I Love L.A. - but I want out!

So here’s the scoop. Both I and my wife of six-plus years have lived in Los Angeles all of our lives (30 years for me, and just slightly under that for her). We both enjoy the suburban aspects of LA life and appreciate a lot that this metropolitan area has to offer.


We both take a certain amount of umbrage at the idea that we might live in one place our entire lives. My wife has always had the desire to wander, and I’ve just warmed up to the idea in the last few years.

Every year, around the time of our anniversary, we take a road trip to someplace we haven’t been before to see different parts of the country. Mostly, it’s purely for vacation purposes, but we’re also keeping an eye out for places to relocate in the next, say, 3-5 years. Maybe even sooner. Right now, the Portland, OR region (her choice) and Denver (mine) are at the top of our list. Other places we’ve been but aren’t really considering right now include Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, the Bay Area, and Vegas.

Ideally, we would love an area that is tech-friendly and has a big city/suburbia combination of some sort. We both want to live somewhere with weather and pretty thunder storms, but since we’ve never lived in snow, we probably don’t want to start off somewhere with four months of severe winter, either. Being near mountains and/or a large body of water would also be a plus, but perhaps not essential. Oh, and we don’t have any kids or any plans for kids, so that’s not a factor at all.

So I’m looking for suggestions from all of you lovely people about places that you either think would be an ideal match for us, or that you think we should at least look to visit on our next trip. Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated. And feel free to post additional questions my way if you want more detail.

P.S. - A city with a major league baseball team in it would be ideal, but don’t tell my wife that.

Lots of ex-Californians (myself included) have found Las Vegas very liveable. Hotter than LA in the summer, and colder than SF in the winter - but you had better hurry. Home prices have gone through the roof in the past years…granted, a steal for someone coming from your area, but no longer the cheap deal it was 5 years ago.

Regarding that major league team…the Mayor and Chamber of Commerce are doing everything possible to get a major league team here. Rumor has it they are thisclose to signing, and expect to hear the news within the next 6 months.

Amateurs. :smiley:

Yeah, I really don’t have anything helpful to contribute. But come visit Calgary some day. You’ll like it here.

Ooops. Mis-read your post and thought Vegas was still on the list.
Oh well.

Vancouver is beautiful and Canadians speak fairly fluent English.

People who have been to both places tell me that Calgary and Denver share a lot of the same qualities. But I have never been to your fair city.

Me, I’d be tempted by Vancouver. I’ve been there before and loved it, and I sorely miss the ocean. That does involve leaving the USA, if barely.
Have you been here (Denver)? Would you be looking for a suburban home? We have both big city and suburbia, don’t much care for the suburbia part but that’s just me. There are lovely places in the foothills if you can afford them.
In recent years, we have been getting a lot of Californians coming in.
Our winters are mild but we do have them, and they can sometimes begin early and stay late. We do get plenty of sun though, and the mountains are certainly here. Our baseball team stinks this year but we have a nice stadium.
I love Chicago but only to visit; I can’t imagine being an LA native and relocating to the Windy City. They have winter. My husband hails from there; he left after graduating college and never went back except to visit family.

I live in Las Vegas. If you had kids, I would be telling you to find somewhere else to live since, IMHO, the influx of families made this area a lot less desirable in recent years. But, since you have none, I’ll tell you that it’s still a pretty neat place to live. No state income tax, lots of entertainment and dining options, and (even with the recent tax increases) fairly reasonable as major metropolitan areas go. Downsides: no MLB team (though we’re hoping that will change), 110 degree summers, lousy drivers. However, you have several MLB teams within a 4-5 hour drive. We also have Mt. Charleston ski resort, and in the winter, it’s kind of a rush to be in 70-degree weather surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Just one thing–if you sit down at the slot machine next to me and ask me to put out my cigarette, I will tell you to perform an anatomically impossible sex act :smiley: Hurricanes aside, Florida is still a bargain. I prefer the Gulf Coast (not as many tourists)–Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater, Sarasota etc. Also no state income tax. I’m a little surprised that SoCal natives are even considering the Northwest. The rain may seem to be a novelty in the short term, but the rain in that part of the country gets old real fast! Good luck!

What about Boston? If you’re going to move in order to experience new things, I’d think you would be interested in snow. I don’t think Boston gets that much snow anyway.

Besides, if you can live in the devil’s ashtray that is LA, surely you can deal with a little white stuff.

Isn’t Seattle tech-friendly?

I am not sure about the weather there, other than thunderstorms :slight_smile:

Portland sounds good too.

I have found that if you relocate to Portland or Seattle, you will face entrenched opposition and hatred from just about everybody. They really don’t like Californicators moving into “their” area and turning it into another OC. Vancouver has possibilities…lovely place, friendly, urbane people, tech. savvy. Are you wanting another city, or do you want to try something less crowded?

Catching up with some of the commentary so far.

