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Ask HN: What's the best place in the U.S. to live and work cheaply?
80 points by throwmeaway2525 on Nov 9, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments
I think some of us are interested in this discussion in the other thread, but that's about working locations outside the U.S.

Where would people choose to live cheaply and work on their own projects inside the country?

For example, I noticed someone here promoting an incubator in Myrtle Beach recently, and it appears that one could rent a townhouse there for < $1k.

From my own perspective the usual problem with this is the lack of other interests, amenities, and a dating pool. (Admittedly those things can be distractions, but those are distractions I'd like to have, from a QoL perspective.)

Madison, Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin & the fact that it's a state capital generates a lot of cultural attractions, and you'll probably find it easy to hire some bright CS/engineering students if you get to that point. The core is very dense & walkable compared to other small Midwestern towns since it's on a tiny isthmus between two lakes (a nice geography too if you're into outdoor activities, although the summers can be surprisingly steamy & the winters are fairly cold). You can easily find cheap housing. Also only two hours from Chicago.

Agreed 100% on Madison. It's is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever witnessed, and the culture there is energized and unique. I've had the opportunity to bootstrap my company there, and it's something I wouldn't have been able to achieve in many other cities, especial SF.

That said, I'm beginning to find the internet at large the best "place" to build a company. I've begun to realize that in many ways location has become less and less important to the potential success of a company. I'm experiencing this first hand, as are countless others around the globe.

I'd like to throw in another vote for Madison. I was able to fail with several bootstrapped companies and still grow my savings because of things like cheap rent ($350/mon + utilities) cheap transportation (very bike-able when it's not snowing and good bus system when it is) and cheap food (lots of tasty and inexpensive restaurants).

Madison is legit. I'm from Milwaukee and love the opportunities here, but Madison is not far behind as a favorite. I might just be a homer though.

Athens, GA. It's a college town with a rather remarkable density of culture (music, arts, food) and a very low cost of living. I've been gone a little over a year, but you can live in very nice areas with roommates for under $400 a month. Hell, a lot of folks rent entire houses for under four figures a month. It's also in the middle of a large swath of country (despite having a walkable urban center) and has high quality organic/local produce and meats for very little compared to similar quality food on the West Coast. It also has one of the liveliest downtowns in the country and has an incredible density and variety of bars and nightlife.

Dating pool? There's about 25k undergrads and almost another 10k grad students. It's a very lovely place. Southern gentlemen and Southern belles live up to their reputation.

Avoid the South if you're black, Hispanic, or mediterranean in appearance. (Or have kids you'd prefer not to be taught racism by their peers.) I lived im Tuscaloosa, AL — another college town — 2006-2012. We came with open minds.

My wife, a half Puerto Rican professor, was nearly arrested for driving while Hispanic, my mother (who is vietnamese) had racist epithets screamed at her while walking our kids in an upscale neighborhood. There were major racist incidents on campus every year we were there. The frats are still segregated.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I take issue with that blanket characterization. And comparing Tuscaloosa to Athens as college towns would be like examining the immediate environs of USC and extrapolating that UCLA and Westwood are not nice places to be either. I don't doubt that you had a bad experience there - but encountering prejudice in one town doesn't justify saying "Avoid the South if you're black, Hispanic, or mediterranean in appearance." Have you been to Atlanta recently or walked around the Georgia Tech campus?

I didn't say "go to a Southern college town". I said look at Athens.

As a former longtime resident of the south, including a few years in Tuscaloosa (we seem to have overlapped - 2008-2010), I'd advise against judging the region by the standard of Tuscaloosa. I know it's a huge college town and that seems like it should be a positive influence, but it's not. The University of Alabama is a lingering bastion of negative southern stereotype.

I suggest Atlanta as a counterexample - a real city, full of educated and inclusive people, art, culture, a nascent modern tech scene, and several good schools which notably lack racism as a cultural touchstone.

