Author Topic: Help me pick a city to live in  (Read 4821 times)

hb187

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Help me pick a city to live in
« on: December 08, 2015, 08:36:39 AM »
Hi Mustachians. I am not a Mustachian, but I would like to be one. Right now, I live outside of the United States. I am strongly, strongly considering a return. I am going to describe my perfect city, with the understanding that it will probably be impossible to get all of these things in the same place. But, here are the things I'd ideally like to have:

1) A warm or relatively warm city (non-negotiable)
2) Good walkability/bikability/public transportation. Basically, the ability to get by without a car
3) The ability to have some kind of small yard or garden. I don't need a gigantic grass lawn like you get in some suburbs. I just want to be able to plant some vegetables and herbs, and have some space for chickens. 
4) The ability to get number 3 for $1,000-$1,500/month (or less!)
5) A good economy, with many of the top CPA firms nearby
6) Ideally, in the south east so it's relatively close to my family in Tampa, FL.

So far, I've identified Savannah, GA (I give up some employment opportunities, but I get most of the rest of the list) and Sacramento, CA (Obviously not the south east, but mostly everything else is there) as strong contenders. I thought I'd ask this forum, because Mr. Money Mustache is a big proponent of giving up the car addiction. So, I figured I could get some real world answers from people who've been able to get by on walking/biking/public transport in different cities in the U.S. I'd been using WalkScore.com, but I don't know about the methodology, so real people are always a plus.

Any input at all is appreciated.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 08:48:52 AM »
Reading this, I thought of Dallas:
1) A warm or relatively warm city (non-negotiable): Dallas certainly is warm.
2) Good walkability/bikability/public transportation. Basically, the ability to get by without a car: Dallas has an enormous rail network.
3) The ability to have some kind of small yard or garden. I don't need a gigantic grass lawn like you get in some suburbs. I just want to be able to plant some vegetables and herbs, and have some space for chickens
4) The ability to get number 3 for $1,000-$1,500/month (or less!):
Texas generally has cheap housing and low land-use restrictions.
5) A good economy, with many of the top CPA firms nearby: Substantial business services economy, and headquarters for many major corporations.
6) Ideally, in the south east so it's relatively close to my family in Tampa, FL. On the edge of "south east" but still reasonably close. Hub for Southwest and American Airlines, so it's very easy to get a direct flight to all sorts of places.

hb187

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 09:06:40 AM »
Thanks, I hadn't considered Dallas. It looks like it fits a lot of what I'd be after. I'll investigate further.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 09:15:33 AM »
Austin or New Orleans?

hb187

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 09:28:20 AM »
Austin was on my list to look into a bit more. New Orleans hadn't been. Have you lived in either, and found you were able to get by without a car?

norabird

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2015, 09:53:32 AM »
I always used to think Athens GA would be nice...

AgentCooper

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 10:01:25 AM »
Do you have kids?  I've considered moving to New Orleans a few times, but the school situation and street violence there is a major deterrent for me.

Public transpo exists there (no metro/subway, but some buses and trolley cars on rails), but I'd be much more likely to walk or bike.  Neighborhood safety would be a major location concern; as in, you'd not want to pass through any bad neighborhoods on foot, either by day or by night, on the way to or from work.  That applies to me too, and I'm a dude. 

I worked in New Orleans very, very briefly.  My fear-while-on-the-street level was much higher in the New Orleans downtown area than anywhere in NYC, Central or South America, or Europe.   New Orleans has a large homeless population and various people wandering the streets who seem to be both simultaneously drunk and in need of institutionalization.  They have no qualms about approaching strangers for handouts or hugs.  But that's just my experience.  I'm know some folks just love it there!

hb187

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 10:27:27 AM »
No kids, but street violence is a turn-off. One of the reasons I'm looking to leave Central America.

Cougar

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2015, 10:32:12 AM »

of the 3 being mentioned here, i'd take austin and i lived in austin and dallas and visited new orleans; so i'm a pretty good reference.

dallas will have the best public transportation, but austin has bike and zip car rentals over a lot of the city if needed and if you're fire and wanting things to do outside, austin wins everytime; but you may need a car to get to some of it; like lake travis; lake austin you would not.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2015, 10:49:08 AM »
I've only visited both cities but they are on my maybe-someday list.  (If New Orleans is still there.)  New Orleans is SO easily bikeable - so flat!  There are bad neighborhoods but I think you could avoid them pretty easily.  Austin would be a little more difficult to be carfree, I think, although again with biking you might be able to do it. 

skeeder

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2015, 11:26:33 AM »
Dallas is pretty nice, but man...there is no easy commute in that city...their highways system is...well, not pleasant in my experience.

