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Old 10-29-2014, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Auburn, New York
1,775 posts, read 2,512,111 times
Reputation: 2935

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Better than expected:
Lexington, KY - I thought it was just going to be a bunch of sprawl, with a major university nestled between strip malls. It turned out to be a fun, hip little artsy town with beautiful architecture, great live music, and amazing food.

Buffalo - I was expecting a smaller version of Cleveland, but ended finding so much more. Amazing architecture, a thriving arts scene, great museums, gorgeous boulevards, and good music. I'd move there in a heartbeat.

Oklahoma City - I still wouldn't go so far to say that I like OKC, but it was a lot more fun and offered a lot more to do than expected. Best Brazilian food I've ever had.

Unexpected, but not for better or for worse:
Cincinnati - I was expecting a Midwestern city, whereas it feels much more like an East Coast city akin to Baltimore, a smaller version of Philly, or a bigger version of Providence.

Staten Island - I wasn't expecting so many hills and so many wood houses.

Worse than expected:
Pittsburgh - Whenever you see a "what city is the most underrated" tread, Pittsburgh is always mentioned. And, yes, it is very beautiful, but I didn't really find much to do there. Downtown and Uptown were pretty desolate, Oakland and Shadyside felt like a dime-a-dozen college town, and that bar district on the city's Southside didn't seem particularly unique or interesting either.

San Diego - Again, very beautiful but not a lot to do. Lots of chain restaurants and cheesy tourist traps.

Brooklyn - Doesn't really have anything that Chicago or Philly doesn't have, but everything is twice as expensive.

 
Old 10-29-2014, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Nashville TN
4,925 posts, read 4,915,971 times
Reputation: 4778
Nashville is an amazing city that doesn't get enough national love but my gf is from Brentwood TN so I am bias. I also really love Denver and San Diego but they do get a lot of national love as well as Austin, TX. Austin, TX was the only place I ever been to where the people were as friendly and outgoing as Nashville, TN. They know how to party in Austin, TX. If Austin, TX wasn't so over populated I would consider moving there after I finish grad school. Right now my top to cities to move to are Nashville, TN and Denver, CO
 
Old 10-29-2014, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Nashville TN
4,925 posts, read 4,915,971 times
Reputation: 4778
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn.Davenport View Post
Better than expected:
Lexington, KY - I thought it was just going to be a bunch of sprawl, with a major university nestled between strip malls. It turned out to be a fun, hip little artsy town with beautiful architecture, great live music, and amazing food.

Buffalo - I was expecting a smaller version of Cleveland, but ended finding so much more. Amazing architecture, a thriving arts scene, great museums, gorgeous boulevards, and good music. I'd move there in a heartbeat.

Oklahoma City - I still wouldn't go so far to say that I like OKC, but it was a lot more fun and offered a lot more to do than expected. Best Brazilian food I've ever had.

Unexpected, but not for better or for worse:
Cincinnati - I was expecting a Midwestern city, whereas it feels much more like an East Coast city akin to Baltimore, a smaller version of Philly, or a bigger version of Providence.

Staten Island - I wasn't expecting so many hills and so many wood houses.

Worse than expected:
Pittsburgh - Whenever you see a "what city is the most underrated" tread, Pittsburgh is always mentioned. And, yes, it is very beautiful, but I didn't really find much to do there. Downtown and Uptown were pretty desolate, Oakland and Shadyside felt like a dime-a-dozen college town, and that bar district on the city's Southside didn't seem particularly unique or interesting either.

San Diego - Again, very beautiful but not a lot to do. Lots of chain restaurants and cheesy tourist traps.

Brooklyn - Doesn't really have anything that Chicago or Philly doesn't have, but everything is twice as expensive.
I agree with you on Lexington, KY the city I live in now its an awesome mid sized city and more progressive than people give it credit for its nothing like the rest of the state of Kentucky. I disagree on San Diego, thats one my favorite cities on earth, the scenery is amazing and the weather is perfect.. only probably is the cost of living is too high.
 
