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Old 11-05-2011, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Boston
35 posts, read 51,063 times
Reputation: 33

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Hi all, I'm hoping that some of you can answer some questions I have and give me some advice. First off, I apologize if this first post is long - I can be a bit wordy at times, but I like to be thorough! Also, I know there have been a million "thinking of moving to Tucson, need advice" threads, and I have already read most of them, but I'm hoping that people are willing to give me some advice on more specific questions I have.

I currently live in Boston, and have finally decided that I've had enough of the dreary, colder climate (I know, you've heard this a million times). After considerable thought, I've decided to move hopefully this next spring, and I've narrowed my choices to San Diego and Tucson. My goal is to try and decide which city would be a better fit for me, and I'm hoping people on this forum can give their opinions/advice on the issues that I'm considering in trying to make this decision. This will be a big move for me, so I want to make the right decision, as I'd like to commit for awhile where I next move to.

First of all, let me give you a little background on me. Before you think I'm another crazy New Englander who just wants to escape to some random warmer place, the reality is that I am not a native of Boston. I actually grew up partially in the San Jose area, and partially in Tucson. I went to junior high, high school and the UofA in Tucson, and lived there for 12 years. I'm familiar with what the weather's like, etc., in Tucson, though I haven't lived there for 20 years, so I know things have changed (some!). While I haven't lived in San Diego, I've visited quite a bit (as I have an aunt and uncle who live there, as well as my recently deceased grandmother used to live there). My mom currently lives in the Phoenix area and my sister and her family live in the Bay Area, so in general moving back west will be moving closer to family and like coming home to me - in fact, if you asked me where I consider my hometown to be, I would probably say Tucson. I currently live in the downtown Boston area, and moved here to experience a different climate and culture, and boy did I did do that! However, I've decided after 10+ years of being here, I feel the need to move back to the west where I feel more comfortable. There are things I will definitely miss about Boston, though, and I have enjoyed the experience.

As a little more background about me, I'm also a single, gay male in my mid-40's who works in the IT industry (web application developer).

So, here are the issues that I'm considering when making my decision, and I'm wondering if anyone can give me advice/opinions with some or all of what I consider the pluses and minuses between SD and Tucson are (and if you disagree with them, let me know!). It would be especially good if people are familiar with Boston/San Diego as well as Tucson to be able to compare.

1) CLIMATE: This is obviously one of the big issues of why people like to move to Tucson. Obviously, since I've lived in Tucson I have an idea of what the weather is like there, and when I was younger I enjoyed the climate. However, I haven't lived there in 20 years, and I'm not sure how well I will tolerate the heat now. Does it get easier or harder as you get older? I'm sure there will be an adjustment period, but I really like warm, sunny weather, so I think I can do it.
PLUSES FOR SD: More moderate temperatures - not quite as cool in the winter, not quite as hot in the summer.
MINUSES FOR SD: Not enough variety of temperatures - most of the year is in the 60's (too cool for me). Also, a lot of overcast, grey days, I think?
PLUSES FOR TUCSON: Sun! I loved the endless sunny days in Tucson. Also, tends to be warmer, which I prefer. Warm, sunny days have a big, positive impact on my mood. I also like the thunderstorms in the summer.
MINUSES FOR TUCSON: The long, hot summers. They didn't bother me too much when I was younger, but I'm not sure after living in cooler climates for the last 20 years how well I'll adapt.

2) CAREER PROSPECTS: First off, let me say that I'm not someone who is driven to rise the corporate ladder, and my quality of life is more important to me than my career. However, I'd like to be able to maintain a fairly steady, decent career path making a reasonable pay (for where I'm living). Obviously, moving from Boston to SD or Tucson is not good for my career in general, but that's not as important to me now. Finding a job in either city from across the country will be a major challenge, though. I would prefer to not move without having a job, but not sure how realistic that is.
PLUSES FOR SD: A bit more oportunites in the IT field I believe(?), probably better pay.
PLUSES FOR TUCSON: Not sure. Are there any? What are the IT opportunities like in Tucson? How different would the pay be compared with San Diego? Are there any IT professionals who have some input?

3) CULTURE/ACTIVITIES: Despite the fact that I've been living in Boston, I'm not someone who is constantly hanging out at the museums, etc. I'm more often spending time on the weekend watching my latest Netflix movie at home with some friends. However, I do enjoy occasionally going to different restaurants, going to an indie or Broadway-type play, or going to a film/street festival, etc. I know in Tucson things can be slow during the summer, but are there generally a lot of cultural activities happening on any given weekend, or is it just the main big hitters like the 4th Ave. Street fair, and a couple of other things? What is the theater scene like?
PLUSES FOR SD: I would assume more theater options(?). More festivals, street fairs, etc? I know SD isn't a cultural powerhouse, but I assume it has a fair amount going on? Has the Padres and Chargers (at least for now?).
PLUSES FOR TUCSON: Well, one big plus is the UofA sports. I'm a big Wildcats fan, and the idea of being able to go to some UofA bb and football games sounds fun. Other than that, does anyone know both cities and can make a comparison?

