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Old 08-10-2010, 07:39 AM
 
36 posts, read 98,704 times
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Hi folks. I've read a good deal of Tennessee threads, but I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. I will be moving from Austin very shortly and I am driving myself crazy looking for the perfect city for me. These forums make me a little schizophrenic, but I'm convinced that if I ask the perfect question, I will find the perfect answer.

So here I go. Which city can I find the best mix of hipster meets americana meets earthy, city meets country? Here are my hipster requirements: walkability, night life, progressive/liberal (even if only in pockets/'hoods), good restaurants, live music, music festivals, tattoo parlors, diversity (!). Sometimes I live a faster pace of life. I'm a tattooed, beer drinkin, good time havin gal.

At the same time, I LOVE old-timey American culture. I like the amenities of the city, but I don't want to have to stray too far to be with my hilllbilly/redneck kin. I love old houses with lots of charachter, honky tonks, barbeque, front porches, trains... I also like campy stuff. The idea of Dollywood really tickles me =) I am fascinated by Appalachian culture (I even watched Coal Miner's Daughter last night), but I don't want to be too far North or too far in the mountains b/c this Texas girl is slightly scared of the cold =)

Finally, I am looking for a healthier lifestyle as well. It doesn't have to be a daily thing, but I do like the option of good hiking trails, organic eating/farmer's markets, and camping...I LOVE camping. I grew up in the Mountains of N New Mexico and I have yet to find a place as beautiful. I appreciate a good view.

A few other things- I plan to work blue collar, and I HOPE to get a job at a college/university because that's what I do now. At this level, it doesn't quite work to find a job and then move, so I have saved up a good amount to move and then find work. Please don't make this the main topic of the thread. I know and understand the risk. Just keep in mind that I will be RENTING in the $500 range and probably taking public transportation.

Is Nashville too much like Austin, where I won't feel like I am really stepping out there? I really do want this move to be an adventure. Is it too plastic (for lack of a better word) to meet my "earthy" and hillbilly needs. I love all types of music, but lean towards "unplugged" string-pickin.

Is Knoxville too family-oriented, middle class, white? (I know, dangerous word choice!)

I don't know as much about Chattanooga, but someone called it conservative when I responded to another thread. Is that true? Would I find dive bars and tattoo parlors there?

I am confident that Nashville meets my hipster requirements, but what about the other 2?

I think I gave y'all a lot to work with. Please feel free to narrow in on neighborhoods. I know that it's difficult to make blanket statements about cities, so I like to think in terms of "areas." For example, I live in Central East Austin, and I think that speaks a great deal about my identity. I have also looked at NC, GA, KY. If you think there's a city in another state that better suites my needs, chime in.

Thanks ahead!
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,943 posts, read 52,326,595 times
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Hmmmm ... when I read your requirements, I though Austin sounded perfect for you!

Nashville is the most similar to Austin, but its nightlife and weirdness don't measure up to Austin. We have hipster pockets, but they don't always intersect with the old-timey vibe.

Plus I think you would have a really hard time renting a decent place in Nashville in that price range. Oh, and our public transportation sucks.

It sounds like you're looking for an area that hasn't been Officially Designated as a Cool Place yet, one that you can watch develop around you. For that and the other things you mentioned, I would think Knoxville. Yes, it is very white. Are you saying white people can't be cool?
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:05 AM
 
2,319 posts, read 4,432,505 times
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I live in Chattanooga, and I hadn't thought of it as conservative until Zach Wach (our Congressional representative) ran for governor. He won the 3rd district in 2008 handily. Look him up and that might give you a feel for District 3.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Gallatin, TN
3,824 posts, read 7,735,543 times
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As Wsmn4life said, Nashville is a lot like Austin. If you give Nashville a look, I'd suggest looking in East Nashville since it is a more hip part of town. Maybe Nashville's Germantown if you're a little more adventurous.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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North Chattanooga has the perfect storm of walkability, don't know about the prices & culture.

