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East Coast vs West Coast

(18 Posts)
pupsiecola Mon 02-Jun-14 15:33:14

New York has come up as a potential opportunity. Not really considered that side of the US. Had assumed we would head for the west coast (which will also be a possibility).

Just trying to weigh up pros and cons of NY vs San Fran or Seattle. Obviously the climate is different and the East has more history etc.

Anyone have experience of living in both, or one or t'other?


rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 15:49:07

"the East has more history etc"
I wouldn't say that history is really the top selling point of the US in general grin

There's definitely a difference in east and west coast culture (I'm married to a Californian). But I would say that of all the east and west coast comparisons, SF and NYC are in some ways the most similar. Wealthy, competitive, fast paced, hugely expensive to live in the city proper, small and densely populated, fairly diverse (NYC much more so), quite progressive with a large gay community, ostensibly Democrat. Though the obsessions are different - SF, technology - NYC, finance and fashion. NYC has more of everything, that's for sure, more museums that are bigger and better, more restaurants, more neighbourhoods with their own character. SF has much more of a history of leftist / alternative culture, particularly in the Mission.

Once you get out of the city, you'll feel the cultural difference even more. SF you're in central California. You can ski at Tahoe, hike and camp in the national parks (Yosemite), surf in Santa Cruz. Life in California is pretty outdoorsy and if you are, you probably can't beat the west coast. You'll get a longer summer and a milder winter, and you're what most Americans consider a manageable drive from the heat of LA and southern California (5-6 hours on the fastest road). NYC - trips upstate are popular, and hitting the Hamptons / Long Island / Jersey shore in the summer.

Anyway those are my thoughts, off the top of my head.

Seattle, I have never been to. I know it rains, a lot!

TheSarcasticFringehead Mon 02-Jun-14 16:05:03

I'm in California- just outside LA, but lived in San Francisco for two years (eight years ago). I love California as a whole, I agree that it is definitely quite outdoorsy and I think day trips out are a lot easier in San Francisco imo. I know loads of people who go camping, kayaking (and other watersports) more than any place I've lived in before. But I haven't lived in New York. I think in New York it's easier to get around- but that was from a tourist perspective. Weather wise, New York too, over San Francisco. There's loads of culture all around San Francisco and it is really easy to get to all the museums, I loved that smile

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 16:30:09

Oh, SF has incredible Californian Mexican food, which my DH would say is a reason to live there alone grin

pupsiecola Mon 02-Jun-14 16:38:09

I hear you re the history Rooty. I mean relatively speaking. DH just back from 5 days in NY and said it feels like London. We were in California over Easter (road trip to all the places you mentioned).

Great food for thought there both. Thanks!

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 02-Jun-14 16:46:37

Winter much more pleasant in CA.

Summer, not so much grin

There is the increasing pressure on CA's water supply to consider too - not an issue in NY (which has much higher annual rainfall than Manchester, surprisingly, but it comes in downpours, not drizzle)

whatsagoodusername Mon 02-Jun-14 16:52:25

I grew up in Seattle. It's lovely!

Does rain a lot, though. Summer is reasonably dry, but it is wet late September to May.

There is absolutely a huge difference between East an West - and North and South. What type of life are you after? Seattle is very outdoorsy, but with lots of computer geeks. grin

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 16:54:48

Ah I was teasing a bit smile. California does feel more modern in lots of ways. NYC is probably a lot more like the UK in that it's snobby about education, family, your line of work, all that. In California everyone working a crappy job is about to make it big, and cash talks!

I would say the opposite NicestSmile! I loathe the foggy SF winter may as well live in London. Though that is a very SF problem. In Santa Cruz, say, you don't get the fog, winter is like an extended and fairly dry autumn, and spring and summer roll around before you know it and stay for 8 months. The opposite to here! NYC snow seems very exciting, though I appreciate must get boring. I remember being there one NY and my feet freezing in fur lined boots, I was pretty surprised by that grin

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Mon 02-Jun-14 16:58:46

Actually, the West Coast, particularly the Northwest, has far history, both by age and the amount that is intact - most of the indigenous history on the East Coast of the US has been destroyed so what's visibly there is only a few hundred years at most while the West still has petroglyphs that are tens of thousands.

