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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 3:57 PM
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If you had to live in a small town or city (<150k), what would you pick?

One of the recent threads about people not wanting to leave their hometowns got me thinking about this. I know we fetishize mega cities on this board, but rarely do we discuss smaller cities.

So, on that note, if you had to resettle in a city or town (lets max out the metro population at 150,0000), where would you choose? Let's try not to focus on places that are adjacent to a mega city...so add 1.5-2 hours minimum driving time to a major city center as a limitation. Please include pics and explanation of what appeals to you if you want!

Here are my top picks:

1.) San Luis Obispo, CA / Population 47,541

I'm not sure why I am so drawn to this place, but I have always loved the central CA coast, and this town is so charming, walkable, and is economically thriving due the local presence of a major University. One of the rare US towns that is somewhat affluent/solidly middle class and not full of WalMarts. I enjoy the climate/landscape, as it's very Mediterranean and far enough from the sea that it's actually hot in the summer.


https://d14dsi4x2zx6ql.cloudfront.ne...B_1280x642.jpg


https://www.visitcalifornia.com/site...1280x640_1.jpg


http://www.asherworldturns.com/wp-co...3/IMG_3281.jpg

2.) Santa Barbara, CA / Population 92,101

The Spanish architecture, walkability of the downtown area, manicured neighborhoods and culture of wellness; reminds the most of a Mediterranean seaside town. If there were jobs to go around in my industry here I'd move there in a heartbeat for sure. The surrounding nature is also just so stunning and I like that it's a lot greener than most of SoCal.


http://faculty.engineering.asu.edu/z...ara.jpg?w=1400


https://s-ec.bstatic.com/images/hote...6/34629531.jpg


https://s.abcnews.com/images/Travel/...6_16x9_992.jpg


https://www.californiabeaches.com/wp...r-1000x667.jpg

3.) Reykjavik, Iceland / Population 122,853

Ok, I am admittedly cheating since the metro area has 228,260 in the so-called "capital region", but I think RVK might be the most dynamic/cosmopolitan/exciting city of its size I've ever been to. Great nightlife, love the Icleandic culture, and overall good lifestyle. Love the culture of swimming/hot pots that people go to on a near daily basis. Would be a fantastic place to raise a family and it's insanely safe.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...2C_Iceland.jpg


https://c8.alamy.com/comp/HAFA8N/peo...vik-HAFA8N.jpg


http://www.traveller.com.au/content/...4678541766.jpg
https://icelandmag.is/sites/default/...?itok=ADoUTAO9


Other contenders: Charleston, SC / Calistoga, CA / Bainbridge Island, WA (it's only accessible to Seattle by ferry so rather isolated)
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Last edited by destroycreate; Jun 6, 2019 at 4:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 4:05 PM
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2.) Union City, NJ / Population 70,387

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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 4:05 PM
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Annapolis, MD or Charleston/Savannah
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 4:47 PM
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Maybe Sarasota or Naples in Florida and Sonoma, California.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:03 PM
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There are a couple of great N. Arizona towns I could live in

Prescott 42k :





Flagstaff (metro 130k):








And of course, Sedona (pop~ 10k) not much for urbanofiles but its got great scenery:





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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:10 PM
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The city-state called "Monaco". As of 2017, it had 38,695 residents.

That place is lovely. I'd pick that place, if I had to live in it.

I wish I could afford it, but if I was forced to be anywhere, it would be Monaco.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:12 PM
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Locally? If I could cheat it a bit, probably Kingston, ON (metro pop. 160,000). Fairly vibrant, historic university city 2 hours drive/train ride from both Toronto and Montreal.


Kingston Ontario at Night
by Jack Tome, on Flickr


Otherwise, one of the other Victorian towns along the Lake Ontario shoreline like Cobourg or Brockville would work.

Globally though? I'll happily live in any Mediterranean or Alpine town. Maybe compromise between the two with somewhere like Lake Como.


https://www.vrbo.com/436662ha
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 4:54 PM
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Newport, RI, Burlington, VT or Portsmouth, NH

A lot of the small CA towns are actually part of a much bigger area...otherwise, I'd pick something like Manhattan Beach or Ventura.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Santa Cruz despite all the tweekers
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 6:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Newport, RI, Burlington, VT or Portsmouth, NH

A lot of the small CA towns are actually part of a much bigger area...otherwise, I'd pick something like Manhattan Beach or Ventura.
Portland, ME, is also a contender.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 6:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Portland, ME, is also a contender.

Portland, ME is a great city, but it's metro pop. is half a million.



Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilliesPhan View Post
This answer fits the city population requirement, but falls out of line in regards to the metro population requirement; however, I'll say it anyway. I'd definitely choose Harrisburg if I had to live in a small city! It has a nice setting on the Susquehanna River, beautiful architecture, great jobs in government, and Amtrak access to Philly, NYC, and Pittsburgh!

I've said it many times here before, but Eastern Pennsylvania's small cities are - at least as far as urbanity is concerned - the best of their size in North America. If I were from the region and priced out of the big cities, I'd definitely consider places like Allentown or Reading as viable cheaper alternatives.

(also all too big for this thread though)
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 6:24 PM
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Santa Fe, NM
Sedona, AZ
Fort Collins, CO
Monterey, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Key West, FL

To name a few...
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2019, 1:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATXboom View Post
Santa Fe, NM
Sedona, AZ
Fort Collins, CO
Monterey, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Key West, FL

To name a few...
Good list!

I would add Charleston, SC to the list, but the metro region is too big and with high growth, won't be long before it hits 1 million people For Pete's Sake!

2000: 549,033
2010: 664,607
2016: 761,155
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:21 PM
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Santa Barbara, CA (that's pretty far from LA, right)?

Ann Arbor, MI
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:47 PM
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Key West, Florida. Chapel Hill, NC. Boone, NC. Any number of NC beach towns.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initiald View Post
Key West, Florida. Chapel Hill, NC. Boone, NC. Any number of NC beach towns.
I can see Key West but the issue with Key West would be like you see in that "too many people want to travel thread": too many drunk tourists making life a pain for the locals, and AirBnb spreading them into the neighborhoods.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:51 PM
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[QUOTE=the urban politician;8597381]Santa Barbara, CA (that's pretty far from LA, right)?/QUOTE]

I wouldn't call it "far" maybe like hr hr 1/2 from downtown LA -
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Santa Barbara, CA (that's pretty far from LA, right)?

santa barbasa is 95 miles driving distance from downtown LA.

google maps says that the current drive time is 1:47.

to put it in local terms, that's roughly the same distance from downtown chicago to downtown milwaukee.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 5:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
One of the recent threads about people not wanting to leave their hometowns got me thinking about this. I know we fetishize mega cities on this board, but rarely do we discuss smaller cities.
I know you addressed Iceland, but Santa Barbara is far from small. The City may be 90k but the Metro Area is 430k
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2019, 6:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obadno View Post
I know you addressed Iceland, but Santa Barbara is far from small. The City may be 90k but the Metro Area is 430k
I actually didn't know that, so I stand corrected. I never thought of SB as having a ~metro~ area to be honest.

For the person saying it's 1/2 drive to LA, that's absolutely not true. On a good day, maybe 90 minutes, but typically well above that.
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