This is part one of a three part series on Moving to a New City. My goal is to research potential cities based on specific characteristics, narrow down my search to five possible places based on how well they match my requirements, and finally visit each city.

I’m a couple of years away from moving from my current locale to a new city, but that gives me plenty of time to research potential places. Of course I’m looking for specific attributes within that new city, so the question is where to begin? The first task is to create a list of things I’d want my new city to look like. Narrowing down ‘must-have’ attributes will focus my research on cities that fulfill these requirements, saving me time in the long run. What’s most important to me when looking at new cities is location, weather and cost of living. I’m a bit spoiled when it comes to weather having lived in a temperate climate most of my live. My body just can’t handle temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.Β  Below I’ve listed ‘must haves’ for each attribute.


Location

I’m not willing to move out of state (at least not yet). Thankfully California is a very large state so I’m not terribly limited geographically. I’d also like to remain living somewhere along the coast, or at least within a 35 mile range. Of course this reduces my chances of finding a reasonably priced city.

Weather

When the weather drops to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, I shiver no matter how many layers I have on. The thought of shoveling snow makes me cringe and anywhere where the temperatures hit over 100 degrees for extended periods of time just isn’t my ideal place. Since I’m such a weather-wimp, this limits cities located in the desert or in the mountains. It also limits how far north I’m willing to move. However, I’m not enthusiastic about living in a city where the temperatures hover around 70 degrees all year round. I do like having warmer days here and there, so places like Oxnard are a bit too cool for my blood.

Cost of living

One of the biggest challenges I have due to limiting my search within California is finding a “perfect” city with an affordable cost of living index. I like to use BestPlaces.net to compare cost of living. The national average has a numeric value of 100; cities higher than 100 are more expensive, cities lower than 100 are less expensive. I currently live in a city where the cost of living is 135. I’d like to find a city where this numerical value is below 130. This has been my biggest challenge as most of the cities that are within 35-miles of the coast are actually pushing 150, much too high for me to justify a move.

Employment

I’ll be finishing my teaching credential in December (6-months sooner than planned!), yet there are few teaching jobs due to the state budget deficit. I’ve noticed that teaching jobs are more abundant, though I wouldn’t necessarily use this adjective to describe the amount of jobs overall, in Northern California than in Southern California. The potential for a teaching job in the north may guide my city search to cities in the Sacramento – San Francisco area.

Crime

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to takeΒ  notice of crime statistics in my neighborhood. BestPlaces.net assigns a numerical value to both violent crime and property crime. The national average is 4 in both categories, but in my city it is 7 and 4 respectively. I’d like to find a city where the crime rate hovers around the national average or at least lower than my current city. I’m hoping that a lower crime rate means less graffiti in the neighborhood because, frankly, I’m really tired of graffiti!

I’ve included a little YouTube video from a lovely (note my sarcasm here) city not far fromΒ  my home. You’ll soon know why I am itching to move!

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