I grew up in Nashville, TN, home to the Parthenon and all types of music, but most importantly for me, incredible green space and mountains nearby. In spite of blistering heat and humidity in the summer, I never wanted to be indoors.
But I have always been drawn to big cities and realized early on that Nashville was too small for me. Since leaving home for college (U of Michigan – Ann Arbor), I have lived in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego , New York and D.C. (Bethesda, MD) actually. And, reading Who’s Your City? answered many of the questions that I have spent 20+ years trying to figure out on my own.
Cities do have distinct personalities!!!!! I can honestly say that I would not have wanted to grow up anywhere but Nashville. It is a wonderful place to raise a family and is surrounded by many great educational institutions. Chicago is a great city, but the winters are ungodly. Detroit and I mix like oil and water. But if you have to live there, I say live in Royal Oak, Birmingham or Troy.
I love LA primarily because of how laid back it is. It is hard not to be happy when you can walk along the beach. Then there is San Diego, one of the most aesthetically beautiful cities in the U.S. But it has a small town feel – shops and restaurants close early and outside of the gas lamp district, there is not much going on at night. Hillcrest is a great area (predominantly gay which coincides with the book). But I get the fee ling that outside of this area, the rest of San Diego is conservative.
I admit that I was surprised that D.C. made the list of one of the most creative cities. There are probably neighborhoods that define this, but it is so politically overwhelming that I cannot see much beyond that.
Now, saving the best for last, New York, NY – hands down one of my favorite cities. When Richard talks about creative cities having an energy and openness, that is NY. I felt more at home there than I had living anywhere else. And the only thing missing for me was natural green space, more than just Central Park. Also I realize that climate is important. Temperate climates are best for me because I enjoy being outdoors year-round. After 13 years on and off in Ann Arbor/Detroit, if I never see another snowflake, it will be too soon!
My recommendation to anyone who is trying to figure out where to live is to first read this book; then visit the city; find bloggers who hate it and see what they have to say (if what they hate is what you love – you’re in); and finally just move and rent, don’t buy! There is a reason that San Francisco and the Bay Area make the top of just about every list. It is NY on the West Coast, with green space, the ocean and mountains nearby. Reading this book helped me finally articulate exactly the right fit for me.
Could a move to the Bay Area possibly be my last?
Sent by Taisha from Bethesda, MD