Old 10-29-2014, 10:44 AM
 
9,701 posts, read 7,250,419 times
Reputation: 9846
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn.Davenport View Post

Brooklyn - Doesn't really have anything that Chicago or Philly doesn't have, but everything is twice as expensive.
Brooklyn seems totally different from Philly and Chicago, and is the same price, unless you're talking real estate. But then if you buy for twice the price, you sell for twice the price.

I don't really see how Brooklyn, Philly and Chicago are similar, besides the fact that they're older urban areas in the U.S. No one would mistake any part of one of these places for another one.
 
Old 10-29-2014, 11:40 AM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
4,938 posts, read 7,595,175 times
Reputation: 9261
Was hoping for a a city brimming with great architecture (especially domestic) in both St Louis and Pittsburgh and was actually blown away by the many landmark examples of styles- especially in St. Louis. I was just in architectural heaven being able to explore many neighborhoods there. Also St Louis has excellent parks (botanical garden is amazing), museums, funky and interesting neighborhoods abound. The downtown though was glaring in its dearth of people that made it disappointing regardless of the architecture.

Really enjoyed Pittsburgh for the setting and topography as well. The downtown seemed bustling but not particularly vibrant as far as blocks of restaurants and entertainment that keeps folks coming back. The neighborhoods in the hills were fun to explore.

Kansas City has a pretty impressive skyline (although that could be it was the first city with one since a two day drive from Denver) and some beautiful areas and gotta love the BBQ. (Also, I'm totally rooting for the Royals- I'm tired of the Giants as they are our bitter rivals lol)

There have been aspects of many cities that have been somewhat disappointing - I'll agree with the pompousness of the residents of D.C. (EGADS! I like intelligent, interesting folks but ramp it down a little bit!) though I really liked the city; and the Seattle chill is real, the city beautiful but the downtown is kind of broken up- Capitol Hill, Freemont and Ballard are cool.

I am such an urban animal though- I love cities- that I always can find something I like, including rough around the edges areas in just about anywhere. Which is why I actually liked Youngstown, Ohio and would totally be fascinated by a place like Detroit. Equally though, cities that do not possess some distinct urbanity and vibrancy and that are mostly defined by vast suburbs and exurbs are places I am uninterested in.

For those of us that understandably get a little defensive when we see our own cities on the disappointment list- especially when it's known as a destination for tourists- I like to say that most cities need a little bit of exploring and adventure away from the obvious. I can totally understand folks being unimpressed with a quick visit to L.A. or finding San Francisco not living up to the hype- if I were constrained to only those same typical areas visited I would agree. But each of those cities (especially L.A.) as well as many others are full of a wealth of interesting discovery if one ventures just a bit off the beaten track.

For mine, to see it described as just "chain restaurants and cheesy tourist traps" speaks of a person who didn't venture off one prescribed destination point. Downtown and Uptown San Diego is exceedingly walkable, vibrant and chock full of amazing restaurants, pubs, independent stores and always having several happening and fun community festivals/events taking place. Well beyond: The Zoo, Sea World, Lego Land and, The Beach, it is very much an alive and getting better city.

As The Grateful Dead famously sang, " Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around"

Last edited by T. Damon; 10-29-2014 at 12:08 PM..
 
Old 10-29-2014, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Prince George's County, Maryland
6,212 posts, read 7,388,110 times
Reputation: 2581
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Damon View Post
Was hoping for a a city brimming with great architecture (especially domestic) in both St Louis and Pittsburgh and was actually blown away by the many landmark examples of styles- especially in St. Louis. I was just in architectural heaven being able to explore many neighborhoods there. Also St Louis has excellent parks (botanical garden is amazing), museums, funky and interesting neighborhoods abound. The downtown though was glaring in its dearth of people that made it disappointing regardless of the architecture.

