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Old 11-25-2014, 11:51 PM
 
Location: District of Columbia
737 posts, read 1,413,071 times
Reputation: 466

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Considering I am allowed to express myself candidly and without judgment with regard to this post.

Surpassed:
Kansas City (Great freaking BBQ!) and I grew up in the south, city with tons of potential
Milwaukee (Nice walkable downtown and lakeside location), another place with tons of potential
Chicago (seriously, a city for those who like cities)
Boston (surprisingly quaint for such a large city)
Madison, WI (More granola than expected)
Minneapolis (which is why I live here now)
Asheville, NC (downtown is pretty nice and vibrant)
Louisville, KY (Cool city that is putting effort into doing things the right way, definitely up and coming)

Met my expectations:
Portland, OR
San Diego
New York
New Orleans
Washington, DC
...and too many that I care to list

Fell somewhat short:
San Francisco (city) great culture but it was so run down considering the COL, actually the Northern burbs were very nice (Marin County)!
Miami (Outside of the beaches it quickly turned into every other city Iv'e been to).
Los Angeles (Same feelings as San Fran, and waaay more crowded)
Dallas (Expected so much more from the 4th largest metro) downtown seemed so dead.
Las Vegas (Considering the price of pretty much everything on the "Srtip", I expected sooo much more than I got).

Short list to visit:
Nashville
Austin
Sante Fe
Salt Lake City

Last edited by sandlapper; 11-26-2014 at 12:19 AM..

 
Old 11-26-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee
3,451 posts, read 3,401,664 times
Reputation: 2896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobloblawslawblog View Post
Though I totally agree with you that Austin offers much more than shopping malls and traffic jams, I have to say... I'm one of those people who was severely let down by Austin. Then again, my perception is different than most since I used to live there. If this was mid-90's Austin we were discussing, then I would be singing a MUCH different (and more positive) tune, but I really hate the direction that city has gone in since the mid-to-late 90's. It has really lost a LOT of what used to make it unique, eclectic, and truly Bohemian. Today it just seems very shallow, superficial, and not very different from most of your typical neo-hipster bastions. Sure, this makes it stand out in Texas, but the novelty wears off real fast.

The great irony is that Austin, probably more than any other city in the nation, has it's hype machine cranked up to eleven, constantly. And it really doesn't deliver on it's promises. Back when it was still the best-kept secret in Texas, it delivered all that and more. The more Austin toots it's own horn as being "weird" or "different", the more it loses what used to actually make it weird and different. It's sad.
I hear ya. Also, my first visits to Austin were early 90s, and I haven't been there in 6-7 years. So maybe it has a different feel at this point + maybe I'm holding onto my idealized version from when it really was more under-the-radar and actually-cool?

However, saying Austin is defined by endless malls and bad traffic would mean that every other metro in Texas is defined by endless malls and bad traffic, except even more so. Outside maybe Ft Worth, which to me is the true under-the-radar TX city at this point. Hell, by saying that, you're implying that nearly every city in the entire country is defined by endless malls and bad traffic, if somehow one believes this is truly the case for Austin. Which may be kind of true, but Austin is much less-so than average for the region, and for its size.
 
Old 11-26-2014, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Who Cares, USA
2,343 posts, read 2,754,769 times
Reputation: 2258
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
I hear ya. Also, my first visits to Austin were early 90s, and I haven't been there in 6-7 years. So maybe it has a different feel at this point + maybe I'm holding onto my idealized version from when it really was more under-the-radar and actually-cool?

However, saying Austin is defined by endless malls and bad traffic would mean that every other metro in Texas is defined by endless malls and bad traffic, except even more so. Outside maybe Ft Worth, which to me is the true under-the-radar TX city at this point. Hell, by saying that, you're implying that nearly every city in the entire country is defined by endless malls and bad traffic, if somehow one believes this is truly the case for Austin. Which may be kind of true, but Austin is much less-so than average for the region, and for its size.
Right. That's the part I agree on.

Here's a little secret about the major Texas cities, Austin included (not directed at you, but at the C-D community at large): They're all basically developed from the same blueprint. They're all sunbelt cities. They all have lots of malls and traffic. They all have sprawling, conservative suburbs. There are no exceptions.