4) COST OF LIVING/HOUSING: Well, there's no doubt that costs are higher in San Diego. Looking at real estate listings, it seems that for what one would pay for a 2-bedroom condo in San Diego, one could easily get a nice 3-bedroom home in the foothills in Tucson with a nice view of the mountains. I would be ok with either a condo or a house. The condo in SD would probably be in a more urban environment (for SD, anyway), though the home in Tucson could have the views of the beautiful mountains.
PLUSES FOR SD: Could get a place in a more urban environment. May be somewhat close to a beach (though I'm not particularly a beach bum).
MINUSES FOR SD: Would probably only be able to afford a condo, forget a house. Would then have to deal with parking issues, crowds, noise, etc. Real estate taxes higher? More traffic?
PLUSES FOR TUCSON: Could afford a house with possibly beautiful mountain views, have a yard.
MINUSES FOR TUCSON: Would probably be in a more suburban area (which is ok - I think I'm ready for that again!). Possibly foothills homes still a bit overpriced? Does a real estate agent have any comments on that?

5) GAY LIFE/ACCEPTANCE: As a gay man, this does play some role in where I want to live. And since I wasn't "out" when I last lived in Tucson, I really have no idea what the gay life is like there. Maybe some gay forumers might be able to give me advice? As I said, I'm not one to really go to bars and clubs much anymore, so that's not that important to me. However, I know Tucson has some gay bars, so that's fine. Being single, though, I would like to be able to easily meet other gay people, and if I'm living in a house in a more suburban environment, I don't want to become too isolated. In Boston, there's quite a number of different ways to meet people, including GLBT sports leagues, which I've enjoyed (softball, flag football, etc). However, I don't think Tucson has any of those (maybe a Frontrunners running club?). San Diego does, though, from what I've heard. From an acceptance point of view, my general impression from when I lived there was that Tucson is a fairly accepting place for gay people. Is that still true? SD generally has a reputation for being more conservative in California, but I think the city itself is somewhat accepting. Does anyone have any opinions on the difference?
PLUSES FOR SD: More gay life, more opportunities to meet people.
MINUSES FOR SD: Somewhat more conservative environment? People maybe are a little younger, more into partying, more superficial? (These are some stereotypes, anyway)
PLUSES FOR TUCSON: Gay people more down-to-earth, not pretentious.
MINUSES FOR TUCSON: Not as big a community, less GLBT activities, harder to meet people. Perhaps not as many GLBT people in their 30's and 40's? Either college-age or retirement age, but not much in between? Is that fair, or am I off-base?

6) GOVERNMENT/FINANCIAL SITUATION: From what I can tell, both California and Arizona are in a serious financial mess. It seems like in both places there are serious cut backs to education funding, infrastructure, etc. I'm not sure how to even compare the two areas since the situation is bad in both. I don't have kids, so I guess I'm not too worried about the schools, but I'd hate to live somewhere where the schools are a mess. I'm sure there will be increases in taxes, etc, but again - not sure how to compare SD and Tucson on that. One thing SD was able to do before the economic downturn occured was to put more investment into the downtown area, and now it's much better than it was 15 years ago. There's even talk of building a new Chargers stadium downtown, though it's not clear if the Chargers will even stay in SD at this point. Things have definitely slowed down lately, but there has been momentum in downtown development. Tucson, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be progressing with investment in the city. I know things have improved some since I last lived there, but it's sad to see how little improvement there has been in 20 years. The Rio Nuevo project just doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It would be nice to think that investment in the city will be gaining momentum in the coming years, but it's hard to know. One thing I will say, though, is that with an influx of investment to downtown, an increase in good paying jobs, etc, there will also be an increase in associated problems. When you look at the fast growth in the last 10-20 years of places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin, etc, we may admire the better paying jobs and investment that there has been there, but it's also come with a cost of endless cookie-cutter sprawl, more traffic, smog, etc. It's not like Tucson hasn't experienced some of that, too, but imagine if the population of the area was double what it is now? I would imagine some of the things that we love about Tucson would have been destroyed in that situation. Anyway, do people have any opinions on the the effects they foresee the financial problems having on the city? Cutbacks? Possible increase in taxes, etc? The situation is bad all over the country, but I'm wondering if people would say "you'd be stupid to move here now, because..."

Anyway, I apologize again for this being so long. If you've read everything up to this point, I appreciate it, and would appreciate even more any advice/comments people have about one or all of the issues that I raised. Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
602 posts, read 633,234 times
Reputation: 583
Hi medre! In my opinion, both cities are great places to live. I would first say that I really do think that having a job set up will help tremendously. You are right, the IT field is much better in SD compared to Tucson, so I really think in just that criteria alone, SD may be a better choice (considering that you stated that you don't have any job prospects set up yet). Have you looked at any job openings yet? I really would suggest you focus on that right now before you make any decisions - as in this economy, things can get real tough without a solid income.

