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Thread summary:

Relocating: real estate, market, diversity, university, affordable, cost of living.

 
 
Old 05-29-2007, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,881,642 times
Reputation: 775

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As my handle implies, I live in Washington, DC and have all my life. I'm tired of DC and I would like to move to another city within the next year or two. But I'm not sure where to go, so I was hoping that you folks can help me with suggestions of cities that meet the following criteria:

Size:
Medium-XLarge City

Social environment:
- Some cultural feel to it; shopping/restaurant/bar strips where young people like go out and about
- Some diversity, but not to the point where it’s overrun by minorities, but not all completely white either
- Friendly, open-minded, helpful, mellow, and laid-back people
- Good single female – single male ratio for ages between 20 and 35
- Good place for a single male to find women to date and have relationships with, or to just have sex with
- At least one major university where educated and affluent young people are there in large numbers
- People who care about their health, exercise, and exercise good hygiene
- Lots of places to go, things to do for young/single people (parks, dance scenes, sports bars, gym/sport activity areas such as golf, tennis, swimming, etc)
- Most neighborhoods must be safe

Religious environment:

- Minimal evangelist population or religious influence; mostly secular
- Individual spirituality is a plus
- Diversity of religions is also a plus

Political environment:
- Mellow, laid-back, and not high-strung like in Washington, DC
- Progressive, but without the smug and elitist attitudes (like you find in DC)
- Politics centering on the moderate, neither going too liberal or too conservative

Financial environment:
- Affordable cost of living for the young and single
- Affordable real estate for single income earners
- Growth opportunities for environmentally-conscious businesses
- Employment opportunities containing sufficient upside

Bonuses (not completely necessary at this point in my life):
- Nearby beach
- Nearby mountains for skiing/snowboarding
- A decent bus system or public transit system that helps ease traffic
- A solid K-12 education system (will become important when I have kids)
- Family oriented residential environment (will also become important when I have kids)
- Minimal sprawl
- Low state income or sales tax
- Manageable property taxes

Know of any cities that meet most, if not all, requirements above?

I'm serious about moving out of DC and I want to visit a few suggested cities to get a taste, prior to my full move. Being young and single and looking for a mate, the social requirements are most important to me at this point in my life. Obviously the job outlook and cost of living is also important to me, but things like K-12 education and family-oriented environments aren't as important to me now... but might become more important when I marry and have kids.

All suggestions and input from everyone will be very much appreciated!
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Hermitage, Tennessee
119 posts, read 778,115 times
Reputation: 125
Default Nashville

I pick Nashville for you.
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,293,605 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Size:
Medium-XLarge City
Easy Enough

Quote:
Social environment:
- Some cultural feel to it; shopping/restaurant/bar strips where young people like go out and about
- Some diversity, but not to the point where it’s overrun by minorities, but not all completely white either
- Friendly, open-minded, helpful, mellow, and laid-back people
- Good single female – single male ratio for ages between 20 and 35
- Good place for a single male to find women to date and have relationships with, or to just have sex with
- At least one major university where educated and affluent young people are there in large numbers
- People who care about their health, exercise, and exercise good hygiene
- Lots of places to go, things to do for young/single people (parks, dance scenes, sports bars, gym/sport activity areas such as golf, tennis, swimming, etc)
- Most neighborhoods must be safe
Some cities that meet this criteria: Denver, Boulder, Seattle, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, and Portland.

Quote:
Religious environment:
- Minimal evangelist population or religious influence; mostly secular
- Individual spirituality is a plus
- Diversity of religions is also a plus
That's a toughy. You'd have to be in a more liberal city... You'll have to accept that almost ANY medium-large city will have a fairly large religious population. No city in the bible belt.

Quote:
Political environment:
- Mellow, laid-back, and not high-strung like in Washington, DC
- Progressive, but without the smug and elitist attitudes (like you find in DC)
- Politics centering on the moderate, neither going too liberal or too conservative
Some cities that have a good balance of liberal/republican influence: Boulder, Austin, Minneapolis-St.Paul, and possibly Denver.

Quote:
Financial environment:
- Affordable cost of living for the young and single
- Affordable real estate for single income earners
- Growth opportunities for environmentally-conscious businesses
- Employment opportunities containing sufficient upside
The four cities above are fairly affordable. Boulder is getting fairly expensive though. What exactly is your budget?

Quote:
Bonuses (not completely necessary at this point in my life):
- Nearby beach
- Nearby mountains for skiing/snowboarding
- A decent bus system or public transit system that helps ease traffic
- A solid K-12 education system (will become important when I have kids)
- Family oriented residential environment (will also become important when I have kids)
- Minimal sprawl
- Low state income or sales tax
- Manageable property taxes
Don't know about the taxes but Boulder and Denver seem to meet this criteria with the exception of the beach. Don't know too much about the public transit though...

I'd check into Minneapolis, MN and Denver and Boulder, CO. They seem to meet your criteria fairly well...
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:20 PM
 
154 posts, read 642,448 times
Reputation: 71
yeah, minneapolis MN is a great choice for you. i'd also throw in seattle WA, syracuse NY and baltimore MD.
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,047 posts, read 21,667,587 times
Reputation: 5053
My friend moved to Atlanta for many of the reasons you listed (including female to male ratio), about 7 years ago. He loves it.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,881,642 times
Reputation: 775
I made a list of cities that might meet some of the above listed criteria, they are not ranked in any particular order. Minneapolis and Denver are on my list of top cities!

