Help us leave Texas behind
April 27, 2006 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Help my wife and I find a city to live in. We have an opportunity to spend three or four days in another city to get the feel of it and would like recommendations on where we should go.

Similar to this question about Austin, we'd like suggestions on towns which meet our criteria and things we can do their to get an idea of what it would be like to live there.

We're looking for a place which :
  • is a medium to large size city
  • has a large cultural influence with museums, theatres, and live music
  • doesn't have harsh winters
  • has plenty of sunshine throughout the year
A place which has the following would be nice but isn't mandatory:
  • a major college
  • not in the South
  • a growing job market
We're anxious to get out of Texas, so any suggestions would be welcome.
posted by yangwar to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total)
Define "harsh winters," because that combined with "Not In the South" limits you to about three states (four if you'd consider Hawaii).
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:34 AM on April 27, 2006

Also, define "plenty of sunshine", because both Seattle and Portland meet your criteria, but only have "plenty of sunshine" from about June till about October.

Portland's job market isn't as robust as Seattle's, but there are definitely jobs to be had here.

You should also consider Tucson, if you want plenty of sunshine and a decent sized city. The job market's kinda tight, though.
posted by pdb at 8:37 AM on April 27, 2006

Try this quiz.
posted by leapingsheep at 8:47 AM on April 27, 2006

Oh, it's been awhile since I've used that quiz. I just went through it again and saw that they ask for your name, address, and email at the end. But I think you'll find it very useful.
posted by leapingsheep at 8:55 AM on April 27, 2006

Sacramento ought to do the trick (though I know zilch about the job market there). Plus, the Bay Area's just a short drive away if you need even more culture.
I know very little about Baltimore, but the climate should be close to what you're asking after, and there's plenty of culture. And DC's not far for even more culture.
I dunno, I keep coming back to Tucson and Sacramento with your criteria. Maybe Albuquerque? San Diego?
posted by willpie at 9:02 AM on April 27, 2006

St. Petersburg, FL has all of those things, and although FL is technically a "southern" state, this is one of those parts of FL that doesn't seem "southern".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:12 AM on April 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

Omaha, Nebraska is actually a very vibrant, cosmopolitan city that's experienced a lot of growth in the past few years. It may not meet your criteria for "no harsh winters" though. However, housing is very inexpensive - you can get a 2000 sq. ft. 2 story house for around 200k. It is home to the Joslyn Art Museum, Durham Western Heritage Museum, Children's Museum and the Strategic Air Command Museum not too far out of town. It also has the majestic old Orpheum Theater and the Omaha Symphony. It has several colleges - University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University are the big ones. It has a great dining scene with a lot of independently owned restaurants. Sports, of course, are big with the College World Series taking place there every year. And Warren Buffet lives in Omaha. So there you go.
posted by Ostara at 9:29 AM on April 27, 2006

Damn, I was all ready to sing the praises of Minneapolis when I got to requirements 3 and 4. You're positive about no harsh winters? They build character!
posted by nanojath at 9:36 AM on April 27, 2006

Madison, Wisconsin is really nice. The winters might be stronger than what you're accustomed to, but it's really not that bad, and quite pretty when there's snow.
posted by mimi at 9:47 AM on April 27, 2006

Salt Lake City, Utah

Cultural Influences:
Seat of a growing world religion
Leavened by friction between the 50% who belong to that religion and the 50% who don't
Growing immigrant community
Major university
Symphony orchestra, two dance companies, independant theater.
Art Museum, Natural History Museum (Dinosaurs!), Children's Museum, Pioneer Museum.
4 square seasons -- Snowy winters, but nowhere near as cold as in the midwest.
Fantastic outdoor recreation.
posted by Good Brain at 10:07 AM on April 27, 2006

I've lived in two middle sized cities: Portland and Pittsburgh. Not enough sun in Portland (although there is more than people think), and too harsh of winters in Pittsburgh.

Although I've never lived there, I would strongly reccomend looking around Nor Cal given your preferences.
posted by Packy_1962 at 10:53 AM on April 27, 2006

I second San Diego
posted by matteo at 11:08 AM on April 27, 2006

I have to second the vote for Sacramento, CA. Its reputation is undeserved. There are theatres, museums, and other cool cultural stuff all over the place. The whole area has grown quite a bit over the past 5 years, and downtown Sacramento is full of trendy restaurants and a vivid nightlife. I kind of miss living there, to be honest with you.
* Sac State is there. UC Davis isn't too far away.
* The job market is actually growing up there, but you didn't tell us what market you're looking in.
* Sacramento has *LOTS* of sunshine, and no harsh winters.
* The music scene is pretty cool. There are lots of great local bands, like The Kimberly Trip and several decent live music venues.

It was actually voted America's Most Diverse City by Time.
posted by drstein at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2006

Have you thought about Louisville, KY?