People on this site love to fawn all over Austin, while simultaneously bagging and ragging all over the other large TX cities, and it makes little sense. Whatever qualities Austin has that set it aside from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or Fort Worth are evaporating quickly.
 
Old 11-26-2014, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Center City
6,865 posts, read 7,811,377 times
Reputation: 9492
Philly. Over a period of 4 or so years, we made extended visits to cities on both coasts looking for a place to move to. We visited the mid-Atlantic as part of our great search. We were particularly eager to visit Baltimore because of its beautiful harbor setting and almost bypassed Philly. I was a little familiar with Philly from the 80s, and didn't have fond recall of the place. Since it's near Baltimore, however, we thought "Why not? We can at least take in Independence Hall." I somehow envisioned it as being a small NYC, which was bad on two counts - a concert jungle but not large enough to offer all NYC does.

Boy were we surprised. Rather than concrete, we found charming tree lined streets and small serene squares. There were enough folks on the sidewalks to impart good energy, but not so many as to feel jostled. Instead of an expected rudeness, we found most folks to be actually pretty friendly and helpful. And based on our interests, we found plenty to do - top class museums, theaters, restaurants, etc. It was a place where we could ditch the car and walk to do pretty much everything we wanted or needed to do. The Philly of my memory had clearly changed. Long story short: we ended up moving here in 2011.
 
Old 11-26-2014, 12:59 PM
 
161 posts, read 181,799 times
Reputation: 128
Exceeded Expectations:
San Diego - great beaches, clean, modern downtown, Balboa Park, Coronado Island and LaJolla, other interesting neighborhoods.
Los Angeles - though LA is an auto city I was surprised how walkable it was and that it had some cool neighborhoods and beautiful drives
Washington, DC - I generally don't like DC but the city has grown on me and continues to impress me. Great neighborhoods, transit, museums, etc.

Met Expectations:
Philadelphia
Savannah
Portland, OR
Providence
New Orleans
Savannah
Baltimore

Less than Expected:
Vancouver - While Stanley Park is amazing and the Gas Lamp district is pretty, overall it's just a lot of modern glass skyscrapers.
Denver/Seattle - Denver, similar to Seattle, has a decent downtown in terms or retail and restaurants but overall their downtowns weren't that impressive to me. I'd much rather spend time in their urbanish neighborhoods.
Atlanta - downtown Atlanta is only corporate offices and some hotels. Midtown is supposed to be hip but to me is very chain oriented and like the Applebees of urban downtowns. That said, I did like neighborhoods like VA Highlands, Little Five Point, East Atlanta Village, etc.
 
Old 02-08-2017, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Crook County, Illinois
3,522 posts, read 1,608,247 times
Reputation: 4413
Wowed me:
* Key West, FL - I expected to see a stereotypical auto-centric beach town with many chains, little genuine history, and full of glitz and glamour. I found the complete opposite: the town was just radiating history all over, I could count the number of national chains on one hand, a worker at a bakery made small talk with me, and a cute cashier at a Walgreen's (inside a former theater, no less) was playing with her hair as she rang me up.
* New Orleans, LA - I was already aware of its party scene and other quirks, but I still expected to see a stereotypical city from the South: sprawling layout, plain-looking houses, and no pedestrians. What I saw got like a foreign country! If you disregard English being spoke and dollars changing hands, it almost felt like France or Spain, only with alligators and voodoo. And we never had to drive in the four days we stayed there; everything was so compact and walkable.

Soured me:
* Los Angeles, CA - I was transiting from LAX to the Long Beach Cruise Port. I expected to see a vibrant, bustling urban metropolis. Instead, I found myself in a very flat city (meaning buildings, not terrain), that looked and felt very vapid, and exuded a strong unwelcoming vibe. Good thing I was there only briefly.
* Daytona Beach, FL - I was there on a family vacation as a teen. I expected a laid-back beachy-looking town, like Key West or something in the Caribbean. Don't know why; I just did. What I saw was a bland, auto-centric "suburb", and the locals didn't seem friendly at all. My interactions with the locals were somewhat limited, but it's still the vibe I got.

