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Old 03-21-2017, 04:08 PM
 
16 posts, read 13,306 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi all,

My wife and I are in our early 30s, and are both attorneys. For the past several years we have lived in Chicago (where our family and friends are). But, in short, we are tired of city life and want to move somewhere else that offers a less congested, less concrete-filled lifestyle. We are fortunate enough to have time to plan where we want to go, and then find a job, so we are taking our time in identifying the right location for us. I would greatly appreciate any input ya'll could give me.

Below are a list of my priorities / desires.

Things that ARE important to me (ranked roughly from the most important to the least):

- good housing value, able to get 3,000 sq ft house and 2+ acre lot for <600K within 30 minute drive to downtown area

- Low traffic / generally not congested

- Close proximity to state/national parks and/or interesting outdoor activities (camping, cayaking, hiking, etc)

- decent job opportunities (we are attorneys - we would want jobs that offer 70K+)

- Green + some topography (or at least an interesting natural landscape - not just flat + cement)

- Low crime

- Decent schools

- Better climate than chicago - ideally warmer

- Reasonably affluent / small business friendly - I would like to open a business down the road

- Within 20-30 minutes to things like target, costco, modern movie theater

- Within 20-30 minutes to decent food - including things like Thai/Chinese food, and chains like Chipotle, Panera, etc.

- Reasonable number of people culturally similar to me (college education, moderate politically, middle class or upper middle class, not terribly religious)

- metro population between ~200K and ~2 million (this isn't strict, but generally the cities we have liked fall in this range)


What does NOT matter to me:

- night life / arts scene / comedy clubs / sporting events / dating / etc.

- high end, "foodie" restaurants

- public transit / walkability (although I would like bike / walking trails in a green space - just not for transportation)

- ethnic diversity (not against it - it just isn't crucial to me)


Places on my list are below (I put some of my perceived downsides next to each):

West:
- Boise (a bit brown and cold - not a ton of housing that fits my criteria)
- Spokane (a bit poor / depressed economically, and cold)
- Colorado Springs / Denver (or maybe north of Denver near Ft. Collins etc) (a bit congested and expensive in the green areas - very very brown in the east side)
- many places in OR: Eugene OR, Bend OR, Medford OR, perhaps suburbs outside of portland (a bit expensive in Eugene/portland, and poor job prospects in Bend/Medford)
- Tuscon AZ (hot / a bit expensive)
- Redding CA (not many jobs)

East:
- Fayetteville AR (cultural considerations, not much access to nature other than the one national park)
- Smokey Mountain corridor: Knoxville TN / Chatanooga TN / Asheville NC / Roanoke VA (a bit depressed economically, cultural concerns, very dependent on smoky mtn national park for outdoor activities)


Any thoughts and/or suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Eugene, OR
256 posts, read 168,112 times
Reputation: 267
Maybe look at Bellingham, WA? It's really pretty green there. The climate's not so great, though, if you're looking for year-round sun. If you could have a job lined up, I'd totally suggest coming to Eugene or Portland. There's a good mix of green and concrete here, haha. Though Portland might be a little much for you if you're trying to avoid city problems. Corvallis, OR is a great place that checks all your boxes except the fact that you'd also need to have a job first. You also marked Tucson down for being expensive and I can tell you that Tucson is amongst the top 10 cheapest cities to live in the country (while the summer weather is brutal). Perhaps re-look into trying there?

If you've got any more specific questions I'd love to help if you've narrowed down your list at all.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:18 PM
 
16 posts, read 13,306 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you for your advice. I visited Oregon + the Seattle region (from tacoma through bellingham) last year. I loved Oregon - especially Medford and Bend, but they seemed to have limited job opportunities. Eugene looked to have a decent compromise between jobs + being in/around the mountains and outdoors. Portland suburbs were ok, but downtown was urban and congested and I didn't care for it. The entire seattle region seemed terribly congested, and extremely expensive. Bellingham had some decent housing options and I like the proximity to the mountains - but the downtown area seemed depressed (run down and decent amount of homelessness) - which made me wonder about the quality of life / economy.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
706 posts, read 513,730 times
Reputation: 407
Try Albuquerque if outdoorsy and good climate is what your after. The crime rate isn't the best, but certainly better than Chicago and other big metros (Breaking Bad is grossly exaggerated). The Metro pop is around a million, but you get the beautiful SW views, sunsets, landscapes, mountains, and National Forests and Monuments all abutting the city limits. There is even skiing in the winter.

Traffic is never Chicago bad, but the freeways do slow a bit at rush hour, and nothing is more than 30 min away (I live way on the western edge of the city). Also, housing here is very affordable and plentiful.

Being New Mexico, there is always business for attorneys. As for small business, the city is currently investing in startup businesses and entrepreneurs, creating "innovation corridors" throughout the city.

