General Question

christybird's avatar

Where would you rather live?

Asked by christybird (813points) February 9th, 2008

Next year, it looks like I may have the opportunity to live in Ithaca (NY), Phoenix, Boston or Seattle. Where would you rather live? And why? I’m curious if anyone knows any particularly awesome or horrible things about living in these cities.

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23 Answers

finkelitis's avatar

Seattle is paradise on Earth.

boffin's avatar

NY expensive both living and taxes…Boston about the same… Bragging rights in baseball and football but just for a year…Phoenix…Hot summers and cold winters…Of course you would get Shaq in the deal. Seattle, rather pleasant weather. About 40 inches of rain a year. I live about as far north on the coast as you can get in California, we get 100 inches average rain fall. No smog, no crowds and no traffic. Seattle would be a close second choice for me.

phoenyx's avatar

Seattle. I’ve never been there and I’m curious what it’s like. My second choice would be Phoenix because I have family there and I enjoy mountains and the desert climate doesn’t bother me.

Spargett's avatar

Can you tell us what you do for a living? Certain professions strive better is certain places.

kevbo's avatar

My year in Seattle (97–98) was one of my best ever. My health was excellent because I walked everywhere and had easy access to excellent produce. There was always something to do, and I frequently just stumbled upon cool
stuff. In general, I felt Seattle is a city that is supportive of people and their idea(l)s.

It’s expensive, though, and shared housing is common. Also, getting into and out of the city is kind of a pain, but those are minor drawbacks when you live in a place that doesn’t really require “vacating”.

kevbo's avatar

Phoenix is sprall. Seattle is a conglomeration of distinct neighborhoods, which IMO means greatly improved quality of life.

christybird's avatar

@Spargett – I will be starting a PhD program in biology. All of the schools are good, I think it may just end up coming down to where I want to live!

susanc's avatar

Christybird, you are too smart a person to be a Phoenix type. Read a long article by
Robert J Kaplan in the Atlantic from about five years ago. It really is sprall (sic) and the weather is impossible in warm months. Boston is very cold and unwieldy. Ithaca is beautiful but isolated and very difficult in winter. Seattle is your answer for sure. I have a beautiful loft to sell you if you decide to come here. Beautiful.

susanc's avatar

Or I could rent it to you. Keep me posted.

gailcalled's avatar

@christybird: I would factor in the PhD depts. at the Universities. Cornell, for example, will have extraordinary resources for you (they did all the birdsong LPs, tapes, and CDs, as I am sure you know). Ithaca is really Cornell surrounded by gorges and lakes.

Boston, in spite of the winters, is a terrific city for the young. I went to college in one of its suburbs, and lived near and worked at that U. in Cambridge. I barely noticed the snow; life was so exciting. Excellent public transportation, too. East and West coast very different..I too would nix Phoenix.

ironhiway's avatar

Phoenix may be hot during the Summer but if your going to be there during the school year it wont be snowing and rain is not often a problem. Ithaca (NY), Boston or Seattle haven’t been to these places though all of them are places I’d like to visit.

The east side of Phoenix is where all the snow birds come from Canada and Washington State to get out of the cold.

If it’s just for a year I’d probably try one of the other three, but if you choose Phoenix I have a condo in Mesa, near the 202 a short drive to ASU, you could rent.

figbash's avatar

Of all of them, I’d have to say Seattle. I’m from the East Coast and had long considered Boston or NYC, but after much deliberation, have chosen to stay here.

In addition to all of the great things mentioned about Seattle, above, I also find the population a lot more diverse. Being located on the Sound, and one hour from the ocean and the mountains is another big draw. Close proximity to BC and Portland are other strong selling points.

The other thing I’ve experienced here is a lot less materialism, or name-brand status than in East Coast cities. Sure, materialism can pop up in many different forms, but what kind of car I drive, what my parents do for a living, and what kind of watch I own aren’t all too important. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on quality of life, too, which I appreciate.

One detractor for me has always been the architecture though. There’s a lot of bad, bad building in this city. It’s also a little hard to meet people. People are friendly, but unless you know a group of people or are connected with school, etc. people’s friendship groups have been pretty well-formed.

Good luck!

cwilbur's avatar

I’d say Boston. But I live here.

