Snowflake seeking snow-free home
December 29, 2013 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I want to move someplace in the US where I can find a good enough job to pay the rent, have a good social life, and avoid all of the weather that New England has. This is pretty much all I have to go on, so I need some help figuring out how to proceed from here.

My partner and I currently live (together) with our cat in New Haven, CT. We are in our mid-20s, I am male, she is female. For health reasons that we shouldn't count on clearing up in the near future, she isn't working right now and I am the only one with income. We want to move someplace in April that has warm, sunny weather (it can be piping hot year round, or just have much milder winters than here, but we don't want to move to someplace like Seattle where it will rain all the time.)

We are looking to pay a maximum of $1200/month in rent (with low additional utilities), want to live in our own place without roommates, want a place where public transportation is at least viable (I have a car, she does not, and she should be able to at least get to doctors' appts and do some social things without me), I will need a job of some sort that will pay enough to cover living expenses.

I currently make $34K/year, but there is no possibility of transferring to the same job in another state. I have some college, but no degree, and experience working in retail, grocery management, and (mostly) low-level lefty political organizing. I speak decent Spanish and have some experience doing childcare and assistant teaching nursery school. That said, I'd be glad to work doing just about anything that either paid enough to provide me with the disposable income to thoroughly enough my downtime or paid just enough to live, but provided me with actual downtime (40 hours/week is unheard of at my current position).

Some cities that we are vaguely considering are San Francisco CA, Austin TX, and Albuquerque NM.

What cities should we be considering? How does one move to a new city very far from their current one without having to travel there too much beforehand to look for jobs or housing? What resources can we use to develop at least an effective pro/con list for these cities?
posted by cheerwine to Travel & Transportation (46 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not San Francisco, the rent is insane.

How much do you have in savings, and what do you currently do?
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are seriously thousands of cities on the US where it doesn't snow, you can rent an apartment for $1200, and you can get a job making in the mid-$30k's. Any one of them could work based on the criteria you've given so far.

What sorts of things do you like to do? Do you want to be near the ocean/mountains/etc? Is there any area that might make you closer to family or career or schools or anything you might care about?

I mean, nobody on earth will recommend Bakersfield, but 350,000 people manage to live there and it technically fits all your criteria. You need to be more specific.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:26 PM on December 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I was all ready to say, Tampa! until I saw you want public transit. I think that's going to be really hard; all the places I can think of with good transit options are cold and expensive (NYC, Boston, Chicago). I think you could find thousands of cities with rents way below $1200, and I think you should consider shooting for one and putting the savings toward a car or regular taxi service for your girlfriend.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:33 PM on December 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


You couldn't afford San Francisco, but maybe a city like Sacramento -- it's a one-hour light rail train ride from San Fran and much cheaper. The public transport there consists of buses and a lot of people bike.

Honestly, your criteria seems pretty easy to me, but it does probably exclude cool cities like Austin. I was considering moving there and the rent was just too high if you wanted to actually live in the the urban fun parts. Maybe you could swing it if you live further out from the downtown core. But you might just need to look for some smaller-scale cities.

If you have no career track, but you speak Spanish and have some experience in politics, I'd tell you to do a campaign somewhere where there is a governor or U.S. senate race in 2014 and be a organizer or volunteer recruiter/coordinator for a year. Then at least when the campaign ends, you can collect unemployment while you look for another job. Maybe you could use your campaign experience to then get a government job, if the Dems end up in office. That said, a political campaign will be long hours, but come November you'll have all the free time in the world.

You should also think about hobbies. Some cities will offer you a lot of great hiking, others will have an active art scene, some cities will have no professional sports teams to follow, some cities will have a lot of green space to enjoy, etc. Work is important, but you should also think about what you and your partner will do when you're not working. Right now, almost anywhere along the west coast or the southern part of the country fits your criteria. Be a little more introspective and picky or you'll have so many options, it will be overwhelming.

I don't know much about the cost of living, but I've heard Portland is a cool city for young people. I think Phoenix might be affordable, but it gets extremely hot in the summer and I'm not sure the public transportation is great. You'll need to do some real research.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you should move to Athens, GA, which meets all of your criteria, as long as you choose an in-town neighborhood on one of the bus lines. You can live nicely in a two-bedroom apartment for WELL under $1000/mt in rent. More like $600-$900.

