If You Could Live in ANY Major City in the USA Where Would You Live?
I saw this question on the Facebook page of someone I follow in Las Vegas. It is similar to a question I asked myself many years ago. For me it was limited to the USA because of the care of my daughter who is Autistic. The availability of Disney and Nickelodeon as well as other entertainment that she enjoys was mostly limited to USA. Since that time however, the internet has increased an ability to go beyond the borders of the USA. From online programing to Skype with stateside family and friends the world has shrunk to a very manageable size.. only time zones seem to continue to be a problem.
There are a dozen or so places around the world I would love to live. The south of France, the countryside of Italy, the Coast of Spain or Portugal and the islands of Greece come to mind.. but there are more exciting places than that depending on one’s budget.
I love the Island of Mauritius, but an island is an island and as most island dwellers will tell you they get Island fever. Capetown South Africa is extremely beautiful and hospitable, the wines are on point (aka Fleek for you hipsters) but since Mandela died the country is quickly deteriorating and I am not sure of the future. Ghana (also in Africa) is growing and developing at a fast pace and its becoming quite a place to behold, but it too has some issues that make me a bit nervous.. but I have been there many times and loved the country. The Middle east from Lebanon to Morocco is enticing, but I am watching what appears to be a Muslim Vs. Muslim war growing and it is disconcerting. Bueno Aires in Argentina is such a vibrant city. But I have not spent enough time to evaluate it as a future residence.it is. Ahh the enticement of living in another country and soaking in culture and history.. but I have digressed.. this is supposed to be about choices in USA and MAJOR cities no less.
I for one never considered Las Vegas a Major City. Some argue about low taxes. If you are running a business you can incorporate there are little to no taxes and the personal income tax is ZERO. but that is ONLY an advantage if 1/ you can make a lot of money and 2/ if you save it … let me explain that… if you save 1 dollar every year for the next 40 years in an account that only averages 2.5% interest compounded daily you will have 71.45 save it. BUT that is the same calculation everywhere. The real key is saving it. the cultural aspects however outside of entertainment are limited and the big city feel is more glamor and glitz to dark and seedy depending on where you drive and the crime rate is not exactly low.
Lets travel (metaphorically) across the USA looking for a suitable metropolitan area for this lovely woman….
The USA can be seen in some ways as a microcosm of the world. Diversity in climate and geography and culture across the USA makes choosing a place difficult in some ways.. but then again when we break down the variables and apply them to a demographic segment of the person who is interested in this change and add to that some inkling as to what she is looking for it becomes more manageable.
Instead of looking at the possibilities let begin by eliminating some. Lets start with California. My time living in LA and Rancho Palos Verdes was wonderful. I loved the ethnic diversity, the culture and as I am a foodie I could find almost any food in that county. My Favorites were Ethiopian, Peruvian, and who can deny authentic Chinese especially Dim Sum (the thing I miss the most), Thai HUngarian and so many novo Cuisines and famous chefs you could go to a new restaurant every night for 10 years and never repeat. Alas. The Drought is real and is expected to last 10 plus years, the taxes on income are very high and the property taxes/ school taxes can be ridiculous. I am now hearing that the drought has extended up the coast to Oregon and soon all the way to Seattle That rules out California and the West Coast which is sad as they are beautiful .. but at least you can still visit easily.
Utah is up and coming. but not very diverse nor culturally competitive with true major cities. While I like the laid back lifestyle I do not think this woman could thrive there…
Down to Texas… Ahh Texas… Dallas and Houston are the epitome of urban/suburban sprawl. They grew by annexing one unincorporated city after another and grew and grew and there is block after block of strip centers and freestanding buildings. While the cities themselves are decent they still lake urban sophistication that challenges the mind and spirit. The one exception that stands out as a place for millennials and hipsters that is user-friendly growing and filled with diversity and culture is San Antonio. it may lack the designation of a MAJOR City but it is fast approaching 1.5 million people in the metro area and the Riverwalk is a favorite destination for most residents.