Culture: Actors Theatre, Speed Museum, decent music scene, growing art scene (check out the LEO for some idea about that).

Major college: University of Louisville.

No harsh winters/decent sunshine.

Louisville is in the south (just barely), but isn't all that southern. (The city is solid blue, and despite the current climate of the larger state, it's worth remembering that Kentucky stayed with the North during the Civil War.

Economy: I don't know much detail, but I hear it's not bad. I do know that the city is a little overbuilt, which means that housing is pretty reasonable placed next to a lot of otherwise comparable cities.
posted by j-dawg at 11:10 AM on April 27, 2006

No winters and no south pretty much leaves you with cities in or near california, but 4 days isn't long enough to get a feel for a real city.

(The city is solid blue, and despite the current climate of the larger state, it's worth remembering that Kentucky stayed with the North during the Civil War. )
posted by j-dawg

Yes, when picking a city it's best to remember what side it took during a war almost 150 years ago. That makes perfect sense.
posted by justgary at 11:18 AM on April 27, 2006

Yes, when picking a city it's best to remember what side it took during a war almost 150 years ago. That makes perfect sense.

When someone says "We want to leave the South" and no other explanation is offered, it's not totally off-base to presume that there might be cultural and political motivations at play.

Not understanding that where a Southern city sits in terms of the North v. South identity (which is still very much tied to the Civil War) will affect its political and cultural climate today is a bit provincial.
posted by pineapple at 11:32 AM on April 27, 2006

Seattle, WA.

There are TONS of amazing theaters, an incredible music scene (not just "grunge", either. Good jazz and blues!), several respected colleges, gorgeous water, is a "metropolitan" city in every respect, and is just FUN.

It's hard to get bored here, physically and mentally. There's plenty of positive stimulation and neat neighborhoods. I've lived in many different cities over the years, and I keep thinking I should have just moved here sooner.

There is some rain, true, but it's NOT as bad as Frasier made it look.

Oh, and coffee on every single street corner, not all of it Starbucks.

Oh oh, and Sacramento, while fun to visit, sucks after 5PM.
posted by mattoly at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2006

How about Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Medium sized - about 600,000 people. Beautiful desert setting. Great neighborhoods, culture, live music, museums, etc. Low cost of living. Mild winters with only a couple days of snow, if that, but skiing is only a short drive away. Temperate summers in the 80s or 90s. More than 300 days of sunshine annually. Booming economy. Cheap houses.

I was looking to leave Ohio in 1995 and chose Albuquerque on a whim. I'll probably stay here the rest of my life.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:21 PM on April 27, 2006

Denver. 300+ days of sunshine a year and 70 degree days in January.

There are several colleges here, and if you can stand driving to the suburbs, CU is in Boulder.

DIA has flights to pretty much everywhere, and with the recent arrival of Southwest, airfares are actually lower this year than they were this time last year.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:54 PM on April 27, 2006

Phoenix has all of your requirements, but instead of a harsh winter you get a harsh summer. It probably falls behind some other large cities in the cultural department, but there is more than enough in this department.

I suppose Tucson fits the bill too, but I hate that place.
posted by mullacc at 2:16 PM on April 27, 2006

mattoly : I wouldn't think Seattle gets enough sunshine for yangwar's liking. Did you live here this last winter? Did you forget? You're just suffering temporary amnesia because the last coupla weeks have been pretty nice weather-wise!

It's funny, my husband I actually considered leaving Seattle for Austin, because the rain was NON STOP. We're over that now.

The winters are pretty mild here though, despite the gray wetness. Summers are freaking amazing. It does have plenty of great culture and food. Scenic.
posted by delladlux at 3:04 PM on April 27, 2006

I lived in Asheville, NC and forgot I was in the south (i grew up in Atlanta). I would love to live there again. Perfect mix of the four seasons throughout the year and the mountians are sublime.
posted by iurodivii at 8:38 PM on April 27, 2006

I'll second St. Pete, FL. And, as someone who once lived in Seattle all I can say is you DON'T move there for the sunshine.
posted by photoslob at 8:42 PM on April 27, 2006

My vote goes to San Diego or Albequerque.

What's wrong with the south? Is it the religion thing? If so, avoid the mountain states. The racism thing? If so, avoid the midwest. The accents? Avoid New England. Scared of immigrants? Avoid the Southwest. Personal skeletons in the closet? Can't help you there.

Seriously. Why rule out 60% of the cities that fit every other item on your list? The research triangle of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. can be a great place to live. As can Atlanta, I have heard.

But I live in Brooklyn. Just move here and deal with the periodic nor'easter.
posted by billtron at 8:52 PM on April 27, 2006

« Older Takeout Tamales in Portland?   |   What should my volleyball team be named? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.