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Old 09-01-2008, 06:30 PM
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So, let's see some comparisons! My husband and I are curious about several cities around the US and wanted some insight from people living in these areas. A little background info....we are young...21/22, enjoy things like fitness, other activities (sports, music, movies etc), we have a small pomeranian who we would obviously bring with us when we decided to move. Here's some things we'd like to see compared...

-COL (averages for 2 bed apts or small houses)
-Weather (the differences) (prefer milder summers...but we'll give or take)
-Jobs for Teachers (salaries too if possible)
-Job Opportunities if we should choose to work outside our degree area
-School Systems
-Friendliness (although this can be extremely varied obviously)

So there you have it. Which city is generally sounds more "up our alley"? I know it is somewhat vague, but any info is helpful!
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:51 PM
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You should search previous threads as the Beantown/DC comparison has been mentioned before (more than once). It may have only been once or twice as a head-to-head, but there should be a handful of threads where Boston and DC are two of the cities mentioned. This area does have quite a few Bostonians.

I think COL is similar, though DC maybe a bit higher but we have nicer buildings here. Restaurants probably goes to Boston. I haven't been impressed with DC dining thus far at all. Teachers are in demand everywhere. As government employees, you should be able to access salary information through the 'net or other means without too much difficulty.

Boston has the edge economically for Academia and related fields like Biotech, as well as Mutual Funds/Investment Management/Private Equity. DC is said to have the stronger overall economy and, AFAIK, is better in most industries than Boston.

DC wins for public transport. Friendly people: both cities rate pretty low from what I've read and heard. That said, I think you can find enough friends either place. I'd rate DC as a place where it can be tough to make new friends and there are quite a few self-absorbed and standoffish people. Some are just rude. I doubt Boston is significantly better (or worse). Shopping in the district itself is OK; nothing great.

Don't know about Boston summers, but the second half of July (soon after my move to DC) were horrible: killer humidity. August was nice, for the most part.
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:48 AM
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Thnaks for your help, I'll have to search other threads.

I have heard some of the negative about DC. I have not been there in several years, so I was curious.

When it comes to teaching jobs, that is a big reason we are moving. Those jobs are very hard to come by in Ohio. My husband was lucky and got a job at a small school, but many people he graduated with had to go out of state to find a good job. So that plays a big role in why we are moving. And while COL is much higher in these particular cities, his salary and mine as well would increase significantly so, many times we have found the ratio of salary to spending (including COL) similar.

Thank you for you help.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:22 AM
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My take is that the increased salary here in the DC area is often not enough to replicate the same lifestyle in a cheaper place. That said, there is more to do here and more variety of people, etc. The argument is that one can have the same QOL (or higher) without as nice an apt, big a house, etc. This I would agree with; not having to drive has raised my QOL immensely! In small towns, a nice lifestyle is basically all about the McMansion, SUV, etc. There's more to life than that here, so you can have an equally (or better life) even if your pay is not raised dollar-for-dollar when adjusting for COL. Don't let a large dollar pay raise fool you; you're almost certain to have less purchasing power here than where you came from. Wait until you're ready to buy a house!

The District itself does not strike me as too family oriented. You get the SATC type women, yuppies and DINKs (Y is optional), but you may not fit in as well coming from OH. A lot of people come from smaller towns and then adopt the above mentioned lifestyles. There's nothing wrong with that, but it may not be what you're seeking. It's not really my style, either.
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:25 AM
Location: Arlington, VA
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I've lived here four years and I have basically the same lifestyle and purchasing capabilities that my friends in cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte have. Only I have access to (in MY opinion) better museums/cultural opportunities, public transportation, nicer restaurants, off the charts diversity, etc.

The main problem with the argument presented by many people upset with COL on the board is this: They compare cost of living in the very expensive areas of the DC region like Bethesda, Arlington, NW DC or downtown, Old Town Alexandria, McLean, etc. with your basic average suburban areas of cheaper cities. Have people ever taken a glance at the real estate prices of say, uptown Charlotte or Myers Park. Or Buckhead and Midtown in Atlanta, I have a friend that pays $750 for a studio apartment there, not exactly much different from here.