Coming east is New Orleans. It is still trying to recover from Katrina and it may take another 10-20 years before it finds itself once again as great as it was. Too much was damaged and lost to keep this city on a high livability index.
Going North through the middle of the USA you might consider Saint Louis, Or Kansas City Indianapolis (not really) Cleveland, Columbus Ohio, Detroit (which has potential but only for investment at this time) Pittsburg.. but none of these are places I hear of people moving to those places for Culture and opportunity unless the opportunity is a sports team. Have you noticed I skipped Chicago? That was intentional… to see if you were traveling with me or fell asleep…
Chicago has everything a major city should have. Yes we all know they have sports teams.. but Culture, the Lake, An exclusive area up lakeside drive. (Yes I know about Bloomfield hills in Detroit I had a GF there, years ago, the same can be found in Dallas in places like Turtle Creek as well). but we are looking at the city and then the metro area as a whole, not neighborhoods. Chicago even has 2 airports.The only drawback I can find about Chicago is the bitter cold and wind that cuts through you like a knife.
Moving to the East Coast we have a number of interesting cities. Boston is a mecca of US history and an academic emporium Cambridge is fantastic and Downtown Boston by the Federal Courthouse is more than just quaint with the ever interesting Faneuil Hall. While Boston is a Modern City it is also a colonial city but when Mitt Romney was governor there we used to call it Taxachusetts for the obvious reasons and many people would live in the southern area of New Hampshire and commute if necessary into Boston for tax reasons. There is an abundance of Cultural influences because of the academic institutions and leftovers from the original digital age companies that thrived there at one time (most now reside in San Jose)
Next Stop New York City. WOW is all I can say about NYC. Multiple teams in most sports, two airports, You can live in Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island, up the Taconic Parkway or even in North Eastern Pennsylvania (New Hope area) and easily commute into the city. You can live outside the city and work outside the city and go into the city for activities by car or train (Commuter lines or even Amtrak ~ I lived in Lancaster PA for a couple of years and took the Amtrak to my offices in the World Trade Center without getting off the train back when… OR you can live (Albeit expensive if you live in many areas of Manhattan) or cheaper now in areas of Brooklyn) the only problem in working in NYC is the Taxes .. ultimately you pay about 50% of your income in taxes with City State and Federal .. but the culture and activities and the food choices.. YES NYC has to be on top of anyones list. and did I mention Amtrak to get anywhere outside the city easily? Truth be told I would live in Short HIlls NJ area.. possibly Long Island, or maybe New Hope PA and commute in to NYC for activities.
Going further South is my home town.. Philadelphia. Home to Rocky with the same attitude still existing in parts of the city. Fishtown is a growing area, the downtown of Philly is still very nice in Rittenhouse Sq and down to the river. Some Culture.. not as much as NYC.. but easy commute to NYC and to Washington DC.. about an hour or so in either direction by Amtrak.. under 2 hours by car head west and you are in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the wholesomeness of that culture is at least worth exploring in every season. However .. being my home state I would not recommend it as the current State Legislature has significantly hurt the state and it is no longer hospitable and welcoming to outsiders moving in. But if you get there and go to the Philadelphia Art Museum along the Schuylkill River you will see a painting of me.. or so all my friends in my life who have one have told me.. It is the painting of King Henry the 8th.. I would explain but that is a long story not for her at this time.
Next Stop South Bound is Baltimore. This has always been a city as a work in progress. The Port of Baltimore had such promise that never materialized but it is still an interesting place.. cheaper than Philly or downtown DC While it has its own airport and is close to both of the DC airports, it is not the haven I would recommend for a woman like the one in Las Vegas.
