Warmer climates, jobs, and cultural fit - where to consider moving?
February 24, 2015 7:02 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I currently live in Boston, but I want to live in a warmer climate and she (Industrial Engineering MS) wants to find a job. Which places should we consider moving to?

She's had a large amount of frustration finding a job - one year after graduating and getting her CAPM she is still looking. Picking a place where there are many job options for her is important. I would also need to find a job, but with my MS in math and 3+ years of web dev experience I am less worried about myself. Huge plus if work-life balance is part of the local culture.

We both dislike long winters. I would be in heaven if I could swim most of the year. She dislikes temperatures much above 90 F, but I'm ok with a bit higher. I love the ocean but a nearby lake, river, or good city pool might do. We feel way better when we are active, ideally spending time outside regularly.

We're both pretty progressive and non-religious, and while we don't need an echo chamber we also don't want to be harassed or have a hard time finding friends with our mostly-nerdy hobbies (video games, board games).

Finally, we want to be at least within a half hour drive of a decent sized city or metro area, for the culture and variety. It would probably have to be in the USA - I am a citizen and she has her green card from China. We'd consider elsewhere, but English would have to be the primary language. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
posted by Earl the Polliwog to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
90 degrees feels really different in high humidity than it does in low. Would she be ok if it hit the 90's but it were dry? That might open some options up.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:22 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Dry is a bit easier for her than humid at those high temps. We know we might have to bend on one or two of our criteria, so we're interested in "almosts" too.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 7:24 PM on February 24, 2015

Australian east coast or Perth. Lots of IE jobs. You'd be looking at 457 visas.
posted by Kerasia at 7:43 PM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seattle, dude.
posted by tristeza at 8:16 PM on February 24, 2015

Have you considered Hong Kong? It's not much on the work life balance, but it meets quite a few of your other criteria.
posted by frumiousb at 8:25 PM on February 24, 2015

I think you'd probably like the Bay Area. It's not warm enough to swim outside, but there are plenty of other opportunities to spend time being active outside. I know a lot of engineers here who haven't had trouble getting jobs, but I don't know much about that market. Of course as a web developer you'd have a plethora of options. It's progressive and a haven for nerdy hobbies. Work-life balance is definitely possible to achieve here, and much better than on the East Coast.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:47 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Although there is currently snow on the ground here in Colorado, it was 70 degrees in Denver two weeks ago. That high is unusual, but warm winter days are not, so if you're okay with the possibility of a late spring snow storm, I think our "long winters" can be much more tolerable than in the northeast or upper Midwest.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:15 PM on February 24, 2015

posted by pompomtom at 9:35 PM on February 24, 2015

I believe there is some paperwork involved re: reentry if a green card holder leaves the country for a certain length of time. Just a heads up to check with an immigration lawyer if you decide to leave the US and want to keep her status.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:55 PM on February 24, 2015

I'd suggest near Portland for the non-work aspects you seek, but have no clue about the work ones. As for outdoors... the Gorge pretty much has it all.
posted by stormyteal at 11:10 PM on February 24, 2015

I live in Silicon Valley and there are several gyms with year round outdoor pools near where I live, as well as beautiful beaches ~50 minutes away (not realistically warm enough to swim in the water; but people surf in wetsuits year round.) Weather is usually perfect, rarely outside the 55 (cold winter) to 85 (dry summer) range, although the drought is worrisome. I'm not familiar with your wife's line of work but the high tech market is bubble hot right now. The main complaint around here is the horribly high cost of real estate (both renting and owning.) The south bay has a large Chinese population if you're interested in things like Chinese language schools for your eventual kids. It's a nerve center for nerddom of all kinds.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:41 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

You might actually like the Dallas area, particularly the northern suburbs. It's not nearly as conservative or religious as rural parts of Texas can be. Nerdy hobbies aren't a problem; I lived in the area for years and had friends who were heavily involved in D&D and other tabletop gaming.

There are a number of lakes in the area, such as Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Hubbard. You might also enjoy the New Braunfels area (about four hours' drive) for the Guadalupe River. Also, you can fly down to the Gulf Coast in about an hour; it's really convenient to fly Southwest out of Love Field.

It normally gets up over 90 °F in the summer, but the winters are mild.
posted by neushoorn at 1:00 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Check out LA!
posted by persona au gratin at 1:59 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

You would love the Bay Area for all the reasons fingersandtoes mentioned. It checks off all your boxes. You would have access to San Francisco (and San Jose if you lived in the South Bay), the weather is great, there is a large Chinese and Chinese-American population, lots of things to do, the politics are, by and large, bright blue or at least socially liberal, and non-religious nerds will fit right in. There are plenty of jobs for tech professionals.

The downside to the Bay Area is, of course, the price of housing. Since both of you are degreed professionals in lucrative fields, you will probably be able to find a place to live, but you will have sticker shock.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:11 AM on February 25, 2015

Sacramento, CA ticks a lot of these boxes. It's a very diverse city, and though it gets hot in the summer it's dry and cools down at night so it's bearable. 90 there is much, much better than 90 in the northeast! Midtown, Land Park, and Curtis Park are some nice walkable neighborhoods with older homes.
posted by apricot at 5:22 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd say Silicon Valley and the Bay Area in general. Lots of jobs, great culture and the climate will suit you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:01 AM on February 25, 2015

I was going to recommend Sacramento. I live in midtown, and the central city is quite a bit cooler than the suburbs due to tree canopy and proximity to the river. You can't swim outdoors here in December and January, but you can bike year round, and we have a beautiful 60-mile bike trail.
posted by xeney at 6:19 AM on February 25, 2015

Portland and Seattle are really counter to a couple of your desires I'm from Portland, and love it dearly, but it's not a super diverse city (compared to the rest of the west coast). Also, the winters are mild compared to the east coast, but they're not really 'nice' (this past winter being a crazy bizarre exception). They're very dark, and can be incredibly oppressive in their own way.

Judging from your description, if you're looking at west coast cities in the US, further south is going to be more your bag. There are a couple of awesome cities in the northwest, but they don't really fit your description.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:28 AM on February 25, 2015

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