July 4, 2011 2:10 PM Subscribe
Yet another where should we move? question: the liberal gay Northern edition
posted by nakedmolerats to grab bag (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I are currently in grad school in the southeastern US. We're hoping to move sometime in the next year, fueled by our mutual decision that we don't actually want to be professors in the field we started in anymore. I have an MA in linguistics, a graduate certificate in women's studies, and a BA from a liberal arts college. She has an MS in Instructional Systems Design and work experience in that field, but she doesn't want to keep doing it, besides as temporary income if necessary. She will also have an MA (maybe ABD) in linguistics.
We don't know where to move next. She's in her mid-30's, me mid-20's. We like cities, we're gay, we're liberal, and we need somewhere we can theoretically move with not a lot of money and get jobs that will at least support us for awhile. I have a lot of student loans. I went to grad school right after college, so my only work experience is food service/random college jobs, and then I've taught freshman composition and worked at a writing center while being a grad student.
We might like to go back to school eventually, but that's not a given. She might do library science and I might do public policy or women's studies. We're both kind of taking a post-grad school leap: we don't have a set plan on careers, though I'd like to do anything involving feminist/women's rights/LGBT rights. I figure moving to a large city will afford us being able to get whatever job we can at first and see what paths present themselves.
Things we want in a new city:
Public transit - We have one car and would really like at least one of us to be able to get to work on public transit. It'd also be nice to be able to do social things with public transit instead of driving.
Walkability – we'd really like to live in a neighborhood that has a walkable grocery store, maybe some bars or restaurants, bookstore, etc.
Four Seasons: we're both cooler weather people. Anything in the South is pretty much out: we've been here several years and I HATE 100+ degree summers. We can handle hard winters.
We like cities that “feel” more Northern too: compact instead of sprawled out.
Diversity/Culture: I'd like at least the opportunity to see lots of different lectures/plays/movies/restaurants, etc. This probably means a pretty large city. We don't mind smaller cities in theory, as long as they have a lot of cultural stuff going on.
Liberalness: we'd like to get married someday and hey, it'd be nice to live in a state that recognized our union, so bonus points for states that recognize gay marriages or civil unions. In general, the more liberal/gay friendly the politics, the better.
Cost of Living: I like Boston, but I can't see any way we could afford to live there unless we were way out in the suburbs. Same for Washington DC. I know all cities are expensive, but which ones are less expensive to live relatively close to the city center? We'll be renting an apartment or small house if we could afford it.
Scenic: we enjoy hiking/camping sometimes. I really like to live by water, and she likes mountains, so both somewhat close by would be ideal. I love the ocean but don't need to live by it: lakes or rivers are fine too.
Pet Friendly: we have a 50-lb dog so we would need dog friendly housing and parks to take her.
Places we're considering:
upstate New York
Anywhere New England (don't know the region that well)
Places we're not really considering:
Chicago (my partner has already lived there and wants to try something new. This is a little unfortunate because I love Chicago and think it fulfills a lot of our criteria. Basically we're looking for the feel of Chicago, but somewhere else).
Austin (also meets a lot of our criteria, but it's just too hot)
Portland, Oregon (I could be swayed, but it seems like every 20-something unemployed liberal arts graduate moves here, so I can't imagine my aimless self will have an easy time finding work)
Are there cities not on our list that meet our criteria? Do you live in the cities we're considering and can tell us the positives/negatives of living there? Does anything jump out as the perfect place we should live? We haven't been to a lot of these cities, and can't afford to visit them all – I just don't know how to start narrowing down a list.