Spending 6 years in a place like Tuscaloosa pretty much spoils any interest in spending more time in the south. I've heard lovely things about Athens but after my daughter came home from the University of Alabama preschool and announced that she did not like black people, I quit my job and moved my family to a Union state.

hell...Birmingham is better than Tuscaloosa. (To be honest, Birmingham isn't bad at all any more)

Birmingham is better but only in comparison.

I'm guessing being a Good Christian is required too.

Nope. Actually in Athens it may be more important to be a good hipster. Mission hipsters are amateurs compared to those I knew and loved in Athens.

Bad Christian also seems acceptable.

But catholics are barely tolerated.

Having been friends and intimately involved with several Catholics in Georgia I'm really curious where this statement comes from - because it's literally the first time I've heard it.

I'll back GP up. I'm in GA but not in ATL. At my current employer, it's acceptable/funny to post the 95 thesis on other employee's doors/desks if they are a known catholic. At my previous employee, printing/posting jack trick's cartoons was considered acceptable.

It's an exaggeration on my part. I'd far rather be a Catholic in the south than non-white.

I am told (by my Catholic friends who live[d] in Alabama) that Alabama is considered a missionary region for Catholics. The local Books-a-millions have any Catholic literature in -- I am not making this up -- "World Religion" (not enough space in the third of the store devoted to Christian books.

As a former Catholic, I find that really interesting...

I remember how shocked one of catholic friends was when she found books on Catholicism in the "World Religion" section instead of the "Christianity" section. At first I didn't believe it so I went to the Books-a-million in Tuscaloosa and checked it myself. She was not joking.

And Atheists, homosexuals, and non-Christians are treated like criminals.

This is a popular annual event in Athens, GA: http://boybutante.org/

I fail to comprehend how they've operated for 25 years without being arrested or run out of town. Or maybe your statements are just groundless.

This statement is completely ridiculous. Go to Midtown Atlanta on Pride Weekend and get back to me on that opinion, if you ever escape from the traffic jam.

Atlanta is an island of civilization compared to most of the south (including decent sized cities like birmingham which are not). Don't excuse GA by citing Atlanta.

Exactly. Cities are always outliers. If you didn't tell someone they were in the south, they probably wouldn't know it if they stayed within downtown Atlanta. But my experiences between small towns in the south and Atlanta (I currently live in ATL and have lived in the south since 2001) are VASTLY different.

I'm trying to connect with other Atlanta-area hackers (I'm presently in Midtown and work at Tech Square). Care to chat over coffee sometime?

There are many cities in the US that are relatively inexpensive, but I'll name a few that I've experienced:

Atlanta, GA: Good tech community. It's home of Georgia Tech and while it's no Silicon Valley, it is the home of a few startups, StartupRiot, and other startup-related activities. The weather is warmer than most places, but it still has seasons. You can find a place to rent pretty cheap here and the city is large enough to have some of the amenities you're looking for, including a million or so singles in the dating pool.

Charleston, SC: Probably not quite as cheap as Atlanta, but it is beautiful and still quite cheap. Smaller in size, but not "middle of nowhere" small. Plus, there's the beach.

Florida: Someone mentioned Miami, but if you seek warm weather and reasonable cost of living, Tampa, Orlando and other cities in Florida are great. The down side is that I don't think there is much startup activity, the upside is I've heard it's great for singles and there is beach, beach, theme parks, beach and probably a few other things to do in between hurricanes.

Athens, GA: Smaller city, but a college town. See jboggan's comment.

Austin, TX. No income tax, cheap housing even near the UT campus, and 6th Street/Lake Travis to keep you occupied.

Not to mention that it's a great city for devs, especially considering its modest size. It's not Silicon Valley, but there's multiple developer events in town pretty much every night of the week every month. For instance: want to go to a python-specific event? Well, there's the Austin Python meetup, the Austin Web Python meetup, Austin PyLadies, Austin Learn Python, Python Pub Crawlers... all active groups. I'm probably leaving some out, too. At least 3 Wordpress groups in town, etc. Sit in coffeeshops, and you'll probably overhear details on someone's startup.

