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Ask HN: Moving Out of Silicon Valley because of housing? Where to?
191 points by Apocryphon on Mar 8, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 383 comments
Has anyone moved out of SF/SV to work in a different tech city? If so, where?

Currently Seattle, New York, Austin, Portland, and Boston/Cambridge seem to be the hot destinations as secondary tech hubs. But their costs of living are likely climbing as well, especially Seattle and Austin. How about Raleigh, how's their startup scene? Or Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, or Nashville?

Not to mention cities outside of the U.S.

I'm particularly biased as I went to school at GaTech but Atlanta has greatly improved over the last decade or so.

It obviously has a completely different social, ethnic and economic diversity than SF does as well as being far far more cost effective. It also has real BBQ as well as being not that far from Miami (my favorite city but not good to live/work in).

I would recommend Boston (where I currently live) except that it has brutal weather, fairly caustic hospitality to new comers and is not that much cheaper. Its great for college kids but no so much for early 30 somethings hoping to own something some day.

If your are going to live in or near Boston I highly recommend Waltham, MA where I currently live. Waltham is not as cool as parts of Boston or Cambridge but its a hell of lot cheaper. Waltham has so many things to do. I can fish on the Charles in the afternoon, walk down the river and watch a movie in the local theater and then hit up the massive bar and restaurant scene all in the same city with out hopping on the T or car.

Atlanta has a lot of good stuff going for it, midtown area and the tech village up in Buckhead have some promising startups.

Few other south eastern cities to add to OPs list:

Charlotte isn't bad either and has a similar if less developed vibe, lot of financial business around there. People seem split on whether they like it or Raleigh more, seems like a toss up.

For a smaller city Chatanooga has a lot going for it.

Second on Chattanooga. I help run a weekly lunchtime talk series. We've been having pretty good turn outs. For our size we have a very active community. Anywhere from 50 to 80 software professionals have been showing up every week.

OpenTable has offices here. There are a few startups and a decent number of consultancies.

Come visit!

will be visiting chattanooga soon. can you mail me more info at info [a] wprapido [dot] com please

I've been really interested in Chattanooga ever since they installed citywide fiber and announced their tech incubator. One of the lowest costs of living and great outdoor activities. Just not too sure about the cultural infrastructure. Looking forward to visiting soon. I'm kinda obsessed with the idea of incubating a remote company in another city and then moving/expanding back to the Bay.

honestly I don't know why you'd ever do a move or expansion to SF. The rise in expenses would kill you. Starting things there certainly has a lot of benefits, but moving anything more that a handful of founders after you get going would be a very rough transition.

With the cost and ease of flights to SF you can get a lot of the benefit of your business being there if your founders and fundraisers are ready to fly out and hustle.

Chatanooga is very nice, and the tech scene healthy. Plan to visit soon!

If Chattanooga is on the radar, I'd consider Huntsville. With Redstone Arsenal and the long association with the US Space Program, it has a very strong technical and engineering culture. It's not a small town, but not trying to be a big city, and it's very welcoming to new comers and diversity [for a southern city] owing to the flux of space industry.

I love Atlanta. I hope to move back some day. The highway system and white flight tore the city apart when they happened, but there are strong efforts to reconnect the city. Large sections are becoming walkable due to the BeltLine and public transit usage is increasing by the year.

Not to mention the food scene is amazing especially for the price.

Don't write Atlanta off because of misconceptions about what it is like living in the south.

Keep an eye on Providence. As Boston gets hotter and hotter (read more expensive), there's likely to be spillover to Providence. Providence is a truly cool little city in the BOS metro, and costing a small fraction of the few equally cool places in BOS proper.

"Miami (my favorite city but not good to live/work in)"

How come you consider Miami not a good city to live/work in? I live here and I'm genuinely curious.

Cost of living, humidity, unbelievable corruption, traffic, lack of tech, deadly and destructive hurricanes and probably the worst internet access in a major city.

On the other hand, it does have Chicken Kitchen and Samurai, effectively canceling out all of those other items IMO.

Want to put in a quick plug for Sacramento. Great quality of life here, generally great weather (sometimes a little hot in summer, but sunny most of the year), affordable housing with rents between $500 and $1,000 (and affordable to buy a house - still good places available for under $300k), nice neighborhoods, great amenities, bars, restaurants, all that. Good access to awesome outdoors. And really easy to get to the Bay if need be. By Amtrak and BART it takes me 2 hours 12 min to get from downtown Sac to Downtown SF - regardless of traffic (and you can easily work - or drink a beer - on the train). Given how much more affordable it is I am really surprised more folks don't set up shop out here and just head into the bay on occasion / when need be.

I went to UC Davis but would frequently visit Sac. It's such a beautiful and laid-back city, and the people are great. SF is only a one hour drive away and Lake Tahoe is relatively close too. I've been living in Mountain View for a couple months and I miss the Davis/Sac area more and more as time goes on. The atmosphere here is, I dunno, toxic. Too many people here size each other up based on where they work and where they live and people are way too obsessed with advancing their careers and chasing higher salaries, more luxurious cars, nicer apartments, etc. Everyone seems to have some sort of inferiority complex if they don't work for the "Big 4". People in Davis/Sac seemed less superficial and it was a lot easier for me to make friends. Also, yeah, the cost of living is so much cheaper. I'm paying $1700 for a tiny studio in MV. Back in Davis I was paying $1400 for a pretty nice 2-bedroom apartment. Meh.

>The atmosphere here is, I dunno, toxic. Too many people here size each other up based on where they work and where they live and people are way too obsessed with advancing their careers and chasing higher salaries, more luxurious cars, nicer apartments, etc. Everyone seems to have some sort of inferiority complex if they don't work for the "Big 4". People in Davis/Sac seemed less superficial and it was a lot easier for me to make friends.

Is this your own set of insecurities being projected on others? I never got that sense in SV...

Moved to Mountain View in 1987, then to SF about a year later, then to the Santa Cruz mountains about 10 years ago.

My wife and I were in tech that whole time (me: SCO, Sun, SGI, Cobalt, briefly at Google, then BitMover).

Neither of us enjoy going to Mountain View any more. It's the worst parts of a big city (crowded, traffic, parking, expensive housing) and the worst part of the suburbs.

And there is a lot of snobbery about where you work and what you do, that's been there since the first day I got there (and I'm part of the problem, I was all snotty about the fact that I worked in Sun's kernel group; at the time that was the top of the heap, at least in my eyes).

Personally, I'm happier up in the mountains. Can still get to SF in about 1h15m, get to the valley in about 30m but I live among redwoods, falcons, etc.

If anything, I think low-level programming has become an underappreciated skill.

If you work on kernel development, be as snooty as you want.

These days, those jobs that require real expertise and in-depth knowledge aren't nearly as heavily compensated as your run-of-the-mill Rails dev Stackoverflow pasting position.

Redwoods, falcons = real friends

Totally same for my wife and me: 15 minutes up into mountains and the nonsense is 10 miles away.

How's housing up there? I went to school at the UC and have always dreamed about moving back.

It's gotten expensive. Figure $1.2M for a decent 34 bedroom.

Not too bad. My last 34-bedroom house was at least 10x that. ;-)

Do you actually go out and talk to people? The first thing anyone asks is what you do, followed by which company you work for. Watch people's reactions change depending on the reputation of your company. The whole social scene here is centered around networking, not making meaningful relationships. No one cares if you're a chill person with cool hobbies, but if you work at <cool company> then you become one more inside connection when someone needs a new job and a reference. YMMV.

You're looking in the wrong places. If you want to meet people with interesting niche hobbies, meet them in the niche. If you like rock climbing, go to a climbing gym. If you like building hardware, go to TechShop or Maker Faire. If you're into martial arts, there are some great Krav Maga gyms in the Bay Area. Or you could always hang out with the people in your company - no comparing yourself based on where you work for there, because you all work for the same place.

The networking scene is for networking, so of course it's filled with careerists. The coffeeshop scene is largely the same (though occasionally you meet one of the local students), since "let's grab coffee" is Silicon Valley shorthand for "I would like to assess your usefulness to my future career goals."

But there are many other scenes in the Bay Area. My wife ran the local Peace Corps alumni chapter for a while, so I end up hanging out with a lot of very interesting do-gooder international development types. I still get together for pizza with a bunch of my old Googler friends, even though I left almost 2 years ago. There are plenty of very authentic startup founder types around too, ones who aren't in it for a quick buck but because it's what they do and have been doing for 15-20 years now.

I lived in LA and the first thing you learn there is to not ask what anyone does because everyone's an actor.

I was living in LA for a while (5 years). I got a job as a photographer at a modeling agency. Pay was crap so I tried doing more programming work but most of the work wasn't very innovative and really boring compared to Silicon Valley so I moved back to the bay area where I'm originally from.

Going from being surrounded by models all day to living in Man Jose is quite the difference. Wish I could still be there.

OTOH the best way to make anyone, and I mean anyone, in LA happy is to ask them how their screenplay is going.

Eh, I've lived here & haven't found that to be true. Sure, I do know people who work in the entertainment industry, but by and large they're regular people. Some are assholes, some are kind. I found the same to be true when I lived in Sunnyvale.

these days everyone in LA is working on some kind of tech-related nonsense. i moved here to get away from all that, and it followed me.

now i just want to go live in the woods with my dog.

@beachstartup Me too. In North SD. Want to work on med device security and take company retreats in the woods?

@beachstartup @mikekij sounds great. when can we start? just moved from sf to venice, and now all i want to do is move where i can own land and start a farm.

>> Do you actually go out and talk to people?

I do, and your description only fits a small minority of those I meet when I actually go out.

> Watch people's reactions change depending on the reputation of your company

Does this mean you give different (mostly untrue) answers to this?

No. What I mean to say is, if someone claims to work at Google/Apple/Facebook/Microsoft, or a "cool" start-up like Uber or whatever else is popular these days, then everyone all of a sudden becomes more interested in talking to that person. "Oh wow, that's so cool! What do you do? How's it like working there??". If you work at a boring old enterprise company, most people react with "Oh, I see" and move on a different topic.

My thought was that to know what the different reactions were first hand, you'd have to try it yourself.

On second thought, you can of course observe how others are treated.

I can confirm that when I worked at Google, people had a lot more interest in talking about my work. That was in part because of the Google Glamour, but I'd guess it's even more because it's a company people have actually heard of and used themselves.

Haha, whenever I wear my startup's t-shirt, I see people "stealthily" eyeing the logo to size me up all the time here. Everyone wants to be on the gravy train.

> Is this your own set of insecurities being projected on others? I never got that sense in SV...

I am not the OP, but I share his/her views. To the above point, maybe?

I used to perceive NY/Wall-Street as all about image, and SF/tech-scene to be much more down-to-earth and friendly. I don't find that anymore. Taking Caltrain, I see people wearing Google/FB/Twitter/XXX t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, bags etc. Company badges are displayed prominently, and its easy to recognize companies from the badge. YC t-shirts, sweatshirts are also common. If not company t-shirts, then I see tons of MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Harvard t-shirts, sweatshirts etc. I rarely saw any company or university branded apparel in NYC.

The prominence of these in SV seems like a way to showcase an elite status.

I think you're reading into this based on how the rest of the world operates. Most techies in Silicon Valley wear company schwag because it's free. My wardrobe consists of (or has consisted of, my wife made me throw a bunch of the older stuff out) T-shirts from Amherst, Brandeis, and Olin; a TellApart T-shirt; a Medallia T-shirt; a Microsoft T-shirt; a Foliage Software Systems T-shirt; at least 6 Google T-shirts; 2 Google hoodies; and then a bunch of unbranded stuff I got as gifts. I don't think I've ever bought a T-shirt with my own money.

Same in LA. A lot of crew t-shirts and other stuff given out at the end of production. And the recently-graduated college students? College t-shirts (sometimes sweatshirts in our 'winter').

I used to go to the bay all the time and I would always wear Foursquare (snowboarding brand) hoodies. This was at a time when Foursquare the SV startup was really popular. People would always stare and ask if I worked there. Eventually I just started telling them I was a co-founder.

Look, imagine two tungsten balls, 4" in diameter each, at night. One is painted matte black and the other is heated to 2500 degrees Celsius. Which one is more visible? These are two absolutely equal balls and one constitutes exactly 50% of the population :-)

I take Caltrain regularly (I live on Peninsula and work in SF FiDi) and I see these people, but nothing out of ordinary. There're, I believe, 8000 working in FB Menlo Park office. That's a lot of people. And the industry is heated up, so these people are more visible because the temperature is higher. So what, it happened before (2001) and will happen again :-)

Or maybe they just don't care to buy sweatshirts, jackets, bags, when they get them for free from their company? Who cares what people wear on CalTrain??!?

Not everyone in SV is elitist, it's probably something like 5-10% of people. Maybe you haven't run into anyone like that yet. But they're there. And it is a lot, when compared to the 0% in most other places.

$1700 for a tiny studio would be a steal here in SF.

Lately I've been very interested in moving to Sacramento. I like just about everything I read about the city (can't really say the same about SF/SV).

My main worry is that searches for local dev jobs turn up almost nothing. I don't think I could handle a 2+ hour commute daily. Any advice?

Been working remote in Sacramento for the past year it's definitely the way to go. Sf wages but Sacramento rent prices

Find a remote job maybe? Shouldn't be super hard to find one in SV. I know GitHub is one such employer.

I've entertained the idea of living in Sacramento, mostly because it's closer to the Sierras than SF. But one question: do you guys have air conditioning? I presume so, if it gets hot. SF's lack of air conditioning is brutal!

Sacramento gets about 3-6 weeks of 100+ weather a year, and probably 1-2 weeks worth of freezing weather (freezing overnight only). Almost all homes and cars sold here have AC. The heat here is pretty dry so people complain about it but not a lot. Sacramento very consistently gets a ~30mph wind from the southwest in the summer (we call it the "Delta Breeze") that will push temperatures at night down to the 70s or 60s. I rarely run the AC in my house here overnight and instead open the windows after ~9pm.

Honestly, a bigger problem for a lot of transplants to Sacramento is allergens. We're right at the tip of the central valley and lots of stuff will bloom in the spring and fall and lots of people will be red faced and sneezing for a week or two.

Very true. We live in Sacramento area, and I rather like it here. It's a pretty diverse area and the cost of living to salary ratio is a lot better than in the Bay Area.

We're considering having to move somewhere else that's less allergenic because of the allergy situation. I start sneezing and blowing my nose a lot in April or May, but it's manageable. My wife and kids have much more severe allergy and asthma issues. My wife pretty much has to remain indoors all the time between March and October because her allergies to various pollens have become so severe and Sacramento has a lot of pollen in the air. She doesn't really like that and wants to live somewhere else where she can go outside without having breathing issues.

I sure love the nice Delta breezes we get in the evenings. It cools everything down and summer evenings are very pleasant. Unfortunately, we're unable to open the house up because of the breathing issues it causes among my family members. Very frustrating.

The Bay Area would be better for allergies, but it's so astronomically expensive that I want to stay far away. Sure I'd probably double my salary, but my cost of living would probably go up by 4x or 5x. No thank you.

My wife loves Seattle because she can breathe so much better there so maybe we'll end up there someday.

Hey, I'm in the process of moving to Sacramento (mostly live here now), at least for a while, I think.

If you click my profile, you can email me and I hope you do. I wouldn't mind discussing the tech scene here, the city, etc, although I may end up working remotely.

I also think Davis and Sacramento have potentials.

they are cheap, safe and close to bay area.

Minneapolis. - Affordable, great culture / food, low unemployment, tons of public companies, rapidly growing startup scene (100 meetup groups)...If you have kids it gets even better. The suburbs are amazing, with great parks, schools, etc. Work life balance is the norm.

Haven't lived in Minneapolis since college (yay MCAD!) but one thing to consider is the weather. Not saying it should be the sole driver of your decision, but there's a reason buildings in downtown Minneapolis literally have tunnels and bridges connecting them.

I am originally from Chicago, and when I went to school in Mpls it was possibly some of the most mild winters in history compared to Chicago. That said, they can be absolutely brutal.

As someone who is fed up with ridiculous extreme winter, I'll pay the sunshine tax to remain in the Bay Area as long as I can. Likewise, the sun out here did wonders for my mood in the winter. These things are not as easy to place a dollar amount on as rent, but that doesn't mean they don't have value.

+1 Minneapolis. I moved out of the city itself some years ago for more space out in the country, but it is by far the nicest place I've ever lived. I found myself wishing I had moved there 10 years earlier.

Another +1 Minneapolis. Just moved last year, cost of housing is so much less and it's a great city with a lot to do year round. A small but successful and growing startup scene. It's the 16 largest metro area in the US so there are a lot of local tech jobs. If you can score a remote job earning SF/SV salaries and live in Minneapolis, even the better...

+1 I moved from San Jose to Minneapolis last fall and couldn't be happier.

I am a native of Minneapolis proper and I would say move here to South Minneapolis. The suburbs suck and are absolutely terrible unless upper middle class white bumpkins are your crowd. South Minneapolis and midtown are super cool and you can still buy in before full gentrification kicks in.

The suburbs are more appealing if you have a family. However, if you are single or don't have kids, there is a lot of appeal to being in places like Uptown, North Loop, etc.

Plenty of great places to live in MN, Sotuh Minneapolis is only one. St Paul (downtown) is fantastic, northeast is booming - even living downtown is a viable option on a developers salary.

Certain suburbs are pretty yuppie, but definitely not all. Really depends on your living needs.

Source: MN native and moved once per year for 10 years straight.

That's pretty harsh.

We wanted to move into S. Minneapolis but couldn't justify the high cost. Instead we ended up in the (far) suburbs.

It is pretty harsh, but I do think the suburbs around minneapolis are really really crappy. All the food gets delivered off the back off US food trucks, most people are openly racist and/or hickish, all the houses look like crap, etc etc.

Which part of south minneapolis are you talking about? There is a big difference between southeast and southwest.

I once played a hockey team from the suburbs when I was younger and one of the players had a confederate flag on their helmet and called one of our black players a nigger while on the ice. I am not making this up. Furthermore, all of our minneaplis cops are from the suburbs and they routinely harass minority people and think it's ok to shoot them in the face in north minneapolis.

I really think the minneapolis suburbs are elitist and racist. My source is that I have lived here for over 20 years and now work in the shitty elitist suburbs that I hate. I get a firsthand dosage of the institutionalized racism and elitism every day of my life.

I've heard some of this before. To me it is a little confusing since most areas in Minneapolis and the inner ring suburbs are expensive compared to the further suburbs.

My experience of the suburbs is different from yours.

Do me a favor, don't move anywhere else. We don't need that attitude spreading.

Yeah. "Full gentrification" kicked in as far as I could tell 10 years ago. I loved it since it meant I sold my house in SW Minneapolis for almost double what it cost me 5 years prior, but that sucks for anyone buying.

That said, it's still a great place to live. Some suburbs suck, others are great. Depends on how you want to live.

Wow. That's the most racist thing I've read in a while.

I don't live there right now, but Minneapolis-St. Paul is IMO the most underrated city in the country. It has all the things people love about Denver, Portland, Seattle, etc aside from mountains, but it's cold in the winter so people don't even consider it.

"aside from the mountains" is an enormous caveat

My Dad grew up there and I grew up in Madison and lived in Minneapolis after college for a while. No mountains is a bummer but there is a shit ton of cool outdoor stuff to do.

It's called the land of thousand lakes for a reason. And the city planners were brilliant, every lake in the city has a green belt around it, nobody was allowed to buy land that was on the lake. Greenbelt, with a walk/bike lane, more green, then the road, then the houses. It's awesome.

On the border with Canada is the Quetico Provincial Park which is where you will start your love affair with canoe camping. If you are like me and my dad, it won't end there, there are too many people, so you just keep pushing farther and farther north into Ontario for your annual canoe trip. I could fill a book with my love for that area, it's one huge granite shield that was scraped into a series of lakes. Imagine waking up in the morning, the lake is covered in fog, Dad's asleep, you slip the canoe into the water and fog and paddle towards the sounds of the loons singing. The canoe parts the fog which closes around you. You just paddle into it, it's silent except for the sound of the water dripping off your paddle and the loons. Paddle some more, the sense of peacefulness is so hard to explain but so powerful. The sun comes up, melts the fog, you can see that Dad is awake so back you go for breakfast.

I adore the mountains, when I moved to the Bay Area I was a contractor for the first year for Sun and they didn't want me to bill more than 40 hours/week. I busted ass, pulled 80 hour weeks, then took the next week and both weekends off. Spent 29 days skiing and spent 6 weeks in the Sierras backpacking. Best year of my life. I still have fonder memories of canoeing with my Dad in Canada.

You could do a lot worse than living there. Hell, Prince is from there, I saw him at First Avenue in 1986 or 87 I think.

All the worry about cold is over rated. You end up helping other people because it's a little crazy to live through that so when their car is in the ditch you get out and help push it out and everyone is laughing at how crazy it is but everyone is happy. Cool place.

Are there some pointers to the startup scene there? Every time I have checked recently its been off-shoring the IT in a lot of those public companies.


Meetup.com has a good list, too.

It's a great city! The winters are sometimes brutal ... Everything else is fantastic!

Another +1 on Minneapolis. A growing tech scene, lots of outdoor activities, low unemployment (2.5%!) and very affordable.

Been here 5 years now, and it's the best place I've lived

Seattle's housing costs are definitely rising but Washington's lack of an income tax is a boon for software engineers. Also, many of the big players in tech will pay within 10-20% of their bay area total comp packages in Seattle, so your take home pay might be almost the same, but of course your dollar is going to go a lot further.

I ran some numbers comparing Seattle, Denver, and Minneapolis, and found the descending housing prices and ascending state income taxes more or less cancelled each other out in my situation. Of course everyone's circumstances are a little different, so this may not be true for everyone.

Seattle definitely seemed to have the best opportunities at the big players in tech outside of SF/SV.

I moved away from Seattle to the Bay Area partly because it was so damn depressing.

My company-sponsored doctor gave me a bottle full of two _GRAM_ pills of Vitamin D, and she said she has had to give it to most of her patients.

In the dead thick of the winter, it gets dark at 3 PM (after a 10 AM sunrise), and the rain literally never stops. When it's not raining, it's misting, and it will go weeks on end with everlasting gray skies and no sunshine.

Pittsburgh, comparatively speaking, was better because it snows off-and-on instead of constantly rains, and in January, the sun starts to come out again with blue skies, whereas Seattle stays dark, gray, and gloomy until summer.

Pittsburgh also wasn't as high up of a latitude either so the sunset would never happen earlier than 4 PM, instead of 3 PM.

Having just moved from Seattle to Chicago, and having returned for a long weekend during "the grays" cemented on of the reasons for the move. Beautiful place, but unless you actually get above the cloud cover and go skiing or snow shoeing, the overcast will kill your soul.

It doesn't take that many people to make a place amazing. Make amazing where you are.

Vitamin D is typically dosed in I.U., not grams. 2000 I.U. is 50 micrograms.

The max recommended daily dose is 10000 IU (but people have taken higher doses).

2 grams would be 80 million IU.

Good catch, units must have been IU then and not g.

This peaked my curiosity since I'm considering moving there. You must be exaggerating a bit since I just looked it up, and around the winter solstice the sun rise set times are like 7:55 - 4:20.

Not Seattle but Portland. It's a slight exaggeration, but not by much. The dreary overcast skies mean that it can be "dark" an hour before the sun sets and doesn't get fully light until well after sunrise.

They say Seattle is like a beautiful women (or man) who is sick 9 months of the year.

Seattle is ugly and garbage. It rains 100% of the year and there is never sunlight. It's full of homeless heroin addicts and has a super huge crime level. Stay very very far away.

Same for Portland. Also there are birds on literally everything.

They say that just to keep the bastards out.

Why would they care how many parents you have?

And how do you cope with the weather and lack of sun? One big draw for me about the Bay Area is the weather. I realized how important nice weather was for me to be happy, so I consider the sunshine tax a sunk cost for my mental and physical well-being.

I grew up in Cupertino and live in Seattle now. I used to live in an apartment with very little natural light, that was awful. Now I live in a condo with tons of light and feel better. Also fly down to Bay Area once a month for work.

Seattle weather isn't that bad. During June through September it's the best in the country. Just gray in the winters, doesn't really rain much.

Some other cons. Negligible start up scene. The Indian and Chinese food stinks. Really homogenous for a coastal city. No NBA team.

Where are you going for Indian and Chinese food? There's Din Tai Fung / Facing East in Bellevue and some of my old haunts in the International District are passable. Not as familiar with the Indian food scene outside of some places in East Bellevue/Redmond but you should also try Edmonds/Lynwood for Korean food.

hello fellow Cal Alum. Go bears!

DTF is overpriced. Facing East is standard Taiwanese which means tons of sugar.

I used to drive to Lynwood and Federal Way for Korean, but my girlfriend doesn't really eat meat so we don't eat Korean as much.

The only good Indian restaurants are in Renton.

Sichuanese Cuisine in Redmond near the Sears / Overlake Fashion Plaza is the best I've had in the area. Health code violation shutdowns of the past just make it more delicious.

Sichuanese Cuisine is very good.

La Bu La in Bellevue is also good.

Dough Zone is worth trying if you like DTF, but not as good imo.

Seconded. These are good recommendations.

Facing east, the prices are great because we don't pay our taxes (apparently)!

So far the food scene in Seattle hasn't been all that people have made it up to be.

Surprised. I'd say it's pretty comparable to SF, and that's probably one of the FEW plusses of Seattle IMO.

Source: Lived there for 2 years.

It's possible I still am having trouble finding good places. But coming from Atlanta I was kind of disappointed. Some of it was just that everything is a couple dollars more expensive for the same quality.

The seafood is obviously a lot better.

Could you make some recommendations for chinese, ramen (not a daily special) and burgers (other than lil woodies)?


there's no good ramen in seattle, people may claim otherwise but they don't know. I'm not too fond of lil woodys either.

Seattle food is not unlike seattle itself: overpriced mediocrity. For whatever reason many in seattle are convinced that all of their mediocre offerings are "the best", I think this may be due to the fact that seattle is the first big city some of these people have lived in. Top Pot donuts is a good example of this, $2 each and would be unacceptable anywhere on the east coast, but seattlites are convinced they are the best donuts in the world.

I wouldn't be surprised if Atlanta has much better food overall

I am bias, but I'd say Atlanta has great food. Growing up in Atlanta I even trusted yelp to find decent food.

I am completely losing faith in yelp in Seattle.

Totally agree. Only locals and people from the Midwest think Seattle has good food.

Seattle supersonics ?

I lived there for a year. I'm living about an hour and a half north of Phoenix, just below the Rim.

Sometimes, I miss those dreary storm-grey clouds of the Pacific NW. "Nice weather" is subjective, and it isn't necessarily "sunny". I have a friend who burns badly in any kind of sunlight -- Seattle is where she makes her home.

Flagstaff, AZ, oddly, is like a miniature Seattle, though the tech scene isn't as happening. My family and I are planning to move there this summer.

Nice weather is certainly subjective.

Seattle doesn't really freeze and it stays below the temperature that you have to buy an AC unit. It rarely deals with substantial flooding and it rarely rains enough that a simple rain coat/umbrella won't deal with.

Exactly! And with the high humidity, at 40-degrees in the winter, Seattle feels more comfortable than 40-degrees of dryness out here in the desert. Here in the high desert, when the sun goes down, you go from baking to cold very quickly.

Your sentiments about Flagstaff are so funny to me because my wife and I thought the exact same thing as we passed through from TX on the way to Las Vegas. My whole life (originally from New England) I thought Arizona was all desert, so when we wound up in Flagstaff in July to 60 degree rainy weather I was taken aback. I plan on moving there as soon as I wrap up things here in NV.

By the way unfortunately the tech scene being "less happening" is a bit of an understatement. I welcome it for the interim though.

When I looked around, they do have a small startup scene. So when I move up there, I'll be seeking them out.

NAU is not known for engineering or tech though. I walked around campus to get a good feel for it. The engineering building is a single building that covers all the engineering disciplines, including computer science.

What is big at NAU is forestry science. That makes sense. A lot of people come out there to get training to work as forest rangers, or in forest management. The forestry science building is larger than engineering building (in contrast with University of Washington, with that computer science edifice dedicated to Paul Allen). When I walk down the halls and look at the research projects of students, if there were computational projects, they were all geared towards forest management of one kind or another.

Northern Arizona is beautiful. The high desert there gives you a much better appreciation of this contrast between desolation and abundance. July was what the locals call "monsoon season". Both Sedona and Phoenix get hit by that during July -- but because of the presence of the San Francisco peaks, and being up around 7000 feet, you get alpine biomes around Flagstaff.

Add in the hipster culture and outdoorsy folks in Flagstaff, the people reminds me a lot of Seattle -- minus the passionate activism I see fired up in Seattle folks.

I grew up in reclaimed swamp land (Houston), used to live in NYC, and find Seattle weather delightful by comparison. It's never unbearably hot or cold, and I have lush flowers outside my door thanks to all the rain.

I live in a bungalow with a ton of natural light; I imagine I would feel differently about the weather if I had fewer windows and/or no garden.

Seattle weather is horrible. Traffic is horrible. Housing prices are rising to insane levels. Everyone is depressed.

Please don't come here.

\Second that

Third that. There's nothing good about Seattle. Stay out. It's a small stupid city don't know why anyone comes here ever. Stop coming here. Except for PAX, you can come then.

Actually no, too many people at PAX too, stay away. Sasquash will eat you.

My wife and I moved to Austin from LA about 3 years ago, and haven't looked back. Prices are climbing here (as they are everywhere else), but since the city is growing, the number of desirable areas continues to increase. I'd highly recommend coming here. The city has a very laid-back culture, and despite being relatively large, still isn't really overwhelming like other big cities can be.

Our key reasons for coming here:

    1. Cost of living.
    2. No state income tax.
    3. Laid-back culture.
    4. Warm weather.*
Plus, you can't beat the BBQ.

* I feel required to add a qualifier to this bullet point, since so many people cite 100°F summer days as a reason to not move here. I grew up in Miami, where it's humid to a fault, and 80° days there are about as uncomfortable as 100°+ in Austin. The heat really isn't that bad.

100F days are perfect days to spend in the pool though.

But more likely they'll be spent in the office.

I used to have to leave a winter coat at my desk (in Austin) at work in the summer. Figure that one out!

I work in Austin, and I do the same thing albeit with a hoodie.

Vienna (Austria). Great living standard, lifestyle and housing prices are growing, but regulated and mostly affordable. Fast growing startup and hacker scene, backed and supported not only by accelerators, but also by ongoing campaigns to support innovators and founders.

"Vienna named world's top city for quality of life" - http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/23/vienna-named...

Does anyone know easy is it to get a visa for working in tech/engineering areas for Austria? Is something that's actually doable or is it more of a moon shot moving from the US?

The blue card [0] is one route into Europe that is easiest to get for most working in tech, especially if you have a degree. It is also a quick route to getting a permanent settlement or citizenship.

By the way, Berlin or Cologne has a great startup / hacker scene, and they are very friendly.

The beer and wurst is also excellent.

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Card_(European_Union)

I can't speak about Austria/Vienna, but if it's anything like Germany, you can basically just show up, sign a contract, present a number of documents (necessarily: an original university diploma) to the authorities, and they will "consider" you, but you work under the assumption you'll be approved and a few weeks later you get a residence card in the mail.

it's much easier for you US citizens to get work visas (and a permanent residence permit is automatic after 5 years) than it is for us EU citizens (or for a matter of fact, just about everyone except canadians and mexicans) to get a work permit in the US, while a green card is a tough call.

not sure about austria, but germany and spain give you a residence permit even as a freelancer / entrepreneur, so these are good options to look into for folks working remotely or working for themselves (freelancers, consultants, startup founders, ...) and the process is pretty straightforward

might be good non-US destinations for these looking for something different

Austria is significantly more immigrant-hostile than Germany, in terms of the burocracy - how much paperwork you have to submit, how often you need to renew your visa, down to how long they make you wait for an appointment and how (un)pleasant the government workers who are handling immigration are.

I've lived for 8 years in Austria and a bit over 2 now in Germany. The feeling I get was that the Austrian officials were constantly looking for ways to make it as hard as possible for me to stay in the country and the Germans for ways to make it easier.

The only caveat about the freelancer/entrepreneur route is that you have to prove that you have a bunch of money in the bank at all times. For example, over 10K euros or something like this. Because as a freelancer, they want to ensure that you are not going to become unemployed and have to live off the system, presumably.

You also have the option to work in Germany at a real job, and thereafter apply for a freelancer visa. I have heard that this is a lot easier than going straight for the freelancer visa.

When I was applying for the freelancer visa in Austria the requirement was 100k, not 10k. Not sure if a typo or if stuff changed.

Just a FYI, but before I recently got a blue card for working at a startup in Berlin, I'd applied for my second free-lancers Visa. I sheepishly showed the officer that I had like 3k in the bank at the time, and she give me a bit of a scolding and told me that it wasn't enough, and then proceeded to give me a 2 year visa.

nah. it's 10k for germany. austria seems way more xenophobic and way more hostile

Worked in all 3, Austria, Germany, US. Germany is indeed the best, but only if you can work remote for a US company.

german developer salaries are crap. in europe, only UK, switzerland and norway pay better for developers (UK is pretty decent if you are a contractor), but COL is fairly high, too

My impression was that developer salaries were not much if any higher in the UK than in Germany (currency fluctuation may have changed that at the moment, but both seemed to be about 1/2 to 2/3 or US rates last I checked).

San Diego is awesome. The cost of living is probably 30% less than the bay area (I rent a 4 bedroom single family house for $2495), I live 3 miles from the beach, and there are a fair number of tech companies in the area, focusing primarily on healthcare and defense. And I love the outdoor activity opportunities. Direct flights to SFO are about $140 round trip, or less.

+1. We're a 15-person YC company operating in San Diego.

Primary benefits:

- Strong pipeline of new engineering talent from schools like UCSD.

- Lots of talented senior engineers working in the chip fab, defense, and life science industries who are looking to make a lateral move to startups.

- Great quality of life with 30-40% reduction in COL vs SF. This translates to reduced burn for companies and more disposable income for employees.

- Fantastic weather, beaches, urban life, outdoors, great public schools, etc.

- It's SoCal so public transportation is limited, but with lots of highways there's reasonably low traffic (I'm looking at you Austin and LA), and you can get most places in the county within 30 minutes.

Contrary to popular opinion there's also a ton of VC investment in the area, and San Diego ranks ahead of Beijing, London, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, and Paris in terms of total dollars invested. [1]

[1] http://www.citylab.com/tech/2016/01/the-rise-of-global-start...

San Diego is cool, but I don't agree with the "fair number of tech companies". I think there are very limited opportunities and a lot behind-the-curve thinking in San Diego tech.

Out of curiosity, what sort of behind-the-curve ideas have you seen?

Maybe it's a pattern I've seen: people don't move to San Diego for a career, they move for the lifestyle. Now I know there are a ton of bio-tech companies and, yes, Qualcomm. But the cost-of-living is still high and San Diego companies are notoriously stingy on salary (Sunshine Tax). Beside bio-tech, what are the other dominant industries in San Diego? Some idea: military, tourism, retail, etc. San Diego is awesome, but the tech opportunities don't match the size of the city (8th largest in the US!).

+1 to all of this.

I'm not in San Diego right now, but I've started projects and a company there, and hired dozens of engineers from the talent pool. If you have are a decent employer, you can have your pick of the litter . . . of bright, experienced folks who are aggressively 9-5.

I'm not knocking 9-5ers. They're in the right place: San Diego is truly paradise, and I support work/life balance more than I used to.

But the consistent high quality of life, and the large portion of talented people who live there for it, will always suppress San Diego's entrepreneurial aspirations.

Of course, if you are OK with less-than-leading-edge projects, or you are aggressively seeking stability, I can't recommend it enough.

There are a decent number of video game companies as well. Rockstar, Sony, Activation, DayBreak, Zygna. I think 25-30 in total.

I rent a three bedroom connected townhouse in Palo Alto for $6150.

Not sure if that's normal, but San Diego sounds a lot cheaper than 30% (it is a nice townhouse though)

Wow. That is extreme.

Is that normal for the area?

It's 2222sqft and 7 years old which is pretty nice (this price is a decent deal for this place).

Have to have housemates in Palo Alto - otherwise you end up living by yourself in an old run down apartment for $2800 a month. You can find cheaper if you're willing to live in a tiny studio for ~$2300 or if you're willing to live outside of Palo Alto itself (maybe as low as $1800 for a studio in East Palo Alto).

If you share a house with 4 other roommates and choose the tiniest room you may be able to get $1200 a month.

As a bonus, if you live in Palo Alto you don't have to worry about your roommates finding girlfriends and moving out - since that'll be pretty unlikely.

> As a bonus, if you live in Palo Alto you don't have to worry about your roommates finding girlfriends and moving out - since that'll be pretty unlikely.

Love that. It's actually one of the things I was wondering about. At that high amount, you really stand to lose if a room is vacant.

I've had similar experiences living in Newport Beach and San Diego (Mission/Pacific Beach). I've never paid more than $1000/room (in three bedroom houses) and those are usually good sized houses or condos just across the street from the beach, which is worth it to me. If you live by yourself it could cost as much as $1600 nowadays, probably in an ~800sqft apartment. I also have friends that pay similar amounts to live in downtown SD which is also nice.

All in all I can't imagine living/working anywhere better.

I have found San Diego challenging if you want to work for a big company with a good salary or get a contract at a reasonable rate. There are some startups in downtown SD though. Commuting is pretty tough without a car, unless you live near one of the few rail stations. And the trains are slow. If I were young and unencumbered, I'd definitely be in Seattle.

Boston/Cambridge is hot but there has always been a strong tech scene here so it's not so much up and coming. Cambridge is on top of their game, Boston is doing really well despite its city government. The issue with the Boston area is your COL is about the same as SF but your standard of living is a bit lower due to the usual culprits (NIMBY, poor govt leadership, New England conservatism, etc) and just plainly the housing stock is old. If I had to guess I'd guess your money actually goes further in SF than in Boston because you get newer construction, with bigger floor plans and more modern amenities.

I do not think Boston/Cambridge CoL is anywhere close to SF/SV. Maybe if you want to live right in Downtown Crossing, Kendall Square, Back Bay or the South End (not the same as South Boston which is totally different for those who have limited familiarity with the city). It's certainly not anywhere nearly as expensive if you're living in Somerville, Eastie, Dorchester etc. For about $1500-$1800 you can rent a place to yourself which is likely walking or biking distance to your office. Try doing that in SF.

Our state government is a corrupt mess, but so are a lot of state governments. I tend to think the city governments are pretty good. Cambridge and Boston both seem to have their shit together right now.

I would point out that there are many cheap places within the greater Boston area. I pay 1,800 for a three bedroom in Somerville. It's only a 10 minute walk from a redline station that will get you anywhere in the city quite fast. You are totally right about the actual quality of the places available though. Anything cheap will be 50-150 years old.

How much do you pay for temp control at your place though? In Providence I moved out of a 120 year old two-bedroom flat that cost me upwards of $300/mo to heat in the winter and never got above 68.

NYC. Its still expensive obviously but more diverse. Not a mono-culture. Cold/long winters are not much fun. But there are nicer small classic american town in NY and Long Island, which can be affordable. Train commute is ok if you can work remote a couple days per week and get some work done on the trains. Beaches are close, skiing upstate is decent. Lots of opportunity in NYC/Brooklyn. A very nice home (4 bedroom, good schools, 1 acre, pretty area) can be had for under $1M.

> A very nice home (4 bedroom, good schools, 1 acre, pretty area) can be had for under $1M.

Holy shit.

A very nice home in DFW can go for ~$300k.

Sure of course but probably salary is much less, and less other things to do, etc. DFW is probably one of the best values and COL/salary ratios though.

Tech salaries are really strong in Dallas. The pay increase I'd get from moving to SF or NYC would be offset and reduced further by taxes/COL.

I have to add though that if you actually need that kind of space near New York then you have to be willing to endure a serious commute. In the most expensive parts of the city studio apartments are pushing $1M.

If you drink the Functional Programming Kool Aid, NYC & Boston are the places to be.

(I'm not being pejorative)

If you're looking for space though, I'd suggest taking a look at Hoboken/Jersey City. It seemed a lot of nicer than Queens and seemed to have similar costs for larger places.

Good luck working on awful LIRR / NJT trains, I can't even read anything on my phone with how much they rock around.

I moved from Cupertino to very upstate New York about 15 months ago.

I was able to buy a house, on a lake, forest on all sides of me and I spent less than $200,000 to buy the house, move, furnish a new place and remodel a bit to my liking.

No startup scene here. For me, it was the slower pace of life, peace and quiet and more time to work on my personal goals.

I feel like this is the dream, but the reality for many people is that they need to be where the jobs are. For those who are not developers easily able to get remote work, that's a major consideration.

What's the job market near you like? How long is the average commute? Those are both major considerations for a lot of folks.

(PS I'm not criticizing you--major props for living your dream. I just think that people read comments like this without giving these considerations much thought)

"Upstate New York" is a very large area. It would be tough to generalize...

I'm in the Syracuse area (smack in the middle of the state), and the local scene is reasonably unimpressive (I work remotely, as do most of the folks I know in the area). There is a bit of a tech job market 45 minutes east of here in Rome, but that's mostly DoD related work (Rome Labs, etc). An hour and a half south is Ithaca, which is a 'hippy' college-town (Cornell, Ithaca College, and TC3), and has a bit of a startup scene, but again, nothing huge... I'd certainly want to have something lined up before moving.

I grew up 30 minutes outside of Syracuse and 15 years ago when I moved out there was almost zero tech except for the few large enterprise companies.

I wish the area the best and its a great place to live in for the 3 months of good weather they have :)

I also grew up 30 mins outside of Syracuse. South though.

I grew up in cuse and went to school at RIT.

Why I'd never go back: 1. Snow, 2. Taxes

Why I'd go back: 1. Insanely cheap 2. Hot plates

Thus is life.

The snow is less of an issue lately (we only got ~6ft of snow this year in Syracuse, thanks to a warm Pacific (yay climate change...)).

Con #2 is largely offset by Pro #1.

Yes, this winter was mild compared to last winter. I still have a lot of wood and eco-bricks left over for next year!

1. I don't mind the snow.

2. Taxes totally suck. I am at $6,000 a year.

3. It is cheap.

4. Hot plates? I don't follow this :-)

Hot plates (also called 'garbage plates', or just 'plates') are a Rochester thing.


oh! yes, there was a place in Rochester, I think it was called "Sals" or "Salvatore's" and they had a $5 garbage plate when I was younger.

Did you mean garbage plates ;-)

The terms are interchangeable. One of the common ingredients are "hots" (i.e. hot dogs).

I am 35 mins south of Syracuse.

I work for a company in California, so my commute is zero.

If I have to one day find a job. I am looking at at least a 45 minute commute to the nearest major city. If I can't find a programming job there, it would be a 2 hour commute in the other direction..

There are a few universities that are close that might have something as well....

What are you doing for income?

I work for a California University.

Phoenix is often not included when discussing tech cities, and I think it's a shame. I've lived here my entire life and have seen the startup and tech scenes evolve and mature having started 2 companies here. Just in the past few years, the number of quality startups and investments have soared and I believe we're at the inflection point that will make Phoenix equitable to SV.

We have a low cost of living, affordable housing (I bought my first house at 21 and I wasn't rich) and the weather is amazing.

If you ever check out Phoenix, I'm happy to show you around.

Edit: It's even an easy transition. We also call this the valley (of the sun)!

Phoenix is often not included when discussing tech cities, and I think it's a shame

I've spent time in Phoenix. It's the land of enormous roads and parking lots. It's almost impossible to get anywhere without a car. Traffic is horrendous all the time. There is barely a functioning downtown. The urban layout isn't conducive to the density necessary to really sustain light rail. Yes, I know about the line that goes from downtown to the airport to Tempe, and yes, it is better than nothing.

The cost of living is low, but people prefer Austin to Phoenix or Dallas because Austin has some there, there. It is striking to me how much Phoenix does not resemble the ideal startup town Paul Graham describes in "Can you buy a Silicon Valley?" (http://www.paulgraham.com/maybe.html):

It will be easier in proportion to how much your town resembles San Francisco. Do you have good weather? Do people live downtown, or have they abandoned the center for the suburbs? Would the city be described as "hip" and "tolerant," or as reflecting "traditional values?" Are there good universities nearby? Are there walkable neighborhoods? Would nerds feel at home? If you answered yes to all these questions, you might be able not only to pull off this scheme, but to do it for less than a million per startup.

Phoenix reflects "traditional values," as the horrific, racist elected sherrif demonstrates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio, and it has few walkable neighborhoods.

Of course Phoenix doesn't resemble Silicon Valley or SF and I think its important to note that we don't intend to try and replicate or be that - no market can. The Phoenix MSA is indeed car-centric and that's not going to change a great deal. However, the downtown areas are beginning to develop into more true urban centers: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2016/02/get...


Unfortunately the Maricopa County sheriff is often in the headlines, but those of us who live here can speak to the diversity and inclusiveness. The business community strongly supports this, particularly through initiatives such as ONE Community: http://www.onecommunity.co/arizona/phoenix/news/openaz-unity...

> Traffic is horrendous all the time.

I don't know where you got this, I live in Phoenix metro (Scottsdale) and traffic is generally great except for rush hour, and even then it's just I-10 that is really bad. It's true that stuff is fairly sprawled, but I can generally get _anywhere_ within 45 minutes, and the stuff I actually want to get to in less than 30. Plus the airport is right in the middle instead of out in the middle of nowhere, so it's much more accessible too.

As for the rest of your comment, well, OK then.

PHX traffic is way better than LA and SF in my experience. And I much prefer PHX because it is so much more car-friendly than LA and SF. But yeah, if you don't like driving, avoid PHX and SLC.

I lived in Atlanta for 5 years, and live in Sedona, AZ for the past 2 years. I sometimes visit Phoenix.

Phoenix is not where I want to live. The tech scene is kinda anemic -- and granted, I'm used to Atlanta and Seattle.

Traffic isn't bad all the time, just the times when you want to go anywhere. Much of the city doesn't have good drainage, kinda poetic that the flow of traffic in Phoenix resembles the flooding that happens during monsoon season.

Like Atlanta, in Phoenix, you need a car. Unlike Atlanta, in Phoenix you also need A/C. It offends my sensibilities to see so much swimming pools and even an indoor ice rink in the middle of a desert. I don't generally like how the city is laid out, overbuilt, and I don't like the overall culture. (Though there are some really neat places here and there).

Obviously there are a myriad of arguments against Phoenix that are present here, but I would at least like to add that the tech communinty in PHX has come a long way in the past few years. From the outside I could see how it is still seen as anemic, but there is plenty of activity happening here on the ground.

> and it has few walkable neighborhoods. Who doesn't want to walk in 120 degree heat?

You kid. Sometimes I feel there must be something wrong with me, as I find downtown Phoenix very walkable and even pretty, but often it seems I'm the only one, and I don't mean when it's scorching hot outside, even now when the weather has been fabulous for weeks, I hardly find anyone out. Except when there's some event (conventions, sports, etc).

As for the GP comment about "traditional values", that can be true for parts of the valley, but others are more progressive (eg. Tempe), and the Sheriff makes national news with his tough-guy persona but I don't think that should deter anyone of any background (I'm hispanic) from considering Phoenix as a good place in which to make a decent living.

Agreed - for being the 6th largest city in the nation, Phoenix and the surrounding metro area ("the valley") is often overlooked and people are very pleasantly surprised when they actually experience it in person.

Our cost of living is extremely attractive and the quality of life is amazing. The geographic diversity is incredible - you can drive two hours north to ski, there are several large natural lakes just outside the metro area, and the hiking is amazing. I work in a high-rise downtown and can be hiking Camelback Mountain or the Phoenix Mountain Preserve in 10 minutes. The downtown areas in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale have great restaurant and nightlife scenes all with slightly different styles.

The startup ecosystem here is growing rapidly and is known specifically for its inclusiveness. There are many resources for entrepreneurs, including the country's second largest business plan competition ($3 million in grants awarded 2x per year) and a pitch competition that now awards $300,000 per year to the top four finalists. Additional info available here: http://www.azcommerce.com/start-up

+1 for Arizona. I was born and raised on Long Island NY, worked at companies both on the Island and in NYC (Ranging from large corps to startups). I moved out to Arizona a few years ago and haven't looked back.

I started my company just over a year ago, the investor scene in Arizona does currently suck unless you are in Real Estate or SAAS; but there are some large players doing their best to support Hardware startups. The article "Arizona breeds workhorses" is a great way to sum the ecosystem up, if you have the tenacity and thick skin to forge forward you will find Arizona a fantastic place to start a company.

Arizona has felt like home since day 1.

+1 Phoenix. Been in Arizona my whole life too & choose to stay here, although South America is the favorite place to travel. Sub $600 rent in a big house & low cost of living is awesome!

These last few years the tech & startup scene seems to also have been picking up (investors/state & university involvement/conferences/meetups/tech in general) as a community.

The support from some the bigger companies co-locating their office spaces here also seems to be a reoccurring theme.

Agreed, Phoenix is the way to go. My wife and I moved here from Chicago and everything is cheaper. The tax environment is very business friendly, cost of living is much lower, and the people are friendlier. Not to mention the influx of startups and VC money that has been flowing in. I believe Scottsdale was recently named the best place for Startups outside of Silicon Valley.

I grew up in Phoenix and loved it. I ended up moving to Utah for school and stayed there for 10 years but we finally got sick of the snow and decided it was time to move our family back. Schools and housing are great and you don't need to shovel sunshine!

Of course, I wish the tech scene was better. But I'm making an active effort to seek out the local dev meetups and contribute to the community.

I love Arizona. Never lived there, but great place to visit. However, even with significantly cheaper housing, I still don't come out ahead if I moved there considering the salary differences. I suppose it would work out ok for now since i'm 80% remote, but none the less the job prospects are not good if I decided to change. :-/ Maybe one day they'll have a bullet train to LA...

I just moved out of California to Las Vegas because of the housing prices. Las Vegas cost of living is easily half that of LA/SF, and there's no income taxes. This can especially be a boon if you're leaving a company where you're exercising ISO options (you can exercise once you move to Nevada, and not pay CA AMT tax).

I wouldn't say there's a lot of tech jobs, but there are some, and if you're working remote, it's a great place with a lot of 24/7 life.

Las Vegas is awesome. I prefer Henderson, though. (10 miles southeast of Vegas)

I would love to live there again if I could find a decent remote job! Can't wait to leave SF again...

Las Vegas is an awesome option for remote workers who want to be close to SV. It's a short, <$100 flight to SFO or OAK. No state income taxes. Fantastic weather (dry desert heat with almost no humidity). Very cheap housing and other COL. Access to the world's best entertainment. And pretty much wherever you live in town you're no more than 20 minutes from LAS which is an international airport serving tons of destinations.

Great point that Las Vegas has a great road system, and not a lot of traffic (also cheaper gas). It's a major city that can be escaped in 20 or 30 minutes and be in some gorgeous natural areas (Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon). I found LA (and to a lesser extent SF) almost suffocating in how long it can take to get out of the city.

I was exploring that option at one point but couldn't find any tech work out there and didn't find any companies with 100% remote options that I liked. The weather seems less than idea as well (hot summers, cold winters). How are you liking it? Would you still recommend it?

I'm three months in, and bootstrapping my own startup on my own dime, so cost of living is the biggest thing, but I also don't need to look for somewhere to take me on.

I'd suggest some of the remote work sites, angel list, etc. The remote work concept is slowly catching on with more companies.

Re: weather, the winters are actually somewhat warm (although we had a real cold snap in December), but I haven't gone through a summer yet. In general, you move from one air conditioned building to another until the sun goes down. I'm curious how my first summer will go!

Repping Raleigh here. There is a decent startup scene and housing is very reasonable. $1200 for a 2 bed/ 2 bath apartment with garage that is about 10 minutes from my office and less than 20 minutes to downtown.

Weather is nice and there are plenty of firms moving to the area. The only downside is that traffic is increasing, but there is enough sprawl it is not a huge issue. Startups are coming out of major universities and office space and co-work spaces abound. Aside from the hot months and increasing traffic, it is pretty great so far.

Shh! (Everything the parent said is true, and I agree.)

I work for a coworking company that has a place in Raleigh. It's a nice town and close to major universities so I think it'll keep expanding. I'd be surprised if more people didn't move to the triangle in general.

IMO, the weather is nice for about 4 weeks out of the year (~2 in the spring, ~2 in the fall).

I lived in the RDU area for nearly 30 years. I grew up there. I didn't realize what I was missing until I moved to California (Orange County). Of course it's more expensive, but I think you get what you pay for in this case. Costal living is expensive for a reason.

I'm in Raleigh/Durham, NC. You have great universities here (UNC, Duke, NC State, etc.), nice weather with 4 seasons, blossoming startup culture, Research Triangle Park with Red Hat, SAS, and a variety of other big tech companies with a significant presence, and relatively inexpensive housing! I moved here 3 years ago from the Bay area for quality of life reasons. It's worth a serious look. :)

Did you find it hard to find a job there before relocating? Assuming that was the path you took. If so any pointers? I've heard northerners and transplants are sometimes not welcome.

> You have great universities here (UNC, Duke, NC State, etc.),

That information is only important if the individual has kids, and is within 2+ years of going to either UNC or NCState. (Also, assumes that they'll get in)

Meh, you say "within 2+ years", but I've learned the hard way that you have to think further ahead than that. I'd say that by the time my eldest turned 12, it was way too late to think about moving short of a job crisis situation. They have friends and track records with a ballet school, a softball team, etc.

Whenever I even halfway get the itch to move and propose it to the family, I am heartily disabused of the notion.

Luckily, I'm in Atlanta which is a fairly good all-around place to be: weather isn't too extreme, healthy tech scene, convenient to some good schools, good in-state lottery-funded scholarships, etc.

Or if you want to know the area has a source of smart young people who may attract quality employers and/or start their own interesting gigs.

In Canada, Montreal is a great city with reasonable living costs and a decent tech scene (esp game development). Climate will probably scare away anyone not originally from the east coast or midwest though.

Toronto and Vancouver, despite having some pluses, unfortunately can't be recommended to anyone that cares about cost of housing.

I, unfortunately, will have to downplay this suggestion

If you don't know French some opportunities are not at your reach

There aren't a lot of positions, depending on the area, also the market seem to put outsiders in 2nd place (basically anyone that's not from Quebec)

Although I agree with the downplaying of the suggestion, I really disagree with the reasons.

Most companies I've worked with in Montreal, english is often the main language in the office (almost to a fault) and companies are STARVED for talent. It's very, very hard to hire people in Montreal, there's a lot of competition (like pretty much anywhere else). Outsiders are very welcomed if they bring well needed help.

However, salaries are very low, taxes incredibly high and while real estate is affordable, don't expect to live close to the city or to have a lot of money in your pocket at the end of the day.

To address both comments - I didn't mean to suggest Montreal is the new promised land, just to add some discussion of non-US locations that may hold promise since the comments had been US-centric.

Most tech people working in the US likely will be shocked at how little tech workers are paid in most of the rest of the world, including Canada. But not everything is about absolute salary.

Montreal, imo, provides a well-balanced quality of life for a wide range of demographics. Good schools and govt-provided health care for those with families. Bilingualism for the culturally inclined. Nearby mountains and wilderness for nature lovers. Unrivalled nightlife for the younger who want to party it up. I don't know of another place that can offer all of those things together.

For a non US location, I agree.

I mean don't get me wrong, Montreal is a nice city to live, the culture is great, the people are nice, a lot of great restaurants and what not. While I don't think healthcare is that great, if you don't have insurance, it is enticing to think about.

However, from somebody coming out of SF, they do have to expect their in pocket income after expenses to drop significantly, on the range of 50 to 60% and up. In this case, salary is a VERY important consideration.

Fair enough. My only point is that salary is only one part of the equation when you compare a place like Montreal to the bay area - public services, being in a better overall state in terms of priority and financing mean that you don't need as much money to have a good quality of life.

What do you think is the average software developer salary in Montreal?

Throwing a wild guess (not even in the industry), but I'd be pretty surprised if it were above 100k. Or even 90.

To put this in perspective though, you can rent a reasonable 2BR for 800-1000, even not that far from the city center. GF and I rent a 1BR a bit farther, but still close enough that she can bike to her downtown work in the summer, for a fair amount less than that.

How much you make? ;)

Yes, the main language is usually English

"and companies are STARVED for talent. It's very, very hard to hire people in Montreal"

Yadda, yadda, yadda

I spent a couple of months sending CVs around Montreal (this was after having Canadian experience) to no avail, just to have several ones take me seriously in Toronto and actually make an offer

So yeah, they're starved by their own doing.

(And I do speak French actually)

The city is lovely, very cultural, I love it, but the fact that it's an Island makes real-estate issues "interesting". Worse taxi-drivers on the planet though (but now there's Uber)

It's interesting you brought up Montreal, since I've been hearing a little amount of buzz about it, at least from this link: https://www.busbud.com/blog/benefits-of-being-a-montreal-sta...

Vancouver is more expensive, and Toronto has more traffic, from what I've heard, but the low salaries in MTL sound like a downer.

No question the salaries are lower, but two things balance that out.

Income distribution is somewhat more even in Canada, so maybe you don't make as much but the people in 'lower' positions make more, relatively. This is actually a feature, not a bug - the city is safe, there is still a middle class, public services work (relatively) well and you can walk around as a tech person without worrying about a person randomly punching you.

Second is that you will not have to worry about, and save for, large costs like health care and schooling. People in the US seem to go way outside of their budget just in order to get into a district with good public schools, or, pay an obscene amount for private schooling. That kind of adds up over 18 years. Private schools in Canada exist, but by no means are you disadvantaged in life if you grow up in an average middle class area and go to a public school.

Those are all helpful and reassuring things to know. Thanks for answering some of the critiques!

One more question- how's the climate? Montreal is north of Chicago and New York, after all...

This winter's been pretty warm with little snowfall, I think we only had one real cold snap dropping below -20C, and only one major snowstorm in early january. But I like winter in the city. I live walking distance from a large park where I can cross country ski.

I heard last winter was much colder on average, though I was lucky anough to spend that time on the west coast. Coming from a few other places in Quebec, Montreal so far strikes me as having milder winter. Probably harsher than NY, though.

It's comparable to Chicago, perhaps a bit colder in the winter.

Well, I'll give a plug for a different city: Atlanta. My wife and I moved from Atlanta to Seattle a few years back, and while we love the PNW we're definitely looking forward to moving back this summer. Seattle is wonderful, but the traffic has gotten noticeably worse since we've been here, and housing just never worked for us.

Atlanta has a lot of opportunity, including in the tech space. It's no Seattle or SF, obviously, but it's a bit of a job oasis on the south. I also personally feel like the city has about 5x the culture and character of either Seattle or SF (where my wife lived for awhile), but that's probably a preference on type of culture than absolute value of culture.

I'll miss all the craft brews of the PNW, but can't wait to be back near the heartland of BBQ.

Of course this is all a matter of personal preference, but as a former Atlantan, I'm going to disagree.

My main gripes with the metro Atlanta area were:

-The traffic, which was the worst of any major city I've ever spent time in, and yes, I've spent time in L.A., New York, and D.C.

-Bland environment/lack of character. What I mean by this is that you're basically in a landlocked area that is best known for launching Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-a, and CNN. Not much unusual stuff to do in the area, so boredom can come on quickly.

-Full of transplants. For every person I knew who grew up in the area, I knew at least four that were from other states. This made the culture very boring and support for sports teams, etc. non-existent.

To be clear, there are many good things about Atlanta- it's close to Nashville which is awesome, and you're a short flight to a lot of great places. Also, the cost of living is fantastic for a major city. There are a number of beautiful lakes and lots of greenery in the area as well. But all things considered, it can get pretty boring.

On traffic: it's terrible, but Seattle is now worse than Atlanta in my opinion. It wasn't like that when we first moved here, but it's like that now. Neither place is great.

On lack of character: we can just agree to disagree on that. I find the culture and character amazing, though it doesn't beat my favorite character-rich cities of New Orleans and Charleston, SC. I never wanted for things to do, and we went camping in the Appalachians regularly.

Full of transplants: that's going to be true of most recommendations on this list. Seattle, SF, Portland, Bend, Nashville, Denver, Chicago, and on and on. Not a negative for me, as I'm a transplant myself (I'm certainly never moving back to Kansas).

As a fellow former Atlantan, I'm going to disagree. Atlanta has a lot of cool stuff going on, but I find the food, drink, scenery, and to a lesser extent the people better in Seattle/Portland/SF.

Now Atlanta is a good city and the pay/cost of living is very good. There's a pretty solid tech scene, but not a great startup environment IMO.

It's definitely not a startup environment, and I should have clarified that given the crowd.

The west coast has more variety of beer, and that will be a big loss. However, for my taste buds I'll take many of the restaurants in Atlanta over SF or Seattle most days (though I'll miss the Sushi and Korean food greatly). Maybe that means I'm not a super healthy person.

And I definitely disagree on the people. We found people in Atlanta to be much friendlier and more approachable than in Seattle (and my wife felt similarly for SF). I also feel there's more opportunity to form relationships with people of diverse backgrounds. I've found Seattle somewhat colder and much more uniform from a people personality perspective, though we've certainly made great friends here.

The scenery is worse as PNW is world class, but the weather is way better. On balance it is a wash for me, but since I'm a biker and not a snow sports person I'm looking forward to a flatter environment in general.

For what it's worth, I've never spent more than a weekend in Portland. Also for what it's worth, we're moving back for a job offer received, we're not fleeing this part of the country. But the housing prices would have pushed us out eventually (which is insane given our life situation, frankly).

I think that your reasoning is good, I don't have quite the same feelings. Full disclosure that I've only lived in Portland and SF, I only visit Seattle.

People are quieter and more stand-off-ish in the PNW, but I find once I get talking to people I tend to get along. Then again, I'm a PNW stereotype (bearded, liberal, outdoorsy, tech-y) so it's a more congruent lifestyle for me here. I didn't get along with people in S.F. as much, and found people to be quite negative / not friendly.

I will agree on diversity and understand why you would prefer Atlanta's weather, but I'm a snowboarder and hate the summers there.

I miss some of the southern food, but wouldn't trade it for the west coast's New American / Mexican / beer.

> (though I'll miss the Sushi and Korean food greatly)

Are you not taking advantage of the Buford corridor?

Oh I absolutely am. But the sushi isn't the same. I don't remember as much of the Korean food I ate in Atlanta, but I didn't really get into Korean until I got out here. I do find the Indian food in the Atlanta area superior.

Since you like Korean and BBQ, have you been to Heirloom Market? http://heirloommarketbbq.com

I grew up in the metro Atlanta area (moved there in 1999), and spent four years in downtown Atlanta at Georgia Tech. For someone interested in technology, I think there are better places to live.

- Compared to the downtown area of other cities, Atlanta is a ghost town. You don't see a whole lot of people walking around the city like you do in San Francisco, and to be honest, the downtown area has always been a little boring to me. Most people live in the suburbs, commute into the city in the morning, and then commute back out in the evening. The traffic is absolutely horrible. MARTA (the public transportation system) leaves a lot to be desired. The one time I used it, I was harassed and followed around by people asking for money, so I haven't used it again.

- Not a great food culture. At least when I lived there, the city didn't have any Michelin star restaurants. The south is known for BBQ, but in my opinion the surrounding states have much tastier BBQ.

- Not many tech companies. I think this situation is improving, but it's improving a little too slowly for my liking.

To its credit, Atlanta does have some great qualities:

- Has the world's busiest airport. Europe isn't nearly as far away as it is from the west coast.

- Has all four seasons (if you like that).

- Has the largest number of trees of any major city in the US. Atlanta residents go to extremes to keep the forestry alive; cutting down one tree can cost thousands of dollars.

- Georgia Tech. Lots of research opportunities with GTRI.

- Much lower cost of living (and housing) than other major cities

- Great high schools in the metro area

- Short distance to other interesting cities: Nashville, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Charlotte, and Raleigh.

I disagree on the food culture, but won't belabor the point. Michelin Star restaurants aren't places I tend to go, so this may be a matter of what you're looking for. I do have to put my flag in the ground on this though: Fox Brothers BBQ is the best BBQ in the south, in my opinion, and I've had them all.

I think there's a lot of tech jobs available, but not the same level of tech-specific org.'s, you are correct. However, the opportunities in the tech space there started ballooning in the mid-naughts according to the labor and job data work we did at the tech company I worked for at the same (about this time I was transferred to the tech HQ of my company, which was in Atlanta). It's even easy for me to move back because my tech consulting firm that I work for has an office there.

I don't disagree on downtowns, but it doesn't bother me (and it's not that much worse than Seattle, frankly). All of the fun stuff is in all of the ITP neighborhoods (with a few OTP).

Lol, Atlanta vs Seattle thread is not one I thought to encounter today. Good read!

Bend, Oregon. Direct flights to and from West Coast hubs. Active startup scene. https://youtube.com/watch?v=KxhA2jopebQ

Bend has already been "discovered". However, there is still affordable housing and you can't beat the weather, beer scene and the outdoors here.

If you want to check it out, you can stay in my awesome big house when we are traveling: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7497695

I have to agree. The work/life balance here is amazing. There are start-ups and bigger enterprise-sized tech companies (Sony!) There is also a decent amount of tech jobs available right now.

We moved to Bend last July and are very happy so far!

Hopefully, Bend will get right some of the things that SV and SF get so very, very wrong in terms of NIMBYism that is causing people to move away.

Since this is getting a bit of a response... anyone in Bend living there with small kids? We are in Oregon and are attracted to Bend, but the fact that it's so isolated (far from major hospital systems, for example, which we unfortunately have to take advantage of more than we'd like) makes us hesitant. Also, we bounce between museums and acquariums and childrens' museums on the coast, Portland, Salem, Eugene, etc, quite a lot, and out in Bend your options seem much more limited.

I get that the great outdoors is really the thing to do in Bend, but our children are very small (1 and 3), and we want to be outdoorsie but have to work our way up to it. So I don't know how Bend would work for us. I'm curious how others deal with small kids there.

Ours are a few years older than that, but you can certainly do outdoor activities with kids, or trade off so one person goes to do something while the other watches the kids.

We used to take our daughter rodelling (sledding) in Austria, for instance. We had lots of fun!

It's certainly more isolated - for some people, that's a big negative. I'm mostly ok with it. Being constantly rained on and seeing gray skies is a far larger drawback.

I have a friend in tech with small kids in Bend. Email me and I'll connect you two if you'd like.

I think I totally just bought your chandelier. Does it give really good light for the dining room?

We just moved to Seattle from SF. Highly recommended, but as you say more expensive than Portland (still 1/2 the price of the bay area). Cost follows opportunity, and it is harder to find a tech scene in Portland.

NYC is a great place to live (have done so), and I would pick it over Seattle (at least for a year or two) if you don't have kids, are young, and can afford it.

Chicago is great, less tech than NYC/Seattle, so I would set up a job before moving.

I would skip Denver, but I haven't spent as much time there. The city just felt uninteresting. I liked Boulder, but it is a small town.

> it is harder to find a tech scene in Portland

I feel like you might just not know where to look. We have a very thriving tech scene and it's growing very fast. 4,045 job opening as of now. http://portlandtech.org/

http://calagator.org/ is a great resource for meetups, talks, round-tables, sessions, etc.

I dunno, the tech scene is objectively much stronger up in Seattle. Doesn't mean we don't have one, but it definitely is harder to find than Seattle's.

+1 on Calagator, lots of activity in Portland. Also check out the slack community[1].

[1] https://pdx-startups-slack.herokuapp.com/

FWIW Boulder and Denver are within reasonable commuting distance and both have their share of tech companies near them. If you're considering Denver, I would focus on Boulder instead, but wouldn't rule either one out right away.

I lived in Boulder, I now live in Dallas, which I picked over Austin. Denver is cool to visit...but so meh... I travel for fun a lot anyway, I don't need to live there.

Here here, 'Den-where?' stinks.

My wife and I lived in Dallas for 5 years, then spent 18 months in the Seattle area before deciding to move back to Dallas. Cost of living was _the_ deciding factor.

Tech jobs are very easy to come by and the tech scene in Dallas has been steadily growing over the last 7+ years.

+1 for Dallas.

I would consider Dallas over Austin, just from the sheer growth and potential Dallas has. The tech/startup scene has exploded over the last 3 years. No state income tax, low cost of living. Dallas also has the highest growth percentage in the nation, it was 2nd behind Houston but the oil market killed that real quick, so Dallas is on top. Literally all of my friends are from Seattle, Denver, California, D.C., NYC...etc. You would not be alone moving here...everyone else it too.

Also the central location is super nice, I'm a ~3 hours or less flight from almost anywhere in the Continental US.

I completely agree with your thoughts on Austin. To me, Austin has more of a "Portland" vibe. But the growth (and potential growth) just isn't there. It is in Dallas.

I guess I also should have noted in my first comment, prior to Dallas, we lived in Boston. There was a fair amount of tech jobs there, but nothing really "new". The tech scene never really seemed very strong either. Unless, maybe, you were part of the student tech scene with MIT/Cambridge.

"But the growth (and potential growth) just isn't there."

I could pull up hundreds of articles on how Austin is in the top 1-5 in growth in the USA so I'm not sure where you're getting this statement from. Not to mention the growth is blatantly obvious if you live here and deal with traffic, house shopping, or getting brunch on a Sunday.

I've been here 6 years and it feels like a completely different city now. But I do live and work downtown.



I agree Austin has had great growth. However, compared to Dallas, I don't believe it will sustain. That's just my perspective of what I see/read in the Dallas area and what I read about the Austin area.

If Austin stumbles and our market isn't based on Oil/Banking like Houston/Dallas then I'm not sure that bodes very well for either of those cities, unfortunately.

I think our failure if any will be due to poor public transportation and traffic.

> If Austin stumbles and our market isn't based on Oil/Banking like Houston/Dallas then I'm not sure that bodes very well for either of those cities, unfortunately.

Dallas is not based on Oil/Banking. Tech is leading (depending on where you look) [0].

Then there are the lists of companies with headquarters in Dallas [1]. And the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex [2].

Those lists also don't include State Farm (8,000 employees) [3] or Toyota [4].

I don't see much of the same very-large "diversification" happening in the Austin area. But, again, that's just based on what I read. I don't actually "see" anything in Austin, as I don't live there. I have watched the new State Farm towers in Dallas (Richardson) being built from my house 3 miles away.

[0] http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-South/Dallas-Economy....

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/List_of_companies_in_Dallas

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_in_Dallas/Ft...

[3] http://www.telecomcorridor.com/latest-news/state-farm-coo-ne...

[4] http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/28/autos/toyota-moves-headquart...

Edit: formatting

The majority of the 18, including its #1 (which is #2 on the overall list), Fortune 500s in DFW are Energy/Oil (Exxon #1). There's definitely TI and a bunch of Airlines and Healthcare (which I totally forgot about). I'm not putting down Dallas, I just hope it doesn't get really hurt by whats going on in with energy/oil.

Houston is in a pretty scary position right now. When I drive through it, it's absolutely insane how much development they've had over the last 5 years that are Oil/Energy companies that you can see right off the highway.

Maybe you don't consider F500 the market, not sure that I do, but those companies do employ a huge number of people. Austin only has HQs for 2, Dell (44) and Whole Foods (264) but Austin is a very different market. People absolutely loathe large chains here.

2 Exxon Mobil (Irving) * 12 AT&T (Dallas) 112 American Airlines Group (Fort Worth) 124 Fluor Corporation (Irving) 130 Kimberly-Clark (Irving) 143 HollyFrontier (Dallas) * 146 J.C. Penney (Plano) 175 Texas Instruments (Dallas) 203 Dean Foods (Dallas) 205 Southwest Airlines (Dallas) 262 GameStop (Grapevine) 266 Tenet Healthcare (Dallas) 292 Energy Future Holdings (Dallas) * 351 Energy Transfer Equity (Dallas) * 361 Commercial Metals (Irving) 341 Affiliated Computer Services (Dallas) 388 Celanese (Dallas) 404 Dr Pepper Snapple Group (Plano) 473 Atmos Energy (Dallas) * 492 RadioShack (Fort Worth) 493 Wistron (McKinney)


4 Phillips 66 45 ConocoPhillips 64 Enterprise Products Partners 65 Sysco 77 Plains All American Pipeline 106 Halliburton 135 Baker Hughes 136 Fluor 144 National Oilwell Varco 167 Apache 174 Marathon Oil 200 Waste Management 233 EOG Resources 265 Kinder Morgan 310 Cameron International 334 KBR 343 Group 1 Automotive 344 CenterPoint Energy 381 Enbridge Energy Partners 397 Quanta Services 417 FMC Technologies 435 Targa Resources 451 MRC Global 459 Calpine 475 Spectra Energy Not known Buckeye Partners Not known Noble Energy Not known PVF Resources LLC

edit: Damn, the formatting is terrible. Sorry.

The market is indeed heating up here. Unfortunately it is all web/mobile/enterprise work, which I hate. :( I will probably end up leaving soon as a result.

+1 for enterprise. Startup culture is picking up, but most of the existing companies are big enterprises here

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