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Old 05-07-2012, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,947 posts, read 8,722,616 times
Reputation: 4204
Default Considering moving to OKC from Charlotte...a few concerns...

I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina and while I love the city, the economy here is very poor and in my three years here I have been unable to find quality employment in my field. I am stuck in a dead-end job that is making me pure miserable and I am reaching a point where I am about to cut and run.

I am considering Oklahoma City to be closer to my family. I lived in OKC during middle and high school and moved away my senior year so I have somewhat of a familiarity with the area. I am very impressed by the strides the city has made in the past couple decades.

How is the dining/nightlife in downtown OKC? How does Bricktown compare to the Epicentre in Charlotte? Are there trendy/historic arts districts that can be somewhat comparable to Dilworth or NoDa in Charlotte, even on a smaller scale?

How bad are grocery stores really? Here in Charlotte, we have Harris Teeter which is very nice and has a lot of specialty selection. I've heard OKC is lacking in this area, but have heard Crest Foods is alright.

How restrictive is the 3.2 beer laws? I love fine beers and wines and have heard many brewers and wineries won't sell in Oklahoma period because of these laws. How is the selection in the liquor stores compared to other states?

Sushi is my all-time favorite cuisine. I've heard Oklahoma doesn't have very good sushi. Is there any good places in OKC? This may sound small but its a make or break deal for me.

Overall, how would you compare OKC today to other mid-sized cities in this country?

Thanks for any replies!
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
519 posts, read 970,595 times
Reputation: 360
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I am very impressed by the strides the city has made in the past couple decades.
I left Oklahoma City in the early 90's and returned about 5 years later. I was happily surprised by the transformation that had occurred during my absence. But the changes that have occurred since my return are even greater and rather exciting. Unlike the time of urban renewal in the 70's and 80's it seem that there really is a much greater appreciation of trying to preserve and reuse what we have and to even attempt to repair some of the damage wrought during those destructive years. Not that it is unanimously embraced by any means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
How is the dining/nightlife in downtown OKC? How does Bricktown compare to the Epicentre in Charlotte? Are there trendy/historic arts districts that can be somewhat comparable to Dilworth or NoDa in Charlotte, even on a smaller scale?
Dining and nightlife is much improved now and, more importantly, improving as more people begin to actually live in the urban area. There are a few trendy and/or historic districts that are well beyond the starting point but I'd say are still very early. I can't compare to Charlotte.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
How bad are grocery stores really? Here in Charlotte, we have Harris Teeter which is very nice and has a lot of specialty selection. I've heard OKC is lacking in this area, but have heard Crest Foods is alright.
The grocery stores are much improved even from just a year or two ago. Whole Foods has opened one store now and Sunflower Markets has two and others have opened or are planning openings. And the existing stores have responded to some extent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
How restrictive is the 3.2 beer laws? I love fine beers and wines and have heard many brewers and wineries won't sell in Oklahoma period because of these laws. How is the selection in the liquor stores compared to other states?
It is really the distribution channel more than the 3.2 law that controls availability. Like a lot of things there are some good and bad points to it. But, for the most part, it is not a huge problem and there are plenty of aficionados.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
Sushi is my all-time favorite cuisine. I've heard Oklahoma doesn't have very good sushi. Is there any good places in OKC? This may sound small but its a make or break deal for me.
Actually I have really good sushi here, at least in my opinion. Not too many years ago there was virtually none. Now it is pretty common although the quality varies. Most people have their favorites. I think it is something you might have to explore yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
Overall, how would you compare OKC today to other mid-sized cities in this country?
I can only compare to where I've actually lived which is Kansas City and Dallas, both much larger. But for me it is really a great place to live now.

Best wishes whatever you decide.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:55 AM
 
Location: OKIE-Ville
3,986 posts, read 3,514,942 times
Reputation: 2029
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina and while I love the city, the economy here is very poor and in my three years here I have been unable to find quality employment in my field. I am stuck in a dead-end job that is making me pure miserable and I am reaching a point where I am about to cut and run.

I am considering Oklahoma City to be closer to my family. I lived in OKC during middle and high school and moved away my senior year so I have somewhat of a familiarity with the area. I am very impressed by the strides the city has made in the past couple decades.

How is the dining/nightlife in downtown OKC? How does Bricktown compare to the Epicentre in Charlotte? Are there trendy/historic arts districts that can be somewhat comparable to Dilworth or NoDa in Charlotte, even on a smaller scale?

How bad are grocery stores really? Here in Charlotte, we have Harris Teeter which is very nice and has a lot of specialty selection. I've heard OKC is lacking in this area, but have heard Crest Foods is alright.

How restrictive is the 3.2 beer laws? I love fine beers and wines and have heard many brewers and wineries won't sell in Oklahoma period because of these laws. How is the selection in the liquor stores compared to other states?

Sushi is my all-time favorite cuisine. I've heard Oklahoma doesn't have very good sushi. Is there any good places in OKC? This may sound small but its a make or break deal for me.

Overall, how would you compare OKC today to other mid-sized cities in this country?

