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Old 07-06-2009, 11:20 PM
339 posts, read 2,049,372 times
Reputation: 210


***Summary at the bottom since this is a long post***


I'm about to be a senior in college with a degree in accounting. Thankfully, since I'm not in finance or something, I can practice in almost any major city I want, however, the curse is that there are so many options and I have no idea where to start!

Here's what I am generally looking for:

1. I'd like to live somewhere hot and sunny versus somewhere cold. I don't care how hot it gets, but shoveling snow, driving on icy roads/in heavy rain is not something I want to deal with at all. The south is ideally where I want to be.

2. Relatively low cost of living, but a good economy. Although CPAs can have lucrative careers, I will just be starting out so I don't want to go somewhere with outrageous COL. At the same time, I am very career-focused, so I want to be in a place with lots of opportunity for advancement, if you get what I mean.

3. Entertainment-wise, the things I really only care about having a good sports scene (college or pro), decent shopping (I'm a guy, so I don't shop a lot, but coming from Oregon, it's a pain to not have some of the name-brands around because of how small the city is), and be near water. When I say I want to be near water, I don't necessarily mean the beach, but I've always been into water activities such as surfing, wakeboarding, cayaking, etc., so being in an area with opportunity for water recreation or at the very least outdoor activities would be a huge bonus. However, even though I would like this, I'd rather have A LOT TO DO IN THE CITY than have a nearby lake.

4. I'd also like to be in a city where you can walk to places easily. My dream would be to live in a southern city where you can live in the city and walk/take public transportation to wherever you need to go. Basically, a NYC with warmer weather and lower cost of living (I know, keep dreaming right)

I know that's a lot to ask for, but if you have any suggestions, that would be great.


-Looking for a place that is warm (would like to avoid snow at all costs if possible), fairly low cost of living (aka not outrageous like NYC, San Fran, LA, etc.), very walkable with plenty to do in the city itself (Ideally, I'd like to have a nice condo in the city itself and be able to walk or take public transport to get around in the city), good opportunity to advance one's career. Bonus points if there is a nearby lake/beach since I'm into water activies or if there are lots of outdoor activities, decent shopping. The most important point though is that the city be walkable, second being warm. Walkable with lots to do in the city is my dream city, however, it seems the only places that allow this are NYC, Boston, and Chicago, which are all very cold/expensive places (Chicago isn't that expensive however)


Last edited by Jumpman023; 07-06-2009 at 11:32 PM..
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:40 PM
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LA may be a good fit, although of course the economy isn't good right now - still, maybe by the time you graduate it will have improved. Many parts (not all, but many) of LA are walkable, the public transportation is better than what most people give it credit for (it's not NYC-quality, but it's still decent), and you'd have enough stuff to keep you busy for years. San Diego would be an option, too, but I don't think the public transportation is as good as in LA. I may be wrong, though, and if you lived and worked downtown you'd be fine. Cost of living isn't going to be as low as some cities (for LA or SD) but in a regular economy there would be lots of job opportunities (and presumably will be once again at some point in the future as you advance), and lots to do.

I haven't lived there, and have only visited once, but you might want to look into Houston; there are some nice walkable neighborhoods there, transportation options are expanding, it's a big city, and I think COL is still fairly reasonable. Don't know about water activities in the city itself, but you'd have a lot of entertainment options and would still be close enough to Galveston for trips to the beach on the weekend.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:52 PM
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Atlanta might fit your needs. Although it's not the most walkable city in the country, there are still some nice walkable areas of the city. That being sad, you would probably need a car. Public transportation in Atlanta is by far the best in the South, but not comparable to the likes of DC, Boston, Philly, etc.

Weather wise, it's pretty warm and hot all year until the winter months. It's gets somewhat chilly (although I have endured worse).

There is a BIG college sports presence in not only Atlanta, but in much of the South as well. You'll have plenty of recreational options to choose from, and the nearest lake is about an hour or so from downtown (depending on traffic).
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:10 AM
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Some cities that crossed my mind while reading your needs and wants were Austin, San Antonio, and Las Vegas.

All of them are warm and sunny with little snow or ice. Las Vegas is close to Lake Mead for outdoor water sports, and Austin and SA have nearby lakes and the Gulf Coast a few hours away. All three are growing cities, with the Texas cities having better economies right now. The COL is not too high in any of them, especially compared to the West Coast. All three have a college or pro team. You would have lots of entertainment options in Las Vegas or at the River Walk in San Antonio.

Atlanta and Houston, as mentioned above, are wetter. Generally the further west you get, the drier it will be.

The most difficult thing is going to be wanting to walk everywhere. Most cities that have what you want are just too big to accommodate only walking. But all these big cities do have good mass transit systems, so living without a car should be possible.

Good luck wherever you decide!
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:07 AM
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You could consider New Orleans, although I'm not sure just how well #2 fits it...
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:06 AM
339 posts, read 2,049,372 times
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thanks for the responses so far. Let's do this: throw the walkable part out of the window since if I want to do anything outside of the city I'll need a car anyway. What are some places that are warm and have good water recreation nearby along with a decent economy without being absolutely attrocious for traffic?

Some people have said that Scottsdale, AZ is pretty good, but isn't AZ's economy traditionally pretty bad?
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:22 AM
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I would say to check out places like Tampa, Orlando, or maybe Jacksonville.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:46 PM
Location: Living in Hampton, VA
502 posts, read 1,406,681 times
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Originally Posted by Central Illinois 1 View Post
I would say to check out places like Tampa, Orlando, or maybe Jacksonville.
Public Transportation are not really good in those cities. Plus you do not make as much money in the majority of Florida.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:08 PM
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You don't necessarily have to own a car if you sometimes want to do things outside of the city - car share programs (zipcar, etc.) are growing in popularity, and in some cases it's still cheaper to rent a car from a regular rental place for the day if you're only using a car a couple of times a month. Just something to consider. I don't know which warm-weather cities offer car share options - I know LA has a rather limited program (although I belatedly saw in your summary that LA is on your too-expensive list) but assume that many do, or if they don't currently, will in the future. The hubs are usually located in very walkable neighborhoods, and the programs are geared for people who don't want to own a car but still want access to one for occassional big shopping runs or trips out of the city.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:09 PM
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,429 posts, read 13,183,598 times
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Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio...

If you decide on one of those, get in the local city forums to ask about specific neighborhoods that would fit what you want most.
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