Motherhood

Where Do You Live?

Seriously, where do you live? Do you like it? BECAUSE YOU GUYS. The grossest thing happened last week, I can barely type it out…

Here’s the scene: We’re hanging out at our favorite West Village playground. It’s the evening golden hour, and rays of sunshine are slanting through the trees. I’m chatting with two friends, while our kids play with toys in the sandbox. Then Toby comes up to me and says, “Mama! I’m a doctor, are you sick?” And I say, “Oh, yes! I have a bellyache.” He holds a little plastic toy thermometer up to my mouth, and I kneel down to play along and I’m basically licking the thing, when suddenly my friend looks over and gasps and says, “Joanna, that is a used tampon applicator!”

!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness, I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was dying. New York can be so disgusting sometimes!

It made me think: Should we move somewhere a little…less gross? With more grass and space? The astrologist told us we should move to California, after all. Is it time to leave?

But we also love New York–especially on these spring days, when it’s so magical. And the idea of moving kind of freaks me out. We’ve been here for so long! Is it scary to move? Have you ever made a big move? Honestly, this is so dorky, but I was homesick when we moved from the West Village to Battery Park City! And it’s 5 minutes away!! And another friend admitted that she was traumatized when she moved two houses down on her block. We’re all such creatures of habit. :)

I’m SO curious: Where do you live? Do you like it? Would you recommend it? Where do you want to raise kids? I’d love to hear!! xoxo

P.S. How not to look like a tourist, and 9 crazy things about living in NYC.

(Photo by James Nord)

  1. JC says...

    Right after I gave birth to my first child (12 years ago!) we moved from DC to Wilmington, NC. My husband happened to be on Wall Street on 9/11 for work and I was working in DC. The whole thing was a tad traumatic and then the D.C. Snipper killed someone 50 yards from my front doorstep. I told my husband I am out! So we moved to a small beach town in NC. At first I was completely in culture shock. I could not even run to the grocery store without running into at least 3 accuantinces and I secretly wondered if I would ever meet another woman that was a democrat (and this was 12 years ago). I am happy to say it was the best move of my life! I have embraced small town living. We can hear the ocean from our doorstep. words cannot describe what living near the ocean can do for you and your kids! I found my tribe and feel like I have hit the jackpot! (This jackpot includes quality of life, housing market, and private school tuition).

  2. Living in a van on the west coast speaking about animals rights at college campuses

  3. Kimberli Simon says...

    Over the past 30 years I went from Philly to DC to NYC to Miami to LA and NOW…Nashville. Those moves happened because of college, job, professional ultimate frisbee, career, and career/kids. Until we had children (Nashville) i never owned more than I could fit in the trunk of my car because I loved the freedom of picking up and going off to another unknown adventure. Nashville is quickly changing from a small burb to a large city but it is still a great place to raise kids, start a new business, or as a hub to exploring the south. If I had to do it all over again I would have moved closer to family so my children and parents could have played a daily role in each other’s lives.

  4. I live in Nova Scotia, so unless you want to try being Canadian, it might not work for you. That said, it is beautiful, surrounded by the ocean, and a little piece of paradise. The people are nice, I mean we are polite, quiet Canadians after all..lol. Halifax, the Capital is a small city (400,000), very green, lots of trees, more bars per capita than any other city in North America not sure that’s a pro or con?) and historical. I would think that a New Yorker would miss the high paced, fast lane though.

  5. I live in Chicago because I grew up here and because my favorite people in the world live here but a huge metropolis in the midwest is in no way where my soul belongs. Dream city? Somewhere in North Carolina. Or a pueblito in Mexico. One day maybe I’ll get there but for now, I’ll make do with what I’ve got.