Thanks for any replies!
Can't put a price on family so I hear ya about getting closer.

The one time that I visited Charlotte it felt quite a bit more urban to me than OK City. Having said that, OKC is so spread out it just has a different vibe about it than most cities its size. To me OKC (and Tulsa for that matter) will always be very similar/comparable to Fort Worth....or a more Western/Southwestern version of Little Rock or Nashville.

OKC is really doing some good things the last few years. With the infusion of enthusiasm that the Thunder have brought to downtown/Bricktown has changed rapidly.....many more places to go out, more restaurants and shopping, etc.

I don't get the whole nice grocery store thing, but people on here seem to be excited about some of the other options in Metro. Can't help you with that one.

Beer....ah, to me its just beer. I'll just drink more if I need to! Give me a Rolling Rock or an ice-cold Honeybrown with some chips/salsa and I'm good! (If I really need to get sauced.....well, just cut to the chase and go for the whiskey!)

On the sushi, well this still is Oklahoma at the end of the day. Not a whole lot different than your native Arkansas.....Fort Smith, if I remember correctly? I wouldn't eat that sushi stuff. You know all to well, BChris, being from AR....that the majority of us Okies/Arkies will always consider fried catfish our "seafood" of choice.

Best of luck to you on your move and future plans.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Dallas TX/OKC OK
638 posts, read 762,647 times
Reputation: 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina and while I love the city, the economy here is very poor and in my three years here I have been unable to find quality employment in my field. I am stuck in a dead-end job that is making me pure miserable and I am reaching a point where I am about to cut and run.

I am considering Oklahoma City to be closer to my family. I lived in OKC during middle and high school and moved away my senior year so I have somewhat of a familiarity with the area. I am very impressed by the strides the city has made in the past couple decades.

How is the dining/nightlife in downtown OKC? How does Bricktown compare to the Epicentre in Charlotte? Are there trendy/historic arts districts that can be somewhat comparable to Dilworth or NoDa in Charlotte, even on a smaller scale?

How bad are grocery stores really? Here in Charlotte, we have Harris Teeter which is very nice and has a lot of specialty selection. I've heard OKC is lacking in this area, but have heard Crest Foods is alright.

How restrictive is the 3.2 beer laws? I love fine beers and wines and have heard many brewers and wineries won't sell in Oklahoma period because of these laws. How is the selection in the liquor stores compared to other states?

Sushi is my all-time favorite cuisine. I've heard Oklahoma doesn't have very good sushi. Is there any good places in OKC? This may sound small but its a make or break deal for me.

Overall, how would you compare OKC today to other mid-sized cities in this country?

Thanks for any replies!
Hey bchris02! If you moved away when you were still in high school, I think you will find OKC much improved. I've been here 7 years and been wildly impressed with what is happening in the city.

As far as nightlife, I looked up what EpiCentre was in Charlotte. I wouldn't compare it to that, but it is very lively on the weekends and during Thunder games. I will add, however, that Bricktown is very 18-24, if you get my drift. I'm 26, and last fall I went down there to see Pauly D. I had a great time, but I felt BY FAR I was the oldest one in the club. Fortunately, there are other growing nightlife areas in the city, like Midtown, Classen Circle, and Western Avenue, that suit slightly older people and young professionals. There's also a budding arts scence in and around the Paseo (it was probably far rougher when you lived here) and Film Row.

Until 2 years ago, I would have lamented the terrible grocery choices in this area. The mere threat of Whole Foods and Sunflower moving in has caused the local chains to step it up considerably. Buy for Less now has Uptown Grocers, Crest now has their Fresh Market Concept, even the few Homelands I've been to look much better. It still may be a step down from what you're used to but its improving. Keep in mind there are a ton of small little specialty shops around town, like Forward Foods.

The 3.2 laws are a pain, as I can't get Fat Tire Beer here, but for the most part you can work your way around it. The biggest complaint most have is that you can't buy wine in grocery stores. There are plenty of wine shops around town. Honestly, the 3.2 thing is on its last legs, as there are several pensions circulating to get it revoked.

I didn't start eating sushi until I moved here. Obviously we are far away from any sort of coasts but a lot of the more upscale places have it flown in daily. There are a ton of good sushi places. Neko, Tokyo, Okura, In the Raw. Also, if you come here make sure to sample the Pho shops (OKC has a huge Vietnamese community).

If you don't mind the sometimes crazy weather and don't need 24/7 entertainment options like you have in a big city, OKC right now can't be beat. First and foremost, we have the lowest unemployment rate of any metro of size in the country; less than half of what you're coming from (9.6% in Charlotte vs 4.4% here). Now, jobs aren't falling from the sky, and any employment will be dependent on your skill set and resume. But your chances will be much better here.

The community, despite its conservative leanings, has been eager to embrace public projects to enhance the quality of life, and the city has largely delivered. There is a definite sense of optimism in the air. While this area is not "booming" I'm surprised how many people I've recently talked to who have come here in recent years from different parts of the country (I just talked to a neighbor of mine who moved here from NJ last month).

