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s/o Big Cities - wish you could live in one?


creekland
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Do you want to live in a big city?  

192 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you wish you could live in a big city (of your choice)? This assumes you could afford to live comfortably.

    • Already do and love it.
      24
    • Already do and it's ok or I might like another city better.
      6
    • Already do and wish we could move elsewhere - not in a city.
      5
    • Yes - absolutely.
      36
    • Maybe - I'm not really sure.
      32
    • No, no, and NO!
      89
  2. 2. Have you ever lived in a larger city (> 250,000 itself or 1 million in metro area)

    • Yes - and enjoyed it.
      86
    • Yes - and didn't enjoy it.
      18
    • Yes - it was ok, but there are better options.
      38
    • Yes - but don't remember it (too young).
      1
    • No - never had the chance, but would like to try it.
      14
    • No - never had the chance and not eager to try it.
      24
    • No - had the chance and didn't choose it.
      11


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I've lived in cities all my life ( did not know how to drive until 2 years ago) but I'm over it. I worry way too much about air quality and especially cities with high rises i just would not live in by choice. I like certain parts of london, rome, and paris, but smelling all the neighbors'' food, and the vermin, etc are not for me.

I told DH I would agree to move back to NYC only of I could get all my groceries delivered, lived in a brownstone across the street from the park and could walk the kids to school and we had the ability to escape all of July and August. So, never ;)

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Define "big?" I recently moved from one of the DFW Metroplex cities to Minneapolis. The former area has about 7 million, although we lived in one of the smaller cities between Dallas and Ft. Worth. Now, the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the surrounding metropolitan area totals 3.5 mil, so roughly half as many people. We actually live in the city proper now, however (Minneapolis).

 

To answer your question, the country is nice to visit or if I were to own horses again, but it's boring as hell, because there's not much diversity of people, languages, arts, etc. Even the suburbs can be very homogeneous.

 

I grew up in the country and smaller suburbs of North Carolina. Loved the scenery, but I am much happier in the city.

Edited by Aelwydd
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I've never lived in a city (though I have lived in small towns), and I've never wanted to.  Just to not have the option to send the kids outside to play.  Ugh.

 

Though, I could imagine when I'm older and my dh is dead (he's much older than me, so probably will go first).  With no kids at home and no dh to help with the house, I could imagine moving into an apartment in a city with public transportation (I do drive, but I don't like driving in cities, so having the option of public transport would make the city more attractive to me).  Museums, art galleries, and the like at my door step would be lovely.

 

But I don't know.  To say it would be a huge adjustment would be an understatement.  Where I live the "city" has about 20,000 people.  The towns I've lived in had about 400-1000 people.  Now I live in the country and when someone drives by, we pay attention (our road is dead end, so no traffic).  We have acres of space, and no neighbors on either side (there are people across the road, but it means that our back is completely private).  I don't know if I could ever get used to the noise of a city.  Interesting to think about, though.

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I grew up in the suburbs of a large city. I liked it, but didn't really consider it living in the city. I live in a town of 10k now and we are 30 min from real cities, this is not me, although it's been nice to live quietly for a few years. 

 

I would like to live in a city proper for once, just to know what it is like. I would like someplace close enough to walk to stores or the grocery, even in my town, I cannot do that. I don't someplace as big as NYC or SF would be ideal place, maybe someplace out of the top 20 largest cities. 

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Not all big cities re created equal, so I don't think I could answer such a  blanket question.

My home town has half a million people, but it does not feel like a "big city". Very green, very walkable, very laid back and not hectic.

I would hate to live in NYC. I'd love SF.

I live in a small town of about 20k, and am really missing the cultural opportunities of an actual city. I would not wish to live smack in the middle of down town, but in a neighborhood that is close to a larger city - not two hours drive to the theatre or whole foods.

I see very little difference between living in a small town 20 minutes from the city or a quiet neighborhood  within, but on the outskirts of, a city.

