Texas Alternatives - Where can we move?
September 18, 2023 2:38 PM   Subscribe

So ... Texas. Politically and socially, we are less and less comfortable here. Where can we go?

I'm just about all "stay and fight"-ed out. I'm starting to research other places to live.

Our kids are all grown and gone, and we both work remotely, so we have some flexibility.

Constraining parameters are that my wife has chronic pain management issues that require us to live somewhere warm and dry, and we both love love love the wide open Texas sky. Where can we go with a culture that's less MAGA and more lefty?
posted by ZakDaddy to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
New Mexico? It’s a very poor state, but it is dry, and if you stay at lower elevations, warm-ish.
posted by dbmcd at 2:41 PM on September 18 [12 favorites]

Seconding New Mexico. It's gorgeous, culturally rich, warm, dry, and wide open. And it's pretty solidly blue.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:43 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]

The sky in New Mexico looks a lot like the one in Texas, and, at least at the moment, NM pulls off the amazing trick of being both mostly Southwestern-rural and a pretty blue state that's a little less swingy than Colorado.

On preview, there is also a constitutionally-guaranteed right to all-you-can-eat Hatch chile peppers.

California's more expensive, but worth considering if you can swing it financially.

If you're opening to leaving the US, there may be other options, but right now I don't see a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram of warm-and-dry and lefty.
posted by box at 2:45 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]

Tucson has a college town vibe, great Mexican food, and beautiful open skies (great sunsets too).
posted by shw at 2:56 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

Los Angeles resident here. I've been looking longingly at Santa Fe, NM for a few years now. In the early days of the pandemic, some friends of ours with kids at the same school as our kid pulled up stakes and moved to Provo, UT, thinking it was what they wanted. After less than a year in Provo they wound up in Santa Fe and are loving life.

Lots of different climates nearby, tons of cultural history, geological awesomeness, great food, and an arts culture (Meow Wolf, for instance). Santa Fe seems pretty darned okay to me.
posted by erst at 3:28 PM on September 18

NM ticks your boxes, except that it does get cold in the winters -- ABQ's elevation is nearly 5000 feet, and Santa Fe is 7000 feet. But the winters aren't generally overlong, and even when it's cold there's frequently blue skies.
posted by paper scissors sock at 3:34 PM on September 18

As mentioned above, NM does check the boxes, especially at lower altitudes. However, be aware that the eastern counties are quite red, so take that into consideration.
posted by Runes at 3:36 PM on September 18

I would warn against NM if you need anything more than the occasional doctor visit. Even Abq seems to lack numbers for medical professionals.

Also, in addition to east NM (which is essentially Texas) the sw is also red, e.g. I saw a box of Spotted Owl Helper at a general store in Grant county.
posted by falsedmitri at 3:50 PM on September 18

This question is starting to come up pretty regularly (me too! I asked last year! We're still looking!) so you might search for answers other people have already provided too.

There is nowhere that is year-round warm and ticks the other boxes, especially when "warm" 5 years ago is already "dangerously hot at some points" and not getting any cooler. New Mexico is also - as I found out when I asked this - so short on medical coverage that you often get sent to Colorado to see specialists, which would feel like shaky ground for me if I already had serious medical issues especially w/r/t pain management and state lines. To that end, "so far south in Colorado it's almost New Mexico" might be a better option for consideration. That is pretty red territory, but this too is a compromise you may have to make for COL if the state's blue enough to not tip overall.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:52 PM on September 18

Climate-wise, you can basically draw an upside-down T on the map, with the base being everything between you and San Diego, and the vertical line drawn diagonally up the intermountain west from New Mexico up into eastern Washington. That whole swath mostly gets you hot/dry summers, but with winters varying considerably depending on elevation and latitude.

Politically, though, you'll need to be more selective. AZ is basically purple at this point; NM is blue, as are CA, OR, CO, and WA, which gets you things like legal weed and abortion rights at the state level. But if you want to live in a town with lots of liberal neighbors, you need to look more closely at maps and pick the blue population centers within the sea of red rural counties.

