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Old 11-17-2015, 05:18 AM
 
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For the last few years we have been living in Minneapolis and are now looking to move away and settle down at one place long term (for life if possible or at least till our kids finish school and go to college). While we like Minneapolis, our primary reason for moving away is weather. We just cannot deal with the brutal winter and the long months spent indoor. We are in the mid-thirties with one kid in 1st grade and the other a pre-schooler.

Our top considerations are

1) schooling - this includes excellent public schools but also an overall environment and focus on good schooling and particularly STEM (we like Minnesota's high schooling standards and parental involvement in their childs education)
2) career opportunities in technology
3) warm or moderate weather - in general we can do better with texas-like hot climates but not with extreme cold like Minneapolis/Chicago.
4) relatively moderate cost of living - our housing would ideally be in the 400-500K range (this rules out CA where we have lived in the past)
5) safe metro with low crime

Aside from this some secondary considerations would be the following.

a) good cultural facilities (museums, orchestra halls, theaters etc)
b) outdoors (lakes, state parks etc)
c) international access - we frequently travel out of the country and would prefer a metro area with a decent international airport
d) reasonable congestion / commute times
e) diversity - we would love to raise our kids so they get exposure to a widely diverse community and that does not have a preponderance of any one community (white, hispanic, asian etc)

A few areas we have been looking at but have never been to before are Austin, Dallas, Charlotte and Raleigh- Durham. Would love feedback on these metro areas as well as other suggestions.
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:52 AM
 
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Chapel Hill/Carrboro in the Raleigh-Durham area nails your criteria in my opinion with the school quality (best school district in the state), a very safe family-friendly environment, diversity, cultural amenities, a very well-educated population in general, a moderate climate, loads of tech career opportunity in Durham's Research Triangle Park or at neighboring Duke and UNC, a moderate cost of living with your housing budget doing quite well for you and a beautiful area in general in terms of greenspace/topography. The only downside I see is the international destination aspect from RDU with only London and Paris routes currently, but fairly frequent non-stop service to international gateways like JFK, Miami, LA and SF.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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Dallas and Austin tick a few things on your list, but I'd scratch them based on the following reasons:

Weather. You'd be trading a few months of cold for a few months of extreme heat and moderate humidity. The average high temp is 90 or above in Dallas & Austin from mid-June 'til mid-September. 100 degree days are common, and it doesn't cool off appreciably at night.

Outdoors. Dallas is not very outdoorsy. Austin's better, but again, the craptastic summertime weather is a severe limiting factor.

Traffic. Traffic in Austin is terrible. Dallas is slightly better, but only because they're building expensive, for-profit toll lanes/roads everywhere.

I lived in Dallas-Fort Worth for 12 years, and I was done after about my 5th summer in the seventh circle of hell.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:29 AM
 
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Thanks Kyle and Blue.

Blue - how is the schooling and educational climate in Dallas/Austin. We have considered the heat and have decided we won't mind it as much if it has everything else going for it. We are naturalized citizens and where we come from, we dealt with as much heat if not more and so are used to it.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Hampton Roads, maybe. The peninsula has the most engineers per capita in the nation, and checks most of your boxes except for the "decent international airport" one. (Unfortunately, you'd have to go to Richmond or up near DC for that, but for domestic flights, ORF is actually pretty decent to fly in/out of). The schools in Chesapeake/Virginia Beach are fantastic, the climate is balanced (being smack dab in the middle of the East Coast), you could buy a large home in a nice community with your housing budget, and as for outdoors, the area has access to every conceivable watersport you can think of in addition to numerous parks/state parks/wildlife reserves and refuges in the area. (Unfortunately, you'd have to go to Richmond or up near DC for that, but for domestic flights, ORF is actually pretty decent to fly in/out of).
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:11 AM
 
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I'd definitely consider metro Atlanta; several areas in the northern 'burbs and a couple in other parts of the metro check your boxes.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
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Places that came to mind for me are Austin, Dallas, RDU, Provo/SLC, and Atlanta. But I have very little knowledge of the schooling aspect, just general impressions/reputations.

-Austin is a little weak with #3, a, c & d
-Dallas I think is pretty good across the board.
-RDU's weaknesses are a and c
-Provo gets a lot of attention for being a rising tech hub, but it's also small and gets recognition for punching above its weight. SLC is a short train ride away and brings with it greater cache and amenities but it is separate. Anyway, based on reputation it's weaknesses are a, c & e.
-Atlanta can offer you everything except for d, which it's got to be the worst at on this list. It's all about picking the right spot to live based on work location.

Note: Austin, RDU, and SLC offer decent cultural amenities, but I considered them weaknesses cause they can't compare to Dallas and Atlanta.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:25 PM
 
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Project - Wow! that's such a detailed analysis.

Project and Mutiny - thanks for your response. In Atlanta, which are some of the specific suburbs you would recommend for good schools. This may be an ill-informed notion but I was told that Atlanta metro does not have good schooling in general and is also not a very safe metro area. Again this is just second-hand, anecdotal information. I've never been to Atlanta myself.

Provo and Chesapeake are very unique recommendations from my perspective....haven't heard of them. Will research them more.

Which are some of the best school districts to consider in the Dallas metro area?

In RDU, I'm also reading good things about the wake school district. Anyone has recommendations between wake and chapel hill.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Eastern Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
I'd definitely consider metro Atlanta; several areas in the northern 'burbs and a couple in other parts of the metro check your boxes.
Yes. I would also throw Nashville into the mix -- depending on which suburb you settle in. Also Mobile, again depending on the part of town.
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:37 PM
 
30,001 posts, read 27,554,003 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by where2settle View Post
Project and Mutiny - thanks for your response. In Atlanta, which are some of the specific suburbs you would recommend for good schools. This may be an ill-informed notion but I was told that Atlanta metro does not have good schooling in general and is also not a very safe metro area. Again this is just second-hand, anecdotal information. I've never been to Atlanta myself.
As with any other metro, the quality of schools and safety depends on exactly where you are; I don't know of any major metro that's uniform in this regard, either on the good side or the bad side. Unfortunately you spoke to some people who lack knowledge of metro Atlanta as a whole.

Specific suburbs I'd look into include many north of the city, including Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, East Cobb, Roswell, Alpharetta, Peachtree Corners, John's Creek, Milton, and south Forsyth (just north of Alpharetta across the county line). Sandy Springs/Dunwoody (referred to as the Perimeter area) and Alpharetta are significant jobs centers in the region; Alpharetta in particular attracts a lot of tech jobs. I'd also check out Fayetteville and Peachtree City, but they are a bit farther from the jobs-rich areas.
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