Last edited by MillennialUrbanist; 02-08-2017 at 04:03 PM..
 
Old 02-08-2017, 05:05 PM
 
1,586 posts, read 1,543,398 times
Reputation: 2361
Better Than Expected
  • Charleston: My wife wanted to go here and I actually felt a little sad when she booked the trip, because there were so many other great places to go. I thought it was just going to be another tired-looking, sprawly New South city. Imagine my surprise when it was dense, walkable, historic and had some of the best food I've ever had.
  • Savannah: See Charleston. It was the same trip, in fact. Savannah had the added bonus of the best urban planning I've ever seen -- if I ever built a city from the ground up, priority one would be to rip off the squares.
  • Miami: I used to travel here a lot on business and kind of hated it, then years later I swung by on the way to the Keys and saw it in a whole new light. The walkable parts are really vibrant and fun, and it's got its own unique style of high-rise architecture that can be very attractive.
  • Austin: I wasn't expecting much, but Austin was so much fun. Just a great, happy, youthful scene.
  • Minneapolis: I'm not sure what I was expecting here -- it was many years ago -- but it was really cute, user friendly and also just friendly friendly. I'd like to go back one of these days.

Worse Than Expected
  • Pittsburgh: I'd heard so much about its big comeback, but it still seemed pretty run down. Literally every neighborhood was a little grungy, or else very suburban. Downtown was attractive but super dead. The people weren't friendly, either. What's the point of being kind of the Midwest if the people aren't friendly?
  • Indianapolis: I was kind of excited to visit because I'd been hearing a lot of great things and it's the second-biggest city in the Midwest, but it just seemed so insubstantial. I had a lot of trouble finding a good restaurant and the coolest neighborhood in the city was sort of cool, I guess, but it was like six buildings.
  • Manchester, New Hampshire: I'm a New England resident and a New England aficionado, so I was psyched to see the biggest city in Northern New England. But it was badly laid out and pretty dead to a somewhat eerie extent.
  • Durham, North Carolina: Everyone talks up North Carolina in general and the Triangle specifically, and I love a good college town, but it was sparse and sprawly. I visited when I was thinking about relocating somewhere and the thought of doing it here got me kind of upset.
  • Denver: This was many years ago and I'd like to give it another shot, but it seemed very generic, and I was surprised that it wasn't more scenic. I hear it's improved greatly since I visited, so the door's open for me to be disappointed again!
 
Old 02-08-2017, 05:30 PM
 
4,668 posts, read 6,118,482 times
Reputation: 5840
El paso kind of surprised me in a good way. I think I was expecting a sleepy lil cowboy town or something, Idk.

I found Miami to be overrated but to be fair I'm not the type to ever go to the beach. I don't even like wearing shorts.
 
Old 02-08-2017, 07:18 PM
 
1,023 posts, read 1,238,241 times
Reputation: 2146
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunion Powder View Post
It wasn't an actual lack of amenities that was the problem but just a general progressive spirit that I had trouble finding. It didn't make things better that I've met so many natives who couldn't help but express how much they disliked their own town. Some couldn't even understand why I wanted to come there.

But again, this is based off of only a few short visits. I look forward to being proven wrong in the future.
Because of the present state of the state government and the crime problem in some neighborhoods. some residents do have a down view of their town. But Chicago and the surrounding area are great and there is so much to do and see. One beautiful city, nothing to be underwhelmed about at all, and world class. A record 51 million visitors last year.

Some cities that were surprisingly nice to me are Boston, New York, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Louisville. Also liked downtown Detroit, a comeback and surprise. Some that were let downs are San Francisco (dirty, cold, dreary and overpriced), Memphis ( stayed downtown, scared out of my whits at night ), Philadelphia (not as nice as advertised, sorry and South Jersey downright depressing with Trenton and Camden ), and indianapolis.

Many cities have good and bad areas, so they are mixed bags, such as Houston and Miami. Tried to like Atlanta, but had a hard time doing it.
 
Old 02-09-2017, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,135,139 times
Reputation: 7075
Detroit's downtown was more impressive than people would think, when I saw it.

In many ways, NYC is a huge crap hole, but is offset by many amazing features and things.
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