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Thread summary:

Relocating: master degree, cost of living, organic food, hiking, backcountry skiing.

View Poll Results: Which city fits me best?
Denver 10 23.26%
Cincinnati 1 2.33%
St. Louis 6 13.95%
New York City 3 6.98%
Atlanta 3 6.98%
Boston 5 11.63%
Nashville 4 9.30%
Cleveland 2 4.65%
Columbus 1 2.33%
Chicago 8 18.60%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-22-2008, 10:30 PM
Location: Somewhere extremely awesome
3,027 posts, read 2,463,780 times
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Originally Posted by Mr. Answers View Post
I'm looking for a city for post-grad relocation. The career field I'm in would allow me to do well in almost any major metropolitan area, so my decision isn't so job-related (although they pay grade my differ for Chicago vs Louisville, for example). Here's a little bit about me, which city would you recommend for me?

* I'm a fairly conservative Catholic. I voted for John McCain and I go to Mass every week. I don't necessarily have to be in an ultra-conservative town to be happy, but I want to be in an area where I won't be a total outcast. The East Village may not be the place for me--but that may or may not rule out NYC.

* I'm a young, single guy. So, yes, I'm interested in the dating scene. However, the whole bar scene isn't really my thing so a really hoppin' town full of singles bars may be great for some, but not for me. I'd like to meet people in other arenas.

* Culture matters. I want season tickets to the symphony, I love theatre, art, etc. I love zoos and museums and could spend all day with this stuff. If there's not a vibrant cultural scene, I will wither.

* I'm kind of crunchy. I eat organic (I would live in a tent atop Trader Joe's if the firecode allowed), am into the whole green/recycling movement, etc.

* Weather: I love autumn, snow, and crisp, cool days. I'm not sure I could do without snow and scenic, crisp falls. This time of year makes me very happy and I couldn't do without it. I don't mind hot, muggy summers as long as the fall and winter has snow and cooler temperatures.

*Region: I prefer the midwest, but I'm open to pretty much anywhere. The midwest is where I'm most at home but...bloom where you're planted, right?

* I really need a very intellectual, education-oriented culture. I don't want a bunch of snobs rolling around town, but I need a place where I can be part of a rich, thriving, engaging intellectual environment.

* This is important: I'm VERY outdoorsy. I love to hike and cross-country ski and if there's no easy escape to forested hiking spots and nature then I just can't do it. The great outdoors is where I go to unwind so it's vital. I don't necessarily need huge mountains....just a spot in the margins of the city to hike. Parks are big, too.

* Size: Big. I love big cities and I want to live in an inner-ring suburb. Young, trendy, walkable...but not right smack in the middle of absolutely everything.

I realize that you can't have your cake and eat it, too--so I probably won't be able to get all that I want out of a city. But which cities fit best? Where would I be most comfortable?

I'm sorry this is so long--I wanted to post all of this here so I wouldn't have to clarify later. Thanks for all of your help! I'm adding a poll to this just to throw out some of the cities I'm considering. But don't limit your recommendations to the poll.
Royal Oak, MI would be a very good fit for your criteria if you could find a job there (high unemployment in the state could be a problem.) I know you might be a little worried about being close to Detroit - but it's much safer than the national average as a lot of the suburbs are.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:16 AM
Location: Sacramento, CA
1,196 posts, read 4,340,949 times
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I really think either Denver or Minneapolis would be the best fit.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:16 AM
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,972,002 times
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Boston was my immediate thought. It seems to fit you to a T (to those of you who know the city - no pun intended).

Although the city is quite a Democratic stronghold as others have pointed out, it is also one of the most Catholic cities in the country, and I think it's fair to say that there are plenty of conservative Catholics there. Frankly, Boston doesn't strike me as the far-left place that some people make it out to be; although the Democrats dominate, the city seems overall much more moderate to me than, say, the major west coast cities.

I'd say that it's a great city for young singles. The median age is the lowest of the cities you mentioned (after Columbus), at about 31, due in large part to the number of colleges and universities in the city. In fact, the city proper has over 250,000 students, and the total population is less than 600,000! The city isn't called the "Athens of America" for nothing -- education is the foundation of Boston and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more intellectually-oriented city.

As for culture, I'm sure you don't need much of an explanation as to why Boston is a good choice here. I don't think there's any city in the US of comparable size to Boston that has nearly as many museums, theatres, etc. There is absolutely no way you would wither there. And yes, the "crunchy organic" / green scene is big in Boston as well.