  6. in 20 years of marriage we’ve moved 10 times, twice overseas..with 4 kids. currently we’re in our 2nd apartment in paris. our last home in the states was just south of boston..i thought i’d miss having a house and yard with kids..not at all. the champs du mars is our playground! i don’t miss weeding or mowing! :)

  7. Ah, moving! It’s tough and scary! The last time I did it was ten years ago, from Brooklyn to Atlanta. It was a big transition for me, having always lived in very walkable cities (Toronto, Montreal, NYC) and it was tough at first. I moved down here for grad school and nearly kept my apartment in Brooklyn because I was so sure I wouldn’t stay! It’s really grown on me, though – the city has changed a LOT over the ten years I’ve been here, and I’ve really found the spots that work for me. The intown neighborhoods are a good mix of walkable, lots of trees, nice big parks (I live by what I’d call the Prospect Park of Atlanta ;)) and a million adorable craftsman houses. Overall it’s a city that’s growing and just becoming more interesting over time!

  8. My husband and I recently moved (back- my hometown) to Nashville, TN. We are in our mid 30’s and have 4 kiddos ages 5-15. it’s a great place for so many reasons: perfect amount of all four seasons; live music from festivals that are family friendly to growing up around people who place music.. inspiring for the kids to be around; friendly creative people and communities; lots of free events and entrances to parks, museums and more; tons of local, affordable summer day (and overnight) camps for the kids; safe cool places for teenagers to hang that isn’t a mall or cruising a street. And Nashville is booming, affordable, job opportunities, close to the mountains or a days drive to the ocean. It’s a perfect place to raise a family and see them thrive and flourish!

  9. I moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon and am loving every minute of it. It’s a city center that allows space and a garden and it SO kid friendly.

  10. My boyfriend’s parents met while stationed in Germany and decided to travel the world together after they got married. They lived on a fishing boat in Australia until her morning sickness couldn’t handle the sea any longer and they traveled to New Zealand where their first was born. When their visas expired, they packed their bags and biked across China (with an infant!) and traveled to a few other countries in Asia before finally settling down for good in Northern California. Their stories are absolutely incredible and I look up to them and admire them for it all the time.

    Long story short, anything and everything you decide to do (even with two little ones) is possible. Moving is always a huge endeavor, but I’ve found that it’s also always worth the experiences you gain in a new city or part of the country (or globe). New York isn’t going anywhere, and if you move to California and decide it isn’t for you, it’s just another incredible experience under your belt and you can head back east whenever your heart desires :-)

  11. I moved to Ottawa for college from China, and lived there for 5 years. Now I live in Hong Kong. I think I handle and adjust to relocation better now than before. But I hate MOVING, even if it is only moving from one apt to another in the same building ! I am living in this crappy apt in HK but still reluctant to move to some place nicer ! I don’t know what is it about moving that sucks every passion of my life .

  12. me says...

    You would probably miss the city but Boulder offers such a great family vibe and community. Wonderful public schools, beautiful trails out your front door, awesome, low-key peeps. Love it.

  13. OHMYGOSH. That is such a New York story. We went to Florida for our son’s winter break in February, and coming back to New York we took the AirTrain to the subway at around 11pm… and we have all this luggage and everyone is tired, and we walk on the subway car only to realize every bench has a homeless person sleeping on it (and the smell is not pleasant). And my husband turns to our boys and goes, “Welcome back to New York.”

    My husband is always jokingly trying to get me to give up living here (and moving to Boston, where he lived previously and loves) – and I am always trying to point out the good things about living here (hello, no where in the world has our food selection). Between it all I feel like someday we will move, but I’m scared when that time comes I won’t be ready!

  14. Born and raised in Manhattan. Husband born and raised in Brooklyn. Relocated to Chicago (4 years. first child, 1 dog, house), Los Angeles (20 years, 2nd child, 2 dogs, few houses), Houston (kids in college, 1 dog, condo) and as of 2013, back in Manhattan (kids grown, dogs gone, rental) in a 1 bedroom apartment just like when we left all those years ago. All of our relocations were due to my husband’s career.

    Moving is difficult especially if you’re the one at home, establishing roots and creating a home base with family at a distance. As others have mentioned, do it now while your kids are young and before regular schooling begins for your oldest. I would not change a thing about all the wonderful places I’ve been able to call home. That is not to suggest it hasn’t had it’s challenges.

    I never thought I’d leave Southern California but here I am back to being carless in Manhattan and downsizing our lives so we can fit in small urban spaces and loving it once again.

