Sampling a new city..
June 2, 2010 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I want to sample freelance life in another American city for 1-2 weeks this summer. How should I accomplish this on a student budget?

I'm building up a design portfolio. I have some free time now and would love some new scenery and a place to work independently on some unfinished projects for a short time. I want to scout the country for a place to live after graduation.

Currently in Utah.

Considering the following places: Austin, Seattle, Raleigh, Santa Rosa (potentially including San Francisco), Vancouver (Canada), Montana.

I feel like there has to be an option that's more realistic than staying in an extended stay hotel (artificial/potentially expensive) and less committed than renting a room/apartment for a month +. I'll honestly sleep anywhere if it's a good value.

My sole criteria is that I want to feel immersed in what the city has to offer. I'll spend most of my time either in coffee shops working or exploring the culture of the place.

Timeframe: Within the next 2 months

What would be the best way to accomplish this?

Thanks in advance!
posted by bradly to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I've never participated in it, but it sounds like might be worth investigating.
posted by kprincehouse at 9:46 PM on June 2, 2010

Vancouver is a really expensive city, its hard to find an apartment for less than a grand a month, plus utilities. It's still a great town though.

As for a places to stay, an extended hotel stay would bankrupt you for sure. I recommend seeing if you can find someone who is looking to sublet their room/apartment for the summer. This is really common in university towns, when students move back home for the summer but want to keep their place for the next year and save a little money. You can usually find a place for half or even a third of the normal monthly rent.

Anyway, it's worth a shot. Good luck.
posted by sarastro at 10:52 PM on June 2, 2010

There's not a whole lot that Vancouver has in common with Santa Rosa. What led you to this list?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:03 PM on June 2, 2010

I used Air BnB for my recent New York vacation of a few weeks, but it covers everywhere (well, at least, lots of places!).

I got a great 1 bedroom apartment with views of Central Park for less than the cost of a hotel OR a private room in a hostel. It had fast internet, was really comfortable, good kitchen equipment so I could cook when I felt like it. I have previously done other apartment rentals and love how you get to pretend it is your real life!

As with any booking service, hotels included, check out the reviews and consider wisely. I booked an apartment that had a few positive reviews AND where the owner answered my questions quickly. It worked out really well. The site has both entire apartments/houses and private rooms available, so you should be able to find something that suits your needs and your budget.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:50 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've heard great things about this hostel in Austin: Hostelling International. I live in Austin, so haven't stayed there myself. A friend new to the city raved about it, though.

In your shoes visiting Austin, I'd arrange to stay there and then call around to the coworking locations around town. These tend to be something like $25/day but you might be able to arrange something special since you'll only be here 2 weeks. Austinites are typically very friendly, so it doesn't hurt to ask!

It's also totally reasonable to just assume you'll stay somewhere and then sample different coffee houses for workspaces. Lots of them have wifi and make good working environments for laptop work if you get there before there's a crowd (i.e., in the morning while most folks are at day jobs). Epoch, Austin Java, Mozart's, there are scads of them. HI is close to downtown so it shouldn't be hard to find decent coffee shops in that vicinity.

Happy to help more if you end up planning a trip here, it's a nice town!
posted by schema at 5:24 AM on June 3, 2010

For 1-2 weeks a hostel might be a good bet, if it's in your budget. Central locations, plus instant network of people to go out and explore with.

In Seattle you might want to check out City Hostel, which just opened a year ago. Nice central location (in Belltown neighborhood), and rooms are all designed by artists.

Also, I lived in SLC for 16 years, and have now lived in Seattle for 4... feel free to PM me if you want to ask more detailed questions comparing the two cities.
posted by stilly at 2:46 PM on June 3, 2010

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