But then again, I think everyone should move to Athens.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:38 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


showbiz_liz: Nothing really in savings—about $1000 currently, plus the $1500 security deposit that we should get back from this apartment. And I currently work as a canvass director for a political organization.

tyler: We are not necessarily looking to be near family. Being near some hike-able outdoor place sounds nice, but not necessary. We like good, interesting food and wine, art museums or events, small-town feel festival things (recently, a pickle festival in NY and county fairs in PA), and I've been meaning to start playing soccer again. We don't necessarily need a school nearby. We don't need crazy nightlife type things either—there should be a bar or two in town, but we'd much rather make friends to invite over for dinner parties than to go out to clubs with.
posted by cheerwine at 2:42 PM on December 29, 2013


Philly? Great transit, relatively inexpensive rent. Not super warm but better than New England.
posted by mlle valentine at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2013


Austin meets some of your criteria but the public transit around here is pretty touch and go. It can work if you want to live in Austin proper but you're still going to want a car and I can't say I'd envy her waiting for the bus or light rail when it's 107 out and there's no shade and no clouds, which it will be for 3-6 months, depending how hot the summer is.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:55 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Phoenix? It's not the most culturally cool place ever, but not the worst either, especially if you live downtownish. We've got First Fridays and year-round farmers markets, and it's always warm, and cost of living is surprisingly low. Public transit kinda sucks outside downtown but we do have light rail now and it's expanding.
posted by celtalitha at 2:56 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also speaking Spanish will get you a job twice as fast here as anyone who doesn't, so there's that.
posted by celtalitha at 2:58 PM on December 29, 2013


Denver's winters are surprisingly mild (and they are SUNNY!) and your Spanish will come in very handy here. Salaries tend to be higher than average, and I think the cost of living is pretty low for what you get. $1200 would definitely be doable for a 1- or 2-bedroom in a nice part of town. MeMail me if you've got any questions.
posted by jabes at 3:07 PM on December 29, 2013


I'll stop threadsitting after this, I swear.

Places like Philly and Denver are too cold for what we are looking for, I think. Ideally, we'd like to be in a place where we don't need to own a winter jacket at all, so 50 degrees or more year-round.

Touch-and-go public transit is okay, but not ideal. Waiting awhile for a bus is okay, but having to take 4 buses to get someplace that is a 25 minute drive away or buses not running on weekends is not.

Unless the public transportation is good enough to serve outer areas, assume that we are looking to live in or near the center of the city. It doesn't need to be the best neighborhood—if my 2001 Chevy Cavalier can be safely parked on the street, and the crime is mostly non-violent or targeted (gang-related violent crime, not shootings of random pedestrians), it's fine by us...which is to say, we've lived in Brooklyn, NY and Baltimore, MD, so we're not squeamish.
posted by cheerwine at 3:16 PM on December 29, 2013


The OP is in New Haven CT, not Caribou Maine.

The mean January temperature in New Haven is 30 degrees F.

Mean January temperature in Philly = 32.3

Mean January temperature in Denver = 29.2

New Haven is surprisingly mild in winter, but it is still too cold and snowy for the OP. Plus, I think those fall and spring snowstorms in Denver--which are common--would not be liked very much by the OP--not to mention the occasional blast of arctic air.

OP----you gotta go to the south, southwest, or California. I went to Athens GA last spring. It was delightful. I can't speak to the public transit, but winter is mild and snowless, the food is great, and it has a great music scene. I bet other southern university towns might also be similar. Check them out.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:16 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Central Austin would have been what you want 30 years ago, but that big small-town alternaculture refuge (memorialized in Richard Linklater's Slacker) is dead and buried under luxury condos.

Consider New Orleans, Louisiana. Good weather, great city public transportation, lower-than-average rent, more jobs (esp. in the service sector), leans Democratic with a strong African-American political/cultural influence.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:27 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, and a queer (not rich white gay male, but actual queer) community would be nice, but not dealbreaking if it doesn't exist.
posted by cheerwine at 3:29 PM on December 29, 2013


as long as you choose an in-town neighborhood on one of the bus lines.

Athens has a decent bus system by south-eastern standards, i.e. it's terrible. One bus per hour plus no real evening service makes any kind of scheduling a total pain, because you have to make massive allowances for delays or cancellations.

You already mentioned Albuquerque. Modesto? Denver?
posted by holgate at 3:30 PM on December 29, 2013


When my husband and I were looking into ideas of where to move we used Find Your Spot. It's a quiz that gives you city options based on what you're looking for, including size and weather.

