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Old 05-27-2009, 06:30 PM
Location: Chicago
2 posts, read 2,325 times
Reputation: 10


Hi everyone. I'm a 20 year old looking for somewhere safe/affordable to move to for either when I am out of college, or perhaps earlier. Based on a family situation it's hard for me to decide whether or not I should go back to school, so I was hoping to get some stability in figuring out where I might be in the future. I currently live in the Chicago suburbs, which are nice, but I would like to live somewhere that isn't too close to home necessarily. So more or less what I'm looking for is somewhere that is safe, affordable (for a recent college grad), and I would also prefer it to be within about a days drive from Chicago (12 hours is reasonable). But the first two requirements outweigh the latter so if there is somewhere farther away, feel free to throw that in too. So anyway I just thought that it would give me some sort of stability to know where I might want to be in a few years, and I'd really appreciate all your input. Thanks in advance

Note: I would prefer to rent an apartment (leading to a house eventually) in a suburb of some sort rather than directly in a city. But again, safety and affordability are the highest priorities.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:53 PM
2,502 posts, read 8,055,381 times
Reputation: 885
The midwest is your best bet in terms of both affordability and reasonable driving distance.

Columbus, OH could be a good choice. Due to the college atmosphere, it's a great city for young people and is fairly close to home (without being too close). It will also be a lot less expensive than the larger midwestern cities like Chicago and Minneapolis.

Indianapolis should be reasonably priced too. Would be worth looking at. Actually a pretty nice city.

Maybe even Louisville?

Saint Louis could work too and it's actually probably the most affordable yet. You'd just have to shop around carefully for good areas (there are plenty of nice, safe areas, you just have to know where to look).
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:09 PM
161 posts, read 557,130 times
Reputation: 97
Also consider Pittsburgh. It is about an 8 hour drive to Chicago. It has a very diversified job market compared to its old reputation. They have a lot of fun things to do. The suburbs are especially safe and still very affordable. Weather is similar to that of Chicago, maybe even a little better. I grew up there, so I know it well.

Other cities that have safe and affordable suburbs to consider:

Des Moines
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:07 PM
7,280 posts, read 13,542,792 times
Reputation: 3617
A twelve hour drive from Chicago could include hundreds of cities. Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta... almost Philadelphia. The entire states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, etc.

Anything else you're looking for to narrow it down?
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:43 PM
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,674,412 times
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There are some great suburbs in St. Louis, and it's fairly affordable, probably more so than Chicago. I'd look into it.

The climate is a bit warmer in St. Louis, but shouldn't take too long to get used to it I think.

Some more criteria would be good.
Do you want a dense suburb, one that's more urban, or you want a suburb that's very spread out?
What's your price range for a house (once you eventually decide to get one) and your price range for rentals?
How big of a city do you want to live near?
What are your prospects like? You need to find out which cities have jobs open in your field.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:54 PM
2,502 posts, read 8,055,381 times
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In terms of narrowing it down - nice areas in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Atlanta may be a lot more expensive than what you'd get in smaller cities. I definitely think that more modest cities would be a better bet if affordability is the top criteria.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:22 AM
Location: Chicago
2 posts, read 2,325 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the awesome replies so far guys. In terms of narrowing it down, I'm really not too picky about weather, so that isn't much of a factor. And as far as a suburb goes, I would prefer it to be within about half an hour of the downtown area, but again, that's not too big of a deal. Something else to possibly consider would be that a good part of my social life has to do with sports, so I would prefer that the city had some sort of professional sport (which really isn't a problem with most of the cities you've mentioned). And in terms of cost, I really don't know yet because the field I'm going into (screenwriting) tends to be fairly volatile in terms of income. So I think that safety and affordability would remain the top priorities. And from what you guys have said the top cities that appeal to me would probably be, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland/Columbus and Indianapolis. If you have anymore thoughts on those I would really appreciate it. Especially for St. Louis because I've been there before and heard that it isn't all that safe, so if you guys know anything else about that please share. Well, again, thanks so much guys. I really appreciate all the help and feel free to keep responding
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:08 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,688 posts, read 16,133,353 times
Reputation: 7711
Grand Rapids might be worth a look- generally affordable compared to Chicago, some good rental in safe areas both downtown and the burbs (and the burbs are pretty close in compared to bigger areas), and the drive time to Chicago isn't bad but makes for a really long day trip. Sports-wise, there's minor league hockey and baseball. The up side there is that tickets for the Griffins or Whitecaps are cheap compared to a major league team and you'll get to see about half the future roster for the Red Wings play and still be able to afford a couple of beers at the game. Generally better economy than the rest of Michigan, and some respectable public college options in the area when you want to take classes again.

Also very nice beaches during the annual 5-7 weeks of beach weather.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:59 AM
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
9,895 posts, read 21,170,268 times
Reputation: 9440
You didn't list any wants other than safety, affordability in the suburbs, and w.i 12 hours of Chi town. That leaves a lot to the imagination

I live here in the triangle btw 3 of the safest mid sized metros that are affordable, those being Cincinnati, Louisville, & Lexington. You could find a nice 1 bedroom in any of those's suburbs for ~$500, more for a luxury apt, less for a more basic dwelling.

The best suburban areas in each, based on great shopping and being in a nice part of town would be:

St Matthews in Louisville
Hamburg/ Cadentown in Lexington
Mt Carmel/ Batavia in Cincinnati
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:04 PM
Location: Omaha
2,716 posts, read 6,220,309 times
Reputation: 1221
Omaha and Des Moines seem to fit your criteria. You would also have much better luck findings jobs in those cities.
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