Edited by regentrude
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I grew up in small town America and always wanted to live in a big city.  So when the opportunity came up to live in the DC Metro area for a while, I leaped at the chance.

 

I loved every day that I was there.  LOVED it!  If the opportunity presented itself I would totally move with my family there again.

 

However, now I live in "small city" America, and I'm loving it just as much as the big city life.  The particular community I am in is also sprawling countryside- neighbors in town have large yards with gardens and chickens.  I think I love this even more.  I get the benefits of almost country living- large space, animals if I want, gardens if I want with no neighborhood restrictions.  But the city stuff is super close.  It's just a ten to twenty minute drive for me to get to anything I can think of that I could need or want. 

 

So my first answer was No, no and no because I think I've found the best of both worlds.  My second answer was Yes- and enjoyed it. 

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I do know people who love living in big cities.  I guess I understand, but I could never feel that way.

 

I love having space, watching things grow (outside), touching the trees, hearing the birds sing in the morning, seeing the stars at night.

 

I knew someone who grew up in a huge city (Bombay?) and said that being spread out like we are here is terrible for the environment.  Oh well.

Edited by SKL
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Define "big?"

 

I figured people could define big however they liked (more or less).  I did define "larger" in the second question, so "big" should be at least that large IMO.  It's not really that city of 40K even if that seems large compared to rural areas.  ;)

 

But I really didn't want folks to have to google to be nitpicky.

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I should clarify that I do live right between 2 big cities which are roughly 20 minutes away from me.  I also live 12 minutes away from the farm where my kids ride horses, and about 30 minutes from bona fide rural Midwest.  So I think I kinda have the best of both worlds.  I have easy access to all the amenities of a big city without having to pay the price of living there.

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I have lived my entire life in a suburb of the large SW PA city.  For about a year at age 21 I lived in one of the city neighborhoods. I loved it!  I loved being able to walk to anything.

 

I absolutely despise living in the suburbs. If I could afford to live in one of the medium-nice city neighborhoods I would be there in an instant.

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I'm going to have to stop with the likes... or I'll run out.  In general, I'm glad to see everyone participating.  One doesn't have to agree with my thoughts, of course!

 

I answered NO! to the first question and Yes - it was ok. to the second.

 

I don't mind visiting cities occasionally, esp for the perks of diverse eating options, museums, etc, but every. single. time. I despise the crowds, lines, and traffic.  I treasure my space and a slower paced life.

 

We are fortunate to live close enough to civilization to enjoy both worlds.  I just want to live where there's space and land - not suburbia either.

Edited by creekland
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There are only 3 what I'd consider "big citiies" in Canada, and I wouldn't want to live in them. In the city I currently live in, I have access to most of the benefits of the big cities (e.g, universities, colleges, shopping, museums, libraries, vibrant homeschool community) but by living in a suburb I can still get into the countryside in minutes, and I don't have to worry about the huge negatives, like insane traffic and high COL.

Edited by wintermom
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No, no, and NO!

 

I'm a country gal. We have 8 acres in a tiny rural town and it's perfect. The kids play outside without me and I don't have to worry. We have 13 chickens and 13 rabbits, one big ol' dog, a cat, several children, two RC airplanes, a barn, a shed...you get the picture. I can't imagine living in close proximity to people and just having no...space. No thanks.

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I lived in 4 cities for 30 years of my adult life (Pittsburgh - 4, Cambridge/Boston - 5, Washington, DC - 12, and NYC - 9). I loved it most of the time, though I didn't like the air pollution, traffic, and lack of green space. We're now in a small town (year round population >11,000) and I would not go back to city living. 

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My city has just under 300,000 in the urban core, and another 100,000 outside of it.  Some of teh area that is technically part of the city is actually very rural, it covers a lot of land.

 

I was born here, and grew up in suburban areas, what would I think usually be considered inner suburbs.  I live in one now actually, and my family has lived here for a while, since it was a farming village outside the city proper, though now I am the only one.  I've lived in the urban core here as well. 