As I said, the climate is good, with 350+ sunshine days per year, though on extreme days it can reach 100 in the summer and 15 in the winter. It does snow, but not like in Chicago. And yes, even here in the desert, it does rain, mostly during the summer monsoon. No tornadoes, but you do have to watch for occasional hail or sandstorms.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:29 AM
 
16 posts, read 13,306 times
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Thanks Kehkou. ABQ was on my list of cities to consider. Don't have much familiarity with the area - it checks a lot of boxes. I suppose my preconception of ABQ was that it was a bit poor / run down, and also a bit brown, but perhaps that is wrong.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
5,616 posts, read 3,943,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kehkou View Post
As I said, the climate is good, with 350+ sunshine days per year, though on extreme days it can reach 100 in the summer and 15 in the winter. It does snow, but not like in Chicago. And yes, even here in the desert, it does rain, mostly during the summer monsoon. No tornadoes, but you do have to watch for occasional hail or sandstorms.
No way ABQ gets 350 days of sun. Phoenix is much sunnier, and we get around 330.




OP, if you like green, places like ABQ and Tucson will be the last places you'll want to check out. Plus Tucson is known for being quite poor, and jobs don't pay well at all.


CO Springs sounds like a perfect fit for you, of all the cities on your list.
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:05 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
706 posts, read 513,730 times
Reputation: 407
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldbedj View Post
Thanks Kehkou. ABQ was on my list of cities to consider. Don't have much familiarity with the area - it checks a lot of boxes. I suppose my preconception of ABQ was that it was a bit poor / run down, and also a bit brown, but perhaps that is wrong.
Yes it is poor, but not Mississippi poor. It is gentrifying pretty quickly and investing heavily in tech and defense companies (even getting a new BRT line).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG CATS View Post
No way ABQ gets 350 days of sun. Phoenix is much sunnier, and we get around 330.
You're right, my mistake, thanks for catching that. Of course, it is 310, not 350; that's almost the whole year, lol.



Quote:
OP, if you like green, places like ABQ and Tucson will be the last places you'll want to check out.
I can't speak for Tuscon, but in ABQ, it really depends where you live. Here on the west side it is quite brown for most of the year. The east side is much greener with its oaks, junipers, and cottonwoods. The valley is a varitable fertile jungle of cottonwood and olives (Remember Jessie Pinkman's house?) But OP should keep in mind, however, that it is the desert.


Quote:
CO Springs sounds like a perfect fit for you, of all the cities on your list.
I concur, CO Springs is beautiful.
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Old 03-23-2017, 06:07 AM
 
21,195 posts, read 30,388,339 times
Reputation: 19627
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldbedj View Post
Hi all,

My wife and I are in our early 30s, and are both attorneys. For the past several years we have lived in Chicago (where our family and friends are). But, in short, we are tired of city life and want to move somewhere else that offers a less congested, less concrete-filled lifestyle. We are fortunate enough to have time to plan where we want to go, and then find a job, so we are taking our time in identifying the right location for us. I would greatly appreciate any input ya'll could give me.

Below are a list of my priorities / desires.

Things that ARE important to me (ranked roughly from the most important to the least):

- good housing value, able to get 3,000 sq ft house and 2+ acre lot for <600K within 30 minute drive to downtown area

- Low traffic / generally not congested

- Close proximity to state/national parks and/or interesting outdoor activities (camping, cayaking, hiking, etc)

- decent job opportunities (we are attorneys - we would want jobs that offer 70K+)

- Green + some topography (or at least an interesting natural landscape - not just flat + cement)

- Low crime

- Decent schools

- Better climate than chicago - ideally warmer

- Reasonably affluent / small business friendly - I would like to open a business down the road

- Within 20-30 minutes to things like target, costco, modern movie theater

- Within 20-30 minutes to decent food - including things like Thai/Chinese food, and chains like Chipotle, Panera, etc.

- Reasonable number of people culturally similar to me (college education, moderate politically, middle class or upper middle class, not terribly religious)

- metro population between ~200K and ~2 million (this isn't strict, but generally the cities we have liked fall in this range)

Any thoughts and/or suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you!
Given your apparent attraction to the Blue Ridge Mountain area I would urge you to move a bit further north and include Charlottesville on your list. I think it pretty much nails all of your criteria and would highly recommend some investigation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wItcZ65rHg
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:02 AM
 
Location: The Bluegrass State
336 posts, read 648,477 times
Reputation: 201
I might suggest Danville KY (If it is not too small for you) or Lexington KY. Also I might add Johnson City/Kingsport TN to the Smokey Mountain Corridor.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:28 AM
 
Location: The Springs
1,770 posts, read 2,140,398 times
Reputation: 1850
Quote:
Originally Posted by kehkou View Post
Yes it is poor, but not Mississippi poor. It is gentrifying pretty quickly and investing heavily in tech and defense companies (even getting a new BRT line).


You're right, my mistake, thanks for catching that. Of course, it is 310, not 350; that's almost the whole year, lol.



I can't speak for Tuscon, but in ABQ, it really depends where you live. Here on the west side it is quite brown for most of the year. The east side is much greener with its oaks, junipers, and cottonwoods. The valley is a varitable fertile jungle of cottonwood and olives (Remember Jessie Pinkman's house?) But OP should keep in mind, however, that it is the desert.


I concur, CO Springs is beautiful.
And in Colorado Springs we get 400 days a year of sunshine! He says facetiously.
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