Nobody is going to argue that this isn't an expensive place to live, but it doesn't seem to stop large numbers of people from moving here (for high paying jobs) and buying property. It also depends on where you move from. Several people at my office moved to this area from Northern California, NY, Europe, etc. they think it is a major bargain here.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:24 PM
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I've lived in both Boston and DC. I, personally, would take DC ANYDAY over Boston. I thought they would be similar, but there was no comparison.

Boston: It is a very clean/safe city - a good "starter city" for someone not truly accustomed to urban living. I was warned by others, but didn't realize until I moved there just how provincial the thinking is. Very deeply rooted in New England culture with no desire to change worldviews. You will be an outsider. It is very much a collegetown. Being 21/22, you might find this to be a positive. Being over 25, I felt really, really old even stepping foot into a bar (which, for the most part, are just college drunk fests). The T (mass transit) is really old and slow, and, on the Green Line, nauseating with all the rocking and stopping every two blocks. You'll start to resent riders for not walking another few feet to stand at the station with all the other people rather than making the train stop just for them.

On the up side, Boston is a very physically attractive city. A good amount of green space. Downtown can be a little shoddy, but it has the basics I guess. Nothing special. There's a lot of history there, but I was rather let down when I realized it all revolved around old churches and cemeteries. Cambridge is great - a lot of interesting restaurants, university museums, offbeat movie theatres, and really intellectual bookstores.

In summary, Boston is a real "town versus gown" place. If you're not in either, you might find it difficult to fit in.

DC: Much more cosmopolitan, global, and energized. Outside of the African American community, there is no real "culture" rooted in DC, so it is a place that is free to redefine itself with each election cycle. A lot of really interesting and dynamic people live there who do really interesting, dynamic things. It's not really a family oriented city, but obviously many families live there. DC, physically, is also quite beautiful. A lot of really interesting history and Masonic symbolism built into the city.

DC negatives: A lot of jerks live there, but no more than any other city that is a global power of something (be it entertainment, finance, politics...). If you're not in or tangentially tied into politics (or at least interested in politics), you'll probably find it hard to interact with a lot of people. While there's a diverse economy of biotech and such, DC is still a political city.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:31 PM
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Thank you for the comparisons of Boston and DC. My husband and I both are interested in historical cities...me most likely more so than him. My problems is I enjoy the historical churches and cemeteries AS WELL AS the museums, memorials and all the other history that goes along with DC.
I do have a few other questions.

1. What would the average cost of a 2 bed apt. outside DC cost? What are the safer/est areas surrounding the city and do these places tend to be pet friendly?
2. Weather...are DC summers as bad as I hear? The last time I was there it was early June...I don't recall it being terribly hot...but it has been some tme ago. Ex...I live in NW Ohio and today it was in the 90s...would this be common in DC? Say the avg temps in July and August? Also...how are winters there? I'm used to snow and ice and having to shovel in the mornings. Would it be similar there?
3. How are the opportunites for teaching jobs? Also, is it possible for someone with a 4 year degree to get a good job outside that degree area?

Thank you for the replies so far. They have been very helpful, I appreciate any more responses!
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:44 PM
Location: DC
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1. It's hard to answer because it really depends on where you are. If you're close to DC and right by a metro, it'll be pricier ($2000-2500) than further out or somewhere on a bus line (~$1500). That said, there are deals that can be found. As far as pet friendly, Alexandria (especially Old Town) has an obsession with dogs. It's almost comical. I don't think it's a big issue in Arlington either.

2. June is not nearly as bad as July or August, but it's survivable. Generally it'll be in the high 80s up through the 90s and humid. It gets slightly cooler in September, and the heat generally breaks for good in October. As for snow, you'll be lucky if you have to shovel once. A storm here will bring in 5-8", and even that is rare, more likely it'll be some snow showers or a little freezing rain from time to time. Enough to be pretty, but not so much to be a big problem (usually...there are exceptions).

