Move to Springfield, IL?
October 8, 2008 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Why should I move to Springfield, IL?

... and why should I not?

I'm a 20 y/o guy who has a group of friends who live in the area, and I'm about done with a job where I'm located now. Within the next few months I will either continue on where I'm at (Indianapolis, IN btw) or be going elsewhere.

I'm interested in hearing from people who have lived there in the past, or even just visited. What can I expect as far as living expenses, the job market (I'm currently in tech, but I do whatever I need to get by, so a tech job is certainly not required), different areas of town, events, etc. etc.
posted by symbollocks to Travel & Transportation around Springfield, IL (13 answers total)
Best answer: Interestingly, I graduated from Law School in Bloomington, IN in May and moved to Springfield to take a tech job. By July I was so sick of Springfield that I had to get out.

If you have good friends who live in Springfield proper and enjoy it, you probably will to. If your friends are scattered around central Illinois or they're not people you'd hang out with a lot, pick somewhere else. I feel like I put forth a reasonable effort to find things to do and... well... it was less than impressive (to put it nicely).

Combine that with the fact that the state government is in the crapper and that particular city is probably not where you want to be. I generally feel like any place is as good as any other as long as you have a good attitude about it, but I cannot advise against Springfield in any stronger terms.

(Also, going to send you a MeMail with some other observations and info)
posted by toomuchpete at 11:02 AM on October 8, 2008

Also, to add: I went to HS in Central Illinois, so this isn't some sort of anti-Illinois bias. I think Bloomington/Normal or Champaign would be cool places to live. Just not Spfld.
posted by toomuchpete at 11:03 AM on October 8, 2008

There are better places to live in Illinois.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:08 AM on October 8, 2008

Agree with all of the above. Especially Bloomington/Normal or Champaign-Urbana. I lived in the latter cities (both Champaign and Urbana) for 11 years, and it was hard to leave. Champaign is bigger and a little edgier; Urbana has the higher property values, is smaller, and has more of an aging hippie/faculty vibe. Bloomington/Normal is a smaller college town area; probably a little (but not much less) cosmopolitan.
posted by lleachie at 11:26 AM on October 8, 2008

Move to Carbondale. College town, mellow vibe, lovely outdoorsy woodsy rolling hills & lakes & rivers & forests with none of the prairie deadness of upstate.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:29 AM on October 8, 2008

Best answer: I live in Springfield, have most of my life.

Here is an unbiased look at Springfield:

Pros--moderate cost of living. The property taxes, if you plan on buying a house/condo, are REALLY high IN the city but less if you live in one of the surrounding communities like Rochester, Petersberg, Athens, etc.

There are some very large employers, such as Wells Fargo, AT&T, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Being in IT you may want to try Levi, Ray, and Schaup, an IT firm in Springfield,

Jobs are iffy around here. There are the large employers, but those are all entry level jobs with little chance of advancement due to the high number of entry level employees these companies have.

LRS is a solid company but I've heard mixed things from employees, and being 20 I'm guessing you're not done with a bachelor's degree and they seem to highly value degrees for positions there.

In addition to not a lot of jobs, there's not a lot to DO here. You don't mention what you do for fun, but while there are a few nightclubs and bars in the area (that seems to be how many people here spend their time) there is little else. Very few concerts at Prairie Capitol Convention Center. UIS used to have some good concerts but their programming has really gone downhill and skewed far older than your age (unless you're really into musical theater or classical music). The comedy club (yes, just one) The Funny Bone sometimes has some decent headliners (Screech, Dave Coulet) but normally just the same local guys again and again. I've seen the same opening act there four times and I don't go that often.

The people here are very conservative. I consider Springfield "the biggest small town I've seen". It seems everyone knows everyone to some degree, though this may be exaggerated by the fact I've lived here so long. But the town is heavily Republican.

We have a weird mix of people, actually. We're pretty close to where north meets south; an hour south of here you'll start to get southern accents. So you have some "redneck" peoples in this area, and we have some erudite people, who normally skew older. It makes for a weird dichotomy, but not unexpected from a midsized city that sprouted out of, and is still surrounded by, a cornfield.

Honestly I want to move out...and Indianapolis is someplace my wife and I have looked at because there is so much more to do there. We have friends here, family, but there's not enough to keep us engaged. Job opportunities for advancement are few, things for entertainment usually involve us driving to Chicago (3 hours north) or St. Louis (2 hours south)... I can't really recommend it as a place to live--

--unless what you're looking for is a job with no advancement, and a place to go to the same bar week after week to get drunk with your friends.
posted by arniec at 11:50 AM on October 8, 2008

If you're into concerts, Urbana-Champaign has an awesome music scene. The annual Pygmalion Music Festival just wrapped up. And of course, lots of bars and nightlife because it's a college town.

We have lots of local technology jobs, but you may need to be a student or have a degree. State Farm is close by, and there's also CITES (the folks that manage U of I networks). I don't know too much about this, so I can't comment.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 11:55 AM on October 8, 2008

Do you REALLY like:

Abe Lincoln?
Little or no entertainment options?
People in bib overalls?
Truck pulls?
The cutting edge fashion of Sears?
Small minded people?
WWE (or whatever it is)?
Corn and soybeans?

Then Springfield is the place for you!

Seriously, it's a black hole.
posted by bodgy at 11:55 AM on October 8, 2008

I'm kinda with the rest of the pack here - Bloomington, Champaing, the St. Louis Metro-East or Peoria all have more appeal.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:47 PM on October 8, 2008

There's a sweet little two-bay car wash out east of town on Elevator road I built a few years ago. Other than that, dunno.
posted by notsnot at 12:56 PM on October 8, 2008

Most people will deny this, but Springfield, IL, is the true and authentic home of Homer, Marge, et familia Simpson.

Other than that, no reason on earth to sit in the simmering smell of Archer Daniels Midland wishing you were somewhere, anywhere else.

Of course, I grew up in Chicago, so my downstate bias is barely concealed here.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2008

the simmering smell of Archer Daniels Midland

Bubba, you're thinking of Decatur.

I grew up in Peoria and went to UofI, so I'm fairly well versed in downstate IL. Springfield has some significant history, but once you've visited all the sites, I don't know what else there is. The State Fair is always a good time, I've got a poster of the 400-lb sculptured butter cow hanging in my living room. There's some interesting architecture, and FLW's Dana-Thomas house is open for tours.

But long story short, I moved to Chicago, then LA. I'm not coming back.
posted by hwyengr at 2:24 PM on October 8, 2008

FLW's Dana-Thomas house is open for tours

Not anymore. :-(
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:53 PM on October 8, 2008

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