Then we often used wikipedia to look at the cities demographics, transportation, and climate. (For example, one for Albuquerque.)

Also, Walk Score is a useful took for public transportation and finding what's in walking distance of certain locations. You can also find apartments on there!

We were lucky enough to have family out where we moved who viewed our apartment beforehand, but our plan B was to stay in an extended stay hotel while we looked for a final place. Start searching for jobs and places to live and start making calls. Then you can try to have some stuff nailed down as far as final places you are interested in living, and can hopefully cut down your stay at an extended stay hotel to as short as possible. (Extended stay has cooking ability and better long-term pricing.)
posted by Crystalinne at 3:30 PM on December 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


In addition to my other suggestions, maybe Oakland, California? Though it might be a little expensive for you. (Though still way cheaper than San Francisco.)

The problem is, cities that have good public transit and are very walkable tend to have higher rent prices. You might need to settle for using a car, in which case, you have tons of affordable options.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:42 PM on December 29, 2013


So, when you say you want someplace that's 50 degrees or more year-round, do you mean "generally above 50 degrees on most days, but can occasionally get colder" or "absolutely never ever gets far below 50 at all"? If it's the latter, you're going to be very limited by your choices - even most of Florida gets down to below freezing now and then. (Orlando's airport doesn't have a de-icer - ask me how I know!)
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 3:44 PM on December 29, 2013


I will also chime in to support Sacramento. Cheap enough, great access to SF or Lake Tahoe, beautiful and with a great food scene.
posted by brynna at 3:53 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


L.A. proper will be too expensive, but I'd look into any place that is serviced on this map. (Yes, I'm becoming a real rail booster even though it's still a couple of years from reaching me!)

There will be pros and cons for each area, but if you can be an hour or so from the beach or DTLA you'll probably have a good time.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:54 PM on December 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was thinking Phoenix or Las Vegas. Both are large metro areas with housing markets that felt the bubble pop in a huge way (which is great for you financially as a potential renter). As I understand it, the job markets in these places offer a lot of medium wage opportunities and might also benefit from some Spanish.

Your April timing is also quite good in that both of those places (Phoenix moreso) have a large exodus before the spring and summer heat hit.

If I am in your shoes, I am weighing affordability with lifestyle and job prospects. Phoenix and Las Vegas offer a good mix with some current externalities making them stand out in comparison to many others. The other desert cities like Tucson or Albuquerque might offer similar mix (though not as significant, I think).
posted by milqman at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd encourage you to go somewhere where you can get your rent below a third of your income (generally considered to be the standard for housing that you can afford). Albuquerque is fairly cheap housing-wise but I think wages may also be lower. I think the southwest in general is awesome and you would have a lot of opportunities to work in a field where you could use your Spanish.
posted by fieldtrip at 4:10 PM on December 29, 2013


City Data is a good resource for potential moves.
posted by Beti at 4:10 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson all sound like a good fit.
posted by kbar1 at 4:10 PM on December 29, 2013


Also, a lot of places in the southwest (Albuquerque included) are close to hiking
posted by fieldtrip at 4:11 PM on December 29, 2013


We're in albuquerque and while it certainly fits many of your requirements, the winters may be colder than you want. I manage with sweatshirts most of the winter, but lows in December/January are in the teens/twenties and highs are often in the 40s or colder. It is remarkably sunny here- which makes it feel warmer than the air temperature when outside.

Public transit is ok. A couple of neighborhoods are walkable, but it's really a car city.

Abq is generally an inexpensive place to live (gas, utilities, etc...) and I think you'd have your pick of neighborhoods with a budget of $1200 month.

Feel free to follow up if you have any further questions.
posted by jeffch at 4:13 PM on December 29, 2013


I couldn't live in NM for various reasons, but while it does get cold in the winter, a low-precipitation cold is SUCH a different thing from constant worrying about the state of the roads, etc. It was TV show "winter is the time to get out your nice winter gear and talk about how chilly it is" kind of winter, not "winter is the time you have to get up an hour early to de-ice the car" kind of winter.
posted by Sequence at 4:28 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Houston has:
- Warm weather (today it got up to 69 degrees)
- Jobs (#1 city for job creation this year)
- Good medical system (one of the largest in the world)
- Low cost of living and high pay (your $1200 can be a house payment, easily)
- Spanish-speaking residents (there are more than 90 languages spoken here, but Spanish is a big one -- we have the 3rd largest Hispanic and 3rd largest Mexican populations in the US)
- I think we're accepting of queer lifestyle (our mayor is openly lesbian and just announced her pending nuptials planned for next month, although she cannot do it here yet)
- Good food and wine (we're "the dining-out capital of the US")
- Art and events (we have more than a dozen museums, a ballet, an orchestra, multiple concert venues, public gardens, and much more)

