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Old 03-17-2019, 02:10 PM
 
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Hi there,

I moved to Toledo from the East Coast late this summer for a grad school program. I am fully funded, so I am not taking out loans, but my money and time are very limited. I spend a lot of time working on research and my area of research is pretty stressful (but is very meaningful to me), so I really want to enjoy the little free time I have. That said, I do not like living in Toledo and am considering moving. I feel very isolated (though I love my grad school friends) and not really myself. It is simply not a good fit for me. I am used to living in bigger cities with more to do, places to walk around, etc. There don't seem to be too many opportunities for people my age here (I am in my 30s), so it people who have higher levels of education tend to go somewhere else. Now, I realize that higher education isn't for everyone, but it is an important part of my life, and I tend to gravitate to people in academia, research, or the arts.

Ann Arbor seems to be a great place, and I would happily move there if the commute and rent weren't an issue. Is there anywhere in between that people recommend? Or somewhere else not too far from Toledo. I want to live somewhere with more educated or creative types (singles would be great, too! Dating is tough here) and that is a little more vibrant. I am sure Toledo is great for some people especially if they have roots here, but I do not have roots here and I plan on leaving after I have my Ph.D. From what I can tell, most of the people here past their 20s are probably not sticking around.

I would like no more than a 30 minute commute to Toledo and be somewhere I can walk around a little more (I feel sort of shut inside or stuck in a car here). I hope I don't sound like a jerk... it has just been a tough adjustment. Thanks for reading 🙂
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:09 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
880 posts, read 1,574,457 times
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Hello. Well I for one am glad to have someone like yourself here and sad to see you want to go....but I get it. You dont sound like a jerk. You just sound like someone who desires the trappings of a vibrant cosmopolitan area and Toledo leaves you unfulfilled. It is what it is.

You're right about the 20 somethings leaving. I'm 31 and I stayed here...but I'm not college educated and just so happen to have about the best job one can have in northwest Ohio without a degree...and my wife is educated but works for the City. A lot of my friends who went to college left though. Some get out of college and crave a new experience in a bigger city. Others move to bigger cities in pursuit of job opportunities that arent in Toledo. For instance, my one friend is a graphic designer. He started our working for probably the...I dont know how to put it...edgiest/hippest?...design firm here in Toledo, but quickly maxed out what he felt was the potential for his creativity, as well as income there....and decided to move to Chicago for a better opportunity. Then again...a lot of others I know, went to college around here (BGSU, UT, etc) moved to other cities to experience something bigger (a lot of them to Chicago) for a while thru there mid twenties...but have found themselves back in Toledo, and happy in their late-20s, early 30s. A lot of them are the types that love independent local stuff and are happy to immerse themselves in everything "Toledo". They also have roots here though and that makes it a lot easier.

Moving here and not having "people" here makes it hard. Being single, even harder. Then you have the burden of being a cultured person, and you've got the trifecta of things working against you settling into Toledo. If you've only been here since last summer(?)...I would venture to guess you probably havent even experienced all of Toledo, especially the types of things someone like yourself could appreciate perhaps. On the surface Toledo feels like a midsize, rust belt city, full of either humdrum suburban people, or everyday Joe Six-packs who are all happy to spend a lovely Saturday night out at their dive bar...or if they're really going all out, Applebees. And this is basically pretty much the truth. A lot of people that need "more" out of the place they live...leave. But not everybody. I have no intention of leaving. I love Toledo. It feels more authentic than any other places I've travelled....and places like our downtown are only becoming better and better.

Moving somewhere new is always hard but it sounds like you at least have your grad school friends so you already have some connections. Dating will be complicated though. How do people even find people anymore? You could hang out at places with people like yourself....but theres not exactly the biggest pool of people to meet here....at least that will interest you. Quite frankly, as long as your here...I would consider online dating.

