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Old 06-14-2011, 09:25 PM
 
4,816 posts, read 5,180,492 times
Reputation: 3000
Quote:
Originally Posted by brempert View Post
Also, thanks to UrbanCharlotte for comparing the suggested cities to other cities I might be familiar with, that actually helped visually a ton! I should have specified that I was looking for a "step down" from Chicago, and you got that right away from my post.
Glad I could help. Here are pics of NC's five largest cities (the same five I suggested earlier).

Durham
All sizes | Durham NC - skyline | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/graceparkdurham/5709581586/sizes/z/in/photostream/ - broken link)
Raleigh
Raleigh Skyline | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbtuohy/3896956204/ - broken link)
Winston-Salem
All sizes | Winston-Salem Skyline | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/amethystrainn/288185098/sizes/z/in/photostream/ - broken link)
Greensboro
All sizes | Greensboro Skyline | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbtuohy/3644213179/sizes/o/in/photostream/ - broken link)
Charlotte
All sizes | Skyline of Charlotte, NC | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/49394874@N08/5518439191/sizes/l/in/photostream/ - broken link)

It's fair to note that Raleigh is only 20 minutes from Durham; Greensboro is 20 minutes from Winston-Salem. Raleigh/Durham are the largest cities in the "Triangle" metro area of NC; Greensboro/Winston-Salem are the largest cities in the "Triad" region of NC. Though Charlotte and Raleigh are the state's largest and fastest growing cities (with Raleigh being the faster growing of the two) the Triad and Triangle are VERY comparable to each other in look, feel, and layout.

Being that Winston-Salem is the popular suggested city on this thread, here's a pretty cool night time driving tour of Winston's downtown (the good stuff starts at the 2 minute mark of this video).


YouTube - ‪Downtown Winston-Salem, NC Night Tour‬‏

I must admit that Winston is my favorite NC city to visit when I am in the mood to get out of Charlotte for a day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brempert View Post
I noticed a lot of posters talked about the winston-salem area and surrounding, and fewer mentioned Raleigh.
Is there a big difference between the areas? I thought Raleigh was maybe larger, but I wasn't sure.
I am not sure why folks are suggesting Winston. Personally, I'd assume (though my assumptions have been wrong) that a person with an 8 year Chicago background would find Charlotte to be the least boring city in NC (while still finding all of NC rather boring overall; including Charlotte). Especially if the poster is looking for the following...
Looking for a liberal, urban, but relaxing area in NC. Located with access to some bigger cities nearby

Just the words liberal, urban, and bigger cities is enough to make me embarrassed to suggest to you anything but NC's largest (and even Charlotte might not be large enough for a Chi-town transplant). However, if you have an open mind for the small town (which NC is full of) then you will have plenty to choose from. However, most Chicago/Philly/Boston/NYC transplants that I know of in real life live in the uptown (downtown) area of Charlotte. Yes, many choose other areas of NC too, but I don't know any of those folks personally. The ones I do know uptown seem to be happy with the "cheap price" of Charlotte's urban district (urban areas of their home towns are MUCH more expensive).

I recently showed a series of links to a NYC poster interested in areas of uptown Charlotte. Being that you have lived in Chicago (and are looking for a "step down" from that city) I think you might be interested in seeing those same links...

Fourth Ward
191 North Cedar Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
35.231353,-80.843968 - Google Maps
547 North Church Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
West 10th Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps

First Ward
750 Garden District Drive, Charlotte, NC - Google Maps
739 East 10th Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
482 North Alexander Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
East 7th Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps

Third Ward
207 South Clarkson Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
202 South Cedar Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
801 Greenleaf Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
1155 West 1st Street, Charlotte, North Carolina - Google Maps
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:30 AM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,089 posts, read 8,105,304 times
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Well, Mebane is within a 30 min. drive to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill or Greensboro, small town, friendly, has a library that is unusually large for such a small town (all sorts of Universities within 50 miles)
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:14 AM
 
1,737 posts, read 473,527 times
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With all of those actually liking Winston-Salem, I don't know what I must have done wrong, because I purposely drove through it on my way out of Charlotte in April and couldn't get out of that dirty, delapidated, run-down, urban sprawl of a city fast enough.... What did I miss???
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
7,821 posts, read 10,092,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brempert View Post
I noticed a lot of posters talked about the winston-salem area and surrounding, and fewer mentioned Raleigh.
Is there a big difference between the areas? I thought Raleigh was maybe larger, but I wasn't sure.
I guess we presumed you had done SOME research on your own and knew what NC's big cities were, since you are considering moving here. Yes, Raleigh is bigger than Winston-Salem. You can get populations as well as mini-demographic capsules on all areas from City-Data's own NC page. You can click on the "Population" header and it will rank them by that. Raliegh is 2nd, Winston is 4th.

You said you wanted "relaxed", which less and less is describing Raleigh as the traffic and congestion becomes more and more of an issue (though granted, not like any big city) with such fast population growth as the Triangle is experiencing, too fast for the infrastructure to keep up.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Morgantown, WV
963 posts, read 806,259 times
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Durham, Asheville, Chapel Hill seem to fit your description.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Somewhere.
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Many were also suggestion winston because you said you want mountains but also wants a city and later said that you want a "step down" from Chicago.

Asheville is not going to compare and I'm pretty sure you will find yourself bored to tears unless you love the outdoors. The only close big city to asheville is Charlotte which is 2-2.5 hours away. Charlotte is going to be your best bet after you've further explained what you want.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:19 AM
 
175 posts, read 406,050 times
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Many good suggestions so far. You might want to look at Saxapahaw which is cute, cute, cute and close to both the triangle and the triad.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I am not usually a big Winston-Salem supporter, but I do think it may be a good starting place. Believe it or not, it really does fit many of the necessary criteria stated by the OP. Renting in the Ardmore, Washington Park or West End neighborhoods would be a good place to start to see if it really is a good fit. I have met a number of liberals, artist, nature, musical, educated types too. I would also suggest branching out to baby or pregnancy pictures! There are so many young families around here who would probably love artsy family pics. Good luck with your search.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,947 posts, read 9,039,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlotteNCRepublican View Post
Durham, Asheville, Chapel Hill seem to fit your description.
Agreed.

I would say the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area is the most liberal "urban" part of NC. Charlotte is larger and closer to the mountains but this area is definitely more on the conservative side. Asheville is a very liberal, hippie type town but it lacks easy access to urban amenities when you do need them.
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:55 AM
 
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I was going to say Durham too since you're planning on renting for a while (you'd need to raise your housing budget to buy there). It's got everything else you want, though!

I recently moved to Wilmington and it has some of what you want (which is also what I want) - but the restaurants aren't as good as Durham (which is killing me) and there are no mountains. Nice to be by the coast though. I suggest it only because it's pretty easy to rent a house with a yard here on the cheap. I'm renting a house with a large backyard in a very progressive-seeming neighborhood for $800/month (drove by a For Rent sign). The historic downtown is terrific. But, no large city 30 minutes away - Raleigh is about 1.75 hrs away. Worth visiting though. Once you get past the sea of strip malls more toward the downtown you find little pockets of really interesting neighborhoods.
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