I third this. Austin, is IMO, the best place right now to develop software if you want to do it for cheap. Great balance between cost of living, opportunity, and access to resources.

Here's a fourth. Just understand that Austin's cheaper than the Bay Area. Just not cheap. (Try finding a decent apartment.)

I would say that Houston falls in the same category. Very cheap living, no income tax, very awesome place.

And just like Austin, a great place for devs to work. I remember having a whole discussion bout how Austin was a RoR town, while Houston was a PHP/.Net city.

There's definitely a ton of jobs on both sides. You can make anywhere between 60-90K as a developer, and spend $600-$900 for a nice 1-2br apt. Midtown living is a little more expensive but well worth it :)

Austin is fantastic as far as the job market goes but I wouldn't consider it anywhere near cheap unless you want a very long commute into the city or find a job in Round Rock, Buda, or Cedar Park.

Unless you want to live in the ghetto, you won't be able to rent near Midtown for less than $900 for a small one bedroom.

I mean, houston is the same way. I used to live 30-45 mins away and I got a $1200 3br nice house in a nice neighborhood.

I live in Midtown now and a 1br is $1400+. But off at the medical center you can find places that are around $900 for 1br, and sometimes less. And that's 15 minutes (or less) from downtown.

I currently live in Austin, and it's definitely great, but the traffic is killer if you're commuting. A couple of my coworkers live up north in the suburbs, and their commute is 30 min without traffic. With traffic, it's 1-1.5 hours. Live music everywhere though, and lots of interesting eats, like the Austin food trailers.

I like Atlanta mentioned elsewhere in the thread, having lived there for a number of years. Tons of cool stuff to do, and interesting concert venues like the Masquerade and Tabernacle. I lived in Midtown, but even if you don't want to live in the city the suburbs are nice.

People like to make fun of Houston for being a huge sprawl with no zoning regulations, but if you want Texas with more of an Atlanta feel, you'll get your pro sports teams, museums, and mega concert venues there. It's still close enough to go visit Austin for a weekend (only 3ish hours). Houston and Atlanta also have the advantage over Austin in terms of airports and where you can fly direct. Going from Austin means you burn more time with connections and layovers.

If you move to Texas from the south though, you're going to miss the tea. Tea here is cold and unsweetened by default. "Texas sweet tea" isn't as sweet as southern style sweet tea.

I lived in the suburbs about 30 mins from ATL, never worked there but enjoyed it :)

Missoula, MT.

Recently started up a non-standard publishing company there, and the culture is stellar, it's a college town (full of culture and young people doing fun stuff), very low cost of living (rented a massive house with a bar/cafe in the basement for about $1400/month), and zero sales tax.

Quality of life is best I've found anywhere in the US (and I've been to all contiguous 48 states several times, looking for places to set up offices and live when I'm not overseas). It's incredibly walkable, has a nice downtown, very active, athletics residents, and folks care about their health (which is manifested in both their activities and the local produce/restaurant/food culture).

Happy to answer any other questions anyone might have about the area, and to introduce you around if you end up moving thereabouts :)

Never thought I'd see some from Missoula on here.

I get up there once a year to visit my grandpa. It's an awesome, beautiful place. I would definitely live up there if there were more programming opportunities and more people I knew.

Best of luck to you!

It's such a remote place (literally and perception-wise) that I get that a lot :)

It is the kind of city that turns everyone into a walking advertisement — even the folks who eventually leave tend to come back to retire.

You might look into companies like Submittable (who are based out of the area) if you're looking for programming gigs. They're working hard (with what seems to be a very collaborative and willing government) to flesh out the area's tech infrastructure, so keep your eyes open for more opportunities thereabouts over the next year or two.

And happy to introduce you to some wonderful folks in the city if you're ever stopping through and want to make some friends!