  15. Hi. I am not from but I do live in California. I love it. I am from small town, super suburbia, outside of Chicago, hey mid-west, kind of town; I have lived a couple other places, but now I call Santa Monica, Ca. home. Silly things that kinda matter.. the homeless here are kind of not that scary, unlike the ones from home (Chicago) who are intense and scary to the point that “head up, walk fact, don’t make eye contact” is a means of day to day. Also everyday can be a day at the park, beach, hike, well anything active! there are so many more great things I can say but I feel I am getting a little long winded for a comment. All I have to say is that California has stolen me from my four generations of Chicago, close knit family. It has me.

  16. Well, I live in Paris and I was raised in Marseilles.
    Paris is dirty, and Marseilles is even dirtier but all in one I would not raise my kids anywhere else. I do have good immune system now :)

  17. We live in Carlsbad, California an awesome beach city in North San Diego County. You can’t beat the weather or the low-key vibe and I love that my kids backyard is the beach. It is expensive to live here, and tough to do on a single income (I’m a SAHM) but when we think about moving somewhere else, somewhere less expensive, somewhere where we could get a bigger house etc… we just can’t bring ourselves to do it. We really love where we live and feel very blessed to call Carlsbad home.

  18. I’ve lived in a bunch of places. Met my hobby in Colorado, he’s from Chicago, and came home to Buffalo for law school. It’s great raising kids here. Inexpensive, plenty to do, easy to get to NYC, great old neighborhoods. But if we weren’t here, I’d say our next three picks would be Boulder #1, San Diego #2, or Asheville, NC #3.

    But leaving NYC will be tough. Everywhere else is going to seem so vanilla in comparison. Best of luck and keep all of us posted!

  19. I’ve lived in a bunch of places. Met my hobby in Colorado, he’s from Chicago, and came home to Buffalo for law school. It’s great raising kids here. Inexpensive, plenty to do, easy to get to NYC, great old neighborhoods. But if we weren’t here, I’d say our next three picks would be Boulder #1, San Diego #2, or Asheville, NC #3.

    But leaving NYC will be tough. Everywhere else is going to seem so vanilla in comparison. Best of luck and keep all of us posted!

  20. We moved from Chicago to Austin to settle down and start a family. Austin is the place to be! Definitely clean, wholesome, interesting… Much more to show for your money down here. And it’s SO green and hilly in this area of Texas! An hour away from hill country wineries… Texas has it all as far as we have seen!

    And being raised in Las Vegas and taking several trips to California over the years, I can tell you California is just a state in trouble. SoCal is overly glorified, and few beaches are worth the trip. So if you’re thinking California, maybe northern? Or San Diego?

  21. I live in San Carlos in northern California it is perfect town for raising a family. We have adorable downtown with great places to eat, great kids bookstore, fabulous parks and the city slogan is”the city of good living” we are 22 miles from San Francisco and you can hop on a train to the city. Only downside is prices can be shocking for homes…but truly would not live anywhere else well maybe NYC grass is always greener I guess

  22. My jaw literally dropped open when I read this! (And if I am honest, I burst out laughing…sorry)! We lived in London for 8 years and it’s true, big cities are full of gross things. But I also grew up in a small South African coastal town and took my toddler neighbour for a stroll around the block, only for him to pick up the top of a used condom and ask if it was calamari. The trauma of that day still lives with me!

  23. NO to San Francisco area. It has gotten really self-absorbed, transient, and expensive.
    The weather is milder—but not always. Winter can be wet, raw, sullen, cold, and dark. And most older homes are uninsulated. The easygoing natives have been steadily leaving. I am outside SF and have watched so many families leave because they find it too transient and it’s hard to make friends. So we are plotting our move, too—to the mid-Atlantic, New England, or greater Chicago–all places where we’ve lived and loved.