NOW ARRIVING AT PENN STATION IN WASHINGTON DC. .. Now THIS is a city… CULTURE.. dang right.. every major country in the world has an Embassy in this bastion of Democracy. The National parks and museums alone can keep you busy for years.. and with each administration change so goes the movers and shakers in and out of the city keeping it fresh. No matter your political affiliation this city has a lot to offer .. culture food activities and this time of the year the Cherry Blossoms are fantastic along the Potomac.and the Mall. Academics abound.. live down around Foggy Bottom or Georgetown and find fun and excitement anytime you want it or just decide to hang at home and not be bothered… and want to go to NYC for Fashion week (or anything else) …. there are special busses (I just cannot remember the names) that are well equipped and comfortable and cheaper than the Amtrak to get you there) and can have you there in about 2.5 hours or there are plenty of commuter flights in and out to NYC daily. If you’re wealthy you can get GREAT apartments less than NYC or go live in Chevy Chase Maryland and enjoy the snobbery… I recommend this city as an alternative to NYC to anyone. Both are great.
Welcome to Southern Hospitality.. you are now in Atlanta Georgia. Not a fan of the way they constructed their highway system as it is reminiscent of LA at rush hour and it has 1 tenth the number of people.. but the city itself has everything you can want in a metropolitan city.. except it is still in the south. I moved to this state from LA.. and I think I am still in culture shock. The diversity is nowhere near as great as California, and the city is not anywhere near as exciting and fast paced as Washington DC or NYC… but it is the biggest city outside of Miami (Jacksonville Florida Is technically larger but a waste of time to visit let alone live in) But if you watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta or Love and Hip Hop you know it can be EXTREMELY clicky.. get on the outs of one click and your social life may be over before it began.. not the same in DC or NYC.. There are some very nice neighborhoods in Atlanta but there are some pretty bad ones too.. think of it as where everyone from the south that wants to make a name for themselves especially in music comes to and most sadly never make the grade. Built true to Southern roots, once a Georgia Peach always a Georgia Peach and if you go to the right places at least the manners can be better than say.. oh.. maybe Las Vegas… Lets face it.. most “males today are not MEN.. they are boys looking for toys and women are just pit stops along the way.. yes they are good ones.. but unfortunately they are overshadowed by the ones who seek and get attention and then break women and leave them hurt. This is as much the woman’s fault for engaging those kinds of men as it is the men who are that way because they can get away with it.
Last Stop… MIAMI.. what can I say. Star Island and Money.. from Latin American influence to the by products of Las Vegas Nightclubs Miami has a reputation of being a party town. For a Las Vegas person going there it would be like a staycation… same old same old in the nightlife.. and little else. South Beach at one time was a neighborhood in transition with art deco and ambiance (Think Tribeca) NOW.. it is trying to make itself like Vegas and failing everywhere else. Miami is a tourist destination.. not a great place for a woman looking to make a career or finding more in life to aspire to.
Hawaii is a destination… while I love Maui more than any of the other islands.. it is an island and it is for tourists to find more in life you cannot stay there.. it is a destination not a location … and Alaska.. well I will let you the reader decide if it has a great community of culture and excitement…
Taxes are always a consideration.. but quality of life has to be a higher priority (even if it cost a bit more) when choosing a new place to live. If you have children you look for the best school district.. but if your single then you look for more ability to mingle and interact and if you are looking for self improvement you look for bastions of academia where you can get great education on a part time or full time basis.
My Father once told me .. Wherever you go you always take yourself with you…. Simply if you are looking for a change to change yourself then you need to change yourself first and then look for a place for you to grow and thrive. If your current career is about getting turnt up.. then you really need to learn has to turnt down… because you can’t appreciate a new environment and all it has to offer if you have not learned to find that peaceful place inside yourself and find yourself so that you can maximize your change for what you truly want to do with your life.
To that Woman in Las Vegas.. I hope this has helped you a little … but more importantly I hope you chose a place that works with WHO you are deep inside… Friends change.. people change.. you will change.. friend drift away, life move on.. and YOU are responsible for your own destiny…. and as always I wish you well and hope you find that place that lets you grow to be more of you