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Old 04-17-2016, 11:36 AM
 
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Fellow Forum Readers,

I have been searching for a new city to move for some time and getting ready to pull the trigger. My wife and I are DINKs and will not be having children, and in our mid thirties. Budget is not an issue, we are African American and fairly liberal, although we have many conservative friends so this is not a deal breaker. We thoroughly enjoy open-minded areas with cultural diversity of all kinds, but more important than that, we like to meet others and mingle. A specific race and ethnicity for the area do not rank highly on our must-have list. We would like:
1. Entertainment is huge- dancing and music (ballroom, salsa, kizomba, hip-hop,); Music, Ballet (not so much opera), plays
2. Outdoors is huge- hiking, biking, fishing (less important), kayaking, softball, basketball
3. Walkable- we do not care about schools obviously, safety is important but we have lived in areas with normal amounts of big city crime. We highly prefer urban walkable areas.
4. Weather- no extreme winters, I have lived in big cities with extreme winter weather and the summmer was great, but hated being stuck inside during the winter. We are not big skiers. Constantly below 35-40 degrees is a big downer. Do not like really terrible humidity either
5. Good people- we like people, and tend to enjoy larger metros because of amenities
6. Fitness- we are serious workout warriors, love gym culture and spinning classes
7. Food- we are also big foodies, but really enjoy a city with healthy options

Live in Chicago and we love it, but too cold for too long. What cities in the country should we be looking at, no geographic preferences. Thanks for allowing us to benefit from your experiences.
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:33 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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Pasadena, CA, fits all of your 7 criteria, or Santa Monica which does, too.
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:06 PM
 
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Thanks. What about Sacramento? Oakland/San Fran? Any thoughts on those areas or North Bay in general? Love Santa Monica, do not know much about Pasadena...What is Pasadena like?
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:41 PM
 
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I think the weather may be the biggest obstacle, but what about Berkeley in terms of the Bay Area?
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:42 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienasty View Post
Thanks. What about Sacramento? Oakland/San Fran? Any thoughts on those areas or North Bay in general? Love Santa Monica, do not know much about Pasadena...What is Pasadena like?
Pasadena has a lot of historic architecture and museums. Buildings are predominately low-rise which opens the sky, and it has a smaller city feel, but has many interesting one-of-a-kind stores and restaurants along Colorado Blvd. Good balance of SFH's and apartments. The city is very cautious about growth, very green. Cal Tech and JPL are nearby so there's a nice intelligentsia mix. Nature is nearby. Very friendly people, coffee shop and wine bar socialization. Kind of the Lincoln Park vibe.

SF is only 7x7 miles, so very tight geographically. Has the most NY-Boston-Chicago feel of any CA city, IMO. Victorian and super-modern architecture. Apartment living unless you are very wealthy. High culture, lovely views, very diverse, good public transportation and walkable, too. A lot of homeless and a few gritty areas, though. Kind of the River North vibe with a side of Gold Coast.

Oakland has come a long way and is more family-friendly. Rising upscale housing, lots of professionals. Fringed with some remaining sketchy areas. May need to come into SF for high entertainment. Okay. Kind of an Evanston vibe moving toward an Oak Park vibe.

Sac is also okay, some hip walkable areas and lofts along with lots of bland tract houses built for the aviation/military industry (now gone). Can rent a house if apartment not your style. Scenic walking paths along the rivers, Lake Tahoe and the ski/gambling thing going east and SF going west both within easy driving range. Has a recreated historic waterfront area which I think is cheesy, but they try. An excellent art museum, some historic sites from the gold rush days. Kind of a West Lakeview vibe.
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:52 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienasty View Post
Constantly below 35-40 degrees is a big downer. Do not like really terrible humidity either
Then you can pretty much rule out the entire eastern half of the U.S. and a large part of the western half as well. lol.

California coast is perhaps your only real option.
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:46 PM
 
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This is great information that I can easily relate to, thank you. Currently, I live in Streeterville which is amazing. With our wish list, would Santa Monica or Pasadena be more fitting? People seem to love Sacramento, but it seemed more like a family town, although I could be wrong.
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:48 PM
 
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I guess I can ease up on the weather requirements, just do not want anymore Chicago winter weather when I leave. Also, I can take some humidity, but I spent some time around Orlando,Fl which almost broke me...lol. Do not think I could live in that for an extended period of time.
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Old 04-17-2016, 05:25 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienasty View Post
This is great information that I can easily relate to, thank you. Currently, I live in Streeterville which is amazing. With our wish list, would Santa Monica or Pasadena be more fitting? People seem to love Sacramento, but it seemed more like a family town, although I could be wrong.
That's just south of where I lived, but it was all called "near north" then. Your area is highly urbanized, by CA standards, and in the center of a big city, by CA standards.

Sacramento first. Have you ever been up to Madison, WI? That's a very close comparison. That is, a big area devoted to the state capital, with clone buildings of Washington, DC, then a brief high-rise downtown with some lofts, then miles of big old frame bungalows circa 1915, then then posher brick houses from the 1940's, then the post-war functional houses mentioned before. The population of the city itself (not the metro) is only about 485,000, and it has a medium-sized city feel. The Midtown area is the younger crowd area, the rest of the city is family/suburban.

Pasadena is a sunny, somewhat laid-back area relatively. It would provide the most culture shock. Whereas Chicago is the city with suburbs, the LA Metro is more like a collection of small cities, and Pasadena is one of them. (BTW, there are 88 cities in LA County---and many have their own uniqueness!) It's an old city, backs up to the mountains and feels more remote than it is. Warmer valley climate.

Santa Monica feels much more urbanized. More press of traffic, the beach is there with all that involves, there is lots of tourism, street performers, posh stores, cooler beach climate. But importantly, it's part of a contiguous city that stretches north, south and east of SM, so there is no feel of being out of the city like in Pasadena, although technically Pasadena has more people.

If you are trying to reproduce Streeterville in feeling, Santa Monica. If you want a bigger shift, Pasadena.
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dienasty View Post
Thanks. What about Sacramento? Oakland/San Fran? Any thoughts on those areas or North Bay in general? Love Santa Monica, do not know much about Pasadena...What is Pasadena like?
Sacramento is not a place i'd recommend .... not at all. It's in the central valley and it's hot, hot, hot in the summer and the air quality is horrible.
If you can afford San Francisco (it's now the most expensive city in the U.S.) then by all means. S.F. is a beautiful city. I love it although the gentrification is a bummer for many people who have been and are being forced out.
Oakland. Some parts yes and some parts definitely no.
Berkeley is another option.
There are quite a few places on the CA coast that may suit you.
My area (Santa Cruz county) or Monterey county (both on the Monterey bay and a couple hours south of S.F.) is a great place to be .... again, if you can afford it.
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