A "Where should I live?!" question!
September 5, 2012 8:37 PM   Subscribe

So. I need to move and live with my best friend. We are looking to move west in the USA. She suggested southern Arizona and I suggests Oregon. We thought Cali might be good, but are open to pretty much anywhere.

Here's what I'm lookin for:

1. Large Hispanic/Latino population --> she wants to get into translating and wants to live in an area where this is a large demographic.
2. Snowy(ish?!) winters. I love the cold, but I'm willing to compromise on cold as long as there is snow. Places in Cali with snow? (But also not crazy humid??)
3. Large-ish population. Not LA large, but around 100,000-80,000 or so?

Other things that would be nice:
4. close to the beach?
5. not particularly earth-quake prone
6. not as humid
7. warm, dry summers
8. Cheap-ish?
9. nice view of pretty snow capped mountains (a dream!)

Any suggestions? I've looked at Salinas, Cali but no dice on the snow and so expensive.
posted by fuzzysoft to Travel & Transportation around Murfreesboro, TN (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Flagstaff, Arizona might fit. A little smaller than you were looking for (60,000 people), with a 16% Hispanic population.
posted by me3dia at 8:46 PM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stuff you're looking for:
1. Yep! Also it's about an hour from the Mexico border.
2. The Santa Catalina Mountains above Tucson are home to the continental United States' southernmost ski resort, Summerhaven. It snows in Tucson proper about once a decade, but the Catalinas are usually dusted white all winter.
3. I think Tucson is creeping up towards a million, population-wise, but it still totally feels small town.

Other nice things:
4. Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) is 2 hours away in Mexico. San Diego is an interminable 5ish hours away. But there's always Breakers Water Park and parts of the Sonoran Desert could be mistaken for beach, if not one next to an ocean.
5. Check!
6. It's a dry heat!
7. See #6.
8. Check!
9. See #2.
posted by carsonb at 8:46 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also Tucson is in the (relatively) sane half of the state. And not in Joe Arpaio's jurisdiction.
posted by carsonb at 8:47 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

carsonb, Tucson is definitely humid in August. Coming from California I was shocked to discover they have monsoons there.

You're not going to get beach proximity and snow in the same place. I live near the beach and maybe, very occasionally (like once every few years), there's a tiny dusting of snow on the furthest visible mountains. Being near the ocean keeps the temperatures very stable throughout the year - this is why people claim coastal California "doesn't have seasons." Because, well, it's between 45 and 85 most days of the year.

To me it really sounds like Arizona is the place for you.
posted by town of cats at 8:51 PM on September 5, 2012

Coming from California I'm sure the monsoon season seemed humid to you, town of cats. (I live in LA now, so can relate.) But compared to a traditionally humid climate, say the South or New England, it barely registers. Anyway, the monsoons are a welcome respite to the cracking 100+ tempuratures that start sometime after Easter and continue on until Halloween.
posted by carsonb at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2012

Coastal California is pretty much out. See this map, which shows US earthquake zones.

Although you never know. I never thought I would feel an earthquake in Pennsylvania, but we had one last year! (Okay, Virginia had one last year, but I felt it!)
posted by DoubleLune at 9:01 PM on September 5, 2012

North of San Diego, somewhere on a line drawn between, say, Idyllwild in the San Jacinto mountains and San Juan Capistrano. You really can go skiing and surfing in the same day. Caveats: bring lots of money and make sure to buy a fireproof house.
posted by fshgrl at 9:03 PM on September 5, 2012

No ocean, but Denver is a very livable city.
Population 550,000, 30% Hispanic in the metro area,18% in the city,very physically active population, lots of dry sunny days (300 a year!), the most educated city in the country, semi-affordable-certainly better than the coasts, good public transportation, nice big airport, good museums and galleries and the skiing is an hour away.
posted by Isadorady at 9:09 PM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

There's also Colorado. No beach of course. Denver is 30% Hispanic and works pretty well by all other standards.
posted by zvs at 9:11 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If two people think of it at once, it must be a good idea.
posted by zvs at 9:12 PM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you want 1, 3-4, 6-9, you should explore southern California.

There are plenty of places in southern California where you can enjoy many things on that list, though you'd have to drive up into the mountains for snow. But, y'know, I can see snowcapped mountains from my neighborhood here in LA during the winter. And living in an "earthquake prone" area is not nearly as exciting or scary as you might imagine it to be. Especially with things like building codes that make structures less likely to crumble.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:12 PM on September 5, 2012

just chiming in as an ethnic person living in portland, oregon is WHITE. whenever i visit my hometown (in so.cal), or anywhere else in california, i always find myself marveling at the number and variety of people of other ethnicities. because oregon is seriously whitey mcwhiterson, so multi-culturalism is important to you, that's something to consider.
posted by violetk at 9:18 PM on September 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

San Diego is 10-50 minutes from Tijuana, with a population to match. It's not snowy here in SD proper, but there are real mountains 30 miles inland and real winter snow within a few hours' drive. (When I moved here from Texas in a late February, I actually got stuck on the 8 in 4 terrifying inches of snow when they closed it for several hours until the one plow could get there.) My friend who's lived here for 6 years finally felt one of the earthquakes from the Brawley cluster last week, but I did not.