Really enjoyed Pittsburgh for the setting and topography as well. The downtown seemed bustling but not particularly vibrant as far as blocks of restaurants and entertainment that keeps folks coming back. The neighborhoods in the hills were fun to explore.

Kansas City has a pretty impressive skyline (although that could be it was the first city with one since a two day drive from Denver) and some beautiful areas and gotta love the BBQ. (Also, I'm totally rooting for the Royals- I'm tired of the Giants as they are our bitter rivals lol)

There have been aspects of many cities that have been somewhat disappointing - I'll agree with the pompousness of the residents of D.C. (EGADS! I like intelligent, interesting folks but ramp it down a little bit!) though I really liked the city; and the Seattle chill is real, the city beautiful but the downtown is kind of broken up- Capitol Hill, Freemont and Ballard are cool.

I am such an urban animal though- I love cities- that I always can find something I like, including rough around the edges areas in just about anywhere. Which is why I actually liked Youngstown, Ohio and would totally be fascinated by a place like Detroit. Equally though, cities that do not possess some distinct urbanity and vibrancy and that are mostly defined by vast suburbs and exurbs are places I am uninterested in.

For those of us that understandably get a little defensive when we see our own cities on the disappointment list- especially when it's known as a destination for tourists- I like to say that most cities need a little bit of exploring and adventure away from the obvious. I can totally understand folks being unimpressed with a quick visit to L.A. or finding San Francisco not living up to the hype- if I were constrained to only those same typical areas visited I would agree. But each of those cities (especially L.A.) as well as many others are full of a wealth of interesting discovery if one ventures just a bit off the beaten track.

For mine, to see it described as just "chain restaurants and cheesy tourist traps" speaks of a person who didn't venture off one prescribed destination point. Downtown and Uptown San Diego is exceedingly walkable, vibrant and chock full of amazing restaurants, pubs, independent stores and always having several happening and fun community festivals/events taking place. Well beyond: The Zoo, Sea World, Lego Land and, The Beach, it is very much an alive and getting better city.

As The Grateful Dead famously sang, " Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around"
For the DC part, you should've interacted more with the natives (predominately black). They can be rough around the edges at times but most of them are friendly and more chill/down to earth by East Coast standards, especially compared to most of the City's transplants. Glad you enjoyed DC though, which parts of the City did you traversed around?
 
Old 10-29-2014, 12:30 PM
 
6,040 posts, read 4,434,984 times
Reputation: 16753
Better than:
Los Angeles
Portland OR


Lesser than:
Denver
San Diego
 
Old 10-29-2014, 01:42 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
4,938 posts, read 7,595,175 times
Reputation: 9261
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcave360 View Post
For the DC part, you should've interacted more with the natives (predominately black). They can be rough around the edges at times but most of them are friendly and more chill/down to earth by East Coast standards, especially compared to most of the City's transplants. Glad you enjoyed DC though, which parts of the City did you traversed around?
I'll give you that- I did explore the more gentrified areas after monument/museum hopping where the blue suit strivers congregate: Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Adams Morgan- unfortunately didn't know any locals that could better guide me into the more diverse and probably more interesting areas. Always more fun to be someplace with plenty of people that don't look or necessarily think exactly like myself.

Alexandria, VA. was the end point of a cross country road trip with a Navy buddy of mine being transferred to Quantico from San Diego (a trip of a lifetime; and at the age of 50 as opposed to 20 no less, where some of my impressions of cities described here were formed- fleeting as many of the visits were) and as an architect of course loved the scale and historic buildings there- although it is a bit of a tourist village. I lived in Falls Church, VA., as a kid for a year in 1969/70 and it was my first time back so I did the typical but can't be missed revisiting of the monuments and museums. Otherwise just tried to explore on the metro and on foot as much as I could for four days, and I walk like a New Yorker so covered a good bit of ground- but I'm sure I missed plenty. Had a great bike ride to Mount Vernon and we tried to hit up locally recommended places to eat and drink.

