Good places to live in the US southwest
September 23, 2007 2:26 PM Subscribe
What would be a good place to live, work, and start a family in the US Southwest? Smaller towns are particularly welcome.
posted by salvia to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've always wanted to live in the US southwest and am looking ahead to potentially moving there in a few years. I'd be moving there to settle down and start the next phase of life, which will hopefully include starting a family at some point in the future.
I'd consider everything east of the Sierras (Lone Pine, Big Pine, Joshua Tree), west of Amarillo, TX (couldn't do Austin), or from Denver heading south. I'm not that into mountains and snow, but I'm not ruling anything out (especially because I'm assuming everywhere will get a little warmer and dryer than it is now).
My favorite places are small towns where you can bike from one end to the other and potentially live without a car. I would consider larger places like Albuquerque and Tucson if I lived downtown.
I'm hoping for a diverse place. I'm fairly political and would like to be part of a progressive community, but I'd rather not live in a complete bubble of white, rich, well-educated liberals. I also have this pet peeve: rock climbing, yoga, mountain biking, snowboarding, detoxifying my body via lemon juice fasts -- I like these things and all, but conversations about gear and the backcountry put me to sleep in short order. It's also important that the town's economy extends at least slightly beyond just tourism. Even art sold to tourists would be a welcome relief from restaurants and souvenir shops. I'd consider it a bonus if there are environmental nonprofits where I could potentially work, but that's not my only option. To sum up, by looking for a place with a diverse socioeconomy and some civic engagement, I'm hoping I'll find a good place to work and some friends I relate to.
Then there is that wild card of "starting a family." I'm not on the verge of this by any means, but I am looking ahead at things like being able to afford a house and having it be a decent place for a kid to grow up. In my earlier freewheeling travels, I didn't think at all about things like schools or what it'd be like to be a kid in a place like that. Since I'm not prepared to examine those factors, I'd at least like it to be a place with a fair number of families (not just ski bums and retirees), and a fair number of people my age (almost 30) kinda headed in the same direction.
I'm most eying Paonia, Flagstaff, Tucson (I hear such good things but have been unimpressed in my visits... I must be missing the good side), Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Moab (any economy beyond the mountain bike scene yet?), Manitou Springs (? never been there, just saw the Colorado Springs thread), Bishop, and Joshua Tree. I suspect there are a bunch of possibilities in Colorado I don't know yet, but for some reason I have not been that excited by most places I've been in the state (including Denver, Boulder, Durango, Crested Butte, and Telluride). Thanks for your thoughts.