To find a new home city

JasconiusJasconius sword criminalmad onlineRegistered User regular
edited May 2016 in Help / Advice Forum
So my wife and I have agreed we need to leave the hellscape that is central Florida, through my job I have the ability to work virtually anywhere in the world remotely, and have the financial means to (willingly) deal with all but the most extreme markets (NYC, downtown Chicago, SF, etc)

So this is our chance to pretty much pick where we want to settle down and start a family. This is a thing that's happening, barring some sort of tragedy. Already notified my employer and they signed off.

Our plan is to, over the next 6 months, do weekend trips to the top candidate locations and scope the areas out and then move

Making this thread to collect local knowledge about places we might want to consider within cities that are mostly unknown to us, so we can have a nice weekend out of it and see what we gotta see

Our basic criteria are pretty much (in order of importance):
  • No extreme summers (regular, extended periods of 90F+ heat)
  • Some sort of an accessible city center/cultural center
  • Good, reasonably priced single-family housing within 20 minutes of those centers (ballpark $150-200 per square foot)
  • Some hint of an information economy (I work in software)
  • An above average school system (my wife is a teacher, and also future babies)
  • West of the Mississippi
  • not filled exclusively with old people

Right now the places we have targeted are:
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Chicago, IL (northern reaches of the city)
  • Outer rims of SF Bay area
  • Maybe Canada who knows??

If you live in a place that you feel qualifies but isn't listed, chime in.

Jasconius on
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Posts

  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    outer rim of SF is going to violate your extreme summers, and reasonably rice single family homes.

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  • chromdomchromdom Who? Where?Registered User regular
    San Diego maybe. Austin? Boston.

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    chromdom wrote: »
    San Diego maybe. Austin? Boston.

    I don't know what Austin summers are like, but it's farther south than Dallas and Dallas summers can be brutal.

    Kansas City maybe? KS/MO isn't the most glamorous, but there's Google Fiber and some tech companies.
    And real estate would be much more reasonable than SF.

    Though the government would have to stop trying to destroy itself first...

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    As a fellow central Floridian, I wish you well and pray to live vicariously through you as you escape the swamp of torment.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Austin cost of living is pretty insane too.

    If you reconsider the summer thing, Dallas would hit all your bullet points.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited May 2016
    i have some flexibility with cost of living, but obviously the cost of living in Florida is fairly low, and i dont want to go from 0 to 11 in terms of monthly expenses, I recognize in some of these markets I'm definitely headed for the 'burbs if I want to achieve that.

    I know the Dallas area well and it checks enough boxes for me to consider it except for the god forsaken heat, we may talk about it some more but we really want to move northward in addition to westward

    *edit* I also know KC well, before we ended up deciding to stay in Florida a few years ago we basically did the same process and travelled to KC and did a real estate tour. Very nice, almost pulled the trigger, but we were less financially secure back then and chose not to. It's deeper down the list of choices.

    Jasconius on
  • Mr KhanMr Khan Not Everyone WAHHHRegistered User regular
    Pittsburgh's got cheapo cost of living for now (call again in 15 years and we'll see) and is emerging in the information economy. Far enough from the Great Lakes that it doesn't get too screwed up by the Lake Effect either.

  • FaranguFarangu I am a beardy man With a beardy planRegistered User regular
    Which Chicago burb were you looking at?

    Also give me a buzz if you make it out this way

  • ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    As a fellow central Florida refugee, I feel for you.

    I've lived in Boston and can recommend it, as it seems to check off a lot of the items on your list. Tons of IT (especially medical IT) stuff based there, and being on the water gives it a decent climate. Violates your west of the Mississippi contingency though.

    Never been but I hear that Minneapolis is pretty rad?

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  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    chromdom wrote: »
    San Diego maybe.

    I feel like most of the better school districts in San Diego are going to be farther than 20 minutes away from our city/cultural centers (I think Coronado is good, though), and an upper bound of $200/sqft is going to be difficult -- he could get close to the city center, but probably not near a good school district.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited May 2016
    I've been to Boston and its nice but I don't really want to live there. Really that whole corridor from Philly up to Boston is just not my cup of tea, and my work takes me to those cities enough to where I've determined I'm not really interested in living there.