 

I've also lived in a town of about 25,000, and rurally.

 

There were things I liked about all of these places.  The main thing I didn't like about rural life was the car dependence, and the fact that my family was all in the city, and jobs were in the city, and often there was a commute to schools and basic shopping.  Part of this is about the degradation of rural communities.  What I likes was being able to grow a huge garden and keep livestock, the potential for real self-sufficiency, how down to earth the people were, and that there was a real slow and IMO sensible pace to live.  I think if there was a real revival of rural communities, I would love rural life.

 

I liked the small town as well.  I likes that I could easily walk everywhere, and yet easily be out in the countryside.  I likes that it was close knit.  I liked that it was also slow, and that there was an attention to the personal that isn't often found in big cities.  I did miss some of the diversity of the city, especially in the arts, but that was less of an issue than I thought it would be - once I was there a while I found there was actually quite a lot, in some ways more than in the city. (I've noticed this in my dad's village too - there are a ton of active musicians for example.  In the city, the same people would probably not be involved in the same way, they would be audience members.)

 

In the city, I love the fact that I can walk and there is public transit.  I like that my kids can walk to music lessons, or the youth night at the church down the road, or just to hand out with friends in the neighbourhood.  I like that I can find neat things at the farmers market or specialty stores.  I like that we can walk to the lake in summer, or go skating at the public rink and borrow ice or roller skates depending on the season.  I like the great libraries or the lecture series at the universities or the concerts at all kinds of venues.  I don't like that it is more expensive, that people often struggle to find a community, the traffic, that the pace of life can begin to seem hectic.

 

I might like to live in a bigger city for a while.  In Canada, maybe Montreal or Ottawa or Quebec City.  Or, if I could cross the pond, there are quite a few big cities I might like to live in or visit for an extended period.  But I actually quite like the size of the city I am in - its not so large it seems endless.

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Currently live in Boston and love it - we love it so much we've moved back five times!  But other big cities we have loved and lived are Wash DC (Silver Spring), Honolulu, and TOKYO (biggest city in the world).  I puffy heart love cities.  You can get places without a car (we bike a lot), the kids can hop on public transport and go places without me.  There are amazing parks every couple of blocks, the noise and hustle and bustle.  I love great library systems and diversity of people, culture and life.

 

We lived in Indianapolis proper, which some might think of a city; but after the other places, it kinda isn't. :)

 

I don't like how expensive everything is though in the city; especially homes of any sort.  I'm kind of hoping for a single family home here in Boston but would be equally happy for a condo/townhome or duplex, but not a high rise or apartment.

Edited by YaelAldrich
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My city has just under 300,000 in the urban core, and another 100,000 outside of it.  Some of teh area that is technically part of the city is actually very rural, it covers a lot of land.

 

True.  For "city" in this question we have to define it more traditionally as area with numerous buildings and lots of people, etc.  We can't define it by maps since some cities extend far beyond their actual "boundaries" by the first definition.

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I lived in London pre kids. I liked a lot and hated a lot about it. I'd happily live within commuter distance of a big city now but that might be a reflection of my frustration at living in a run down rural area. There is a small city near us but it's as bad as everywhere else locally, not much going on.

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Maybe. I sometimes think I might enjoy living in the city again. I've lived in the suburbs so long that I'm not sure if I'd enjoy city living again. I grew up in the city and voted that I enjoyed it because really, it's all I knew. One thing about growing up in the city is that I noticed my neighbors less because there was always stuff going on around, constant background noise. Here in the suburbs I notice my neighbors more because most of the time it's fairly quiet. So when Neighbor comes out of the house and talks to someone I notice because it's a new noise.

 

I also miss being able to walk to the grocery store or library or park. I haven't been able to do that in any of the suburbs I've lived in as an adult. Suburbs = driving, and I really don't enjoy that aspect of it.

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No to the first poll. I like living in a small-medium city with a larger city not far but not close. I wouldn't want to live in a rural area though. Just not a big city.