Houston doesn't have:
- Public transportation (we have a Metro bus system, and we have a small light rail system, but nobody would claim that we're a big public transportation town -- inner city is vastly better for this than the suburbs)
posted by Houstonian at 4:31 PM on December 29, 2013


Another fan of New Orleans here. It's humid, summer lasts about nine months and for about three or four weeks in the winter the temperature will dip below 40F, About every seven years it will freeze overnight or for a day or two but normally something is blooming year 'round. I haven't owned an overcoat for years--a jacket will do.

Once you get past New Year's, Carnival begins January 6. Carnival is for everyone and there's a krewe or walking group for everyone who wants one. Or go it alone. There are welcoming and interesting people everywhere. If you don't know how to dance in the streets, you can learn living here.

Living close to the St. Charles streetcar line is key for using public transportation. I tested and found I could easily manage without a car so I sold my car twenty years ago and have not missed it. Rentals and taxis are available. Almost everything in the 'sliver by the river' is accessible and the area is considered high ground, so no flooding plus good shopping, food, festivals, neighborhoods--and this is a city of neighborhoods.

Really good food is available everywhere to suit every budget. We are one of three cities with such a strong local food movement that we were included in the expansion of San Francisco's Good Eggs local food sales coordination, pickup and delivery service. Read the weekly Gambit for music, festivals, food, markets and everything local.

I love this place for all it adds to my quality of life but I also acknowledge its challenges. Memail me if you have particular questions; I will be happy to try to answer them.
posted by Anitanola at 4:58 PM on December 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Native Chicagoan here. Have lived in Boston, Denver, Albuquerque and now St Petersburg, FL. Have spent a great deal of time in San Francisco.

St Petersburg hits on all aspects, but the weak point is transit, however it is surprisingly a hot button issue - see Greenlight Pinellas to learn about the rail initiative. Tampa is a bit more of a "real" city, but St Pete is more "doable" on a budget and frankly it's easier to get around.

You are correct that Denver winters are colder than what you are looking for. I loved them for the first five years I lived in Denver, but this last winter was brutal. Cold, long and snowy.

Get in touch if you want more information or if you want to connect on a visit.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:59 PM on December 29, 2013


A lot of Oregon, the average winter is more in the 40 range, but there's a lot of days that are warmer. I'm thinking it's probably too cold for your needs, but Portland for the most part is pretty a little warmer - all that concrete - and fits (or has nearby) a lot of your other requirements. I'm down in the Gorge where it's colder (that dratted east wind) and I rarely give in and dig out a winter coat, sticking with sweatshirts most of the time. (And I'm on the chronic-pain-that's-sensitive-to-cold side... but I'm also much happier staying inside when it's cold. I like to look at snow, but not be IN it.) Compared to Denver, though, our winters are pretty mild.

Thing is, out here in the Northwest, if you're not in-city, there is no such thing as public transportation - though many other communities are are walkable from at least some neighborhoods. Another option, if a city doesn't have for-everyone mass transit, many communities have public transportation at low or not cost for those that are elderly or have medical needs.

A bit of advice, though - if you're looking for an area that will be easier on your partner's health, make sure you (carefully) consider humidity/dryness and ultra-hot. For me, I adore dry heat - honest to goodness, 110 feels more like 85 to me - but give me some humidity, and 90 can make me miserable.
posted by stormyteal at 5:48 PM on December 29, 2013


I've seen a couple of people mention Portland. I love my town, but you will not. While it's usually warmer than 40, it's definitely in the 40s a lot in the winter. And when it's not raining, it's often much colder. The past few years we've had cold snaps in December that have been really cold. This month, we had several days in a row where the temperature never got above freezing. You could certainly rent someplace for $1200 or less, but the rental market is ridiculously competitive. We do have good public transportation, but the job market is pretty bad here unless you're a programmer. I wouldn't recommend moving here without a job certainly, and getting a job is, to a large extent, luck and timing (it was in my case). Given that the question discounts Seattle for the rain, I can't see why Portland would be a good alternative.

I see lots of folks suggesting Athens, but what about Atlanta? It has a much bigger economy than Athens and is still growing.

