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Old 04-08-2010, 08:01 AM
 
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If you had your choice, which would you choose and why?

Assume you could keep your same salary / job in either location.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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I've lived in both areas. I'd still live in McLean, particularly if I was moving from Chicagoland, because the DC area overall has much more to offer culturally than Richmond, it draws people from all over the world, and it's not quite as steamy in the summer here as in Richmond. Richmond has one foot in the 21st century and the other in the 19th, and it's never quite clear which foot gets to take the next step.

Having said that, the cost of living (and housing in particular) is considerably lower in Richmond, it's not nearly as congested as NoVa, it's closer to good beaches (if that matters to you), and there are some beautiful, affordable residential neighborhoods both in the city of Richmond and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Last edited by JD984; 04-08-2010 at 08:36 AM..
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagotodc View Post
If you had your choice, which would you choose and why?

Assume you could keep your same salary / job in either location.
You would definitely get a lot more bang for your buck in Richmond as the cost of living is dramatically less. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know about equivalents to upscale McLean but I am certain that there are plenty of options.

Politically the city itself is mildly liberal while the surrounding suburbs are decidedly conservative.

Unlike here in Northern Virginia, Southern culture is definitely stronger in the Richmond area.

If your job still required you to travel to DC/NOVA regularly (2x a week), then Fredericksburg would be a good compromise. It's sort of the "crossroads" between NOVA and Richmond.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Virginia (again)
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I've lived in Tysons Corner (in a condo before kids) and in the Western suburbs of Richmond. You can get a very nice house in the suburbs of Richmond for $500k which obviously wouldn't buy a decent townhouse in McLean. There are some excellent public schools in the suburbs of Richmond--especially at the elementary level. Definitely a slower pace and less traffic. Quality of life for families is quite high in the suburbs of Richmond. That being said, there are a lot of NoVa people that I think would hate/be bored by Richmond IMO.

ETA: I guess part of my decision too would depend on salary. I know you said the salary was the same, but if you're talking $200k or less, I'd say go for Richmond.

Last edited by sls76; 04-08-2010 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:41 AM
 
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I don't care for NoVA, so Richmond.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
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Hard to say. Can I pick some other community in Nova? Because McLean doesn't impress me all that much. If I can choose Vienna or Reston or Falls Church or Lowes Island then I would choose Nova. More variety, better kayaking, better stores, better hospitals, better airports, closer to the Smithsonians and other amenities of DC. Also, I just like the energy in Nova. There's a spirit here that appeals to me.

Which is not to put down Richmond. Richmond has some sterling qualities. If you're buying a house, you get more for your money in Richmond. Some parts of Richmond have plenty of history and charm, but those also seem to be the areas with minor problems with crime, so they make me a little uncomfortable. William and Mary is a great school. And the Williamsburg Pottery Factory is nearby, which is a plus in my book.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Hard to say. Can I pick some other community in Nova? Because McLean doesn't impress me all that much. If I can choose Vienna or Reston or Falls Church or Lowes Island then I would choose Nova. More variety, better kayaking, better stores, better hospitals, better airports, closer to the Smithsonians and other amenities of DC. Also, I just like the energy in Nova. There's a spirit here that appeals to me.
LOL. McLean reminds me a bit of Gertrude Stein's famous description of Oakland - "there's no there there." It lacks an attractive core and seems to have fewer nice shops and restaurants than one would expect for a place with its name recognition (unless they are tucked away in some place known only to the select few).

On the other hand, it has very good community-based schools and it's a comparatively easy commute to DC. In addition, the overall quality of the residential construction in McLean is probably higher than in Vienna, Reston, Falls Church or the newer residential areas of Loudoun. For example, the types of houses that typically have brick fronts and vinyl siding elsewhere will more often be all-brick (or hardiplank) in McLean.
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