If you like autumn, I don't know how you could pass up anywhere in New England. The cool, crisp days, that scent on the breeze, and of course, some of the most vibrant and colourful foliage anywhere in the world. And snow in the winter, naturally -- Boston looks beautiful under the snow.

It's also a great region for outdoor activities. Aside from the city's famous "Emerald Necklace" of parks, there are great hiking opportunities along the outskirts of the city, and some *really* great hiking / skiing up in the White Mountains of NH, which are a 2-hour drive away. It's one of the most forested regions in the country, so as soon as you leave the city you're essentially in the woods.

Boston is a big city, although considerably more compact than many of the others on your list. As such, the inner suburbs have the advantage of being literally minutes from the city center, and everywhere is remarkably easy to get around on foot. It is officially "America's Walking City."

While I tend to rave about Boston, I certainly can't say whether it's perfect for you. New England is a very different place from the Midwest, for one thing. And it's a really expensive place to live. But if you happen to find that you like the city, I don't see how you can go wrong -- it basically epitomizes all of the things you're looking for in a city.
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Old 10-23-2008, 05:44 AM
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
7,731 posts, read 12,192,509 times
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:11 AM
Location: O'Hare International Airport
351 posts, read 541,231 times
Reputation: 201
Is Minneapolis a lot like Denver?
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:42 AM
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Boston definitely meets most of the criteria you've listed. Denver out of the rest of the cities listed would be next.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:15 PM
Location: O'Hare International Airport
351 posts, read 541,231 times
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Thanks for the pics, JMT. I've heard great things about Nashville.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:05 PM
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I'm thinking Denver first. Not the Midwest, but still kind of Middle American, with plenty of outdoor recreation nearby in the mountains.

A few other thoughts:

I agree with those who say that Boston has a lot of what you're looking for, but a lot depends on how you rank the criteria you listed. Boston is great for the arts and culture you're seeking, and you'd find it difficult to find a better city for proximity to serious outdoor recreation, but then, Boston's politics do lean to the left. Boston also definitely has a Northeastern vibe, not the Midwestern feel you say would be your top choice. Again, it depends on how you rank your priorities. One more thing: Boston is an expensive city, something you might want to consider.

It's not my first recommendation, but you might at least take a look at Columbus. Nice Midwestern feel, generally moderate politics. It depends on what you want in the way of outdoor activities. You can go hiking in the woods and hills in places within an easy drive of Columbus, but if you're seeking serious mountaineering, top-level skiing, and the like, you might want to look elsewhere.

Finally, a suggestion not on your list: Pittsburgh. Museums and culture, technically in a Northeastern state but kind of Midwestern in feel, good arts and cultural amenities, green hills all around for hiking (again, if you want major-league outdoor recreation, maybe it's not the best, but for local hiking it should be fine).
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:28 PM
Location: O'Hare International Airport
351 posts, read 541,231 times
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Would you say that Denver really has the culture and vibe I'm looking for? Mountains are great--oh man are they ever!--but isn't it a little less cosmopolitan than the other cities I've listed?
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:17 PM
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,718,689 times
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Originally Posted by Mr. Answers View Post
Would you say that Denver really has the culture and vibe I'm looking for? Mountains are great--oh man are they ever!--but isn't it a little less cosmopolitan than the other cities I've listed?
How is it you define cosmopolitan?

If you define cosmopolitan as having diverse representation of international cultures, religions, and languages around the world, then Denver certainly has its fair share. It's just that Denver's most cosmopolitan areas are not congruous with the trendy, so called "urban" parts of town or downtown; they are most apparent in the inner suburbs. Aurora is a good example. Take a look at some of my photo tours that show the non-bland side of Denver:

Parker Rd/ Leetsdale Dr photo tour
Aurora photo tour-- Iliff Ave.
Photo tour: Federal Blvd
South/ SE Denver photo tour (not as in your face interesting as the previous three, but still a good one).

I wouldn't call Denver a particularly "intellectual" city. However, it does have ample resources for an intellectual-- a great central library, a downtown college campus with another great library (Auraria), excellent art museums, performing arts complexes, a row of used bookstores and coffee shops (Broadway through the Baker neighborhood, between 4th and Alameda), an artist's colony by Santa Fe Dr & 10th, not to mention Boulder a short trip nearby. DU also has a great library and a bunch of lectures and events open to the public on a regular basis. There is a small but unique local music scene revolving around folk/bluegrass/"newgrass," and a few good jazz clubs. If you want to be surrounded by "intellectual" people all the time though, Boston would probably be a better choice.
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