  24. Dear Joanna, I live in California (LA) and it really depends on a neighborhood, some can be just as, well, “gross” as NY, but overall I feel raising kids here is somewhat easier. And don’t get me wrong, I’m the hugest fan of NY! Love it. In fact I hated LA when I just moved here but it really grew on me and I’m very happy here now. In regards to moving anxiety in general I think it’s the kind of change that really hard to make, but it’s REALLY good for you. Just like anything outside your comfort zone and I’m sure you know what I mean )

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  26. Oh that is so gross! Although, I don’t think it would necessarily be limited to NY. I can think of plenty of places I have lived where I could see that happening.

    We live in Issaquah WA. It’s about 30 minutes outside of Seattle. We moved to the Seattle area to be near my husband’s family, and we chose Issaquah because it was where we could find cheap housing. was kind of neutral about it when we moved here, but then I read an article in Sunset magazine that said Issaquah had the best suburbs to live in and I was like “That’s where I live!” It listed all the great things about it and I realized that it does have a lot going for it and I have been thinking more positively about it since!

    It has great schools and parks, so I think it’s a great place to raise kids! I could see us staying here for the long haul!

  27. Portland, OR!
    We live in the City and love it. Playgrounds, parks, local restaurants in the ‘hood… tax free shopping and it’s illegal to pump your own gas. If you haven’t watched Portlandia… You should. We love it here and looking forward to summer!

  28. I grew up in the wold redwood forests and rolling hillsides of Sonoma County, CA and I currently live in Oakland, CA. I am a recent college grad and the industrial city by the bay feels suited to me. The community in Oakland shocked me with their welcoming, edgy, and prideful manner! I am already falling in love!

    I imagine myself raising kids near Berkeley where diversity is ripe and nature is beautiful. I hope to forever keep friendly people around me!

  29. I LOVE NYC & I always will. My husband & lived there for 6 years and we are both creatives. The culture, palpable energy and well all those amazing things are singularly NYC – nothing else compares. That is the key to try not to compare all the time. We live in Northern Cali now and it was a tough transition, especially the first year, but it is an easier going lifestyle with wonderful affordable accessible to “nature escapes” so close by – great for the kids! Mexico, Palm Springs, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, wine country (for the parents). The weather allows for a lot more outside activity. I’ve lived in SoCal too (West LA) and Northern Cali seems to be much more comparable to NY/Brooklyn. I actually did not enjoy living in SF but prefer the East Bay but with the all the tech start ups it’s getting pretty pricey too! Good luck on your adventures & happy hunting! It’s all a very interesting process so enjoy! & remember you can always move back!

    Best of luck on your journey!

  30. I live in LA, CA but really I live in Venice Beach and I love it! Although, living in LA took time to get used to. I have lived all over California… I was born in San Diego and it is nice and although a city a little more quiet than LA > I grew up in a small town just outside of Yosemite and it was beautiful and a great place to raise kids (for my parents) but boring as a kid > I went to college in Santa Cruz, it was awesome. Northern California is completely different than Southern California but the nice thing about the state is it has EVERYTHING: Mountains, beaches, deserts, forest…

  31. Hey. I guess, you can’t really compare my living circumstances with normal ones, but I left my home (which is in Germany) to study abroad for one year – here in the United States in Buffalo, New York. Moving, even if it’s “just” for a year, always is something scary and crazy, but I personally think, change is something incredible brave that always gives us so much we haven’t known or experienced before. So if you’re unsure but there’s nothing really bad about the thought, then – despite all craziness – just do it. (and I know that’s easy to write, not that easy to do, but hey. It’s our life, we can do (almost) whatever we want.)

  32. Moving is definitely stressful, but totally worth it. Since college I have moved a handful of times, I grew up in Arizona and only wanted one thing, to get out! So I moved to Brooklyn, then to Rio de Janeiro, then to DC and finally back to Arizona. Now all I want is to stay in Arizona. I’ve found I love its location, so much open space and good food and fun. Hiking, biking and great road trips are all here and the beach is only a few hours away. It does get a little hot here in the summers, but I’ve found that it actually has everything I want here and more. The west has so much to offer!

  33. We live in Minneapolis, MN and really like it. My husband and I are both from small towns (like I graduated with 22 people – of those 14 were ‘originals from kindergarten!). We feel like Mpls is a good mix of city life with small town feel – but the weather is not ideal. I do like having seasons, but our winters just get so long. Our neighborhood is very playful and geared towards children and pets. Our backyard is a small, city lot – but enough room for us to have a space to call our own. I wish you well in finding something that feels right for you!