The walkability and vibrant places to spend time is somewhat lacking here. The only place like that is downtown. While our downtown has a lot of good restaurants, bars, etc. it doesnt quite have that cohesiveness of density quite yet that makes for the kind of place you just go for random strolls down the sidewalk necessarily but it is moving in that direction.

Limiting yourself to a 30 minute commute won't give you any better options. The only other place that could give you a tiny bit of what you want is Bowling Green...but that's just because it's a college town...but you're not going to find many people your age still hanging around or living there unless they work for the university so that's probably pointless. Your best options are Ann Arbor and Detroit but you're looking at closer to an hour commute.

What do you usually do in your spare time? What exactly are you into? Where do you hang out or go out to? Toledo doesnt have a ton of stuff...but it's not a rural podunk village either. Maybe in your limited time you just havent discovered the right places? Myself and others might be able to recommend places.

I understand how you feel about it here though. I'm roughly your age, though I'm married and have a child so my lifestyle doesnt mirror yours. But if I were single I would most likely feel the way you do too.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:43 PM
 
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I feel you both. I moved to Toledo about a year ago, and while there are many things I do like about it - there are no good walkable urban spaces in this region, outside of maybe Ann Arbor and some parts of Detroit. I've looked all over the region, and it's tough for people in your position. I'm 46, gay married man, (we both have PhD, univ employed) and spent the last decade in the Toledo area. I really wish i lived in a walkable neighborhood or city, but Toledo and Detroit are at the center of car culture in the US. Toledo was a very urban city until about 1960, but it's car-centered now.

People socialize in Toledo by (1) going to many activities together, and there is a lot to do in the area; (2) house parties - lots of them; and (3) drinking and going to restaurants. There aren't really any places to get that serendipitous, exploratory urban experience like you'd find in NYC or Chicago, where you can walk for miles and miles and still find pedestrian-oriented environs. Best advice is to build friendships in your program, and find some friends to do things with. I don't recommend the commute from Ann Arbor - husband does that and it's a lot of time each week just sitting in the car.

Last thing, perhaps, is that Toledo is a blue-collar city. Most of the local people who are strongly career driven leave during their 20s for experience, then if they do return, its in their 30s and 40s; those who stay after HS usually are building families and working a LOT. We've been in university towns almost our whole lives, and sometimes it's a struggle to socialize with folks who aren't in school all the time like we are. However, we've met a lot of interesting people who we wouldn't have met otherwise, and built new friendships with folks who do all kinds of things.

But in the big picture, you're in a demanding PhD program right now. You should focus on that, socialize with friends in your cohort and reach out in Toledo, but I think it'd be a waste of time and money to try to commute from Ann Arbor or find what you seek right now. Good luck!
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
880 posts, read 1,574,457 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodeca View Post
I feel you both. I moved to Toledo about a year ago, and while there are many things I do like about it - there are no good walkable urban spaces in this region, outside of maybe Ann Arbor and some parts of Detroit. I've looked all over the region, and it's tough for people in your position. I'm 46, gay married man, (we both have PhD, univ employed) and spent the last decade in the Toledo area. I really wish i lived in a walkable neighborhood or city, but Toledo and Detroit are at the center of car culture in the US. Toledo was a very urban city until about 1960, but it's car-centered now.

People socialize in Toledo by (1) going to many activities together, and there is a lot to do in the area; (2) house parties - lots of them; and (3) drinking and going to restaurants. There aren't really any places to get that serendipitous, exploratory urban experience like you'd find in NYC or Chicago, where you can walk for miles and miles and still find pedestrian-oriented environs. Best advice is to build friendships in your program, and find some friends to do things with. I don't recommend the commute from Ann Arbor - husband does that and it's a lot of time each week just sitting in the car.

Last thing, perhaps, is that Toledo is a blue-collar city. Most of the local people who are strongly career driven leave during their 20s for experience, then if they do return, its in their 30s and 40s; those who stay after HS usually are building families and working a LOT. We've been in university towns almost our whole lives, and sometimes it's a struggle to socialize with folks who aren't in school all the time like we are. However, we've met a lot of interesting people who we wouldn't have met otherwise, and built new friendships with folks who do all kinds of things.

