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Old 12-03-2014, 01:25 PM
 
7,611 posts, read 9,467,758 times
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I always put in a good word for Madison, WI---one of the best places to live in the US.
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
173 posts, read 197,682 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel03 View Post
Okay, totally fair. So, there's absolutely nothing wrong with what you're asking, but I'm having some dissonance because you also specified that these parameters relate to city population, not metro area population. This is tricky because once a city is large enough to have suburbs (usually around ~100k), city population becomes mostly arbitrary. There are actually only 34 cities in the US with populations over 500k, and many of the smaller ones are definitely not cities you would call midsize (like Atlanta, Miami, etc). Let me explain...

Basing those numbers (50-500k) on city limit population alone, my recommendations would be:

Minneapolis (pop 400k)
Cleveland (pop 390k)
St. Paul (pop 300k)
Madison (pop 240k)
Des Moines (pop 210k)
Aurora, IL (pop 200k)
...and so on

However those cities are all parts of metro areas between 600k (Madison and Des Moines) and 9 million (Aurora). If you moved to Cleveland, you would have everything you're looking for in spades, and technically the city population is 390k, but in practice you would be living in a city of 3.5 million.

So I think what you're really wanting is either (a) a small/midsize metro between 60-300k, OR (b) a component city of larger metro that is well removed from the urban core, but still vibrant and walkable.

With that in mind, here's what I recommend:

Missoula, MT
Boulder, CO
Duluth, MN
Vancouver, WA (maybe a bit big)
Ithaca, NY
Burlington, VT
Stillwater, MN
La Crosse, WI
Iowa City, IA
Lincoln, NE
Excellent suggestions I'm looking to move too and have some of the same criteria as the original poster, and these are the cities i've been considering.
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:48 PM
 
112 posts, read 77,373 times
Reputation: 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadoAngel View Post
Your search is really too vague. Most of America fits in the range you're describing. I took a look at the list of cities above 100k, eliminated all that were core cities or suburbs of metro areas greater than 2 million, eliminated all the southern/sunbelt states (said you liked winter and water) and I still have 40+ distinct cities across the country. And there are all kinds of medium sized metros like Portland, Maine that have core-cities under 100k, but metro areas exactly in the range you're looking at. Factor those in and you're looking at hundreds of locations.

Do you have any other preferences? Specific/ideal outdoor activities? You said you like fall weather but would you miss the foliage if you moved somewhere out west? You said you like winter, but what about winter do you like? Some places get a *lot* more of it than others and if you're from the southeast you might not be prepared for winters in many of the cities that fit your population guidelines. Do you need to be closer to a larger airport for cheaper flights to visit family? Do you have any political or religious preferences? Even if you're agnostic or apolitical - that matters. Someplace like Colorado or Ohio is going to receive a lot more political attention than New York or Washington. Really annoying if that's not your thing.
Ok, I'll try to be a little more specific. We love the outdoors period, so as long as there are good outdoor recreation areas we are good. We are more used to water recreation, being from the south and all, but we have spent a good deal of time in the Smoky Mountains and Rockies, which we love. The front range is on our list. We seem to be leaning more to the east, but are open to the west.

Would I miss fall foliage? I've never had it on a permanent basis, so I wouldn't really miss it, but we do quite enjoy it. As far as winter goes, we love cold weather and snow. Would I love it entering the 5th month in a row of it? I can't really say, but we are willing to try anything at least once.

Being close to a large international airport would be great, but not a deal breaker. Politics? We call ourselves Republicrats, but we lean more liberal. I like healthy debate, my wife doesn't. So I guess less attention is better. Happy wife, happy life. Religion? We are agnostic/atheist, so a less religious area would be preferable. That's one of the reasons we want out of the south, it seems to matter too much to people down here.

Hopefully this helps, but if you need more ask!
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Old 12-04-2014, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,100 posts, read 1,077,487 times
Reputation: 1947
Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisblues1986 View Post
Ok, I'll try to be a little more specific. We love the outdoors period, so as long as there are good outdoor recreation areas we are good. We are more used to water recreation, being from the south and all, but we have spent a good deal of time in the Smoky Mountains and Rockies, which we love. The front range is on our list. We seem to be leaning more to the east, but are open to the west.

