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Old 05-26-2015, 07:59 PM
 
19 posts, read 18,728 times
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Looking to relocate my family out of Michigan next year in search of better year-round weather (among other things!) We want to live a healthier, active lifestyle. I am able to transfer just about anywhere in the U.S. with my company, my husband's job is in hospitality and very flexible as well. Our children are young, one in 1st grade and the other entering pre-school. We've searched a ton of "Best" lists but would like opinions from real people who love where they live. Here's what we are looking for:

Decent weather- more sunny days, dry heat (not TOO HOT!), less humidity, not a ton of precipitation-as long as it doesn't rain or snow constantly.
Great schools, nice community, recreational activities for our kids
Some type of walkable downtown area with shopping/activities, etc. We are foodies and love craft beer.
Affordable housing-, we would like to stay under 250k for something that would be comfortable for a family of 4.
Somewhat close to a "big" city- we love the cultural and ethnic diversity aspect of bigger cities, but low crime and good schools are very important.
Again, would LOVE opinions of real people who are happy with where they've chosen to live!
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,962,789 times
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I am thinking of Raleigh-Durham and Nashville. Both seem to tick those boxes with potential for under 250k housing.

Anyway, Jacksonville which I know best, would be very hot and humid in the summer. Most people would also default to St Johns County for great schools...which would indeed give you a number of options for new, suburban, family-friendly, planned communities under 250k. But it would be suburban and a bit of a drive from any semblance of urbanity. The area has exploded with 8 microbrews and counting (considering there were 0 about 7 years ago) and plenty of activities for kids. (Bonus of being a day's drive to many other family destinations)

So to recap on Jax, the humidity might be a deal breaker, as well as the separation of most great schools from a walkable downtown area.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:01 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque
42 posts, read 50,432 times
Reputation: 77
You were perfectly describing Denver until you got to "affordable housing."

Albuquerque could be something to look at. Weather is great and four seasons, you'll get snow in the winter but it will be gone the same afternoon, summers never really get THAT hot (100 degrees maybe twice a year, no humidity), fall in New Mexico is like heaven on Earth. Lots of outdoor recreation activities, easy access to cities like Santa Fe or Taos which are really great. UNM area, Uptown and Nob Hill are very walkable and have some cool shops and restaurants. We were recently voted one of the (or maybe it was THE?) top unexpected cool beer cities in the country. Seems like a new microbrewery opens up every few weeks. I'm only 23 so I don't have kids or anything yet, but Cibola, Eldorado, La Cueva, Sandia, and Volcano Vista are some of the better high schools and districts in the state.

I moved here for college (Go Lobos!) after growing up in a small Rocky Mountain town in Northern NM, but I really enjoy living in Albuquerque. Don't let the Breaking Bad hype scare you away.

We get a bad rap for crime, but almost all the crime in the city is focused in two neighborhoods near the state fairgrounds and south of downtown.The West Side north of I-40 and the Northeast Heights would be good areas to check out. Mostly newer, safe, clean developments with pretty easy access and good schools (really the whole city is easy to get around because I-40 and I-25 split the city into quarters, so it takes 30 minutes at the high end to get across town). The city has done a lot to clean up crime and even police misconduct over the past decade and couple of years. Increased rapid transit options and bike share programs have done a lot to make downtown more accessible, although in complete transparency and IMO, downtown is probably still a few years away from being a place that you want to hang out (not necessarily just because of crime, there is also just not a whole lot to do downtown). I also think a lot of our crime horror stories comes from the fact that we are a mid-sized metro area (950,000) so any crime that happens gets talked to death, even if in other, bigger cities it might not have even made the first ten minutes of the newscast, if it even got mentioned at all.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:20 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
1,235 posts, read 1,357,453 times
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Quite frankly OP: the "ideal" you wish for does not exist. Climate wise the California coast but affordability is out of the question. I agree the Research Triangle in NC has a lot of what you want...except for summer humidity. But the significantly warmer winters there may be enough to sweeten the pot for you with everything else that area has going for it. Good luck. Maybe try New Mexico....
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:40 AM
 
21,185 posts, read 30,343,833 times
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I'll also thrown in Raleigh-Durham as a great option, more specifically the Durham-Chapel Hill area which has taken on the identity of the cultural and foodie hub of the metro area and offers all that you're looking for outside of the three months of summer humidity, which isn't really bad until July and the first couple of weeks of August typically. I lived there for several years and loved the area. Check out the north side of Chapel Hill just south of I-40 which offers a decent selection of homes under 250K, good proximity to commutes to/from Durham or Raleigh if need be and location within the top-rated school district in North Carolina (Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public Schools). It's also quite safe and has close proximity to Chapel Hill's nice walkable downtown.