 

For the second - Yes, and I enjoyed, but it was a different time in my life. I lived in the metro-Atlanta area when I was in my early and mid twenties. I loved it! However, at this stage in my life it's not what I'd want.

Edited by Lady Florida
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I lived in a small city (under 500k) when I was about 19/20.  It was fine at the time.

 

I like NYC.  With unlimited money, I'd love to keep a small place there for frequent visits, but I want my space for every day living.  As it is, I drive through my hometown suburbanish area and can't imagine going back to being squished together.  My immediate neighborhood is made up of 1-1.5 acre lots and I long for even more space and quiet!

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I studied abroad for a year in a large city/metro area. It was fabulous for that season of my life.

Now, though, it isn't what (or DH) want for our family. We love that our kids have space to roam and enjoy nature. We love our chickens and goats. We love the view or our neighbor's horses. We love watching the corn grow in the field next to us. 

No, city living isn't for us.
 

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I would be totally miserable in a really big city.  I don't even particularly care to visit them.

 

But our metropolitan statistical area population is well over a million and I like it just fine.  That population is spread out over a fairly large area with two good sized cities, one smaller city and several towns.  Parts of it still have a relatively rural feel, and yet it's easy to get around (as long as you have a car), easy access to lots of medical resources and other necessary services, etc.  So kind of the best of both worlds. :)

Edited by Pawz4me
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I would hate to live in a big city.  Although I couldn't answer the poll, because I have lived in a couple of cities over 250K and I consider those to be medium sized suburbs.

 

I would feel anxious and probably won't be as healthy mentally in a big city.  Note, I am fine now.  But, having to share walls with strange people ??#@?   That is the first level of hell.  I can handle it for short-terms like in hotels, but I hated it when I was a poor college student.  In fact, I bought a house before I owed furniture.  Literally, no bed, couch, stereo or TV.  I had one lamp, some webbed lawn chairs and an end table.    

 

We are what I classify as distant suburb now in small town of 5K.  I love it.  We have an acre in town, and everything here is 5 minutes away.  DD's dance classes, church, co-op, library (such as it is), soccer.   When we want big city things like museum, zoo or the opera (I love the opera), we go to the nearest local train station and have a relaxing ride there (more important when coming home)

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I grew up in the second-largest city in our province (about 175,000 at the time). Growing up, I argued with my cousin who lived one province over, because she said 600,000 lived there and I didn't believe her! As an aside, that's so weird, because I had been to London and that was obviously bigger.... Any way, since then we have lived in towns with populations of 550, 10,000, 1,000, 1,300, and now 340. I can see moving to 10 or 20 thousand. My BIL lives in Toronto and I think it's sheer madness. But there are times I'd like to go shopping without having planned months in advance!

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I've lived in both large cities and in the absolute boonies.  I prefer the city to some extent.  I loved living in Fort Worth.  I love being able to bike/walk to libraries, grocery stores, etc.  I loved having so many museums and activities to do.  

I also liked living in Minneapolis.  TONS of parks and trails.

I currently live in the country.  Cows and sheep are my neighbors.  It sounds idyllic, but the reality is that it is unsafe to bike anywhere (highway with no shoulder), marginally unsafe to walk alone (lots of druggies around, and people just don't walk here, to you stick out like a sore thumb), and there is a big meth problem here.  I have to drive to go ANYWHERE.  There isn't much to do.

My ideal would be to live right on the edge of a metropolitan area, with easy access to bike trails/sidewalks.  

Edited by The Girls' Mom
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I dunno. If I have enough money to live comfortably in SF or NYC, I'd have enough money to live like a king in the country. Hard to compare. 

 

I've lived in DFW. By your definition I guess I currently live in a big city too (suburb of Buffalo). I really don't know. It all has pros and cons. It's similar to the "what country/state did you like the most to live in?". There just isn't an easy answer to that. I think happiness is more of a mindset than your surroundings. Some cities have more parks etc than others, or if you're closer to the edge it's easier to go out into the woods. I wouldn't want to be surrounded by concrete all the time.