Distance to major airport? How long to get shipments from someplace like Amazon?

Missoula technically has an international airport, but that's only because it flies up to Canada :)

Closest airport that I would consider 'major' is Seattle, which is a solid day's drive (about 7 hours). You can get anywhere from Missoula's airport, but you'll have to stop through Minnesota, Seattle, Denver, or some other major hub. Adds a little cost, which is a bummer, but still possible, and even for someone who travels all the time like I do, it's not a deal-breaker-level inconvenience.

Amazon-wise, it's just as fast as anywhere else I've ever lived. I have a Prime account, and often receive my packages the next day.

I'll also add that the internet is some of the fastest and cheapest I've found outside of areas that already have gigabit up and running.

What about the weather? Seems like a wonderful place in Summer, but frighteningly cold in Winter. (Both my wife and I are from warm places.)

Missoula is actually relatively temperate compared to the surrounding area — it's encircled by mountains, which helps quite a bit.

I also kind of dig the clean, chilly weather they get during the winter, so I'm a bit biased on this question. I don't know that it gets as cold as someplace like, NYC or Chicago, though, which is something :)

You know anything about the tech/startup scene in Bozeman?

Less than I'd like, actually — the scene is connected with Missoula's, but it seems to be a somewhat loose connection (despite the two cities only being a three-hour drive through beautiful country from each other).

They do have a solid community, though, from everything I've heard so far. http://Startupbozeman.com has some info, and I went to the HATCH conference this year (http://hatchexperience.org/) which takes place in Bozeman, and met some wonderful representatives from the city. Good people, a nice downtown, and though not QUITE as walkable or cheap as Missoula, it's absolutely beautiful over there, and I always enjoy a visit.

Not sure about the startup scene here, but the major tech employers I know about in Bozo are RightNow/Oracle, Zoot and Montana State University. Keep in mind, though, that one doesn't move to Montana for the salary. Also, real estate in the Gallatin valley is expensive compared to other places in MT. I moved back to MT (grew up in Butte) 2 years ago and while the salary isn't great, it beats the hell out of Los Angeles traffic.

I may be biased because I live here but I really think Orlando, FL fits your bill. You can rent an apartment about 20min from downtown for about $1k or rent a house with a few people for much less. The tech scene is growing and there are some hacker spaces in the area if that's your thing. There are different tech/startup meetups once a week so you'd be able to get in to the community fairly quickly.

You'd also be about 30min from the attractions (Disney, Universal, etc). UCF is here so you'll get the benefits of having a large college close by. If you're in to sports you have the Magic and Orlando City here with all the Tampa teams a 2hr drive away. You also get the benefit of great weather throughout the year. If you're planning to work in the downtown/tourist area then expect your normal I hate my life traffic.

Pittsburgh, PA. There's still a surplus in housing from the steel days, so you can buy or rent for next to nothing. Carnegie Mellon along with 5 or 6 other colleges are there, so there are plenty of smart people. The city is making a nice turnaround from the old steel days to be a technology and medical research center.

I'm from Pennsylvania, so here are some hopefully not-too-biased observations on other parts of the country:

Colorado: Reasonable cost, great weather, lots of amenities, but I've heard Denver referred to as "Menver" so if your idea of dating pool skews X-chromosome you might be disappointed.

Portland: Maybe the high end of "cheaply" but lots of tech scene and indoor/outdoor amenities. I was ok with constant mist for the time I spent there but it might get to other people.

Upper Midwest/Upstate NY/New England: I can't fathom dealing with winter there but if that's your thing then it's probably great?

Portland, Oregon can be /very/ cheap if you live outside the city. And, if you live in a large 4br house with other people (or even just another person if you both make enough) you can get your rent down to $400ish if you live with 3 other people, $800ish if you live with one other person.