Now that my buddy has lived there a year I'm sure he will be able to show me around better next time I visit.

I want to check out Chicago (of course), Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati or maybe Cleveland next- (of Ohio if I have to choose one I'm thinking Cincinnati but still need to research.)

Last edited by T. Damon; 10-29-2014 at 01:52 PM..
 
Old 10-29-2014, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Prince George's County, Maryland
6,212 posts, read 7,388,110 times
Reputation: 2581
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Damon View Post
I'll give you that- I did explore the more gentrified areas after monument/museum hopping where the blue suit strivers congregate: Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Adams Morgan- unfortunately didn't know any locals that could better guide me into the more diverse and probably more interesting areas. Always more fun to be someplace with plenty of people that don't look or necessarily think exactly like myself.

Alexandria, VA. was the end point of a cross country road trip with a Navy buddy of mine being transferred to Quantico from San Diego (a trip of a lifetime; and at the age of 50 as opposed to 20 no less, where some of my impressions of cities described here were formed- fleeting as many of the visits were) and as an architect of course loved the scale and historic buildings there- although it is a bit of a tourist village. I lived in Falls Church, VA., as a kid for a year in 1969/70 and it was my first time back so I did the typical but can't be missed revisiting of the monuments and museums. Otherwise just tried to explore on the metro and on foot as much as I could for four days, and I walk like a New Yorker so covered a good bit of ground- but I'm sure I missed plenty. Had a great bike ride to Mount Vernon and we tried to hit up locally recommended places to eat and drink.

Now that my buddy has lived there a year I'm sure he will be able to show me around better next time I visit.

I want to check out Chicago (of course), Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati or maybe Cleveland next- (of Ohio if I have to choose one I'm thinking Cincinnati but still need to research.)
Oh okay. Dupont Circle is a great neighborhood but I can understand why the residents aren't too...approachable sorta speak.

Georgetown can be the same way even with its old money charms.

Adams Morgan is a cool neighborhood as well and it's one of DC's most culturally/racially diverse neighborhoods. The nabe seems to be more yuppified nowadays according to some but you'll still encounter some remnants of AdMo's gritty bohemian past. You should check out Meridian Hill Park aka Malcolm X Park next time around for nice sloping views and to people-watch, might here up to 30 different languages being spoken there. Plus, there's the drum circle bands that perform at the park every Sunday.

I think you would really love the U Street and Shaw neighborhoods. A beautifully eclectic mix of people, grungy yet colorful environment, chill yet fast-paced atmosphere (sounds weird but you gotta be there in-person to feel it).

H Street NE/Atlas District is more relaxed during the day but hopping at night albeit not as raucous as AdMo or even U Street. It's a gritty nabe but it can be a little sketchy as you get close to Benning Road. Union Market is near the neighborhood. The first streetcar line will go through here next month. I highly recommend checking out the H Street Festival every Sept 20th.

Capitol Hill is a beautiful nabe that's more neighborly and friendly than G-Town. Cute rowhouses and townhomes with flamboyant landscaping and Savannah-like streets. Home to Eastern Market, 8th Street SE, US Botanical Garden, and the Capitol grounds.

And I implore you to visit The Wharf aka Maine Avenue Fish Market in the Southwest neighborhood next time around! It's beloved throughout the entire DMV and most tourists aren't aware of its existence (it's really old to put it lightly).

There's a lot of places I would recommend in DC but I just wanted to keep it short for now. Hope you'll enjoy the new information
 
Old 10-29-2014, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
2,343 posts, read 2,751,604 times
Reputation: 2258
Exceeded my expectations (at various times in my life): Philadelphia, Cleveland, Tucson, Minneapolis

Disappointed: Austin, Miami, Atlanta, D.C., Portland

For too many reasons in either category to explain in a single post.
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