 

ETA: I've also lived in a town of 1200. It sucked, but mostly because we were broke almost the entire time. When we weren't broke it was nice except for having to drive so much. Like I said, it all has pros and cons.

 

ETA: oh, and in Thailand I lived in a town of just a couple hundred people or so? Which was again way different, because I was an exchange student, couldn't drive, etc, so I'm not even going to attempt to compare that.

Edited by luuknam
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I lived in Chicagoland for a year before I got married. I lived and worked in a southwest suburb, but it was close enough that I could take the El in from Midway and easily do stuff in the city. I loved it. I would live in Chicagoland again in a heartbeat, and in the city proper, if I were single and childless. With a family, I'm not so sure. It would definitely still have advantages. I'd love to be able to expose my kids to all the cultural opportunities that Chicago has to offer, but I'd be much more concerned about potential crime with kids in tow. Plus, DH is pretty adamant about our kids going to public school, and I'm not keen on sending my kids to a big city school.

 

Right now we live in Lexington, which is big enough to offer a lot to do, but small enough to still have a community feel and not have me overly worried about crime (though, of course, that can happen anywhere in reality).

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I would hate to live in a big city.  Although I couldn't answer the poll, because I have lived in a couple of cities over 250K and I consider those to be medium sized suburbs.

 

Don't let semantics stop you.

 

Mainly, I'm curious how many would actively want to live in a big city as all of us would point to one if we saw it in a pic whether that city is Tokyo or NYC.

 

Then I'm curious as to how many have experienced living in "a" city - not necessarily a big one, but not a rural "city" of 10k either.  That was difficult to figure out how to word since maps and boundary lines give us oodles of differences.

 

For PA, Harrisburg is a city (roughly 50K), but it's not a larger city like Pitt (roughly 300K) or a big city like Philly (roughly 1.5 million).

 

If one lived in Harrisburg, it can count as city living to distinguish it from smaller towns (Harrisburg has some skyscrapers), but not larger or big city living.  It depends upon the person answering how they view their experience if they want to say yes or no.  It's not that big of a deal regarding semantics.

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I went from a very small village in western ME when I was 6 to Annapolis, MD just outside DC.  I hated it from the get-go.  I told my parents within 2 weeks that someday I would make it back to ME.  Well, at 22 I was able to get out and made it as far as VT.  Stayed there for 20 years and loved it.  Now I'm back in ME, albeit northern, ME, and love that too.  The more remote I am from so-called civilization, the better I like it!

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Most of y'all know we live in the city in DC. I don't really consider living in, say, Falls Church or outer Silver Spring to be in the city...

 

I grew up off a dirt road off a dirt county highway. But I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who lived off Magazine Street in New Orleans and I always sort of idealized that life. So now I have a version of it. When the city gets extra hot and steamy sometimes it smells like the city smells of my childhood and strangely I kinda love it.

 

I definitely love being able to walk to everything I basically need. I love the diversity of our neighborhood. We're pretty happy here.

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My definition of a large city is that you can list the name of the city without also naming the state.  :)

 

I've never lived in a city, but I think I would like it, so long as I didn't have to parallel park.  ;)

 

Dh grew up in the sticks.  He would hate living in a big city, so I guess it's a moot point...

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Big - no. When we went regularly to London as my youngest was part of a medical study it was really overwhelming and draining as was day trips to Manchester or Birmingham. I find big cities just too much and really not very accessible - everything is spread out and takes too long to get to for me. 

 

I live in a small city on a major road leading in and out and can walk across the centre in a half hour or so depending on how I'm feeling. My partner works on the outer ring road and can get there and back in less than ten minutes when carpooling with the lodger. Everything we need is pretty close together and, due to the demographic here more than size probably, very accessible. It's just the right size for us- I like having as much as possible on my doorstep without that doorstep spreading out too far. 

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This is an actual real thing I am dealing with.  Had it been theoretical, I would have answered 'yes, in a heartbeat' because I love big cities.