    Chicago primarily because we have family there so its really easy for us to visit anyway. I don't have a specific neighborhood in mind yet though. Every time we go we stay downtown.

    Jasconius on
  • FaranguFarangu I am a beardy man With a beardy planRegistered User regular
    Having family around is always nice, especially if it's family you actually enjoy spending time with!

    It's fairly easy to get downtown from most of the surrounding areas, as you're either close enough to the metro to be around a CTA station that takes you around downtown, or around a Metra line that can drop you at one of the major stations. I'm about 25 miles due West of the city, and the milk-run trains on the weekend that make every intermediate stop only takes an hour to get there.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Burbs are fine, you don't have to travel to work and most burbs have amenities that are within 5-10 miles.

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    As a fellow central Florida refugee, I feel for you.

    I've lived in Boston and can recommend it, as it seems to check off a lot of the items on your list. Tons of IT (especially medical IT) stuff based there, and being on the water gives it a decent climate. Violates your west of the Mississippi contingency though.

    Never been but I hear that Minneapolis is pretty rad?

    In addition to the brutal winters, Minneapolis also violates the "no extreme summers" point, oddly enough.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    As a fellow central Florida refugee, I feel for you.

    I've lived in Boston and can recommend it, as it seems to check off a lot of the items on your list. Tons of IT (especially medical IT) stuff based there, and being on the water gives it a decent climate. Violates your west of the Mississippi contingency though.

    Never been but I hear that Minneapolis is pretty rad?

    In addition to the brutal winters, Minneapolis also violates the "no extreme summers" point, oddly enough.

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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Go to the North North Burb. The good land. Mill-e-wah-que

    Any of the suburbs are only about 20 minutes from downtown maybe 40 in the worst of rush hour.

    And you can get a 4 bed 2 bath 2250 sq ft house for around 250k. Like say this one. http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Greenfield-WI/83844640_zpid/38794_rid/4-_beds/any_days/globalrelevanceex_sort/42.980351,-87.990275,42.952936,-88.036409_rect/14_zm/0_mmm/

    There are also some nice neighborhoods in the city that are fun to live in but they are generally smaller homes, and MPS is horrendous so private school or the burbs.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited May 2016
    does it really get that hot in Minnesota? I mean, hey, if it gets hot that's OK, but understand in Florida, you get your first 90 in April, and it's 90-97 every day until pretty much October, even when it rains. thats mostly what has got to end

    Jasconius on
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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    What else do you enjoy doing?
    That will factor into what cities to pick. For example: Skiing - Salt Lake City. Huge internet presence, some of the best skiing in the world, relatively affordable

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    I think it's relevant to think about "cultural centers" as things you can visit quite easily. Living in a city area within walking distance of that sort of stuff will put you out of your price range on purchasing a property in any desirable city on the west coast. A friend of mine just sold a house in Portland, OR for over 450,000$ and it's not even in that nice of an area... it's also only about 1000sqft.

    You're best bet is looking at what sort of rail system exists in the area for convenience. You've basically named every criteria that everyone everyone has for an ideal city... and those reasons are why those cities are out of the price range of mere mortals if you're looking to buy a house.

    Edit: I'll say that the housing market out west of Portland and near the light rail system is rapidly increasing in price as folks who can't afford California move up here and have cash offers. The train is also very slow and crappy if you want to get to the city proper.

    dispatch.o on
  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    Orogogus wrote: »
    chromdom wrote: »
    San Diego maybe.

    I feel like most of the better school districts in San Diego are going to be farther than 20 minutes away from our city/cultural centers (I think Coronado is good, though), and an upper bound of $200/sqft is going to be difficult -- he could get close to the city center, but probably not near a good school district.

    La mesa and the outskirts of Bonita would be good.

    I moved to Seattle from San Diego a bit over a year ago. Seattle is stupid expensive, but shoreline and father north get better. If you want to buy a house on the cheap you might need to look an hour north like Stanwood.