So last April, Forbes published a web story about the ten best cities to find employment; it looked at cost-of-living and industry growth as well as a few other factors. I can't speak to it personally, but Jacksonville, Florida meets your weather criteria. Phoenix, Richmond, VA, and Oklahoma City also made their list and would work for you weather-wise.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:12 PM on December 29, 2013


In the last 10 years I've lived in both Saint Petersburg, FL, and Savannah, GA, and either might work for you. Savannah, where I live now, is probably the better bet. It's both a college town ( three large universities including one that is mostly arts) and a tourist town. Cost of living is low. Weather is mild. I spent the afternoon at the beach today, high seventies and sun. I didn't swim but got my feet wet and I'd guess the water temp is about what it is in New England in July. Public transportation is better in both St. Pete and Savannah than in a lot of other places.
posted by mareli at 6:25 PM on December 29, 2013


With your weather criteria, the public transport thing is going to be the biggest headache. You're looking at the deep south or the southwest, and those areas aren't known for good public transportation. For reference, I live in central North Carolina (not exactly the frozen tundra) and our winters don't meet your qualifications.

Houston is a good suggestion. If you live in the city core, you can get around ok on public transportation, particularly if you are trying to get to the Texas Medical Center, which is a huge hub of public transportation. My husband and I were a one-car couple for years there, and we made it work. I thought the weather there sucked, but I don't like hot, so YMMV. There are a lot of great things to see and do there, and stuff really is cheaper than other major cities.

Some other thoughts - you might want to consider the size of the place you want to move to and how that will impact the other things you want. I don't know the northeast well enough to know if New Haven is a little city or just part of the endless northeastern metroplex, but some of the better suggestions here (Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix) are huge, sprawling cities. The other thing to consider is that if you are a lefty political organizer interested in a vibrant queer community, the deep south is going to be a tough place to live, particularly smaller, more traditional and insular places like Savannah.
posted by jeoc at 6:38 PM on December 29, 2013


LA seems like a decent option...it's possible to find a decent place at your budget, and you can choose a neighborhood that's more walkable and transit-friendly than the LA stereotypes would have you believe (though I'd argue it's pretty critical to find a job near your home, and it also helps if you're happy to spend your free time nearby as well). The weather's pretty much ideal, I think. Plenty of interesting people (speaking of pickle festivals, I remember attending one there a decade ago). Great cheap food. Feel free to reach out if you want more specific recommendations re neighborhoods. I moved to LA with an ex when we'd just graduated from college. Neither of us had jobs before moving, but it all worked out well.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:58 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I currently make $34K/year, but there is no possibility of transferring to the same job in another state. I have some college, but no degree, and experience working in retail, grocery management, and (mostly) low-level lefty political organizing. I speak decent Spanish and have some experience doing childcare and assistant teaching nursery school. That said, I'd be glad to work doing just about anything that either paid enough to provide me with the disposable income to thoroughly enough my downtime or paid just enough to live, but provided me with actual downtime (40 hours/week is unheard of at my current position).

Pretty much any southern state will do, especially Texas (but probably Dallas instead of Austin if public transit really matters). Smaller towns will be cheaper but public transit is out entirely.

IMHO instead of looking at this as 'where is good to live?" the question is 'where will I be able to thrive professionally and fill in my gaps inexpensively?" which is a whole different question but probably the one you should be asking since that would tell you a lot more about where you should live. You need to figure out how to boost your income and what kind of work your partner can actually do. Moving and then winging it will put you in jeopardy.
posted by rr at 7:43 PM on December 29, 2013


I was going to say Tucson or Phoenix, but the Tucson I love is gone forever. Now the state of Arizona is a nightmare in many ways, so be sure you check out all details about the places you're considering before you pack your bags.

And hooray for your courage to pack up and try someplace new! Good luck to you.
posted by aryma at 9:00 PM on December 29, 2013