As for your other factors, you seem like you've really put some intelligent thought into it, but I would suggest, if you can, visit each city again (you mentioned you haven't been back to Tucson in quite a while). You're right - things change. Tucson may not be what you remember it to be, and the same can be said of San Diego.

Also, I think family is really important. It seems you have family in SD, and family in Phx (though how often would you see them?). Are you closer to one set of family more than the other?

In my opinion (perhaps I am California-biased), but I do think SD has more culture overall, than Tucson. SD is bigger and has more diversity than Tucson. Look at the city data pages here to confirm.

Good luck in your decision - though I'm sure you can find happiness in either city. I'm moving to Tucson myself next week from Orange County and it will be a BIG change for me!
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Boston
35 posts, read 51,063 times
Reputation: 33
Oops, I guess I didn't realize this would be considered city vs. city.

Thanks for your feedback, Annilyna. Yes, I guess where I can get a job will be the biggest deciding factor. I may try looking for a job in both cities and decide based on where I get a job offer first!

Good luck with your move, and I hope you enjoy Tucson.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:42 AM
 
Location: So. Cal.
30 posts, read 56,470 times
Reputation: 40
I admire your research! We have lived in San Diego 20 years, Phoenix for 4, Boston for 4, Orange County CA for 4. Debating returning to Phoenix because just too expensive here. Lately we just feel like we have a car that we can't afford and we can't do/buy anything but make car payments, except it is the mortgage.

AZ weather can't compare to SD, period. AZ is hot! Hope the job market is good in AZ, not sure about that. More tech jobs here that pay well, but after housing, there is not much unless you have skills that are top level of desirability for employers. If you aren't at 6 figures for total household income, then give it lots of thought. We are very sad to leave friends and contacts, but financially, it just has to be done.

Tucson is prettier than Phoenix, and better weather, we are still debating that; but the job market is better in Phoenix. Phoenix will never be "America's Finest City", but we just have to establish a network somewhere else and get out from under these housing costs. I would love to hear a reason to pick Tucson over Phoenix job-market-wise.

Pay attention to "government situation" -- SD has long neglected its infrastructure.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Boston
35 posts, read 51,063 times
Reputation: 33
Thanks, 1bie. Just out of curiosity, since you're living in San Diego now and have lived in Phoenix, can you comment on the weather between the two from a sun perspective? It's my impression that San Diego has a fair amount of cloudy days, what with the marine layer coming off the ocean, especially in the spring/early summer. Is that true? If so, does it bother you? Did you notice a difference in how the extra sunny days in Phoenix had an effect on you?

I'm someone who likes the sun, so I'm a little worried the cloudy days in SD would depress me a little...
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:23 AM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 8,132,498 times
Reputation: 1596
I think the personal ties you have to Tuscon would be the only reason you would even consider it over San Diego.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:01 AM
 
Location: The big blue yonder...
2,040 posts, read 3,325,341 times
Reputation: 1095
This is easy!!!

San Diego is less than 2 hrs from LA, has nice beaches, more moderate temperatures, more beautiful scenery, professional sports, surfing, close enough to the mountains to make a day trip out of skiing, snowboarding, hiking and so on. Better fashion, more malls, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Mission Bay and it's jet skiing and water sports. Charter fishing and whale watching. ETC....

HOWEVER, Tucson has Sonoran Hot Dogs.......


So my easy pick is Tucson!!!!
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: The big blue yonder...
2,040 posts, read 3,325,341 times
Reputation: 1095
Just kidding... I've lived in San Diego for about 5 years and lived in Sierra Vista (about an hour south of Tucson) for a year.

I LOVE Arizona, but I LOVE California a LOT more!!! I'd choose San Diego in a heart beat (IF finding a job is not an issue)
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Boston
35 posts, read 51,063 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryson662001 View Post
I think the personal ties you have to Tuscon would be the only reason you would even consider it over San Diego.
I think you're right about that, bryson. Not sure I would consider Tucson if I hadn't lived there, gone to the UofA, etc. However, sometimes those ties are pretty nice, makes you feel "at home"...
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Boston
35 posts, read 51,063 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psykomonkee View Post
This is easy!!!

San Diego is less than 2 hrs from LA, has nice beaches, more moderate temperatures, more beautiful scenery, professional sports, surfing, close enough to the mountains to make a day trip out of skiing, snowboarding, hiking and so on. Better fashion, more malls, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Mission Bay and it's jet skiing and water sports. Charter fishing and whale watching. ETC....

HOWEVER, Tucson has Sonoran Hot Dogs.......


So my easy pick is Tucson!!!!
LOL! You make a compelling case for SD, Psykomonkee. The funny thing, as long as I lived in Tucson, I never had a Sonoran Hot Dog. It's only recently that I've heard that they're such a big deal, but never heard about them when I lived there. Unfortunately, I'm very depressed about one thing - I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease, so I can't eat any gluten(wheat) anymore, so no hot dogs, burritos, enchiladas, etc. for me. I was so looking forward to the good Mexican food in the southwest, and now I can't eat a lot of it...!
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