My wife and I are currently considering moving back to the States (I grew up in Bay Area, California), and we're considering places outside of the Bay Area, because it's just too expensive. We did a lot of research online, but we'd like some opinions from different folks who have lived in various parts of the U.S. to share their experiences with us.
It's just the two of us--no children, and no pets. What we're looking for in an ideal city are the following:
Weather - We're quite spoiled by California weather (never too cold or too hot), so we would like to find somewhere that's as close to the mild California weather as possible. Ideally, no extremes like lots of snow, rain, heat, or any other dramatic climate.
Housing - Of course, cheaper housing is better. We can't afford to buy houses in the Bay Area--just too expensive. Even just renting, the same price we'd pay for a modest apartment in the Bay Area could get us a really nice place elsewhere.
Crime - Definitely no high crime rate cities. I grew up in Foster City, one of the safest cities in all of California, where I can walk around at night during all hours and not feel insecure.
Culture - Diversity, tolerance and progressive thinking is better. Definitely don't want any area where there are lots of bigots, racists, intolerant religious zealots, and so on.
Proximity to civilization - As beautiful as countryside can be, the wife and I are mainly city dwellers. Too out there makes us think of slasher horror movies. We'd like to enjoy decent shopping and dining and a bit of culture within acceptable driving distance. But on the other hand, we don't like living in big cities--they feel very impersonal, where everyone is a stranger. We actually like the suburb, even if we are by nature somewhat subversive and rebellious.
Employment - We really don't care if there are lots of employment opportunities in the area. I work at home, so it doesn't really matter to me.
Just for reference, here are some of the places we've lived at and how we felt about them in terms of weather:
Bay Area, California - Pretty much perfect. Almost never gets too hot or too cold.
San Diego, LA, California - A bit warmer than Bay Area, but otherwise, similar.
Louisville, Kentucky - Summer too hot and humid. Winter not too bad, although it does snow a little bit.
Malaysia - Too humid and all year-round hot summer is just too weird. We didn't like having to sweat all the time.
Hong Kong - Summer is too humid, and sometimes too hot, but rest of the year is quite mild and comfortable.
Fuzhou, China - Too humid almost all-year round, and there's barely any autumn or spring. It's just very long, hot summer and then winter.
Taipei, Taiwan - Similar weather to Fuzhou.
Anyway, that's about it. Thanks!
Edited by Lunatique - 3/17/12 at 9:32pm