Thirding New Orleans. There are plenty of people here who get around on the bus and streetcar just fine, although depending on where you live you could save enough on rent to buy another car. I was looking at apartments in your range fairly recently and found lots of places, including small houses and really nice apartments in great neighborhoods. New Orleans has its own totally unique culture, plus it's a neighborhood-y city where everyone knows everyone. It does get below 50 from time to time, but that definitely qualifies as "cold" here and 70 degrees in December is not uncommon.
posted by MadamM at 9:48 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to toss in another vote for St Pete, FL. Public transportation is a bit weak, but you mentioned that only you have a car. Does she drive? Perhaps on occasion she can drop you at work and run her errands then come get you after work. If you live near downtown proper, transportation is not that big of an issue what with cabs and trolleys. Also scooters and bicycles are pretty practical ( once again if your hanging downtown). I would venture that if you start in the center of downtown St Pete, everything you listed in your wants and needs would be within a five mile radius, except maybe your job but it very well could be. :) Oh, and as for Queer, we had 125,000 people turn out for our gay pride parade even though it rained. Good luck in your search wherever you land!
posted by HappyHippo at 10:23 PM on December 29, 2013


Yes albuqueruqe! It fits your initial criteria and your follow up criteria. In particular - you can have a call center job tomorrow that pays more than what you're making now because of your Spanish. I take public transit regularly, although not exclusively. Most tides are at most one transfer for me, but we did also pick our neighborhood with an eye to being close to a transit hub. (Not that I end up going through it.) there's a big queer community - not lgbt (although there is one) - queer. The cost of living is low, and you'll easily find somewhere in your price range. The main thing will be picking doctors that are accessible by transit. Most of them are, but some would be challenging. Feel free to memail me with questions about neighborhoods or jobs or meeting people.

Winter is milder here than Denver, but still colder than say Phoenix. But it's dry cold and not bone chilling. I think it feels warmer here than San Francisco most days. The nights are cold, but the days usually warm right up.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:41 PM on December 29, 2013


San Diego would work. You can most likely get a 1BR apartment somewhere in the center city area (east of I-5, somewhere between I-8 and SR94) for $1200, although you'd be cutting it close. That area will generally have good bus access, but the light rail system doesn't go up there. Neighborhoods you might want to look at would include Hillcrest, University Heights, Normal Heights, Banker's Hill (watch out for the flight path to the airport), North Park, South Park, possibly a few others. Even out in La Mesa, you can hop on the trolley. Getting further afield from downtown than center city will negatively impact your public transit options. Hillcrest, Mission Hills and University Heights are the center of a vibrant gay community. It is just past 11pm here, and the temperature is 57 degrees, but it's been fairly warm lately. In our darkest depths of winter, the high might dip below 60 a smidge.
posted by LionIndex at 11:07 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to chime in for Atlanta.

It's a hub, so you always have flights available to visit family. Our winters are mild, to the point that if there is snow (about once every 5 years,) the whole city shuts down.

Lots of good jobs, a decent transit system and some great, walkable neighborhoods in town.

Atlanta has amazing Farmers Markets

You can get a nice place for $1200. We're renting a 1400 Sq Ft apartment in a tony part of town for $1400 per month.

Yes, GA can be conservative, but City of Atlanta is democratic.

As for moving to a place site unseen, it can be done! I've done it!

You can hit the apartment rental sites, and the job boards (I prefer LinkedIn and Simply Hired.)

Atlanta is a Southwest and Delta hub. Check on-line for airfare specials, often they come with car rental and hotels at deep discounts. Come for a long weekend.

I've always maintained that no one really MOVES to Atlanta, you get transferred here, but I really, really like it and I recommend it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:34 AM on December 30, 2013


One thing you might also want to consider when assessing your options is how tight the rental market is. If you're moving someplace you don't have friends or family, the cost of interim housing while looking for an apartment can add up quickly. For example I moved to Portland recently, and it took three weeks of intensive searching to find a place that suited me. Many apartments (except those in unappealing areas or expensive buildings that had just finished construction) were already snapped up weeks before the units actually became available. Many had multiple applications within hours of going on the market. This was a total surprise to me as everywhere else I've lived had much more availability, especially since I'd looked at craigslist and it seemed like there were plenty of reasonable places on the market. So if possible check with someone (in your general income bracket) who has looked for apartments recently to find out how long it might take you to find one!
posted by unsub at 9:39 AM on December 30, 2013


I hear that rents are going up a little bit in New Orleans, but 2 years ago you could get a 2br/1ba in Uptown for less than $1200. You could easily find a job that made mid-$30's, and people do not work long hours there. It does get a little cold in the winter but not *cold* like the NorthEast.

Public transit is not great but I do have a contingent of friends there who take the bus and/or streetcar every day.
posted by radioamy at 9:56 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am another person who lives and works in New Orleans without a car. I pay less than your budget for an apartment that would fit your criteria, on the Magazine Street bus line, which is frequent and reliable.
posted by CheeseLouise at 10:51 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


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