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oisurf's avatar

If you lived in Tampa Florida and considered moving to Seattle or Chicago.. which would you choose?

Asked by oisurf (37points) August 25th, 2013

I’ve asked a similar question once before but wanted to see if I could get some additional opinions on this topic.

I currently live in Tampa Florida, am considering a relocation to either Seattle or Chicago.. I’ve done some extensive research and have noticed that Seattle has a higher median income level then the other cities and the crime rate is much lower.

I’m looking for some feedback from folks that have experience in either of these cities.

Maybe you live in Tampa right now and love it so much, I’d love to hear from you as well.

Maybe you live in Seattle or Chicago, I definitely want to hear from you. Whats the employment situation like, crime, people, place to raise a family, easy to make friends?

I’m 28yrs old, married and would be utilizing a few years of savings to make this move. I’m hoping a move from Tampa would prove to be a good investment for the future of my family.

I often times look around at what Florida offers and realize that this may not be the best place. I’m looking for a challenge, I’m looking to become a better person.

Thanks in advance for your consideration and feedback.

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23 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I admire your willingness to make changes for the benefit of your family, but until you’ve been through some of our winters, I’d advise caution. It can get mean in the north. I’m in NYS, but I’ve known people from Chicago and we’ve had these types of conversations. Plus Chicago is going through a major crime wave. I don’t know the answer, that’s for you to decide. But I think someone advised you to find a job and then relocate on your last question. Consider that maybe. But if you love winter sports, we have lots of that.

jerv's avatar

I can answer the crime question fairly easily. While Seattle has a bit more theft than Tampa or Chicago, our rates of more violent crimes range from “slightly better” for things like Robbery and buglary to ”Much better” for the extreme stuff like rape and murder. Unlike Tampa, Seattle is actually below the national average in those.

What crime we do have is more bent towards property crimes, generally in a manner that doesn’t involve actually confronting people. Seattlites are less likely to break into your home and far less likely to mug, beat, or rape you, but you don’t want to leave valuables in your car.

Chicago, quite frankly, the murder are is too high for me to want to even have a layover there on a cross-country flight; about three times what Tampa has. On the plus side, assault rates are lower; if they beat you, they will probably beat you to death. They aren’t into burglary or theft, but robbery and murder seem to be almost a family tradition for Chicago.

And that is based on years-old statistics; if @Adirondackwannabe is correct, Chicago has gone downhill appreciably.

oisurf's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe, thanks for your reply. I’ve heard about the Chicago crime & weather – I’m planning a trip to Chicago in November, just recently came back from Seattle in the summer and want to visit again during their winters.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@oisurf Try it in January or February to be sure. Until you’ve seen -35F you don’t know what cold is. Only once, but that was enough.

jerv's avatar

Cost of living – Chicago is around the national average while Seattle is, quite frankly, a bit pricey. That said, it costs about as much to live in Seattle as it does to live in New Hampshire, which if far more than you may be used to in Tampa. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in rents. What might get you a nice 4-bedroom house on 2-acres in Tampa might get you a Studio here. Our other costs are not nearly so much higher, but the 9.5% sales tax adds up. At least we have no state income tax.

There is no comparing the winters. Seattle might get ankle-deep snow that sticks around for a few days before the rain washes it away, but that’s about it. Nothing like the winters I am used to where I sometimes spent an hour digging out my car. Both Chicago and Seattle get the same amount of rain (believe it or not!) but Chicago gets far more snow and larger seasonal variations in temperature; they are 10 degrees hotter in the summer and 15 degrees cooler in the winter compared to us. In the 4 years I’ve been here, I don’t think it’s ever gone below +20F here even at night, and rarely over 90F in the summer either.

MarshO's avatar

Of the two, I’d pick Seattle in a heartbeat. I lived there for eleven years before moving where I currently live (the Central Coast of California), and wish that I had never moved. Seattle is a vibrant city, with probably more activities available per capita than any other city in the U.S. It’s beautiful (unlike Chicago), has a low unemployment rate with high median incomes, and a friendly population. The only downside (to some), is that it is overcast and rainy a goodly part of the year—something that I, personally, enjoyed.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not sure why you picked those two cities. When you get to Chicago in November keep in mind that January is even colder! It also has a lot of overcast skies, but will not be as dreary as Seattle, but it’s a toss up for grey weather honestly as far as I am concerned. I like both cities, except that I really like sunshine, and so both of those cities are a little tough for me concerning the climate. Are you going to live right downtown? Have you considered living in a smaller town within an hour of a major city?