The mentioned "other thread": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6700531

San Diego. Not sure about the dating pool (I am an immigrant and can't see myself with someone not from my country, so never tried) bit, but you are definitely very well off in terms of quality of life. Amazing infrastructure, access to lovely beaches, great weather all year round etc. Cost of living is slightly better than the Bay Area but still high on an absolute scale.

I've found the cost of living in San Diego extremely inexpensive if you shop at the right places (Local Mexican groceries, for ex.). If you're comfortable living in less than attractive areas (city heights) you can get apartments for a steal.

I'm paying $1k p/mo for a 2br ~900 sq ft. one in little saigon, and it's about five minutes from the downtown core. You'll find lots of funky benefits in any city I imagine, but quality of life in San Diego can't be beaten.

Now, that's from someone who: 1. Doesn't commute. Traffic here isn't bad, but there's a few chokepoints. 2. Works odd hours, so I get to take advantage of empty parks with my kids at 2pm in the afternoon. 3. Loves the outdoors, though, I miss deciduous trees. The odd trip an hour away to Palomar mountain & Julian fixes that though :) 4. Rides motorcycles, so, that's part of why I love the weather :)

I've also lived in Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, ~12+ years in Florida and the Eastern coast of Canada, in addition to Costa Rica and a few other random places..

Overall? If I were looking to save money I'd be in Florida (Tampa, Orlando, Miami), if I were looking for best quality of life, I'd stay right where I'm at.

I'm still undecided on where I'll be in another year or two, but only for family reasons (two children, proximity to grandparents would be nice).

I live in San Diego and nothing about it fits his 'cheaply' requirement. 10% sales tax, high rents, food is expensive, on and on. I'll agree QoL is incredibly high!

I live in Houston which a city tons of people espouse as a "Cheap" place to live and thought San Diego was incredibly inexpensive when I visited. My wife's cousin pays about $900/mo for a 2br in a midrise in the downtown area near the ocean. For a similar place in Houston you'd be paying $2000-5000/month.

Rent in Houston is only cheap if you're willing to live in the suburbs and commute 1-3 hours each way every day.

It's sad how everyone ignores the "cheaply" part. It's easy to find places to live if you want to pay 1k+ a month in rent. :|

Padmapper. It's not hard to find a place in San Diego for <$1k a month.

May I ask if you have pets and/or children? My family is looking to relocate there in about 6 months, and from my limited early research, finding a place that accepts pets and has enough space (I WFH so need an office) is remarkably difficult.

Las Vegas, NV

Tony Tseh Hsieh and his downtown project are spending ~$350 million to build a tech community in downtown Las Vegas.

- Las Vegas is a cheap place to live. Depending on your needs you can rent a house for under $1500/mo. - You can hop on a plane and be in San Francisco in an hour. There are direct flights to most major cities. - There are tech events most nights of the week for when you want to get out. - There are a bunch of new co-working spaces if you want to have a place to work outside of where you are living or Starbucks.

I think most of "flyover" country would satisfy you question, but here in New Mexico, you can find a decent apartment for $500/mo (my mortgage on a house with a quarter acre is $800/mo) I'm in the south, but most of northern New Mexico would be similar. You wouldn't be living in the top neighborhoods (though my house is in a historic desirable little town) but despite what you saw on Breaking Bad, nowhere in NM will have bad crime, except some very limited spots.

The other advantage is the hiking, sparse desert beauty, the sunsets, and the history if you're into the Wild West sort of thing (beware the rattlesnakes). Also, being in the southern part of NM myself, the military history and influence might be of some interest (Trinity Site comes to mind, but it's now only open once a year). There's also the somewhat embarrassing bits like the UFO museum in Roswell--but we try not to talk about that. ;)

Be aware that it's a lousy state if you ascribe yourself to the "entertain me" culture (living in or near Albuquerque might alleviate that to an extent). But, if you're the outdoorsy type, there's a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from high desert to coniferous forests to explore.

Speaking for northern NM: I was in Albuquerque recently and can't say enough of the hiking nearby. The city actually backs into the Sandia Mountains, which are full of good trails.

