Where to live in the US?



I worked 911 there some time ago. Crime was minimal in my experience. It’s a very hippie-town that is dominated by the University of Montana, which has improved recently, I’ve heard. If you lived in East Missoula or wanted to hang out with bikers and louts at the Testicle Festival or find some methies, then yeah, you might experience crime.

The weather there seemed mild to me. When it’s below freezing, it’s usually not humid, and there is no wind. I loved winters there; they were easier than any other place that I’ve lived in the American West, save Arizona now. Additionally, it’s at the intersection of five mountain ranges, and of course A River Runs Through It was filmed there, so it’s pretty all around.

If you’re into kayaking, you can play in the river at a man-made rapid.

Homelessness can be annoying downtown, I’ve heard, but I only saw that on the 911 side. The mild weather and liberal policies seem to allow homelessness a little bit more than places with harsher conditions.


Chicago is certainly one of the handful of genuinely big cities in the US, but the Twin Cities metro is around 3 to 4 million depending on what you count as part of it and one of the largest urban population centers for several states around. Definitely bigger than Milwaukee by a fair bit (though that’s larger than I thought it was) and apparently around triple the Raleigh metro.

You can’t just go by Minneapolis’ population count because there’s basically no geographic separation between it and St. Paul as well as dozens of suburbs.


Since you’ve lived in the Philadelphia area, I can easily recommend you come back. I think the area around Collegeville/Phoenixville would suit you really well. It’s definitely a more liberal part of the State. Philadelphia itself is going through a really nice renaissance in the downtown and the 'burbs and you’ll have good schools if you choose to live around those towns. PA education in general is very good. That big State legislature and a strong teachers union is definitely good for that.

As you know, sometimes it gets cold here for awhile, but there are no water shortages, tornadoes, hurricane problems, etc. Nobody cares if you’re non-relgious, etc.

Almost anywhere in the greater Philly metro area is pretty solid and fits your criteria. Also, cost of living is low by comparison with other developed areas as I’m sure you know having lived here (depending where you were…)


Ah, that does help. Huh. That is better than I figured.


Yeah, it would be easy to assume that the Twin Cities are like a lot of the smaller midwestern cities like Duluth, Des Moines (in IA), the Quad Cities, etc, which are kind of boring and small and low on culture and things to do but they’re actually really diverse and vibrant and cool. I’m not sure there’s anywhere else in the Midwest I would rather live, and that includes Chicago. Sure, Chicago is at least 3x the size and has commensurately better access to cultural events, more direct flights to things, etc…but it also has similarly large downsides, like significantly higher crime rates.


I second this. However, I’d also consider Wilmington, NC, or even Durham, Raleigh, or Chapel Hill. These towns are all pretty liberal, especially Asheville. If you like to drink beer, Asheville is pretty remarkable.

I absolutely love the NC coast and would live there if I could pull it off with work. Small towns like Beaufort are sleepy off season, but the easy access to the Outer Banks is wonderful. Not actually being on the Outer Banks is a plus because you’re somewhat protected when hurricanes hit. On the down side, eastern NC is very politically conservative.


This thread is way too optimistic and positive. The question you should be asking yourself is ‘What kinds of disasters would you like to avoid’? Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Blizzards, Drought, Refugees, Flooding, Super-volcanoes (haha just kidding, nobody can avoid the super-volcano)…

Maybe you need some bedside reading


Good call on Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill. I did not know about Wilmington being liberal, but it’s a college town, it makes sense. Our state has an excellent climate and good access to mountains and beach. If it weren’t so long the drive times would be shorter and I’d be hanging out with you guys at the next Armando led event.

All of the mentions in this thread make me want to explore moving again. I’m sick of traffic north of Charlotte.


Cockroaches live pretty much everywhere, man.