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Here's my obligatory plug for The Front Range. Basically that's Cheyenne, Wyoming down to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Including Denver area. A wide range of living areas around there and you can sneak up in elevation to mitigate summer temperatures.

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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    does it really get that hot in Minnesota? I mean, hey, if it gets hot that's OK, but understand in Florida, you get your first 90 in April, and it's 90-97 every day until pretty much October, even when it rains. thats mostly what has got to end

    Minneapolis is a great place to raise a family. Good schools, good government, good people etc. Only problem is the winter

    LostNinja
  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    Cauld wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    does it really get that hot in Minnesota? I mean, hey, if it gets hot that's OK, but understand in Florida, you get your first 90 in April, and it's 90-97 every day until pretty much October, even when it rains. thats mostly what has got to end

    Minneapolis is a great place to raise a family. Good schools, good government, good people etc. Only problem is the winter

    Just moved here in October, but I'll second this.

    A lot of the surrounding "burbs" of MSP are really nice. Personally I'd avoid living in either of the cities proper, but that's just me. I prefer just jump from suburb to suburb to do things and would never go into them if I had a choice. Not because they're bad, but that there's not really anything short of going to a Twins game that I can do in them that I can't do in one of the surrounding burbs. Plus the rail line is pretty solid when you do need to go to downtown Minneapolis or a Twins game.

  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    LostNinja wrote: »
    Cauld wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    does it really get that hot in Minnesota? I mean, hey, if it gets hot that's OK, but understand in Florida, you get your first 90 in April, and it's 90-97 every day until pretty much October, even when it rains. thats mostly what has got to end

    Minneapolis is a great place to raise a family. Good schools, good government, good people etc. Only problem is the winter

    Just moved here in October, but I'll second this.

    A lot of the surrounding "burbs" of MSP are really nice. Personally I'd avoid living in either of the cities proper, but that's just me. I prefer just jump from suburb to suburb to do things and would never go into them if I had a choice. Not because they're bad, but that there's not really anything short of going to a Twins game that I can do in them that I can't do in one of the surrounding burbs. Plus the rail line is pretty solid when you do need to go to downtown Minneapolis or a Twins game.

    I meant the Twin Cities in general, but there are a ton of great communities in the suburbs as well as the cities themselves.

  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    Pretty much all of California fails your criteria in one way or another.

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  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    The Detroit metro area has a pretty rapidly growing tech industry right now, and housing in the area is cheap. Not sure what area of software you work on but I could pm a short list of some of the development companies around.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited July 2016
    Your first instinct might be to snort derisively and hum something from the book of mormon

    But Salt Lake.

    Tech sector's popping, houses are still pretty cheap, mild 4 season weather, there's a surprising amount to do...I've been pleasantly surprised how much I've liked it here.

    JohnnyCache on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2016
    Austins not a bad market to buy a house in, especially if you are up near round rock. If we weren't probably about to move, I'd consider buying property here. The summers are hot but its not Florida, these people don't know what humidity actually feels like. Even stupid hot days can yield pleasant evenings.

    If you are considering raising a family, might not be a bad idea to think of your school system now (I guess this is in the OP, but low on your list). I'm not actually sure how our public schools fair, but I think north Dallas rates better. If I had kids I'd probably hightail it back to a blue state out of principal.

    Iruka on
  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Denver! It doesn't get as hot as Florida and even when it does, you got the Rockies. Reasonable housing prices, an IT/high tech hub, lots of young people and an awesome brewery scene. You should check it out.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Also - coming from Florida - how ok are you with not having the sun for potentially months at a time? That was the ultimate decider when we moved to SF instead of Seattle for a while. Seattle it may be gray for 2-3 months, which some people (such as my wife) cannot take.
    Also give yourself at least 3 days in Denver or any other higher altitude city, as there's a good chance you'll be knocked for a loop the first day or two by altitude if you don't adapt very well.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    i could stay under cloud cover for my entire life pretty much, i dont think my wife has an opinion one way or another

    after talking about it more last night we're going to begin with the midwest, since we have a lot of family and friends up and down

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Cities that were pretty neat in the Midwest when I visited them:
    Omaha
    Iowa City
    I've heard great things about Milwaukee

    They're all crappy to get to from major airlines though.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Cities that were pretty neat in the Midwest when I visited them:
    Omaha
    Iowa City
    I've heard great things about Milwaukee

    They're all crappy to get to from major airlines though.

