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Old 10-06-2018, 06:45 PM
 
Location: New England liberal arts school
1 posts, read 484 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi! I'm graduating from a liberal arts college in New England this spring and I'm conflicted about what city would be a good choice for me next. I grew up in Austin, TX and am looking for new experiences in a city that is: fun for young people, racially diverse, a significant LGBT population, a good art/music scene, theoretically no car necessary, and hopefully sunny weather and a bit of nature. Sadly the Midwest is out because it's too cold for a Texan like me. I'll probably look for a job writing for a magazine, working for a social justice nonprofit, at a literary publishing company, doing research for a museum, or counseling in a school or community center.

Many of my peers at school were raised in New York City, and there is a big community of alums in Brooklyn. I like NYC and its vibrance/energy and huge LGBT population. But given how expensive & overwhelming it is, I worry about drowning in stress and anxiety in such an angstful and fast-paced place. Might not be the best call for straight out of undergrad -- I could try it when I feel more stable. Every day I lean more towards No on NYC.

I am interested in the San Francisco Bay Area which is, of course, not really cheaper but perhaps more bang for your buck. If I wanted to shack up with a few of my friends and make it work in Berkeley or Oakland, I might be less overwhelmed than I would be in unlivable New York. Still, when I visited SF it felt so corporate, gentrified, and white-dominated I found it a little sickening. But I've never been to the East Bay and I'm hopeful.

This is a list I made recently of top choices, but I'm curious if people think they actually suit my goals:
* New Orleans
* Atlanta
* Nashville
* Berkeley/Oakland
* Seattle
* NYC
* Philly
* DC


Can you live in those Southern cities without cars?

I'd also look at a place like Albuquerque or Denver but worry that ABQ is too economically depressed to find a job (and that you need a car) and that Denver is only white people/doesn't feel big. But I'm open to ideas about smaller places- not sure what the young/LGBT scene is in Asheville, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, or Savannah.

The reality is I will probably have to spend a lot of $$$ if I want to live in a fun, up-and-coming city, but I imagine somewhere like New Orleans I could get a lot out of for a year or two without going completely broke. A huge factor in the decision is where my friends want to go but many of them are undecided like me - some think if it's not NYC, it must be SF. I also love LA but seems too car-oriented for me right now.

Last edited by indecisiveboi; 10-06-2018 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Asheville
7,529 posts, read 6,151,965 times
Reputation: 6869
Asheville is pretty walkable both in downtown and on the west side. And seems pretty live and let live in the 5 years that I've lived here. The main issues are high rents and lack of professional jobs.

GL in your decision
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:49 PM
 
3,928 posts, read 4,070,330 times
Reputation: 2624
Are you willing to ride the bus? If so, pick where to rent based on where the buses are. Too many rent then find out the buses don't go there. If you use buses, nights & weekends may be limited. Check, decide based on lifestyle. By foot, bike or Uber could work too. Live close to work / downtown.


Check the news weeklies for events / scene info. Set a budget and see what it can but buy (on Craigslist or a commercial rental site).


Visit before you visit. The lead candidate or a couple.


Visit some of the location specific forums. Read, ask questions. Consider contacting your school's alumni office for some contact names to get job / housing leads, etc.


Atlanta or Nashville would seem worth some active consideration.


Denver itself is about 40% racial and ethnic minorities, though most are Hispanic. Denver metro is about 3.5 million, with more a modest distance away. If you think that isn't big enough, then eliminate everything smaller.

Last edited by NW Crow; 10-06-2018 at 10:07 PM..
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:14 AM
 
311 posts, read 218,935 times
Reputation: 342
You listed your criteria as:
Fun for young people
Racially diverse
A significant LGBT population
a good art/music scene
theoretically no car necessary
hopefully sunny weather and a bit of nature
I also noticed you mentioned reasonable cost.

Honestly Philly seems like easily your best bet among the options listed, particularly if NYC seems too expensive.
It's an up and coming city with a vibrant downtown and increasing enclaves outside downtown for young people.
The LGBT population is significant and areas like the Gayborhood are specific LGBT-friendly enclaves.
There's a significant homegrown/grassroots arts and music scene, but the city is also large enough to host significant mainstream acts and performers.
The city has a show about it being sunny
Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in the country and winds through the city. Northwest Philly is particularly beautiful with spots like Belmont Plateau and Chamounix. The Mann Center's Skyline Stage is a beautiful venue.
The city is one of the best in the country to be able to live without a car and easily the best in your list outside of NYC.
There are two subway lines, as well as trolley routes, comprehensive bus lines, and regional rail connecting the metro. Not to mention buses to NYC and DC are a few bucks and just a couple hours away.
For all that it offers, Philly's costs are definitely affordable (esp. compared to NYC) and you can find reasonable prices in several areas of the city.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:38 AM
 
21,207 posts, read 30,412,852 times
Reputation: 19655
Quote:
Originally Posted by indecisiveboi View Post
Hi! I'm graduating from a liberal arts college in New England this spring and I'm conflicted about what city would be a good choice for me next. I grew up in Austin, TX and am looking for new experiences in a city that is: fun for young people, racially diverse, a significant LGBT population, a good art/music scene, theoretically no car necessary, and hopefully sunny weather and a bit of nature. Sadly the Midwest is out because it's too cold for a Texan like me. I'll probably look for a job writing for a magazine, working for a social justice nonprofit, at a literary publishing company, doing research for a museum, or counseling in a school or community center.
Given your employment interests (particularly non-profits and museums), wish for diversity, a large LGBT population, sunnier weather (comparatively speaking), a good art/music scene and ability to live minus a car the DC area makes the most sense in my opinion. People will drone on about how expensive it is but interestingly enough tens of thousands of recent grads like yourself manage to secure jobs and live fairly well in the area (without living in group homes). Check out Arlington (in Northern Virginia) which is minutes into DC via MetroRail...specifically neighborhoods like CourtHouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, Pentagon City and Ballston which are very young professional-oriented. https://www.carfreediet.com/urban-villages/
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:32 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,606 posts, read 3,681,147 times
Reputation: 12417
Albuquerque has a somewhat dispersed employment picture although 1000 new jobs are moving into downtown. You would need a car or at least a bike to get around. The economy in NM is finally improving recently but it has been a struggle. The job fields you mention are pretty specialized. Speaking Spanish would be helpful in some of those jobs. Much of what else you are looking for is available in ABQ and the COL is pretty low but you should research the job prospects.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:01 PM
 
5,629 posts, read 6,102,076 times
Reputation: 4194
Quote:
Originally Posted by indecisiveboi View Post
.

This is a list I made recently of top choices, but I'm curious if people think they actually suit my goals:
* New Orleans
* Atlanta
* Nashville
* Berkeley/Oakland
* Seattle
* NYC
* Philly
* DC

Philadelphia (the best choice)
Berkeley/Oakland (liberating vibe)
Washington DC (sophisticated people)
Atlanta (if you have to be in the south)
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:14 PM
 
Location: New York NY
4,270 posts, read 6,356,752 times
Reputation: 9075
Deciding which city you will live in is a wonderful academic exercise that will amount to nothing until you actually have work. So my advice is to check out the employers you most want first, and then go wherever the job is. Yes, your first place out of school may not be paradise. It often isn't. But if you make a mark there you will have a much better chance to choose your next job in a place you really want to live.

Realistically speaking, however, there are only a handful of cities where you can comfortably live car-free: New York, Chicago, Philly, Boston/Cambridge, and DC. And to a lesser degree, San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley, LA, Portland, or Atlanta, depending on specific neighborhoods and work destinations. Other than that, the pickings are slim.

Good luck.
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