It is certainly cool here unless you're coming from, like, Minnesota. We close our windows in early November and need a heater Dec-Mar. I have frost on my windshield Dec-Feb.

We have six disgusting weeks of summer, during which it is wring-water-from-the-air humid and (80s-90s) hot and awful. The weatherman actually uses the phrase "bad sleeping weather" but we're not talking a whole lot of hardship. It's six weeks, broken up occasionally by periods of fine weather and occasionally by fires.

The farther East you live in the county the cheaper it gets. South and East is even cheaper.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:31 PM on September 5, 2012

Grand Junction, Colorado.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:32 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Reno, Nevada! Reno gets snow in winter and dry, warm summers (in the mid-90s, not as hot as people seem to think). For beach, there's Lake Tahoe nearby. Population is more like 200,000, apparently, with 25% Hispanic.

There can be earthquakes in Reno, but I wouldn't call it earthquake-prone.

Much cheaper than most of California.

Beautiful views of snow-capped mountains, with skiing closeby, if that is your thing.
posted by freezer cake at 9:37 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Reno's a good idea, better than mine, Redding.

Beach + snow + Hispanics pretty much means California.
posted by rhizome at 9:44 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

SoCal native here. Throwing out some cities that might be good:

Warm, dry summers within 1-2 hours of beach and mountains
Santa Clarita

Warm, dry summers an hour away from my mountains (occasional snow when it gets really cold!) and 2 to 3 hours away from the beach.
Apple Valley

The downside to this list is that it is in an earthquake prone area:
45 minutes to the beach, ~1.5hrs to the mountains, good public transportation, close to LA:
La Mirada
La Habra
Santa Fe Springs
posted by luckynerd at 9:47 PM on September 5, 2012

You're not going to get beach proximity and snow in the same place.

NYC has both frequent snow and beaches. It doesn't really fit the other criteria. though.
posted by !Jim at 10:11 PM on September 5, 2012

Portland, Oregon - ± an hour form the coast, and about the same from skiing. Too big for your parameters, but you could settle on any of the many surrounding suburbs/small towns. Large Hispanic population, plus many another ethnicity. Rainy? It has not rained in over a month
posted by Cranberry at 10:47 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

freezer cake, I was just popping in to second Reno. I'm a native Renoite and assure you it has a large Latino population, dry, warm summers and snow in the winter. It is nestled (really! I'm not using that word in jest) in the Sierra Nevada mountains and gets cold, but not incredibly frigid,in the winter. Lots of other places close by to visit for variety (Tahoe, San Francisco) and has a great small community feel. It isn't 100% perfect, but what place is? I live in Oregon now, but visit home regularly. So many of my friends and all of my immediate family still reside in Reno/Sparks, because of all the aforementioned attributes. People there tend to be no nonsense (the state's libertarian in nature..."Leave me the hell alone with my guns and my pot and we'll get along just fine"), with liberal pockets to be found throughout.

Give it some thought!
posted by but no cigar at 10:59 PM on September 5, 2012

Salt Lake City gets you

1. 22% hispanic
2. Snowy(ish) winters (they hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics)
3. 189,000 in the city itself and a couple million in the larger metropolitan area. It's easy to access the mountains, even from a bicycle.

4. No stereotypical beach but you do get a Great Salt Lake with lots of birds
5. Overdue for an earthquake
6. Not humid
7. Hot, dry summers
8. Cheap-ish
9. nice view of pretty snow capped mountains
posted by aniola at 11:32 PM on September 5, 2012

Pardon that last link. It should go here.
posted by aniola at 11:34 PM on September 5, 2012

I'm in Arizona and came in to nominate Flagstaff, which is my second favorite little city in the state. Not the population you want size-wise but definitely fits all the other criteria. Now, Tucson is my favorite city here but you can forget the snowyish winters because Tucson doesn't have them. The San Francisco Peaks views are awesome in Flag, cost of living is inexpensive and it's a sweet little college town. Memail me if you want more deets.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 9:58 AM on September 6, 2012

Salem, Oregon. Very large Hispanic population, about 150K people, lots of jobs if you're bilingual. An hour to the ocean, hour to the snow. Much lower cost of living than Flagstaff (which I love, but housing is expensive there).
posted by purenitrous at 9:02 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding purenitrous — we just moved to Salem (from the Maryland suburbs of DC) about a month ago, and it's really pretty nice, in a slow-paced kind of way. Very walkable/bikeable, cheap housing/CoL, and about 15-20% Hispanic. As purenitrous said, it's an hour to the coast, an hour to the mountains — and it's also an hour to Portland, if you get the jones for some bigger-city excitement.
posted by genehack at 11:07 PM on September 6, 2012

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