If you're into the history, brief drives north or east put you into easily-reachable ghost town territory.

I also like New Mexico a lot and my wife and I almost moved there 15 years ago when we were looking for an inexpensive place to live that was also fun to live in. We ended up in the mountains of Central Arizona, similar to New Mexico.

We are now living in Silicon Valley for six months because I wanted to do a contracting job here. This is a fun area also but we are blown away by the high cost of living. Sometimes it is very important to have coworkers co-situated, but otherwise let workers live where they want. I am now working with people who spend two hours a day commuting. That is a huge hit in wasted time.

Myrtle Beach, SC: Yes, we're building a startup community here, and promoting the reasons why its a great place to live at http://WhyNotTheBeach.com

We have a coworking space: http://CoworkMYR.com

Startup Incubator: http://cocelerator.com

Along with other community resources and great projects: Hackerspace/Makerspace: http://subproto.com & Coworking Space Management Software: http://lemyr.co

For our size (city of 30k), we have a lot of big city amenities due to our tourists, even more-so than cities like Charleston, and a much lower cost of living, inexpensive flights (~$75 RT to NYC, BOS, PHL...)

Feel free to contact me via my profile to learn more.

Miami, FL. You can get an apartment with a water view for $1K, or by a house off the water for $100K. This is not as cheap as the middle-of-nowhere destinations others have suggested, but offers vibrant culture, nightlife, and sun.

Has the RE market changed that much in 6 years? Last time I was in Miami (2007 I think), all the houses for sale off the water were $400k+. The ones near or on the water were at least hovering around a million.

Yeah, housing prices dropped about 50% between 2007 and 2008.

In what area of Miami is that?

Especially there is no way to buy a house for $100k in a decent neighborhood.

Who said anything about decent neighborhood?

Look at craigslist. :)

Madison, Wisconsin is a good city for that. Cheap rent, lots of smart people with the University of Wisconsin right in town. I bootstrapped my company here (http://drifty.com/) and never felt financially strained and always found great people to hire.

If weather is not a factor Albany/Troy/Schenectady NY. The area is home to a good sized and growing tech industry with an AMD chip manufacture, industry leading nano technology research, universities like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who have incubator programs http://www.rpi.edu/about/eve/, and Schenectady whose economy depended so heavily on GE manufacturing is not giving large tax incentives to small businesses to move there. The social life is mid sized city to very rural depending where you want to actually live. I believe it is a hour an a half train ride to NYC, 3 hour drive to Boston, and 2 -3 hour drive will bury you in the middle of the Adirondack state park with no cell service.

But, on the other hand, it's Albany, NY.

Central Iowa has a growing tech / startup sector that is home to many new tech companies. Cost of living is insanely low. I live in Ames, Iowa and work for a medium-sized tech company founded in 2008. Salaries here are comparable to what you'd find in Minneapolis or Kansas City, but with an even lower cost of living. If you're going to bootstrap a startup, Central Iowa is the place to be. Lots of talent and super low costs.

I just spoke at a conference in Des Moines, and there seems to be a real groundswell of support and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in the state. Great to see. Lots of good people.

Good to see another Iowan here. We really are a growing tech area. With both Facebook and Google data centers we'll continue gain more talent

Omaha, Nebraska.

Our startup scene is flourishing and our cost of living is low. You can rent a very nice place for $1000 a month, most of the time for much less.

We also have an awesome music scene, lots of bars and attractions, and a healthy stock of young people to fill up your dating pool.

It's pretty awesome.

Greenville, SC

It's a perfect blend of small/big town atmosphere. The downtown has won awards and you can live right next to everything for rather cheap. I rented a 3 bedroom apartment on Main Street for around $1200 a month and ended up making money on rent through renting out the extra rooms. It has an incubator, code school, and lively coworking space and a ton of great restaurants. You also have a few colleges on the outskirts of town as well.

