If you could live anywhere...
December 29, 2011 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm sick of Oklahoma, sick of cold and snow, sick of everything to do with this place. I want out of the state, but cant' decide where to go next. Over the last few years I've lived in San Diego, Orlando, Cocoa Beach, the Chicago area, Tulsa Ok, and originally the Phoenix area. Most of my moves have been prompted by having a friend with a couch willing to pick me up from the Greyhound station, but this time I'd like to go somewhere completely new and for the first time truly start over on my own.

Details. I'm 34, no kids (but I do have an adorable tiny puppy), single (or will be by the time I get ready to move).

I currently work as a cashier at Walmart (glamorous, I know) and intend to stay with them so that I can transfer to a store and have a job waiting wherever I go. That means I won't be making a lot, so an affordable efficiency/studio or one bedroom apartment that allows my pup... with utilities included, if possible (and if I transfer to a store, will likely look for apartments within walking distance).

I don't drive, so need a place with reliable public transportation. Also, preferably a "big city" type area where I can take the bus to wherever I need to run errands without losing an entire day to one task.

I'd prefer a place that gets little or no snow... but also isn't insanely hot and humid in the summer... I'm willing to compromise on those points as long as I get one or the other (comfortable summers and also no snow is ideal, but warm summers and little snow is liveable).

I'd love to be near the ocean, or somewhere only a couple of hours drive from the beach, if possible.

My soon-to-be-ex was doing all the research on what the best options might be, because I'm absolutely useless when it comes to doing that sort of thing myself.

I'm still talking to friends in various cities, but am still kind of enjoying the thought of going somewhere and making entirely new friends.

The ex was set on Vegas, but that doesn't seem likely to be in a price range that I could afford on my own. I've also looked at Seattle, Portland, and have friends trying to talk me into Indianapolis and Gainesville among other places.

Also, I'm starting online college courses and expect a sizeable student loan payment in the spring, so will have the money to fund a move, deposits on an apt/utilities/etc

posted by myShanon to Travel & Transportation around United States (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I currently work as a cashier at Walmart (glamorous, I know) and intend to stay with them so that I can transfer to a store and have a job waiting wherever I go.

FWIW, There are four Wally Worlds slated to be opened in the Portland area in the next few months.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:28 AM on December 29, 2011

Savannah, Ga.
posted by pearlybob at 11:37 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I lived in Tucson for 7 years and loved it. I will definitely move back some day. Winters are very mild, and it's likely that even in January you'll get a day or two of outdoor swimming weather. Late spring and ;ate summer get intensely hot, of course, but the old refrain "but it's a dry heat" has become an old refrain for a reason (there are torrential through mid-summer, but they're quite cooling and dry up quickly- they moisture does not make things humid). I grew up in the suburbs of New York, and I'll take a Tucson summer over a New England summer anytime.

Cost of living/housing is VERY good, air is clean, environment is beautiful, economy is stable (HUGE air force base, Raytheon and the University are the biggest employers, all of which quite immune to recession). Safe in most areas (but a few not so much), plenty of big box retail (SO much land to build on!), and a pretty interesting cultural scene with the Mexican influence and the University.

FWIW, I hate Phoenix. It's very soulless and artificial feeling.
posted by holterbarbour at 11:44 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oakland or Berkeley sound like options to me. A little pricey, but moderate weather and near the coast.

Austin Texas? It's super-hot in the summer but has decent public transit (for the South).

This list from Grist shows some cities with unexpectedly good public transit - which is probably one of the harder criteria to meet. (Sadly, Phoenix tops their list so they may not meet the other criteria!) Best US Transit Systems

Maybe Gainesville, Florida? I've heard good things about the music scene if that's an interest, and there is a bus system that runs fairly late.

(General tip: I start with the Wikitravel page for any city I'm interested in researching, to get a sense for the availability of public transit, stuff to do, etc.)

Good luck!
posted by brackish.line at 12:28 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Portland, Or: The Walmarts are a little far out from the city center, but public transportation there is super easy to negotiate and very reliable. Mild winters, gorgeous summers, drive for an hour and you're at the coast.

Portland's also a good place to just up and move if you don't know anyone--there's lots going on, people have a lot of different interests, and there are a ton of meetup groups, volunteer organizations, etc.
posted by sally onion at 1:10 PM on December 29, 2011

To meet your criteria I would recommend a rural/semi rural area. Used to be that was where wal mart concentrated their efforts (20+ years ago). cost of living is way cheaper, at least rent wise, usually. There isn't much in the way of transit but with a smaller town biking/walking works out. If you don't like the climate in Tulsa, you aint gonna like it anywhere in Texas as far as Austin goes. I like living in Oregon (the Eugene Area) but the winters get long in the Willamette. They aren't cold really, but do tend to wetness. This is true anywhere in the northwest within a decent distance of the coast. My guess would be somewhere in the mid atlantic or the carolinas will be the best fit for you.

I found this site useful

find your spot

Good luck.
posted by bartonlong at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's something that might not sound great at first but has quite a few upsides. Lawton. No joke. You'd still be in Oklahoma, but the temperatures are lot more livable due to being far less humid. The cost of living is actually cheaper. You'd have to be okay with living in a military town and the ocean wouldn't be much closer, but you'd be improving your situation in most ways. Public transport isn't exactly a hallmark of most of the South though.

Of course, if you're looking for a place that's more liberal, more big city feel, and closer to the ocean, this won't help in the least. You'd need to sacrifice weather and/or cost of living preferences pretty significantly for a more traditional big city.
posted by Saydur at 2:43 PM on December 29, 2011

Left coast of Florida is still pretty affordable. Check out St. Pete or Sarasota. I know, I know, "God's waiting room," and all that, but it's not really that way. The weather can't be beat, and statistically, they get a hurricane once every fifty years, which happened in 1995.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:49 PM on December 29, 2011

Seattle fits your criteria exct perhaps in prices. I've been living there for a year and a half and am liking it a lot.

Winter gets oppressive but it's only really bad for a couple months, so far, as opposed to losing half of every year to huddling under the blankets like I did when I loved in Boston. Have a look at apartment prices on padmapper.com. I live in the U District and love it. Public transit is frequent, and I can even ask my smartphone where busses are and usually get an answer accurate to within a minute thanks to OneBusAway.

I live alone in a 2-br apartment and pay about $1000 a month, plus electricity. Heat is electric so it goes up in the winter.
posted by egypturnash at 5:04 PM on December 29, 2011

Get ready to be the butt of countless "put a bird on it!" jokes, cause the only way the answer could possibly be more "Portland" than it already is is if you had added the line "P.S. I like Oregon" at the end.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:34 PM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

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