I also thrown in some more cities that I'd like to get some opinions on as well. I love boston, NYC, and san deigo, but their real estate is too expensive so I kept them in the 2nd list. I also listed cities that I'm not interested in.

Top cities (in no particular order):
Houston, TX
Kansas City, KS
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN
Louisville, KY
Seattle, WA

Other cities of interest:
Boston, MA
New York, NY
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Nashville, TN
Hampton Roads–Norfolk, VA
Syracuse, NY
Albuquerque, NM
Austin, TX
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Omaha, NE
Ann Arbor, MI
Dover, DE
Wilmington, DE

Major cities that I have no interest in:
Los Angeles, CA
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Washington, DC
Dallas, TX
Buffalo, NY
St Louis, MO

Let me know whether I should "promote" a city in the 2nd list to the list of top cities? Or should I demote a couple of cities? Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,293,605 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Top cities (in no particular order):
Houston, TX
Kansas City, KS
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN
Louisville, KY
Seattle, WA
How did Kansas City and Louisville get on that list? I mean the other cities on that list are fairly large and offer much more than Louisville or Kansas City. I'd personally nix those...

You mentioned that you want a place that was affordable, Seattle is most certainly NOT affordable. I believe the median home price is around $400K. However it does meet the rest of your criteria...

Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, and Houston are all top-notch cities. They're all affordable and each offers many amenities. Each also has a great culture and all are fairly diverse. I'd add Boulder, CO to that list also.

Quote:
Other cities of interest:
Boston, MA
New York, NY
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Nashville, TN
Hampton Roads–Norfolk, VA
Syracuse, NY
Albuquerque, NM

Austin, TX
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Omaha, NE
Ann Arbor, MI
Dover, DE
Wilmington, DE
The ones in red are the ones that I'd also nix out. Either they aren't affordable or wouldn't be a good suit for you and your "wants". However Austin, Ann Arbor, and possibly Omaha meet most of your criteria and are also affordable.

Quote:
Los Angeles, CA
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Washington, DC
Dallas, TX
Buffalo, NY
St Louis, MO
I'm curious... You have Houston on your favorite city list but why don't you have any interest in Dallas or Atlanta? All three cities are pretty similiar when it boils down to it. Why aren't you looking at those?

The cities that I personally think would be best for you are as follows (no order):

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Denver, CO
Boulder, CO
Austin, TX
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,447,935 times
Reputation: 396
I generally agree with SpeedyAZ.

The big bugaboo in your list of criteria, DC, is that you want it all and you don't want to pay for it. That, as you know, is impossible. The more you love a place, the more likely you'll have to pay more for it because we're such a mobile society that people who can choose to live wherever they want have driven market prices up in "quality of life" locations. This is a shift from the past when the local economy was the primary factor in determining prices.

Thus, even if you choose a relatively affordable city like Austin, you'll find that the parts of Austin you like the most are the areas you cannot afford.

Finding the Next Austin is the holy grail. I'm afraid it might have to be in another country because every city in the US has been "discovered" and priced up to where it balances out with quality of life. There are no easy bargains to be found. Websites like this one help with this trend. Information and mobility make for a more intelligent market, and intelligent markets create rational pricing. Rational prices mean "you get what you pay for." No free lunch. Something's gotta give, so the most helpful thing you can do to help us help you is get rid of some of your criteria and focus on the MOST IMPORTANT factors in your decision.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,881,642 times
Reputation: 775
I put Louisville in the top list because I visited that city, twice. Once for the kentucky derby, and another time for visiting a friend. The people are so friendly there that it was amazing. It was that exact visit when I knew I wanted out of DC, because I hadn't realized what I was missing.

Dallas didn't make it to my list of prospective cities because I've been there quite a few times to visit relatives, and I found it too conservative for me. Also lacking in culture and things to do. Same for Atlanta. I was under the impression that Houston is more liberal than these two cities. Was I wrong there?

It's true I don't want to pay too much for a nice city like Boston, San Deigo, etc. I think the real estate market has gone out of control, aided by the insane mortgage lending industry and foolish people who only cared about keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, I've been priced out. Well, I don't have a full time job yet, so I can't really say that I've been priced out... but it's also a sure bet that DC real estate cannot be affordable to a single person even if he/she is making $70K+ or something. That's not what I call an "intelligent market." I want nothing more than for the real estate market to get itself under control and then make room for single-income earners in big cities. I know, that's wishful thinking

Again, I understand that there's no such thing as a perfect utopia for me, but I want to find a place to live that meets most, but not necessarily all, of my criteria. If I had to tell you what the MOST important thing for me is at this point in my life, I would say the social environment is it. Particularly the dating scene, cultural events, at least a bit of diversity, and sporting/outdoor activities. I can do without the political and religious stuff if people are generally tolerant, and I probably won't buy a house for another 3+ years anyway. So, again, without necessarily breaking the bank, the criteria listed in "social environment" is most important factor at the moment

Again, I very much appreciate your help, especially from you, SpeedyAZ... it sounds like Denver/Boulder and Minneapolis are good fits for me.

Last edited by DCNative; 05-30-2007 at 10:53 PM..
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
18,653 posts, read 27,092,504 times
Reputation: 9584
Quote:
Dallas didn't make it to my list of prospective cities because I've been there quite a few times to visit relatives, and I found it too conservative for me. Also lacking in culture and things to do. Same for Atlanta. I was under the impression that Houston is more liberal than these two cities. Was I wrong there?
That probably depends on where you were. Were you in the cities of Dallas and Atlanta? Because both cities are fairly liberal.
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