Things to Do | Durham, NC
Places to Eat | Durham, NC
Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill and Orange County Visitors Bureau
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools - About
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Lake George, CO
371 posts, read 427,456 times
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A bigger city in Colorado would suit you perfectly fine, you will just have to up your budgeting for a house, or do some saving up in the future to be able to get out there. Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:05 AM
 
19 posts, read 18,728 times
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Wow, great suggestions all-around! We have looked a ton at various cities in Colorado (we have some friends/family there but wanted unbiased opinions) Also, have read great things about NM and NC. Moving from Western MI is going to be a big "leap" for us, but we figure it's the best time to try while our kids are young. I agree, the list of things we are looking for can be non-existent. If we narrow it down - decent schools, sunny weather (not necessarily always warm climate, just more sun than overcast or rainy days) and somewhat of a "vibrant" downtown is what's most important to us. We can always be flexible on housing- getting something smaller or moving up a bit on price, if it means we can have a better quality of life.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:00 AM
 
Location: The Springs
1,770 posts, read 2,136,680 times
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Colorado Springs may be another consideration. There are select school districts that should meet your criteria and it's an hour's drive to Denver. Housing is much more affordable here than up there. Small, compact downtown. The city is large enough to have just about everything you'd need within driving distance. The "right-wing, lunatic-fringe" reputation of the city is highly overplayed and for the most part untrue. City population 440,000, metro 685,000.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:38 AM
 
19 posts, read 18,728 times
Reputation: 29
Thank you, Kar54! We have been looking into Colorado Springs over the last few weeks. I'm glad you said something about the "right-wing" issue- we are not overly religious and depending on topic, I could go either way for politics. We just want something that is more accepting and culturally diverse for our family. Also, constant overcast days in Michigan are really wearing on us. We will miss the close proximity to a large, gorgeous body of water, but can only enjoy it a few months out of the year. Any advice on living in Colorado Springs in general? Decent schools for our housing price range? Also, I've heard there aren't many bugs (my son is actually allergic to mosquito bites!) but a ton of other wildlife (could be scary with young kids if not careful). Would you find that to be true?
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:51 AM
 
Location: The Springs
1,770 posts, read 2,136,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7mstrom View Post
Thank you, Kar54! We have been looking into Colorado Springs over the last few weeks. I'm glad you said something about the "right-wing" issue- we are not overly religious and depending on topic, I could go either way for politics. We just want something that is more accepting and culturally diverse for our family. Also, constant overcast days in Michigan are really wearing on us. We will miss the close proximity to a large, gorgeous body of water, but can only enjoy it a few months out of the year. Any advice on living in Colorado Springs in general? Decent schools for our housing price range? Also, I've heard there aren't many bugs (my son is actually allergic to mosquito bites!) but a ton of other wildlife (could be scary with young kids if not careful). Would you find that to be true?
Hi 7mstrom,

Colorado Springs is much more libertarian in my view than conservative. Elections here run 60/40 Republican. Denver/Boulder are around 80/20 Democrat. I moved here from Denver 16 years ago and would never move back. My wife is Korean and our boys (now grown) are biracial. We've never experienced any blow back or discernible discrimination from the folks here.

The Springs gained the rep back in the '80s and '90s when several high-profile religious organizations located here from elsewhere. I won't misrepresent this town as being "liberal" because it's not. It is however more moderate than given credit for and it becomes more moderate year after year. This being a military town, we have our fair share of retirees whom have chosen to stay after deployment. It more that type of a town than the religious type found in the bible belt. In fact, church attendance in COS is less than the national average.

Check out the "Colorado Springs" thread under "Colorado" in the state forums. There, you'll find detailed info and links on neighborhoods, schools, etc. And that is correct regarding bugs, much fewer than other parts of the country!

Good luck and best wishes!
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