Would I miss fall foliage? I've never had it on a permanent basis, so I wouldn't really miss it, but we do quite enjoy it. As far as winter goes, we love cold weather and snow. Would I love it entering the 5th month in a row of it? I can't really say, but we are willing to try anything at least once.

Being close to a large international airport would be great, but not a deal breaker. Politics? We call ourselves Republicrats, but we lean more liberal. I like healthy debate, my wife doesn't. So I guess less attention is better. Happy wife, happy life. Religion? We are agnostic/atheist, so a less religious area would be preferable. That's one of the reasons we want out of the south, it seems to matter too much to people down here.

Hopefully this helps, but if you need more ask!
If you're try to stay east, have you considered Asheville? Not that much of a winter but far more than the lowlands. Beautiful change of seasons, a little snow and cold weather (legit winter nearby in Boone and at higher elevations nearby). No religious requirement, which is unusual in the south. Apart from that, the Front Range could be a good bet, though not all that quaint or charming unless you get on the fringes. As you're probably aware from researching, you're not in the mountains, but you have close, yet crowded access.

I would also suggest Willamette Valley and Puget Sound Regions. Spectacular and diverse scenery, tons of outdoor activities, several medium to big cities in the region. In fact, where we just moved (Bellingham, WA) sounds like it fits the bill. On the water, next to the mountains, pedestrian and transit friendly downtown and neighborhoods, proximity to Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Very local-centric food/businesses. It seems like an idyllic place to raise a child, provided that you have job prospects.
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:54 PM
 
56,755 posts, read 81,082,761 times
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What about an area like this area about 45 minutes-an hour north of Albany: Glens Falls is full of things to do, delicious restaurants, and numerous places to shop for everyone in your family or friends.

Glens Falls, NY - Official Website
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Columbia, MD
1,431 posts, read 1,991,538 times
Reputation: 2115
Quote:
We love good food and art.
We are outdoorsy,
We would like to find a city between 60k and 300k or so, that offers a lot for its size.
Proximity to larger cities would be cool, but not necessary.
A walkable downtown would be cool, not necessary.
just the ability to get out and do things outdoors.
We do not want to be in the southeast however.
we love fall weather and winter.
We would like somewhere that has plenty of opportunities for him as well, such as museums and things.
Sounds like Santa Fe, NM would be a terrific match for you guys.

City Size: -68,000
ABQ, Col. Springs, Denver all doable day trips up Interstate-25
Access to high desert and rocky mountain terrain
Museums and culture aplenty.
Walk-able and quaint downtown.
Art scene: Georgia O'Keeffe country - need I say anymore
Great restaurants and culinary influences
Not to mention that this touristy/artsy city also happens to be the state capital as well. Better job prospects and opportunities.

Last edited by santafe400; 12-06-2014 at 06:21 PM..
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:00 PM
 
56,755 posts, read 81,082,761 times
Reputation: 12552
Ithaca NY comes to mind as well in terms of offering a lot for its size: Visit Ithaca, NY - Official Site for Ithaca, NY & Tompkins County

Downtown Ithaca - Downtown Ithaca Alliance
http://youtu.be/6yVHvjpYqjg
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:26 PM
 
1,535 posts, read 1,502,032 times
Reputation: 1540
A few cities come to mind:

Grand Rapids is the gem of the Midwest (the downtown, lakes, beaches, and sand dunes are spectacular)
Madison is a majestic and wonderful place ( a lot of lakes)
Minneapolis is a cosmopolitan city with a lot of lakes (can be a little too cold if that bothers you)
Huntsville is a nice comfortable city
Kansas City is up and coming
Portland, Oregon is a wonderful choice
Boulder is nice
Virginia Beach-Norfolk is a great urban area
Wilmington, NC is on the Atlantic and has a moderate climate...great place
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,676,885 times
Reputation: 1434
Here you are. Des Moines. For these reasons and more:

2014 RankingsPrior years' rankings: Des Moines Rankings | 2014 Rankings

Last edited by Yac; 12-11-2014 at 06:33 AM..
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:19 PM
 
306 posts, read 593,987 times
Reputation: 174
Madison or Milwaukee in Wisconsin. You call all four seasons, you're a short drive from Chicago, you have access to a lake/outdoors, you get all four seasons of the year and they are left-leaning.
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