urban cores. Both have issues with crime (although generally not within the downtown area). Both allow easy car-free lifestyle. Both appear somewhat similar in pricing for downtown real estate (not the cheapest, but seems like a bargain compared to NYC or SF). Both may be considered too cold by OP.
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