But in the big picture, you're in a demanding PhD program right now. You should focus on that, socialize with friends in your cohort and reach out in Toledo, but I think it'd be a waste of time and money to try to commute from Ann Arbor or find what you seek right now. Good luck!

All of this is spot on.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:43 AM
 
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Lots of progress has been made, but it's a shame that Toledo still doesn't even have one flagship walkable neighborhood -- hopefully the Downtown-Uptown-OWE corridor can eventually get there. Maybe even bleeding over into Vistula and the Old South End.

The local attitude might be "big whoop, just drive", but I don't think many people realize just how important it is to make a good impression on visitors and shorter term residents (such as students like OP). Toledo needs to be a place people want to be, not a place they tolerate being for a few years.

And this is not just a function of Toledo's size, there are many similarly sized metros that have more walkable and cohesive dowtnowns/neighborhoods. Grand Rapids, Dayton, Madison, Erie, Louisville...even Akron has Highland Square.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
880 posts, read 1,574,457 times
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Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
Lots of progress has been made, but it's a shame that Toledo still doesn't even have one flagship walkable neighborhood -- hopefully the Downtown-Uptown-OWE corridor can eventually get there. Maybe even bleeding over into Vistula and the Old South End.

The local attitude might be "big whoop, just drive", but I don't think many people realize just how important it is to make a good impression on visitors and shorter term residents (such as students like OP). Toledo needs to be a place people want to be, not a place they tolerate being for a few years.

And this is not just a function of Toledo's size, there are many similarly sized metros that have more walkable and cohesive dowtnowns/neighborhoods. Grand Rapids, Dayton, Madison, Erie, Louisville...even Akron has Highland Square.
Good point Ferraris.

One thing I notice about most of the mid size cities you mentioned is they have one or more lively/hip/interesting walkable neighborhoods....and those places have a relatively dense business district usually along one primary street. That gives people the ability to walk past lots of different businesses and/or attractions seamlessly.

Most people would probably agree that the neighborhood thriving the most in Toledo is the Warehouse District, downtown. By my quick count theres somewhere around 20 restaurants/bars just in the WD. But instead of being a long dense corridor...the WD is more just speckled here and there with places, separated by parking lots or buildings that dont serve any purpose to pedestrian traffic walking by.... instead of having them grouped together in one destination people can easily visit. Obviously some people, especially the types that live there...probably have no problem walking to any place in the neighborhood since they're used to it....but to most others visiting from elsewhere the development is disjointed which is a common theme throughout Downtown and honestly Toledo as a whole.

As you mentioned...the Downtown-Uptown-OWE corridor aka Adams Street is our best bet for this sort of thing and its slowly developing but still not really to that level where people would describe it as being vibrant and lively. The other area of Toledo I could see succeeding like this if done right is the University. It's really a shame that the University of Toledo isnt downtown. I think downtown would be entirely different.

I agree with you about downtown revival spreading into the Old South End and Vistula potentially, and I would also throw in East Toledo as well. I'm just not sure what that future would look like. I can realistically imagine Broadway in the OSE or Main St on the east side being revitalized business districts. Same for maybe LaGrange and Summit in Vistula.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:09 AM
 
6,381 posts, read 7,501,972 times
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Originally Posted by Tobias C View Post
One thing I notice about most of the mid size cities you mentioned is they have one or more lively/hip/interesting walkable neighborhoods....and those places have a relatively dense business district usually along one primary street. That gives people the ability to walk past lots of different businesses and/or attractions seamlessly.
Exactly. I live in NE Ohio now and it's hard for me to recommend that people visit Toledo just for the sake of visiting, aside from the typical recommendations of the art museum and the zoo. And the very underrated botanical gardens if the weather's appropriate. In other cities there's usually a few neighborhoods that you can just generally direct people to visit and they'll find fun stuff there on their own...there's really no equivalent in Toledo yet. There's lots of interesting and fun stuff, but you have to dig a little to find it.

