I gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!
August 21, 2011 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Yet another "where should I move" question (slight snowglobe details inside).

The AskMeFi community has helped me so much with my other questions, I thought I'd seek an opinion on my current dilemma. I was fortunate enough to attend WorldCon this week and delighted in the camaraderie of fellow SciFi/Anime/Writing fans. It's something I currently lack here in Nevada. I would like to move somewhere in the next two years but am not sure where yet.

I'd like to move somewhere that would welcome a late 30's, female SciFi/Anime geek and have a friendly community of others like me. Ideally, this place would also have a better economy than NV right now, more jobs and all four seasons (I like my summers not too hot and winters not too cold). It would also have to be relatively inexpensive to live in and not be a huge sprawling metropolitan area.

Yes, I have read previous posts and the popular options for people like me seem to be Seattle, Portland or Austin. I have also used other sites that help you find where you should live. They say about the same thing. However, I've read about the Seattle "freeze" and am concerned that it would be hard to make friends there, as well as the weather concerns. I've read about Portland and everything says that is one of the worst places for jobs these days. I haven't heard anything bad about Austin but I'm, ideally, not a heat person.

Basically, is there anywhere else that I'm missing? I preferably would like to stay on the West Coast, but am flexible if the place suits me well.
Or, how bad are the criticisms I've read about the cities listed above (ie, is Seattle really that bad for making friends? Is the economy is Portland really that bad?)
posted by Polgara to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Mad-i-son, Wis-con-SIN!
Mad-i-son, Wis-con-SIN!
posted by Madamina at 7:13 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

What sort of work do you do?
posted by dgeiser13 at 7:14 PM on August 21, 2011

Seriously, Madison sounds like a really great choice for you. This city is amazingly geeky, and there are lots of cons (including the awesome WisCon) here or within driving distance. The job market is pretty good. We have seasons, and the city is comfortably sized - not too big or small. Obviously, the winters might be an issue, but speaking as a former Florida girl I can honestly say "it's not that bad." Really!
posted by lriG rorriM at 7:18 PM on August 21, 2011

We have not had one day in August that has had a high lower than 100 in Austin; 95 degrees as I key this in, 9:11pm. It does get warm here, for sure; I'm from Chicago area originally, took me a few years in Texas to realize that Texas summers = Yankee winters in severity/grief/pain/groaning/depression/etc. That might kill it for you, does for many; absolutely do not move here until checking it out in July/August.

But it's friendly as hell. It's turning more sprawl by the minute but you don't need to live that way, you can live in a neighborhood that meets most of your needs right there, at least I've seen that. Not sure how it relates expense wise; been here too long, just can't say. Jobs are tight everywhere but I just don't think that Texas got creamed as bad as the rest of the country, damn sure nothing at all like Phoenix et all.

I hope you find what you're looking for -- good luck!
posted by dancestoblue at 7:18 PM on August 21, 2011

The job scene is bad in Portland. But, if you have a couple of years to look, it's a different story. Have a job lined up before you move there (I did).

I love Portland, but are you sure you're up for the rain? It can drizzle pretty constantly from November through May and June. Seriously.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:42 PM on August 21, 2011

The Seattle Freeze is overrated. And I doubt you'll find a bigger nerd community anywhere but here. And the economy seems quite strong. The weather is certainly mild

-- A disgruntled Seattleite who moves away in a week.

(If you'd rather have a nicer version of the relatively mild weather, perhaps Boulder?)
posted by zvs at 7:45 PM on August 21, 2011

Consider Pittsburgh.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:46 PM on August 21, 2011

Response by poster: Work-wise, I don't have any set career yet. I'll graduate next spring with a BA in business and have experience in the financial sector(which I'm trying to transition out of).

As for weather, I used to live in Vegas, which is why I hate the heat now. I don't mind snow though. As for a lot of rain, I'm not sure how I'd handle it.

I'm liking the suggestions so far. I'm hoping to get some research done between now and when I move and plan visits to these areas when I can.
posted by Polgara at 7:49 PM on August 21, 2011

Thirding Madison. Plenty of geeks in Milwaukee, as well.
posted by desjardins at 8:07 PM on August 21, 2011

I've lived in Seattle and currently live in Austin. I think Austin's weather will be more familiar to you coming from Nevada. The thing about Seattle is it's dark/overcast and it's pretty cool (temperature-wise) and it's wet a lot. It's all of those things a lot. And I'm not a huge outdoors/sun kind of person, but not seeing the sun for weeks on end got pretty old. Like, it's a big deal to my Seattle friends when it's a nice sunny day because it doesn't happen often (but nice days in Seattle are really, really nice). Whereas I frequently rib them because we're the exact opposite in Austin, a rainy or overcast day is pretty exciting.

Seattle is also relatively expensive, especially if you're not used to west coast-type prices and just starting out. My rent in Austin for a bigger, nicer place is literally half what it was in Seattle. And I don't know what field you're in, but for me, there were no jobs in Seattle and that's why I wound up in Austin.

In terms of making friends, Seattle's not as bad as people hear, it's just if you're used to relatively chatty areas like the Midwest or South, it's a bit of a culture shock. People keep to themselves a lot more, but they're not outright rude.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:21 PM on August 21, 2011

I live in Reno . I went to Worldcon. I like cons and scifi. Memail me and let's talk while you're here :)

I've been considering the very same three cities as yourself, I ruled Austin out because as nice as it it - it's in Texas and the socioeconomic situation of Texas as a state is very bad and decaying fast.

I've lived in Seattle. Loved every single darn thing about it : the people, the food, the social milieu. The people are friendly enough forget about that "freeze" thing. Loved every single thing about it - except the weather which I could not tolerate. 30 days of rain while I was there. 3 months with just a handful of days where you could see the sun at all. Eck.

You might want to consider Santa Cruz - great weather . Barely affordable. Job opportunities. Great progressive vibe.

BTW - Did you read the party reviews in the newsletter on Thirs and Fri ? Those were mine
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:41 PM on August 21, 2011

There are plenty of people in any large metropolitan area who share those interests. The Bay Area in northern CA is one of those, and we have really nice weather here the entire year. No highs over 100 degrees (except maybe once every 5 years) and no snow. Housing costs are high, but I doubt they are any higher than Seattle or Chicago.
posted by twblalock at 3:08 AM on August 22, 2011

Boston. Very educated, geeky city full of colorful people. Parts are expensive, but the city is small enough that you can live on the cheap in the outskirts and still get in and out of the city quickly and easily via the T (or bike!). I'm not so sure how the job market is doing these days, but Boston is the East coast tech-firm mecca.
posted by thermopoetics at 5:16 PM on August 22, 2011

The Bay Area in northern CA .... Housing costs are high, but I doubt they are any higher than Seattle or Chicago.

Housing/apartments are MUCH higher in the Bay area than in Seattle. I'd say between 50% and 200% greater depending on how close to the City you are. Additionally, insurance costs are higher, taxes are MUCH higher and gasoline is a bit higher. FWIW
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:06 PM on August 22, 2011

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