3. I'm not too knowledgable about teaching jobs in the area, but based on friends from college it doesn't seem too bad. Most were able to secure a job without too much trouble. As far as getting a job outside the degree area, it'll depend on what area(s) you're talking about and your work experience.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mrspink View Post
2. Weather...are DC summers as bad as I hear? The last time I was there it was early June...I don't recall it being terribly hot...but it has been some tme ago. Ex...I live in NW Ohio and today it was in the 90s...would this be common in DC? Say the avg temps in July and August? Also...how are winters there? I'm used to snow and ice and having to shovel in the mornings. Would it be similar there?
It definitely reaches the 90s during the summers in DC, though I personally don't think that's so unpleasant. I grew up here, though, so my tolerance may be different than others. I'd also pick too hot over too cold any day.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:39 PM
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Default From someone who grew up in both places

Hey, I'm DC born and bred, but my family's from Southie so I'm up in Boston a lot too (so much so that I've got the accent, which I love), so I'll give you some perspective on the more living aspects, and not really the job/COL and all that stuff, as I'm still growing up (teenager) in DC.

1. For the weather, I gotta say I like Boston more, but that's because I like the cold a lot more, but DC's not too bad, as the winters average around 20-40, and the summers 80-90.
2. Restaurants, places to go, things to see, etc.- I gotta go with DC. There's just more fun stuff to do; see movies, go bowling, hang out at bars/restaurants w/friends, and watch tourists do stuff (that's really fun). And there's all the monuments and history, which Boston's got plenty of too, but DC's our nation's capital, so it's got a little more. And while Boston seems a lot more centralized with tall buildings (which I like), DC is very, very spread out, with great neighborhoods all around (Florida Ave, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Tenleytown, Friendship, etc.) I just wish DC could get some bigger buildings though, cuz I like them.
3. Public Transit-Again, DC, this time by a mile. The tro's just so much faster and efficient, and if you know how to ride it, cheaper (sub $2.00 for a full-line ride). I like the T's Blue, Orange and Red Lines, but I hate the Green "Line," A LOT. You got a lot of Commuter rail and buses in DC to, as you do in Boston, but you got 2 (MARC and VRE) vs Boston's 1.
4. People- In Boston, if ya got family and friends up there already, there the nicest people in the world to ya, but if you don't, it's hard to make new friends, as a lot of the people are reserved, not rude, but more keep to themselves. In DC, I gotta argue about the whole politics mindset, as I've only ever heard 1 "discussion," but it was quickly stopped (with help from me and a bunch of other people who hate hearing anything about any of that, and there's a lot of those people). Also, I gotta love the homeless people in DC, and also the people handing out papers and playing music around town. I know most of them by name, and most of them know me by name and ask how I'm doing and stuff, which is awesome. There's also a lot of markets on the weekends, and sometimes 24/7 (the Florida Flea Market), which are fun to go to.
5. Schools- I got learnt real good in DC's edumacation system- But for real, it's good, with great public and private schools starting in pre-school through college.
6. Sports- Boston wins here by a mile- Everyone loves sports up there, like I do, so I love it. I love the Sox, (the Nats, not so much-nice park though, but it's no Fenway), but I gotta love the Skins, and once their stadium's back in DC, it's gonna be even better.
7. Jobs-lots a grown ups in suits in both cities, so I'm guessing good for both, and I get teached by teachers in DC, so there's those too.
8. Religion-Boston is very, very Catholic, which I am, so that's cool, while DC is much more mixed, so take ya choice.
9. Metro Areas- I like DC's a lot more for some reason, as all of it seems much less a metro area and much more an extension of the city, with great places like Bethesda, Silver Spring, Arlington, Rosslyn, Wheaton, etc.

Again, that's from a teenager's perspective, so I hope you enjoy wherever you go, but overall, I gotta go with DC. Good Luck!
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