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Old 01-25-2008, 11:37 AM
10 posts, read 32,529 times
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I live in Metrowest Boston and have similar job offers in Chicago and Washington DC.

I am interested to know if anyone has lived in either/both cities and could compare them if possible to Boston. My wife and I like the Boston area but we moved from London 15 years ago and still feel like we have a hard time fitting in (it's a bit clicky) and are ready for a change.

Which city would be a better fit in terms of social and family friendliness, housing, cost of living, weather, sports. My wife is a plays tennis and I golf.

Thanks to anyone who can help.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:42 AM
Location: Washington, DC
48 posts, read 166,247 times
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Other than weather, Chicago beats DC hands down on all your other factors. (IMO of course)
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:51 AM
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Chicago is friendlier and cheaper. DC has better weather for tennis and golf.

Pro Sports are a push, both have teams in the 4 major North American Leagues(NHL/NFL/NBA/MLB)
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:01 PM
Location: Washington DC area
50 posts, read 313,076 times
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I have lived in both places, and I think Chicago is the better "city"--more of an urban feel with great neighborhoods and less transients, but DC has more a cosmopolitan /international feel with lots of people from all over the country (and the world with all the embassies) coming there to work. The vast majority of people living in Chicago come from the Midwest. I think Chicago is probably the friendlier city perhaps because of that. DC has better weather, and better outdoor activities (Shenandoah NP,
Great Falls etc) and more months to enjoy them in. Chicago is definitely cheaper, especially for housing.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:21 PM
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If you come from London, then DC's probably going to make you feel more at home - much more international. Chicago is very meat-and-potatoes American.

Chicago is more of a big city (skyscrapers - one that pretends to be tall by sticking a huge needle on top, 3rd largest in the country). It has incredibly progressive efforts underway to make the city green. Never felt like it was very sophisticated, though. Nice waterfront on Lake Michigan. Great blues scene. Probably a lot more family oriented than DC.

If you're a sports fan, Chicago has a much more Boston-esque obsession with sports. Washingtonians are pretty apathetic. The crowds for hockey games in DC act like they're watching the ice ballet. Concerts are worse - DC's a very reserved city in that sense. But, I like that about it. DC people have more interesting things going on than obsessing over some meatheads hitting each other.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:35 PM
Location: in the Southeast
334 posts, read 439,083 times
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I don't live in DC yet, and I've never lived in Chicago. I have friends and family who live in both cities, and can only go by their accounts. The things I've heard about Chicago probably won't affect you, so I'll consider them irrelevant.

I've heard that DC can be very cliqueish, but in a different kind of way. I've heard that in DC, a majority of the folks are more concerned about what you do and where you live (read: how much money you make) than actually building genuine friendships based on who you are. You may want to check with the folks who actually live there to confirm or debunk that opinion. My sisters have lived in DC for over 10 years, and they both love it, but hate the fact that the major determining factor to whether or not you'll "fit in" is what you do for a living (one sister is an assistant principal and the other quit her job as an accountant to teach elementary school). They have pretty much resigned to socializing only with each other and with their colleagues at their respective schools, which I think makes for a pretty uneventful life.
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Old 01-26-2008, 05:22 PM
18 posts, read 119,712 times
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Lived in both.

Neither is bad.

But Chicago is much better. MUCH better IMHO.

Your comment about London being too cliquey, having a hard time fitting in etc. should make the choice easy. In my experience, DC is much less 'friendly,' more about status than the Windy City.

A guy I knew from Chicago once said that "DC is like LA for ugly people." Now, that's a bit harsh, but there's some truth there.
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:56 PM
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Where would you rather live, Capital of the Midwest or the Capital of the Free World?

Thread closed.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:36 AM
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LOL, they're choosing between DC and Chicago, not NYC and Chicago.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:50 AM
Location: Washington DC
5,913 posts, read 6,966,028 times
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I've lived in both and like both. Your perception of cities the size of Chicago and Washington really depends upon the work and social circles you occupy. The near north side in Chicago is quite different from Hyde Park Chicago. Bethesda Maryland is very different from DuPont Circle.

Chicago is great, but much more homogeneous than Washington DC. IMO DC also has more a more varied social scene than Chicago, though both are good. One thing to consider might be the size of the ex-pat and foreign service British contingent in Washington, which is quite large.
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