Check: http://lifeingreenville.com/

I've spent tons of time in Greenville. The wholly-walkable downtown hosts lots of restaurants (recommended: The Lazy Goat), coffee shops, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and an extensive park along the river. Local breweries, nearby colleges - everything you'd expect from a small city renaissance, but Greenville's started 10 years early and is pretty well along now.

My wife and I are thinking about moving to Greenville. Would you recommend a particular town? We liked travelers rest. Any complaints about the area?

Sorry I didn't see this until now, but Travelers Rest is about 15 minutes from downtown. I would look into a house in the North Main or West End area if you want close to downtown. Send me an email if you need any more help!

I'm throwing in my vote for Philadelphia. We've got a great tech scene, cheap rent and easy access to New York, DC, and Baltimore (just in case). We have the most bicycle commuters per-capita in the USA and great restaurants, bars, and live music. The city is increasingly interested in fostering the tech / startup community, and there are major universities in town that provide talent and venues (I'm at a hackathon at Penn today, Drexel hosts the Tech Breakfast meet up every month).

Rochester, NY (if you don't mind the weather). Good writeup here: http://thelistservearchive.com/2013/10/03.html

Dallas, Austin, Miami. No income tax, cheap real estate and especially in Dallas plenty of 9-5 corporate jobs in case you need a cash infusion.

Portland, ME. Several colleges in the area, can rent an apartment in town for < $1K, an office with parking for less than half of that, good airport 15 minutes from downtown, < 2 hrs from Boston, tons of outdoor activities (hiking, sea kayaking, fishing, etc), burgeoning startup culture (see: http://startupportland.com), high end craft beer (Allagash, etc) and a great food scene if you're into that (e.g. http://www.bonappetit.com/columns/the-foodist/article/portla...).

The one negative people tend to bring up is the weather, but Portland tracks Boston temps pretty closely. It won't be mistaken for Miami or Southern California, but the foliage is fantastic and snow can be fun.

Agreed, portland is a great, fun, inexpensive city. It's coastal so the weather isn't that bad. The people are wonderful. Maine's biggest problem, from your perspective, is that there isn't a lot of tech, though, so you won't find many other coders like you would in austin or portland, OR.

Allagash is quite good.

Corvallis, OR

Mild weather, easy access to coast and mountains, there's a regional airport 40 minutes away and Portland is less than 2 hours away.

It is a college town. And has a pretty strong tech culture because it's OSU; Oregon's engineering school.

I think it is two sides of the same coin:

Cheap location = nothing there, so nothing to do.

Expensive location = too expensive to do anything, so nothing to do.

Chicago, IL.

The neighborhoods in the north side, say north of wrigleyville, are very interesting culturally. Housing and other costs of living are low and it is still an urban center with all the amenities you'd expect from one such.

+1 -- Chicago is top 5 in startup/vc activity, has a number of big/successful tech companies -- groupon, orbitz, 37s, Braintree, etc. Google has nearly 3000 people there (including the 2500 or so from Motorola mobility). There is an active tech community lots of events meet ups, two top 10 national universities and 4 other large universities.

There are some expensive neighborhoods but also many cheap ones that are super fun if you are young and don't have kids or care about school quality.

Public transport here is ok - very extensive systems but some lines are pretty slow. Culturally we have everything you would expect of a very large city - great restaurants, museums, music, etc.

I work remotely from home in the middle of Nebraska. I get paid a SF-like salary but pay little in rent in comparison.

yes, this is good. I can relate. what worries me is how tired you are to that opportunity... unless you are the absolute best

I would definitely suggest putting some extra effort into networking if in that position. Fly out to SF for some conferences and use Twitter like a maniac. It'll pay off if your job goes south and you have to end up looking for something else. You'll probably have to move in that case though.

Absolutely. I've been to both NYC and SF in the last 12 months.

I moved out of a larger tech center where I had a on-location job to where I am now (back to where I was raised). However, I didn't move until after working from home for a year and knowing I was protected for the long term.