If cost is a concern, be aware that most liberal locations in that geography are going to have high housing costs, though it might seem cheap if you are coming from somewhere like Austin. If places like Bend or Santa Fe tickle your fancy, look at Zillow before committing.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:37 PM on September 18

New Mexico and Colorado are the traditional places many Texans have left to. Anecdotally Colorado seems quite popular as a place to move to, all along the Front Range. As everyone's said they can both get cold.

California is another option and parts of Southern California meet a "warm and dry" requirement. Many of those particular areas lean towards the right. I'd suggest Palm Springs as a leftish place but it does have some cold in winters.

I think Arizona could work if you stick to more liberal areas. But then I'd say the same about Austin, where it looks like you're near, so that may not be an improvement.

My condolences. I left Texas 33 years ago and sometimes miss it but am glad I did.
posted by Nelson at 4:40 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

I vote either Tucson or northern AZ (though it does get cold in the winter). Tucson is a great little college town with plenty of empty nesters, a great sense of community and a fantastic food scene.
posted by simonelikenina at 6:18 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

Southern California has some great options. Some areas lean to the right, but it's still mostly still a blue state.
posted by Peach81 at 6:30 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]

Anyone got any thoughts on Nevada? It went for Clinton in 2016 then Biden in 2020. Seems to have blue cities and red rural areas. Henderson looks as though it has both warmth and sky.

I've never been there but here's a Quora thread on it and a 2017 AskMe.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:41 PM on September 18

You could try some California foothills or other inland. If you’re low enough you’ll get hot and dry and be able to escape to higher elevations a bit in summer (fire and smoke notwithstanding). There are wildfires and it’s not cheap; how not-cheap depends on where. Watch out for air quality issues beyond the smoke (ag-related).

You could try Flagstaff, though you’ll get winter winter.

I think you want US but people are definitely moving to Mexico for this, and in some places the elevation can make for a less punishing summer.

Rural Oregon? Nevada seems possible.
posted by vunder at 7:04 PM on September 18

Rural Oregon?

As red as it gets.
posted by Rash at 9:14 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]

Re: Nevada/Las Vegas area: I just moved away after living there for two years. Politically, it felt mostly blue with libertarian leanings. A lot of people in Vegas aren’t from there, so you end up with lots of Californian/Hawaiian/Utahn/etc. people with the interesting cultural mix that implies. I grew up in suburban Texas and Las Vegas (outside of the Strip) and Henderson felt similar. Strip malls, subdivisions, car centric. It’s pretty diverse in a way that feels similar to urban/suburban Texas. It does get a little bit cold in the winter but it’s very very dry and usually sunny pretty much year round. It’s a little under resourced for such a large city in terms of healthcare; I think a lot of people get super specialized care in California.
posted by MadamM at 9:43 PM on September 18

Albuquerque/Santa Fe/Las Cruces. Anywhere else in New Mexico and the health care will vary between nonexistent and terrible. Albuquerque is the next Austin, from what I can tell. It feels like Austin in the 90’s - funky, laid back, live and let live. Has a nice coffee shop culture, and the downtown farmers market is about to be expanded a lot. Has a downtown art festival once a month. Santa Fe is also very cool, it has a reputation for being an old people’s town, but it’s getting younger. It has a higher cost of living. Las Cruces is just now, over the last 2-3 years, turning into a real contender. It’s got a college town feel, and is missing a lot of city amenities, but is about 30-40 minutes from El Paso (which isn’t actually Texas, despite what the map says. Everyone here knows that El Paso is New Mexico’s largest city.) El Paso has an up and coming downtown (although Las Cruces has a better farmers market.) I really can’t recommend any other part of the state, because it’s mostly full of gun toting right wing terrorists*, where people make a trip once a month to the nearest Walmart for groceries (usually 90 minutes away), and health care consists of a clinic that’s open one day a week.

Feel free to AMA.

*not exaggerating.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:42 PM on September 19 [4 favorites]

The central part of Phoenix (as opposed to the far west and east valley) is politically liberal and offers a lot in the way of amenities. It definitely meets the warm and dry requirement. The downside is that rents have gone insane and you’re looking at at least $1600-$1800 for a one bedroom apartment. Feel free to send me a message if you have questions about living here.
posted by lemonwheel at 3:29 PM on September 24

« Older How do I figure out what actual medical providers...   |   how get efficiently to+from central London-Warner... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments