Best states/cities in the Midwest to live…

posted 3 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I live in St. Louis and I love it. I’ve always told FI I won’t move anywhere north of here because I hate winter, but I’d probably be willing to move to Chicago or Minneapolis (Chicago is obvious, Minneapolis I’ve just always heard is a great place for young couples/families).

Anyway, with St Louis:

Things to do: So much! I could seriously go on and on. There are (good) pro sports teams, free cultural attractions (Zoo, Museums, etc), theatre, lots of outdoor activities, great wine less than an hour way, etc

Culture/Diversity: This is one of the two areas StL could greatly improve IMO. While overall there is a lot of diversity, StL is an INCREDIBLY segregated city. My neighborhood, for example, is something like 90% white (and most of them are Catholics). One zip code away, though, it’s 90% AA. It’s like that everywhere in the city.

Crime Rate: Again, greatly depends on neighborhood. Overall I think St. Louis does tend to rate high for crime, but I’ve never ever felt unsafe/threatened/etc. I mean, I wouldn’t walk around downtown by myself at night, but I wouldn’t do that anywhere. There are a lot of (poor) neighborhoods with a ton of crime, though.

Standard of Living (Expensive, moderate, etc.): Super inexpensive. FI and I have a combined income around $75k and we rent a nice house in a nice, walkable neighborhood in the most disirable zip code in the city limits. We have enough money to live comfortable, pay bills, debts, etc, and still go out to eat/play/travel, etc.

Political climate: MO in general is conservative, but StL is fairly liberable. There’s not a lot of scandal (nothing compared to IL politics!). There is a strong Catholic presence in StL (both the city proper and the neighboring county), but generally things tend to lean left here.

Anything else you found interesting or attractive about said state/city: While this is true of most Midwestern cities, I love that I can fly to either coast for about $200 and just a couple hours. I also like that if I’m ever feeling out of touch with nature, there are some great natural wonders within an hour’s drive. StL in general is very family-oriented and friendly. I seriously love it and never want to leave!

Post # 4
Member
13168 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’ve spent a lot of time in Indianapolis (I grew up in IN) and my sister and her husband live in the Indy suburbs.  I think Indy is a great place!

Things to do: There is a ton to do in Indy between pro sports, tons of museums (LOVE their children’s museum, even as an adult), and the Monon Trail for walking, running, biking, etc.  You also have the zoo, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the theatre, and concert venues.

Culture/Diversity:  Indy is probably lower here.  I don’t tend to think of Indiana (or really the Midwest in general, outside of, say, Chicago) to be very culturally diverse.

Crime Rate:  It totally depends on where you are.  There are areas in Indy where crime is higher, but I’ve never once felt unsafe when I’ve been out and about.

Standard of Living: Indiana is a really affordable place in general to live.  Some of the Indy suburbs (Carmel, IN in particular) are more expensive but still reasonable for a good sized city.

Political climate: Indiana used to be pretty solidly conservative but considering that they became a swing state in the last presidential election (and went blue for the first time I can remember in my lifetime), that is clearly shifting.  I’d say it is pretty mid-of-the-road now.

Anything else you found interesting or attractive about said state/city:  You have really easy access to places like Chicago if you want a weekend in the “big city” and there are beautiful outdoor hiking/camping areas a hour south of Indy in Brown County, IN.

Post # 5
Member
11300 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

We’re more Great Lakes region, but we always get lumped in to the midwest. Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • Things to do – lots of parks and lakes, tons of summer festivals, lots of local restaurants and breweries/wineries
  • Culture/Diversity – pretty diverse, depending on which areas you go to
  • Crime Rate – I guess it depends on what kinds of crimes; it’s mainly theft/shoplifting.
  • Standard of Living (Expensive, moderate, etc.) – lower (except car insurance, which sucks)
  • Political climate (this should be for both the city and state, since the state ultimately governs the city) – both state and city are fairly liberal/Democratic
  • Anything else you found interesting or attractive about said state/city! – I like it here a lot. I grew up here, but never appreciated it until the last few years. We have basically everything here, three colleges, restaurants, nightlife, but it’s still a “small town.”

Post # 6
Member
3570 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@vorpalette:  I love Kalamazoo!  My DH was a barista at the Fourth Coast for about 10 years before he moved to NYC.

Post # 7
Member
3199 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Mrs.KMM:  i’m from the Indy area. i will second that there are things to do in the Indianapolis area, but you will pay for it all. None of it is free. Also, outside of Indianapolis there isn’t much to do. The slightly left-leaning political climate is driven 100% by the university population – you won’t get liberals in any other part of the state (for the most part).

I won’t be moving back to Indianapolis since I’ve moved to the east coast. I plan on moving nearer to my family, but likely to the Chicago area. I’m commenting to follow, though.

One of my friends lives in Nashville and loves it! I may spend a stint there to see if I enjoy it or not.

Post # 8
Member
11300 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

@MrsTVLover:  Awwww nice! We love it here. I used to want nothing more than to move away to a big city (I’m actually from one of the small towns outside of Kzoo), and then I actually went to a big city. Too much for me. I finally started discovering Kalamazoo really when I started dating FI, and it’s been really great.

Post # 9
Member
2454 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Chicago! Most amazing city in the world, in my opinion. It consists of so many culturally diverse neighborhoods. Yet, it’s quaint and full of charm. 

Things to do: Three major art museums, a history museum, a science museum, a children’s museum, an aquarium, two zoos (one being free), and a planetarium. There are also a million restuarnts that are top in the world. We have a major broadway and off broadway scene, and all national acts come through Chicago. 

Culture/diversity: Every neighborhood is different. Some are devoted to cultures (i.e. Ukranian Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.). Some are extremely diverse, like Rogers Park. There is no shortage of language learning centers, churches, ethnic restaurants, etc.

Crime Rate: I wont pussyfoot this. It’s bad. But I will say that I have never felt unsafe in the city. Even on public transportation, once you know it, you understand what to do and what not to do. There are some really great neighborhoods where people will not lock their doors. And there are others where you wouldn’t go out past 9pm wearing white or black. But if you pick the right location, gang violence will never, ever effect you. 

Standard of Living: This also depends on your neighborhood. For a 1 bdr apartment, we are paying $1200 in Lakeview, one of the best in the city. For a 1 bdr in family oriented Rogers Park, I was paying $700. So really, it’s up to you. Suburbs are much more affordable. To buy a home, you’re talking an average of $300,000 for a 2bdr. Gas is expensive but public transportation is ample and at the price of any other major city in the country. Tax rates are high though.

Political Climate: If you do not like liberal government, I’d avoid us. We are known for our corruption. And it’s true. But it’s nice to have alderman running your neighborhood. State government is in shambles. I wouldn’t want to be a government employee here. But the private sector in the cities fair nicely with work regulation. Big union town! And people are extremely passionate for gay rights, at least in the city. Outside of cook county, you are looking at a more conservative area.

Anything else: We have a ton of greenspace! Oh! And the lake! Living on a beach of a HUGE lake is priceless. And our views are spectacular. I love that the homes have a ton of history and are not just new, low rises. 

Why would you live here? Because you enjoy a major city feeling. Because you want a lot of work opportunities. Because you want access to everything. 

Post # 10
Member
209 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Ann Arbor, MI!

It tends to be liberal, culturally diverse (at least within the city) due to the University of Michigan, and the crime rate is below the national average.  There are all sorts of activities (Top of the Park, Summer Festival, etc.), lots of restaurants, bars and places to catch live music/events.  Homes aren’t cheap, and they’re in low supply right now. The public schools are great and there is a great park system.

For fun, this is just for the last two years:

Post # 12
Member
531 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I don’t know if it counts as Midwest or more south, but I love Austin, TX! We just moved here from the Kansas City area 2 years ago and like it more and more the longer we’re here.  There’s tons of stuff to do – music festivals (which are often free) throughout the year as well as lots of outdoorsy stuff – stand up paddleboarding/kayaking on the river, floating the river (the kind where you relax in inner tubes and soak up the rays, not like the white water kind), hiking and camping.  If you don’t mind hot weather then I’d say there’s great weather all year – it rarely gets to freezing temps and even though its hot in the summer it isn’t humid like Houston or New Orleans.  There’s also the famous 6th street night life, semi-pro sports and all the shopping (boutiques, outlet malls and the regular mall stores) you’d expect to find in a much bigger city.  Plus, Austin is big on the food scene – the food carts around town are very electic, there are quite a few top tier restaurants as well as mom and pop stuff. The people are really friendly and housing prices aren’t too bad (we pay $1000/mo for our 856 sqft 1 bedroom apartment, if that helps at all).  Other costs of living are pretty average + there is no income tax in Texas (yay!).  There are a lot of tech companies in the Austin area (with more on the way) so if you/your husband are in that industry you will have no problem finding jobs with Dell/3M/Apple/Samsung etc.

There is more crime in Austin than I would think a city this size would have, but I’ve found that as long as you use common sense (don’t leave stuff out in your car, lock your doors etc) and stay out of the sketchy parts of town you’ll probably never be bothered.  The town is rather liberal, especially for the state of Texas, which is VERY conservative.  I think Obama won the vote here by 65% but don’t quote me on that.   The city is pretty diverse – there is a significant portion of the population that is hispanic, and its not surprising to see lots of other races too (the university is a big draw for foreign students).  You didn’t ask about this, but I feel obligated to tell you that TRAFFIC IN AUSTIN IS AWFUL.  I just got back from visiting family on the east coast – while there I drove hundreds of miles back and forth between north Baltimore and D.C. and never once felt a twinge of road rage – back in Austin, I drive a mile to work and often find myself cussing out people who’ve cut me off/done other rude/unsafe things.  It is also very difficult if you have to commute very far at all around rush hour – all of the highways and major roads completely back up and almost stop.  I live close to work and my husband does a reverse commute, so it hasn’t been too bad for us, but I shudder at the thought of having to take I-35 anytime from 7-9am or 4-7pm.  If you live close to where you work you probably wouldn’t even notice it though…

Hope this is helpful – I’d really recommend moving to Austin – it has been great for us.

Post # 13
Member
7219 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

@discokitty:  I love a2!

Also, a note, around metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan is very culturally diverse. You can get any ethnic food you want in the metro Detroit area! 

Post # 15
Member
7219 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

@BlueBelle0927:  oh, we’ll in that case, you might want to wait unti Rick Snyder is out of Michigan, since he’s taking it down the same path, and in some ways, worse. He’s from Ann Arbor, oddly enough. 

I might suggest Pittsburgh since it looks like the very right leaning governor  of PA won’t be reelected. its a very Dem friendly town, with lots to do and decent public transportation. 

 Not the Midwest, but Philly is supposed to be a liberal paradise. 

Aother thing I would do is check the voting records for the cities you’re looking at, and look up the representatives, how they vote and who contributes to them. If you can’t tell, I’m in the process of deciding to move, and I’m also a liberal. Based on this criteria, I was considering Maryland, but that’s not the Midwest obviously. I own a secondary business and will be paying a lot in taxes, and I have no intention of supporting policies that deeply offend me locally if I can help it. This might help:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/09/map_hawaii_maryland_and_massachusetts_are_the_most_democratic_states_.html

 

Post # 16
Member
1332 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@BlueBelle0927:  I was just about to suggest Milwaukee or Madison until I saw that you are trying to flee Wisconsin! So sad that Walker and his…antics are driving you away.

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