Columbus, Ohio. It very much is a big city with a small town feel. You can get a place in or around the city for less that $1k easily. We have a thriving art and music scene, a couple professional sports teams (NHL & MLS). We have the third largest university campus in the US (OSU) so they're a lot of young, smart people around. We may not have the largest startup scene, but it's definitely growing with people doing interesting things.

Detroit. Maybe the cheapest real-estate in the country, and still a major city with folks to date, bars, an NHL, NFL, and MLB team. A burgeoning tech scene, and East Lansing and Ann Arbor (home of Michigan State and UofM, respectively) are a couple hours drive in a state where that's not a big deal to most people, even once or twice a week.

I would liketo second Detroit. I was looking into moving into the city, currently live in Ann Arbor, and I found 2 bedroom condos for around 70k. I have a few friends who live in the city and love it. lots of tech and startups in the area especially with quicken loans in the area. Do not let the percieved crime or bankruptcy keep you away. If you are looking for cheap I think, Detroit is you best bet.

New Orleans, LA - One of the most unique cities in the world, one long party, relatively inexpensive, and a burgeoning startup hub: http://www.fastcompany.com/3001140/big-easiest-place-build-s...

Providence, RI puts you on I-95/Amtrak/Acela/MBTA an hour from Boston and 2.5 hours from New York. While not cheap, it's much cheaper than either of those cities. The art, music and food scenes are awesome. There are a lot of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Urbana-Champaign, IL. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is located here. There's a big research park where your startup can get cheap offices/labs, it's 2 hours drive from Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis, and it's cheap.

Throwing Nashville, TN into the hat for similar reasons as other places listed in this thread (affordable living, good weather, etc). If anyone does head there, give me a shout. I'll put you in touch with some nice folks :)

Louisville, KY

Thriving startup and entrepreneurial communities. Variety of neighborhoods to match your personality for a decent price. Enough music, theater, food, etc. offerings to keep things interesting.

Reno, NV

- plenty of cheap housing options - great coworking space - lots of outdoors to play in - plenty of entertainment - awesome people - close to the bay - business friendly tax advantages

I'd look at Ogden, UT or Portland, ME.

kansas city! i moved here from boston about a year ago to stay at the homesforhackers.com house for free.

kc is cheap, has good food, and is going through a cultural revolution right now. right now is a perfect time to move here.

and we have google fiber!!! $70/month for a gigabit!

:%s/US/Canada/g ?

You're out of luck. Any major city here in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary) is expensive. But, these cities are routinely in the top 10 for best places to live, so you get what you pay for (kinda).

Montreal isn't very expensive. Sub $1k for a decent apartment outside the core - I pay a bit more and am within a 10-15 minute walk from dozens of startups in the Plateau.

I've been to all those cities, and I really really loved both Vancouver and Montreal. But I guess Montreal makes more sense financially.

Who said anything about major cities? There's plenty of cheap places to live in Canada. That's like saying you can't live cheap in the US because NY, LA and Chicago are expensive.

Portland, Oregon: Relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the cities on the west coast, with a great, burgeoning tech scene. Also lots of great jobs if you (or your spouse) decide to go work for someone else in the future.

For people living in Europe: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6703058

This thread seems to have been in reaction to this existing thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6700531

- RTP (Research Triangle Park) in North Carolina. Cheap Housing & Cheap Lifestyle, but everything comes at a cost.

Any particular cost? I've read mixed reviews before (possibly here).


Here right now. The main reason I don't want to move here to be with family is it's all suburbs/exurbs with no public transport to speak of. If they ever build a streetcar/light rail system between Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, this region could attract people away from bigger cities, no doubt.

In my few months in RTP, I felt like there was no center of action in the place. Just lots of trees and roads.

There is a lot going on in Raleigh and Durham. RTP is just a corporate zone with a lot of businesses. If you want life outside of work, head 15 minutes in either direction to Raleigh or Durham. Both great places to be on the cheap!

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