Given your list and the fact that your wife would be looking for someplace with access to colleges for work, I would like to suggest the following:

Louisville, KY
Indianapolis, IN
Columbus, OH
Knoxville, TN

  • None are really “big cities” in terms of urban sprawl, and all have plenty of suburban developments where a .5 acre or larger lot would not be difficult to find.
  • All are fairly affordable in terms of housing costs, especially in the suburban districts.
  • Despite their locations in typically red states, none are ultra-conservative towns thanks to large colleges, state government and large businesses that draw plenty of left-of-center folks to live in the area.
  • All have decent public (suburban) and private education options.
  • Winters are mild for the most part, a bit more snow in Columbus, less in Knoxville, but none see more than a couple of months of “winter weather”, and it’s way milder than you’re used to.
  • Knoxville is the only one of the four near any sort of mountains, but all four have access to great outdoor activities, state and national parks, etc…
  • No impending doom hangs over any of them, natural or otherwise.

I would also second/third/whatever the Asheville, NC recommendation. It’s a fantastic town.

As far as the Florida recommendations go, I love Tampa/St. Pete, it’s just such a fun area with a ton of stuff to do, pro sports teams, a couple of great colleges, beautiful beaches and lots of local character. There are suburbs away from the beaches where the housing is affordable, however I do not know much about the school systems there. Plus, hurricanes are always a threat, even though the area has been very lucky over the past decade or more.


I grew up south of MIssoula. If you can find work, it’s truly one of the most beautiful places to live on the planet.

I live across the water from Seattle now. We spent a bit more money than you are targeting to live on Bainbridge Island, but the Kitsap side has plenty of houses near your range. I’d focus north, Poulsbo/Kingston, because the schools are better than Bremerton or Port Orchard. 30 minute passenger ferry into downtown Seattle means that big city amenities are convenient.


I did not know that. ☹


This is a great thread. The only difference between what was requested in the top of the thread and what my wife and I want is that my wife feels it’s important to live near good healthcare - she has a form of epilepsy and other things that make her leery of living way out in the country.

Can I just assume any of these librul college towns will have pretty good hospital systems?

I also can’t see convincing her to go to the west coast, since our only remaining family is in the Mid Atlantic. Heck, it’s even a hard sell to get her to consider North Carolina even though we live in Virginia! But Northern VA not the best place to retire to, unless you move far to the west, to places like Winchester or Front Royal.


Louisville, Cincinnati and Columbus all have excellent healthcare thanks to multiple hospital systems located in each city that include research and teaching hospitals. Not sure about Knoxville and Indy.


It’s weird how people miss the point. Tons of discussion about Minneapolis/Twin Cities (where I live). It was more than 30 below Fahrenheit here the last few days. We got 18” of snow the last week of April 2018. He’s sick of exactly that type of bullshit weather. Minneapolis sucks.

My opinion, from reading a lot of various threads like this in various forums (as I have the same desire to eventually get out of this fucking frozen wasteland of a state), is that there are no good, undiscovered places left. It used to be places like Denver, Raleigh, Asheville, Portland, Chattanooga, etc. Unfortunately, they’ve been discovered, and have rapidly become unaffordable for many people. At the very least, they do not remotely qualify as inexpensive anymore.

Also, special lol goes out to referencing any place where $700,000 will maybe buy a 1,300 sq ft 2 bedroom without a nightly nearby gangwar or nearby toxic waste dump.


This was largely in response to my half-serious questioning, wherein I apparently want the exact opposite of what Rob does. I want a frigid, hyper leftist, ultra dense urban cyberpunk nightmare of a city to be my next home. I just, you know, don’t know how to code, so it’s not like I can afford it.


I’ve never seen one.


Also, special lol goes out to referencing any place where $700,000 will maybe buy a 1,300 sq ft 2 bedroom without a nightly nearby gangwar or nearby toxic waste dump.

Wow - this place sounds super affordable considering the size of the apartment! Please share details. (seriously, NYC is closer to $1000/sqft + pretty much anywhere semi-desirable…)


How about deciding where to live based on great Board Game stores and/or groups?


You should be able to find the local health system and look up their stats or awards for stats that are relevant to you like this one.


There are small hospitals on there too.