Jill_E's avatar

Ithaca (NY) – This is a beautiful college town. I used to go to college nearby in Rochester, NY. Ithaca is near Finger Lakes. If you don’t mind long winters.

Phoenix – If you don’t mind hot weather. I’ve visited there once in January. I haven’t experienced the summers there. I’ve enjoyed visiting the southwest for the first time in late 1990s. It gave me a chance to stop by Taos, NM, Santa Fe, NM as well. Our friends live nearby there and they don’t mind the weather. They would stay inside a/c places (movies, malls etc)

Boston – my brother in law went to college there. He enjoyed it immensely. The only negative thing I’ve heard is the traffic. Thats all. The rest sounds great.

or Seattle – never been there yet. I can imagine it will be a fun place to go to college. My friends mentioned coffee houses and traveling on ferries to Vancouver and the islands.

christybird's avatar

Thanks everyone for your answers! You’ve given me some good things to think about. I have visits to all of these places coming up so I’ll get a chance to see them before I decide. I’m really really bad at making decisions like this… my mom says it’s because I’m a Libra. Ha ha.

emilyrose's avatar

Maybe you are a 6 in the enneagram. They are the most indecisive personality type. Check it out:

they also tend to ask people for their advice all the time. people like that (ME!) love fluther for that reason : )

scottk's avatar

I’ve lived in Phoenix since 1993. While I love the sunshine and warm winters, the summers are becoming nearly unbearable due to the “heat island” effect.

Phoenix is only recently developing an identity. It has grown so fast too fast IMHO that there is sprawl everywhere. It’s like one giant suburb. There are strip malls everywhere.

Most of the restaurants, shops, etc in Phoenix are corporate brands (Applebee’s, Target, etc). There are very few “home grown” originals here.

The arts in the area is getting better, but it’s nothing like you would find in a more established (i.e. older) city. If you like sports, there are plenty here. We have NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. We also play host to the “Cactus League” spring training every year.

You would think that with the mild winters and constant sunshine, every one here would be fit and healthy. Wrong. Phoenix is becoming one of the worst cities for overweight folks. In fact, Mesa was recently rated on of the top 5 unhealthiest cities in America.

Traffic isn’t too bad, and our light rail will begin service at the end of this year. Smog (or the “brown cloud” as we call it) is becoming a big problem though. We have several air quailty alerts every year.

So would I recommend living here? I’m not sure that I would. It’s fine for a couple of years, but with no seasons, the days tend to run together. There isn’t much since of neighborhoods here as it seems everyone has moved here from somewhere else.

After 15 years, I am considering moving away. I am just tired of the corporate sameness/blandness of the area. I long for a community with more character.

Emilyy's avatar

Seattle is gorgeous. I could go on for days about the benefits, but take a trip there yourself and see how you like it! If you can make it through the gloomy winters, the summertime weather (75 and sunny just about the entire time) is well worth it. I live in LA and pine for Seattle again.

Zaku's avatar

My preference would be the opposite sequence to how you listed them, if you don’t mind rain and clouds. Phoenix is very hot. Ithaca gets very cold. Boston has the most “history” but it’s nothing compared to Europe, and it has East Coast attitudes and accents (not my thing).

christybird's avatar

Hey everyone – just an update. I have decided on Boston, and I’m really excited about it. Although my visit to Seattle was WONDERFUL and I could definitely see what all the fuss was about (it didn’t hurt that we had a gloriously sunny day in Februrary and they took me out to the San Juan Islands!)

Thanks for the feedback, it really helped me figure out the Phoenix might not be the best place to spend 5 years and that Ithaca is a bit small for me.

smilesby's avatar

Ithaca for sure, but only if you can deal with the winters and are very liberal. The bumper sticker says it all “10 square miles surrounded by reality.” My wife, a Brit, says it’s the “least American place” she’s seen in this country, which of course for her is a great compliment.

alialiali's avatar

NY always. woody allen.

GrumpyGram's avatar

I would LOVE to spend a year in Seattle. I’ve been to Vancouver which is wonderful – almost as wonderful as Victoria. Only thing I recall about Seattle is having a bowl of clam chowder on the bay. And with Victoria, the houses had flower boxes under the windows and oh, so quaint everything. The morning fog.. love.

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