Vancouver is definitely on our list of places to visit. We’ve heard lots of wonderful things about it. I don’t know if I’d ever thought of it as a place to relocate, but…why not?

Seattle is indeed tech friendly, but I just don’t find it to be all that interesting a city. It reminds me a lot of LA, actually, without the same degree of smog.

We’ve never been to Florida, but both of us have an aversion to the very idea, for some reason. I think a lot of Southern Californians see Florida as a copycat location with hurricanes instead of earthquakes. Personally, I’ll take my chances with the earthquakes.

I’m intrigued by Boston. I don’t know if I’d want to live there, but I definitely want to visit, and I’m trying to talk my wife into doing a New York/D.C./Boston trip around April/May of next year. But I was always under the impression that they do in fact get some pretty severe winters. Anyone want to provide more detail on this?

Caprese…we just visited Denver for the first time during the first week of May. We had some friends in the Tech Center area that we went to visit. I really, really enjoyed the suburban life down there. The area around DU was beautiful as well. I consider Denver to be at the top of the list in terms of places I’ve been.

I should also generally mention that I hate…HATE hot weather. I know, you’re probably wondering how I’ve lived in LA all my life. I don’t know the answer, either. One of my favorite moments in recent memory was arriving in Denver while it was snowing. I got out of the car, in my shorts, in 30 degree weather, and loved every minute of it.

I should also mention that my wife thinks I’m crazy.

I think we’d like to be near some kind of major city, but it doesn’t have to have to same degree of urban sprawl that LA does (and I’m not sure any other city has that anyway). We’re certainly not looking for anywhere the size of a New York or Chicago, if that’s what you mean.

I’ll chalk up another vote for seeing Vancouver.

You forgot your smiley for that. :smiley:

If you move to Vancouver, you’ll just be trading one high-priced, overcrowded, lousy-driving-conditions, likely-to-fall-in-the-ocean-someday place for another (from what I hear - I haven’t actually been there myself.)

I’d vote for Portland. It seems to be the city that Seattle was trying to be, but missed.

I love Vancouver as well, but there’s a problem. It’s in this whole other country, and those guys don’t let just anybody move in. Losers.

Thunderstorms here are actually pretty rare. It’s one of the things I miss from New Jersey, a good old knock down, drag out, T-storm. We’ve been having a drought this summer, though a couple rainy days may have helped fix that by now. Housing prices here are shooting up due to Seattle being a very desirable place to live. You can find pretty reasonable rents though. The traffic is usually nuts, due to all the people who move here. I blame them!

Er, what I really mean is that it rains all the time and the skies are always miserable and grey! :smiley:

If Denver is as much like Calgary as people say, you’ll love the cool, (usually) dry summers. There are very few nights here in Calgary that are too hot to sleep - the air cools off very well in the evenings. And hardly any bugs (usually), either!

Scratch Boston. My wife is from there, and she is soooo glad to be away from freezing, snowy winters and humid, humid, HUMID summers. She misses Fenway, but there are always road trips to Anaheim.

I’ve lived in Boston since the age of 12 and I don’t think I’ve ever considered it to be light on snow and inclement weather!!! Too many childhood memories of being forced to shovel snow (and we live right outside Cambridge so it’s not as though I’m so far inland it’s making a difference) and my empty-nesting parents’ yearly contractor bills are pretty high seeing as there is no more free child labor. I think this year was pretty brutal b/c my parents were constantly calling me to complain about it. I mean, compared to the frozen tundra of N. Quebec where I originally used to live it’s less heavy on snow but it snows, and a lot.

That said, Boston is a really nice city with lots of neighborhoods. It is far smaller than L.A., though, so I don’t know how you would feel about it.

By the way, I nominate Austin-warm weather, a tech sector and it’s supposed to be quite hip.

What about the DC area?

There’s 4 seasons, there’s a great tech job market here, you can drive to the Shenandoah National Park (mountains) in an hour and a half, there tons of museums, entertainment, and history. You can get to the beach in 2 and a half hours. Winter here has the occaisional snow, every now and then a big one, but not anything major. It is one hot humid bastard in the summer, though. But that helps with the thunderstorms…we have a few of those here, too.

It’s also not too far from New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, and it’s only an hour away from Baltimore.

Oh, and we have a major league baseball team.

My wife had this to add:

Agreed, seriously. Definitely enjoyed the time we spent there. It’s high on the list. I think that I have a stronger urge than my wife to escape the west coast altogether, though.

Twist my arm, why don’t you? Cool, bug-free zones? Maybe we need to visit Calgary, too…that is, if you don’t mind ex-Californians invading your neighborhood. :slight_smile:

Hmm. I have a friend in D.C. I just talked with today, and she complained bitterly about the humidity right now. My one true experience with humidity was on a trip to Dallas, where my last day was spent in 99% with 97% humidity. :smack: If DC is anything like that, I’m going to have to pass, unless we can afford a summer home elsewhere.