    If you want to travel, this is massive. Low volume airports are EXPENSIVE to fly from.

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    Mr Khan wrote: »
    Pittsburgh's got cheapo cost of living for now (call again in 15 years and we'll see) and is emerging in the information economy. Far enough from the Great Lakes that it doesn't get too screwed up by the Lake Effect either.

    yea pittsburgh is a great place to live. cost of living is reasonable, but culturally it isn't that huge a hotspot.

    but coming from florida it might be. winters can be brutal though.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Cities that were pretty neat in the Midwest when I visited them:
    Omaha
    Iowa City
    I've heard great things about Milwaukee

    They're all crappy to get to from major airlines though.

    If you want to travel, this is massive. Low volume airports are EXPENSIVE to fly from.

    right this is one of the things we're trying to balance between us. if it were up to her we would live out in the middle of nowhere, but I need access to a Good Airport for work, which means we need to be around a city

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    I'd second Denver, it's a pretty cool city. I have several friends there.
    If you're accepting of the midwest, Wichita is pretty decent as far as places that are in Kansas go. Don't have a whole lot of tech companies other than NetApp that I know of.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    Cities that were pretty neat in the Midwest when I visited them:
    Omaha
    Iowa City
    I've heard great things about Milwaukee

    They're all crappy to get to from major airlines though.

    If you want to travel, this is massive. Low volume airports are EXPENSIVE to fly from.

    right this is one of the things we're trying to balance between us. if it were up to her we would live out in the middle of nowhere, but I need access to a Good Airport for work, which means we need to be around a city

    Not just a city. If you're travelling for work regularly, you need to be within reasonable driving distance to a hub airport. Which, I am sorry to say, is going to heavily constrain your options.

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  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Farangu wrote: »
    Having family around is always nice, especially if it's family you actually enjoy spending time with!

    It's fairly easy to get downtown from most of the surrounding areas, as you're either close enough to the metro to be around a CTA station that takes you around downtown, or around a Metra line that can drop you at one of the major stations. I'm about 25 miles due West of the city, and the milk-run trains on the weekend that make every intermediate stop only takes an hour to get there.

    Huh. I'm in Naperville, are you nearby?

    Jasconius, sounds like you'd be well-informed for the Chicago area with family here, but if you ever have any questions about the western suburbs I'd be happy to help. I lived just outside Chicago in Oak Park for most of my life, and moved further out west to Naperville about 2 years ago. The Oak Park/Forest Park area would be one of my top choices near Chicago - you have multiple L lines that run from there to downtown, and a Metra line available, good housing, a nice variety of restaurants and grocery stores, good schools, and while they are suburbs they feel more like some of the nicer Chicago neighborhoods thanks to their denseness and high walkability in most areas.

  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    Cities that were pretty neat in the Midwest when I visited them:
    Omaha
    Iowa City
    I've heard great things about Milwaukee

    They're all crappy to get to from major airlines though.

    If you want to travel, this is massive. Low volume airports are EXPENSIVE to fly from.

    right this is one of the things we're trying to balance between us. if it were up to her we would live out in the middle of nowhere, but I need access to a Good Airport for work, which means we need to be around a city

    I rarely fly, so I don't know how feasible it is to regularly fly out of Milwaukee's General Mitchell; but Coach USA runs an hourly express bus to Chicago's O'Hare.

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  • DeadfallDeadfall I don't think you realize just how rich he is. In fact, I should put on a monocle.Registered User regular
    Basar wrote: »
    Denver! It doesn't get as hot as Florida and even when it does, you got the Rockies. Reasonable housing prices, an IT/high tech hub, lots of young people and an awesome brewery scene. You should check it out.

    I always vote my hometown but housing prices here are absolutely not reasonable unless you live like an hour East near kansas. Colorado housing is insanely white hot right now.

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