  34. I live in California and I LOVE it! You’ve been here, so you know, the weather is always great. Even when it’s cold it’s bearable. And my friend literally went snowboarding and surfing all in one day. There is so much variety here.
    With that said, I’m moving to Malawi, Africa within two years. At least that’s the plan anyway. My husband is from there. So this California girl is making a big move! I am freaked out in some ways, but I also can’t wait. I think it’s so important to get out of our comfort zone and do something crazy and exciting like moving!

  35. We moved this month from Sacramento to Santa Barbara. The cost of living is much higher in SB because we’re right near the ocean and mountains, but they don’t call this town the American Riviera for nothing. It’s beautiful with great weather and lots to do outdoors. That being said, Sacramento is also a great place to raise a family. Joanna, I see you loving San Francisco and being very happy there. Change is hard, no matter if it’s good, but if it’s right then it will always feel like home.

  36. I enjoy your blog all the way from Oxford in England!

  37. I live in Scandinavia (Denmark), small town 20 minutes north of Copenhagen with a family friendly neighborhood in a little house with a garden – perfect when raising 3 children!

    We did a roadtrip to CA all of us a couple of years ago and simply fell in love with it – the weather is amazing and that would have a great impact on my general mood :-). We loved the SF area, Santa Monica and the cities south of LA, such as Laguna Beach!!

    In a few years we are definately coming back to visit.

  38. Oh gosh, that does sound REALLY gross. Although I have a girlfriend whose son pulled out something similar from her own bathroom trash. Granted, that’s something that you can control since it’s your own house…but still gross things can happen anywhere!

    I live in a small town Norman, Oklahoma. It’s a college town and we have family close by which is a lifesaver when it comes to kiddos. (Free trustworthy babysitting, plus kids being familiar with their grandparents…) Being that Norman is a college town we have a lot more culture than most of Oklahoma, but you always long for what you don’t have. Both my husband and I think it’d be so fun to live in New York City… we love it there and all the awesome things that it offers. Will we ever make that move? Probably not. We value living close to family way too much. But thank goodness for vacations!

    Hope you figure out what you think will be best for you and your darling family! :)

  39. The Midwest rules. Cleveland is really good, as well as Detroit. I have lived both places. (But you’re from Michigan, right, so you know Detroit is cool!) Chicago is amazing too, my favorite city! If you moved to Chi, you could still have the city feel but it’s much less gross than NYC :D

  40. I grew up in New York City in Yorkville (east of Lexington Ave, Up from 86th Street, and south of Spanish Harlem…depending on who you talk to) and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yes, in Carl Shurz park we used to find caps from crack vials (not knowing what they were but they were colorful and pretty so we didn’t care) and collect them in secret as our parents would lose it if they ever found them on us. Which is gross. New York is gross, yes, and was way worse in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up. But I did see amazing art, dance, theater, music, films, meet all sorts of different people from different backgrounds, eat crazy weird delicious foods, and learn how to deal on my own in a strange, crazy place from a very early age. It has made me every bit of who I am and made me capable of getting along with all sorts of people in may different situations and places. Yes it can be gross but the lack of sheltering came with HUGE advantages as well that I do not take for granted any day of my life.

  41. We moved to my current town, Carmel-by-the-Sea,CA, after my son turned 6 weeks old. It was hard to move away from family but now I could never imagine leaving. It is where the forest meets the Ocean just north of Big Sur. It is safe, has amazing schools, and has a charming artsy village.

  42. We just made the move from NYC to LA and we are oh so happy we did. Have a daughter Toby’s age and we couldn’t be more happy. It’s cheaper and sunnier but that’s just the start of why it’s better for creative entrepreneurs like ourselves. Check out DTLA, it’s awesome.

  43. I live upstate (like, 3 hours north of NYC) and … I do not love it. I pine for the Pacific NW (no pun intended) where I was born and raised. I never thought I would want to live in the town where I grew up … but I so do! I just feel like a sore thumb here and the people/attitudes sometimes really bum me out. Sorry for being a sourpuss but, Oregon rules!