Tampa is a city and congested, and depending on what exactly you don’t like about it might help you choose. Plus, both places you chose have higher housing costs and taxes, but it seems like you have done some research on that.

jaytkay's avatar

Regarding crime, I live in Chicago.

In my neighborhood, I am in great danger of being run over by some mommy with one of those menacing strollers holding adorable twins.

Squirrels accost me every morning, begging for peanuts.

On my morning bike ride to work, drivers brazenly wave me through intersections, forcing me to commit the unspeakable crime of riding along undisturbed.

This weekend , gangs of immigrants openly held displays in my local park under the guise of an “arts fair”. I personally witnessed Spanish, Indonesian, and Mexican dancers ONE BLOCK FROM MY HOME!!

Also, adults were publicly reading stories to kids, indoctrinating them with “virtues” such as enjoying books.

We are burdened with public libraries and parks, where you must not pay a fee to use the facilities.

It’s a hellhole.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jaytkay I stand bowed and corrected for painting an entire city with one brush. Please try to survive the hellhole.

JLeslie's avatar

I use this for crime rates by zip code. It will let you compare yours and another side by side.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Bad scripting. Firefox does not like that site.

jaytkay's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Thank you!

In return, I will say Chicago has terrible neighborhoods where I would not live.

I have friends in those neighborhoods, and sometimes I have to go there for business. I don’t hang out there. When I have to knock on doors I go at 9AM. I will not go near in the afternoon or evening or night.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jaytkay Yeah we all have those pockets were no one is safe. I’m in rural Upstate NY and the cops have places they don’t go alone.

jerv's avatar

@jaytkay Those neighborhood screw the average. Apparently, they screw it up a lot. Then again, Seattle has Aurora Ave, favored hangout of hookers and meth-heads….

BTW, you might find this a bit funny, just to show you how Seattle rolls.

linguaphile's avatar

I love Chicago—especially the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park and other north-city neighborhoods. There are good areas in Chicago and the suburbs are pretty much just as generic as every other American suburb.

My experience with Chicago is… it has a very strong family-unit vibe. People still identify with being Italian, Irish or whatever their great-grandparents were. There’s no excuse to eat bad food in Chicago—not with so many amazing choices. Make sure you have a smallish car—traffic is just like NYC, if not worse. People are generally friendly, but very blunt—

There are parts of Chicago I wouldn’t drive through, even in the daytime.

I know nothing about Seattle, except everyone that I know who lived there thoroughly loves it.

Seek's avatar

cheers! I’m a Tampanian as well, and looking to book it also. We are thinking Colorado, actually, but the Pacific Northwest was on the list.

The hubs grew up in the Chicago area, and while he loves and identifies with Illinois, doesn’t want to raise our kid there.

Silence04's avatar

I live in Chicago and the crime is mostly isolated to the south side or far west side due to gangs/etc. Everything north is about on par with any other city.

As for cost of living, you’ll probably pay $300–500 more per month living in Chicago than Tampa, depending on the neighborhood. For your age, you’d probably want to live in bucktown, wicker park or Lincoln park, which are all really great areas.

One great thing about Chicago that no one has mentioned, it’s easy to take weekend trips to other places. Just within a 4 hour drive, you could end up in one of five different states of your choosing.

I have never been to Seattle, but I here there are some areas like Chicago neighborhoods, but in the mountains.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seattle, hands down. It is such a cool, eclectic city. Plus you’ve got beautiful mountains on one had, and the ocean on the other. The city will keep you busy, but the most beautiful country in the world is an hour away.

A lot of serial killers seemed to come out of Washington State though. I can’t figure that out.

@jaytkay This weekend , gangs of immigrants openly held displays in my local park under the guise of an “arts fair”. I personally witnessed Spanish, Indonesian, and Mexican dancers ONE BLOCK FROM MY HOME!!..
DAMNED DANCING INDONESIANS!! Oh, wait. I married one. Had some beautiful brown babies because of that damned Indo. But he couldn’t dance.

Seek's avatar

Don’t worry, we get the lion’s share of serial killers here in Florida. Nothing new. ^_^

jaytkay's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr We are thinking Colorado

I think you would like Fort Collins. Definitely put it on your list. Great city.

If you’d like a smaller town, look at Salida.

Colorado Springs and Grand Junction are not for you, I guarantee. Too Red State.

oisurf's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr , keep me posted if you don’t mind on what you guys decide to do! Wish you the best of luck as well

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