I was in Toledo over the weekend for a Walleye game and was excited to see how Downtown would be after the game, but the surprise snow put a damper on that. Toledo was decidedly unimpressive upon exiting the arena on Huron between Madison and Jefferson. The block itself is decently urban, but literally no businesses were there to cater to the stadium crowd.

I know on nicer nights the other blocks of Huron and the surrounding area can be a little more hopping, with bars, golf cart taxis, and food trucks. But it was disappointing to see it completely dead right outside of the Huntington Center.

Another thing I noticed was banks like this and this -- which are totally suburban in design and should never have been allowed by zoning. Also some intersections like Monroe and Ontario & Jefferson and Ontario are particularly desolate and uninviting. Hopefully the Pythian Castle restoration can inject some vibrancy in that area.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tobias C View Post
The other area of Toledo I could see succeeding like this if done right is the University. It's really a shame that the University of Toledo isnt downtown. I think downtown would be entirely different.
I'm curious where you think the university area can grow into? It seems sort of "walled in" to me.

I agree about Toledo's institutions being too spread out, which has hurt downtown. UT, the Stranahan, Owens, and the Art Museum are all outside of downtown. And until relatively recently, the minor league teams and Valentine Theater weren't downtown either.

Toledo also kind of missed the boat on having a medical district, a la University Circle (Cleveland), Oakland (Pittsburgh), Texas Medical Center (Houston), and Illinois Medical District (Chicago). UTMC, the VA, the coroner's office, Area Office on Aging, Psychiatric Hospital, The Sight Center, the Board of Developmental Disabilities, and a few assisted living facilities are all right in the same section of town -- some of these places even neighboring each other, but it's still all so disjointed. There's no business district to cater to the patients, visitors, and employees.
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:37 PM
 
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There are a two important areas to develop in order to connect downtown to neighborhoods: Uptown and Broadway-Summit. Both connect downtown to neighborhoods - Old West and and Old South End - that will energize the neighborhoods and downtown. Uptown's challenge is that much of the building stock is gone, and it's a center for social services for homeless and addiction recovery services. Medium density multi unit apartments and condos in both of those areas, with streetscape improvements, and please please, preserving the brick streets in Uptown, will make the entire area more attractive and dense. I already take walks from the Old West End to downtown and the nearby neighborhoods -- the pedestrian infrastructure is complete but worn - the entire area needs substantial infrastructure investment before private investment will come. I am hopeful about ProMedica's purchase of the Post Office Building on Jefferson - it's an anchor building to the neighborhood and important to restart investment, which has been limited to Adams Street in the past five years, and seems to have stalled in the last year or so.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:24 PM
 
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Thanks for your very thoughtful replies, everyone. I agree that moving to Ann Arbor doesn't make much sense for me. It was a nice idea to entertain, but it isn't at all practical right now. I have a lot of friends in my program... the problem with that is that my entire life revolves around school. It's a little much at times... when I so badly want a break from it. Also, the age thing is tough. I am the oldest by several years... most people are a decade younger, give or take a few years. That's fine.. i love having friends of all ages, but it is important to me to have some more interactions with people my own age. I feel like I am in a very different place in life (having worked in another industry, lived in several cities as an adult, dealt with a lot of boring and not-so-boring things that many younger people haven't), even though of course we all have our Ph.D. paths front and center.

I think I will try to explore a little more. My research schedule is pretty rough this summer, but at least I am out of classes right now. It is really interesting to read about the development of the city, and I hope to get to know it better. I find the OWE to be really charming and have a lot of potential; I hope more businesses move in there. It's sad to see so many cool vacant and/or run-down buildings all over the city.
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