  44. After 15 years in the West Village, we did a stopover in Brooklyn for two years and then moved to Westport CT. For the price of our 1 bedroom apt. we bought I rickety old farmhouse and renovated it from soup to nuts. It was the most creative project I have even done and it did not cost 3 million dollars. Our children are so happy and sometimes our life feel quiet but it suits us for now. I cannot believe i am saying this but I do not miss the city at all!

  45. I live in Northern California and love it! If I were a little closer to the ocean it would be even better. As it is I’m 2 hours from the beach, wine country, Yosemite, San Francisco…We have great weather pretty much year round, but it does get pretty hot here in the summer. Fifi O’Neill was here last summer photographing my home and it was 106 outside,Yikes! Those hot days don’t last too long thank goodness, but So-Cal is even better, if you can put up with all the commuters. Good luck!

  46. California is pretty amazing. I grew up in Sacramento, which is 1 1/2 hours from San Fran, from the beach (Stinson!), from Lake Tahoe, and wine country. That is why Sac Town is awesome (plus the houses in midtown – the fab 40s). Oh and good coffee and local bands. As amazing as CA is, I live in Savannah, GA now and absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, quirky, and our weather is wonderful 3/4 of the year. Amazing art school (shout out SCAD), annual film festival, 20 minutes from the beach. Visit and see what I mean. It’s pretty special.

  47. I moved from Brazil (where I was born and raised) to London when I was 24. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Never regretted! 10 years later, I moved from London to Tokyo because of my husband’s work. Again, hard hard thing to do… Never regretted! I love Tokyo and now find hard to imagine myself living somewhere else. But my experience taught me: if the opportunity arises, move! I feel I can live anywhere and feel excited about it.

  48. I moved from Brazil (where I was born and raised) to London when I was 24. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Never regretted! 10 years later, I moved from London to Tokyo because of my husband’s work. Again, hard hard thing to do… Never regretted! I love Tokyo and now find hard to imagine myself living somewhere else. But my experience taught me: if the opportunity arises, move! I feel I can live anywhere and feel excited about it.

  49. I live in the UK, and where I live is ok but I don’t particularly like living in the UK- the pay is crap and I can’t afford to move out of home, and I’m 26!

    I definitely agree that if you move you should do it before the kids grow up too much.

  50. we went through a very similar thing. we lived in shoreditch in east london, it was so cool and we loved it. once the kiddies were here, i started to notice all the gross. scary dogs, needles, etc. it was hard leaving, i still miss it but now we live in edinburgh. its still a city, great culture and loads going on but, its well just a lot ‘nicer’ than central london. i do miss the big smoke, i could never live in the country, but a smaller city has felt right for us.

  51. OMG. your story reminds me of when I was small. I live in an apartment. The downstairs neighbor’s son got married and he used to throw his used condoms out of his bedroom window. The building kids thought they were balloons and they could pick them up. Their parents had to make them mortally afraid of the ‘balloons’.
    Mumbai is a massive city that no one can clean and no one can control. I haven’t lived elsewhere, but if I had to, I’d accept it.

  52. OMG. your story reminds me of when I was small. I live in an apartment. The downstairs neighbor’s son got married and he used to throw his used condoms out of his bedroom window. The building kids thought they were balloons and they could pick them up. Their parents had to make them mortally afraid of the ‘balloons’.
    Mumbai is a massive city that no one can clean and no one can control. I haven’t lived elsewhere, but if I had to, I’d accept it.