Knoxville is the most hillbilly of the 3 and promotes Americana music. Vestal is mostly blue collar with a few hippies mixed in - look up Vestival for a taste of the "scene". Parkridge is more hipster and racially diverse. Both have cheap rents (under $400). There are other neighborhoods that might fit as well. The neighborhoods that are hipster/yuppie enclaves tend to be pricey but you can still find a place around $500 if you look in the winter or spring. So here's a question to narrow it down - what percentage of middle of the road, ordinary, families or retired folks are you comfortable having for neighbors? Ditto for welfare folks / just scraping by?

Walkability is not the best but you can do really well on a bike. What's most important to be close to - music venues, grocery stores & necessities, parks & recreation?
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:34 PM
 
36 posts, read 98,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
North Chattanooga has the perfect storm of walkability, don't know about the prices & culture.

Knoxville is the most hillbilly of the 3 and promotes Americana music. Vestal is mostly blue collar with a few hippies mixed in - look up Vestival for a taste of the "scene". Parkridge is more hipster and racially diverse. Both have cheap rents (under $400). There are other neighborhoods that might fit as well. The neighborhoods that are hipster/yuppie enclaves tend to be pricey but you can still find a place around $500 if you look in the winter or spring. So here's a question to narrow it down - what percentage of middle of the road, ordinary, families or retired folks are you comfortable having for neighbors? Ditto for welfare folks / just scraping by?

It's difficult to for me to wrap my mind around a percentage, but I do like areas that are not gentrified, which I guess means I prefer welfare folk.

Walkability is not the best but you can do really well on a bike. What's most important to be close to - music venues, grocery stores & necessities, parks & recreation?

As for walkability, I do have a car for the necessities, so when I walk, I like to find restaurants, coffee shops, bars...maybe thrift stores.
I do want to add that I use the term hipster loosely. I don't even consider myself a hipster, but it's a term that seems to hold some meaning in city data forums. I fall somewhere between a young professional/artist/hippie/punk/country gal. IMO I don't lump lump the term with "yuppie." Maybe I should say "alternative"...on second thought I don't like that one either. I'm just going to go with "free spirit" for the time being. The term probably doesn't hold water, but I'm really just trying to conjure up an image.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:36 PM
 
17,684 posts, read 17,229,290 times
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Check out Asheville, NC just on the other side of the mountain.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:51 PM
 
36 posts, read 98,704 times
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Originally Posted by doc1 View Post
Check out Asheville, NC just on the other side of the mountain.

Asheville was one of the first place I looked. I am still applying for jobs there, as well as the Triangle, but all of my research leads me to believe that it may not be the best match for me. I love my hippie friends (my roommate is a huge one!) but I'm just not into crystals and hoola-hoops. I have read a lot about Asheville that is contrary to the this perception, but if you haven't notice, I pick my cities on a very visceral level. I do have "burner" friends that frequent the area and love it. I love it for them! Asheville is a little more Beatles, and I'm a little more Rolling Stones. I really to resonate well with gritty cities like New Orleans or Memphis, but I'm also trying to move away from my vices and strive for a healthier lifestyle...small steps. Asheville might be too big of a leap for me
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:53 PM
 
36 posts, read 98,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc1 View Post
Check out Asheville, NC just on the other side of the mountain.

Oh yeah, I've read post after post that it's also expensive to live there. "Inexpensive" is one of my few non-visceral requirements.
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:17 PM
 
17,684 posts, read 17,229,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaRex View Post
Oh yeah, I've read post after post that it's also expensive to live there. "Inexpensive" is one of my few non-visceral requirements.
Gotta be careful with the "inexpensive" thing, especially when moving to a state where a great majority of the residents may not share your particular ideological flavor.

There's no shortage of those from progressive areas that move to TN for the "cheap" then are miserable because the locals are "too conservative", "too much into their church" and "resistant to the postive changes they need".
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