I'd recommend Grand Rapids, MI...but you stated "warm", it is...about 8 months of the year its downright awesome.

pbkmaine

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2015, 11:33:00 AM »
What about Tampa itself?


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FLBiker

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 02:59:45 PM »
What about Tampa itself?
I lived in Tampa for a year w/out a car before dating someone (now my wife) that had one.  It took some learning, but Tampa is actually pretty bikable if you pick your location / routes well.  We now live just outside Tampa in Temple Terrace, and I bike to work (@ the university) everyday.  Public transit here is lousy, but it does technically exist.  Tampa does pretty well on the rest of your criteria, though.

I chose Temple Terrace because it's much less deed restricted (in terms of growing vegetables, for example) than the areas of Tampa that we're near.  Lots of my neighbors have veggies, and some have chickens.  We've got a great community garden group, too.

snuggler

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2015, 03:21:06 PM »
How about RDU or Charlotte? I believe that Charlotte has a decent banking industry, but I'm not sure about CPA firms.

hb187

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2015, 03:10:48 PM »
Thanks for the input, everyone. I hadn't considered Tampa because I lived there for a while and did not see how anyone could get by without a car unless they lived and worked in Channelside. I'll take a second look at Temple Terrace.

Hadn't looked too hard at Charlotte or RDU I'll take another peak at those too.

I appreciate it!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2015, 03:15:50 PM »
Following, since I don't know the cities people are discussing well. Always looking to learn!

CheapskateWife

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2015, 03:34:09 PM »
Hadn't looked too hard at Charlotte or RDU I'll take another peak at those too.

We lived in Charlotte for a year and would go back in a heartbeat.  The bike trail system there is incredible...the have fantastic art scene, stuff for kids, camping, hiking, nature, sports, industry (if you are working)

And the folks are just lovely.   Southern charm without the ignorance that sometimes accompanies.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2015, 03:40:46 PM »
Hadn't looked too hard at Charlotte or RDU I'll take another peak at those too.

We lived in Charlotte for a year and would go back in a heartbeat.  The bike trail system there is incredible...the have fantastic art scene, stuff for kids, camping, hiking, nature, sports, industry (if you are working)

And the folks are just lovely.   Southern charm without the ignorance that sometimes accompanies.

How affordable is Charlotte? It sounds fantastic. I know it won (or was runner up? Or something?) best outdoor city from outdoor magazine a few years back.

Rubic

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2015, 06:31:35 PM »
I lived in Dallas for almost 10 years and would not recommend based on the OP's criteria: walkability, cycling, etc.  The traffic and the summer weather can be brutal.

Austin, Charlotte, and Nashville are good options.

Full disclosure:  Current Nashville resident

hoping2retire35

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2015, 08:31:37 PM »
Greenville, SC. Also, a few minutes to mountains and three hours to beach. Not too big or small 2hrs to Charlotte or Atlanta. Doesn't have the hot humidity of the coastal plain cities in the SE. 1 hr S of Asheville, NC if you want a different scene. Not sure about chickens though, have to check zoning etc.
If you can get a job and don't mind a small town Clemson Anderson and Seneca(all 30 min west of Greenville) have a big connected free bus system.

canadian bacon

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2015, 09:24:48 PM »
Property is really cheap in Detroit.  In some areas it is free
It is not really hot
Public transport may not be the best.  Buy a bike that you don't mind getting stolen
You can walk to a liquor store but there are no grocery stores.
You can have an urban farm.  In Detroit no one gives a

You may be shot but people will not look at you funny if you are unemployed.

Perfect for early retirees.  Make a brochure

hb187

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Re: Help me pick a city to live in
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2015, 08:35:19 AM »
These suggestions have been great so far (except Detroit but I'm guessing that's a joke). Definitely going to spend some time looking at Charlotte.