 

But, now that it is an actual possibility..... I am not so sure.  I am veering into no way, no how, but I can't really stay here and let the rest of my family move, lol. 

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For the past five years, we have lived on land (5-10 acres) but close to our small city. We love it. 

 

If I had to choose between the city and suburbia with an HOA, I'd choose city in a heartbeat (so OVER suburbia). But both are less appealing than our current situation. I LOVE having quiet, space for kids to run, and not seeing other houses out my windows. :)

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I've lived in 4 big cities: grew up inside DC, lived also in Cork, Ireland; Yaounde, Cameroon; and Vancouver, BC. I loved every city I lived in. I lived in a small town for college and while in transition from Canada and I've lived in 2 suburbs. I much prefer city living and wish we could move back to DC.It drives me bananas that my kids can't walk to anywhere (well, except church next door) and that there is NO public transportation to the nearest town (we live in the suburbs, but what dh calls the "faux country".) At my oldests' ages, I was taking the bus and subway all over the city to visit friends and museums. They can go nowhere without me.

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Yes, but location matters. I do not like driving in cities so I need to live in a place where I don't have to.  I also don't like suburbia or anything like unto it in a metro area.

 

I loved living in Salt Lake City when we were downtown.  I HATE to live in most of its metro area (and not just because of the driving).  I loved Seattle where we lived in a great, diverse neighborhood where I could walk, bike, or bus anywhere I wanted to go.  I wished we could have lived closer to downtown Guadalajara or my son's school but mostly it was okay.  If I'd been able to choose our housing there we'd have lived in very different neighborhood.  Bishkek has nearly a million people now but it doesn't feel that big and there are lots of pleasant neighborhoods and I love living there. There are some good reasons why we are living where we currently are in the DC metro area but if it were up to me, we'd be in the District.  But we're near a metro stop and I zip into the city 3-4 times a week and I never have to drive anywhere. I'm looking forward to moving to Riyadh soon and won't have to worry about driving there ;).  

 

I have no interest in living in many cities in China, but I'd be happy to try just about any city for a while.  Quito, Lima, Montevideo, Harare, Istanbul, Chennai, Tashkent, Mexico City, Tokyo, Kashgar, Cairo, Fez, Cape Town, Chiang Mai, Yangon, so many cities to explore.

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For SF, I would prefer to stay near Market Street (financial district). I grew up with skyscrapers. I feel at home in crowded places like Hong Kong, Tokyo. Even SF's Fisherman's Wharf is not crowded enough to feel like home.

 

My current city is small but where we stay is densely populated enough to not feel so isolated. Even my kids feel weird if they are in a place with low human traffic. They are used to traffic jams, tall buildings, and grabbing a seat when using public transit.

 

For my extended family, proximity to all-in-one hospitals are an essential. The first thing I looked when we moved here was where the hospitals with NICU level 3/4 and helipads are. Those tend to be better equipped round the clock.

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I've considered moving to my dad's village, which is sort of the opposite of a big city - it has a population of just under 1500.

 

What is different is that the reasons I like it are in many cases quite similar to the reasons I like the city.

 

Although there is no bus service, you can walk to pretty much everything if you live in the village.  That includes school, liquor store, grocery, library, drug/general store, hospital, hardware store, and various shops and artists studio.  There is a theatre that has stage productions in summer and musical acts through the year.  There are dances and church teas often, a monthly movie night at the hall, and weekly open mike nights.  There is a (free) citizens band and choir.

 

So, lots to do, and not much necessity for weekly trips out of town.  But there is also a low-key atmosphere, its not too expensive, people are really involved in activities rather than just being patrons or audience, and people know and support each other.  You can get out of town quickly and easily to the woods, or walk to the beach on the ocean.  You can have chickens in your back yard if you want, or go hook rugs with the ladies.

 

Of course it isn't totally idyllic, but I think its interesting that it has many of the city benefits that some towns or even small cities lack.

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