Good luck in your future plans, and let us know if/when you move here!
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma City
242 posts, read 382,628 times
Reputation: 218
Bricktown is not like Epicentre, because Bricktown is a neighborhood while Epicentre is a single development. But I would say their offerings are quite similar. Limited retail, a large variety of restaurants and nightlife, movie theater, etc. Bricktown has more because of its size. Bricktown is not necessarily the premiere nightlife destination for all locals though. There are other neighborhoods that are popular with different crowds. Bricktown, Western Avenue, Classen Circle/Curve, Paseo, Plaza, Midtown, 9th Street are popular places in the central city while Memorial Road is the major food/bar/entertainment corridor on the far north side.

The Paseo and the Plaza District are the best artsy comparisons to NoDa. Dilworth is more like Heritage Hills, Mesta Park, Edgemere Park, Gatewood, or Crown Heights which are all nice "streetcar suburb" neighborhoods in various price points.

There are lots of sushi places. Sushi Neko on Western Avenue is very good. Welcome to Sushi Neko! However, our signature Asian food dish is Pho, a pretty amazing Vietnamese soup you can get all over town.

Our alcohol legislation has been undergoing some scrutiny from the legislature. If it doesn't change, no worries, because the craft beer scene is exploding and there are several high quality local beers to choose from. Outstanding breweries to try include COOP, Battered Boar, and Redbud. Another promising-looking brewery called Anthem is about to open.

The grocery store thing has now become a memory or myth. Whole Foods, Sunflower Market, and Uptown Grocery (a local concept) have all opened in the last year with more expansion plans around the metro.

As for comparisons, I think Raleigh and Salt Lake City would be the best comparisons within our size group of 1.1-1.3 million- both have fast growth, good economy, lots of change. These cities and OKC are a lot like Charlotte/Austin of the 90s- in the first stages of a strong growth period which will play out in population, economy, and architecture/city environment. Can't speak to the culture/vibe similarities though.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma City
242 posts, read 382,628 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by #1soonerfan View Post
Hey bchris02!
Haha we posted at the same time and almost posted exactly the same thing.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Dallas TX/OKC OK
638 posts, read 762,647 times
Reputation: 593
^^
Noticed that.

Great minds think alike!
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
4,011 posts, read 4,395,181 times
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OU_Norman and Soonerfan are both spot on in their descriptions. Great posts guys!
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,947 posts, read 8,722,616 times
Reputation: 4204
Thanks for the replies all! I am feeling much better about OKC the more I research it, what it offers today, and the economy there. I realize the economy is sluggish everywhere right now, but 4.4% metro unemployment rate is almost pre-recession. It seems like the land of milk and honey compared to what I am dealing with in Charlotte.

Right now, my plan is to move in September when my current apartment lease runs out unless I can find employment beforehand. Any tips for out of state job searching? If I put on my resume I will be moving at a specific date (i.e. September) or upon employment, will that put me in the running with local candidates?

Also, any suggestions on cheap apartments but in a safe area that I could get started in?

Thanks again for all the good info!
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Animal Farm: a dystopian sty where swine reign over the simple
281 posts, read 145,874 times
Reputation: 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
Thanks for the replies all! I am feeling much better about OKC the more I research it, what it offers today, and the economy there. I realize the economy is sluggish everywhere right now, but 4.4% metro unemployment rate is almost pre-recession. It seems like the land of milk and honey compared to what I am dealing with in Charlotte.

Right now, my plan is to move in September when my current apartment lease runs out unless I can find employment beforehand. Any tips for out of state job searching? If I put on my resume I will be moving at a specific date (i.e. September) or upon employment, will that put me in the running with local candidates?

Also, any suggestions on cheap apartments but in a safe area that I could get started in?

Thanks again for all the good info!
I think people could give you better advice if you name your general field. The ones I was looking for (in my field) aren't common in OKC, but to be fair those positions are harder to find outside of New York, Washington, Chicago and Boston. In other words, there wasn't a huge difference between LA, Denver, Atlanta or OKC when I was looking, but I had the best luck finding relevant positions in those other cities.

I will say that I didn't do so well getting interviews here. Like you, I was waiting for my lease to expire out of state before moving. I really started looking for work in OKC when I had only a couple months left on my lease, and had one phone interview in that time. After I got here, I looked for work here as well as in other cities... and actually had more interviews out of state than locally. Eventually, I realized that I just didn't have the money to move and had to limit myself to OKC, or somewhere relatively close; e.g. Dallas, Tulsa, etc. I think it took a full year of looking for work locally before finding a job, in part because the jobs I was looking for just weren't there.

In sum: that low unemployment rate is no guarantee you'll find a job. Like anywhere else, it will take determination, persistence and a little luck to get something. Before moving, I did put a firm moving date on my cover letter and even included that I could move instantly upon a job offer, but it didn't work. I used indeed.com religiously to find work, because it consolidates other job boards into a single site. It's my understanding OKC is a pretty network-heavy town, so I would recommend trying a site like meetup.com or LinkedIn to start expanding your network as soon as possible.
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