The East does have a more European feel to it for obvious reasons, and each of the cities are very different to the areas that around them to the point as has been said that they are far more like each other than they are the regions. Personally, I would prefer Northwest, but not in any of the big cities.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 02-Jun-14 17:02:04

Fog is just a Bay thing, isn't it? Ok inland? (I was only in SF once, for a few days, but we did get the fog even so)

DD1 lives in NYC; this was a very long winter & yes, the snow did get very messy & boring after a while grin She really loves it there though & it is a great city for children.

pupsiecola Mon 02-Jun-14 17:02:28

DH is major league geek and works for huge tech company based in Seattle. So that's a good start. Outdoorsy would be good. Climate wise, not as grey and wet as the UK (does that rule Seattle out? DH has been many many times and says it's really not as bad as people make out). Don't mind the cold of a NY winter and like the idea of the seasons. But don't like grey rainy days that last a couple of weeks or more at a time.

We have two DS - 11 and 9. School (probably state) is a major issue to get right.

Seattle also appeals over San Fran because there is no state tax so around 10% more dosh in the pocket, although I understand sales tax might be higher. Also cheaper to live generally.

Getting out and about would be pretty key and I love the idea of Vancouver being just a 3 hour drive away. Ocean is good. Mountains are good. Vast scenery is good. Feeling a bit hemmed in is not good!

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 17:06:46

Oh yes, California is utterly, mindbogglingly expensive to live with on every level. Housing, food. Boggling.

If you don't want to feel hemmed in, Seattle is the way to go! NYC and SF are practically defined by the hemming. No idea about the Seattle climate but neither SF nor NYC have quite the same quality of grey misery that the UK offers grin

NicestSmile yup fog just in the bay, so depends where OP would be living.

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 02-Jun-14 17:10:02

I think it's fair to say most winter days in NY are clear & sunny apart from when it's about to snow or actually snowing. We lived there for 3 years (on Long Island, not in the city) & there was a lot of crisp sunshine.

I remember reading a book set near Seattle (one of Betty McDonald's maybe) which said you could see things growing in the summer grin

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 02-Jun-14 17:12:29

I think it's fair to say most winter days in NY are clear & sunny apart from when it's about to snow or actually snowing. We lived there for 3 years (on Long Island, not in the city) & there was a lot of crisp sunshine.

I remember reading a book set near Seattle (one of Betty McDonald's maybe) which said you could see things growing in the summer grin

TheOneWithTheNicestSmile Mon 02-Jun-14 17:13:07

Oops - sorry (I blame the phone!)

whatsagoodusername Mon 02-Jun-14 17:26:55

Seattle's climate is grey - but it is different to grey in the UK. Usually the clouds are quite high and it rains quite differently. It does rain most days in winter, but it usually is not a full day of rain, or especially heavy. There are dozens of words used to describe types of rain in Seattle. And nobody bothers with an umbrella.

The rain gathers into clouds from Puget Sound, heads east, hits mountains, rains. And repeat. There are rain forests in some parts of the mountains.

Ocean - is a drive, but Puget Sound is lovely. And the drive to the ocean is lovely.

Mountains - lots. The Cascades are east of Seattle, and are the main mountain range for Seattle. To the west is the Olympic peninsula, with another range of mountains. Skiing is mainly on the Cascades. Good weather is declared when "the mountain [Mt Rainier, volcano] is out".

Vast scenery - check

Vancouver - 2/3 hour drive, depending on where you live and how bad the border is that day. Victoria is also only a few hours on a gorgeous ferry ride.

Temperatures are quite similar to London.

If you are seriously looking at Seattle, my mother is a teacher and worked in Bellevue (primary) for years, now in Everett (secondary), and knows lots of people everywhere. If you have any questions, I can ask her.

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 17:32:07

If you do move to Seattle, please buy yourself a Stutterheim raincoat, I am utterly obsessed with them. <total derail>

pupsiecola Tue 03-Jun-14 14:44:19

Thanks for that whatsagoodusername. It would probably be downtown Seattle and immediate areas. It's not Microsoft (Bellevue)! I may well take you up on that!

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