  53. I live in NorCal- east bay which is the suburbs of SF. It’s amazing. Weather is gorgeous, location is near mountains, beach, wine country. I feel like I’m a bit too far out in the burbs for someone moving from NYC- but I think you would live SF or the immediate cities outside of SF like Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, Lafayette/orinda/moraga, or Palo Alto. Heck you can live anywhere as a blogger- I’d pick Napa! My kids play outdoors and love it. But there is probably gross-factor everywhere- my dog has eaten condoms off the street of our sleepy little mulberry-esque town- so gross is unavoidable. :)

  54. I live in Chicago. Not sure it’s much better. My toddler was eating dog poop today. DOG POOP!

  55. I live in Durham, North Carolina! I love it here, but the idea of moving to a big exciting city seems so tempting!

  56. I live in São Paulo, Brazil. 25, single and no kids, less than three months away from graduating in architecture and urbanism, I’m in that period where you think anywhere is possible (: I was born and raised here in this massive chaotic city and my profession is all about reading and thinking cities. I spent a year abroad living in Porto (Portugal) and traveled around europe a bit, and all I know is that I have no desire to stay here in SP long, let alone raise my kids! I dream about going to a city similar to Porto, that has the “perfect” scale: neither big nor small, next to the sea, many parks, a lot of activities downtown, you can walk many places, relatively safe, etc etc. I also wanted to be able to live in a house, or at least a place where my kids have where to play outside, as I did all my life, and here in SP you have to be kind of rich to afford a place like that these days =/

  57. S says...

    I could never live in NYC! I love to visit the city, but it’s too crowded for me to want to raise children there. I’d worry that the crush of humanity would be overwhelming to them.

  58. We live in Palos Verdes, California. We have a 3 year old daughter and we love it. I grew up here, moved away after high school so I could experience the world (or at least the West Coast) and ended up moving back after living in San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, and Newport Beach. We love it. It’s stunning and safe and clean.

  59. I moved back to downtown Houston from California and love it. I never thought I’d end up here – I always hated the weather and bad roads and flat landscape – but you can’t beat home, wherever it is.

  60. We moved from Michigan (yay, we’re fellow Michiganders!) to Portland, Oregon 5 years ago and absolutely love it. On an almost daily basis my boyfriend and I find ourselves looking at each other and happily sighing about how much we enjoy our city. There are a million things to do from taking a walk in Forest Park, to enjoying fantastic food & craft beer, to doing a day at the art museum. We are never bored. When we first moved we used to say, “oh maybe we’ll go home and raise our kids in Petoskey or Traverse City in 5 or 10 more years.” Now we just can’t imagine leaving or even wanting to live somewhere else. We rent an apartment in a pretty trendy neighborhood with a bit of a bar scene and sometimes I am grossed out by remnants of the night before…broken bottles, used condoms, vomit on the sidewalk…but the city/store owners do a decent job of cleaning things up and hosing off the sidewalk and my disgust doesn’t last for too long. I still can’t imagine being anywhere else :)

  61. I live in a small, mostly sunny town on the east coast of South Carolina. We actually live a little outside of the touristy Hilton Head beaches!

    But, I’ve always had a love affair with New York. Maybe most people do? Ever since I was little I loved the city and after living in Long Island for 3 years and having the chance to go into the city whenever we wanted, its sometimes hard to live somewhere so suburban. I was raised in the country but I am much more a city girl.

    We don’t have as many parks and opportunities and there’s nowhere near the amount of culture here, but we have space and clean beaches!

  62. I live in an apartment in Denver, Colorado and I love it! I’m 25, in a relationship w/o kids. Denver is nice because you can go downtown and get the big city experience, but the rest of it feels like a typical mid-size city. Go even further, and you can get a small-town atmosphere!

    I don’t know if I will be here long enough to have kids, but most of my friends are native Coloradoans who have either lived in Denver their whole lives or moved here from the resort towns (Vail, Aspen, etc.), and none of them intend to leave the state if they can avoid it. My boyfriend and I are talking about New Mexico or LA after he wraps up film school at the end of next school year.

    I know I could see myself raising a couple of kids in Denver or Santa Fe or Albuquerque, but I don’t know about LA! Maybe Orange County, definitely not Los Angeles (except to visit)!

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  64. Beautiful San Francisco! It feels very different now that we have our sons. Our personal “gross” encounters are on the rise! On the way home from school one day, Tycho (our 3.5 yr old) wanted to play a little hide-and-seek in the bushes along the sidewalk … and came out covered in human feces. We often think about going more rural so our boys can play barefoot outside, have some private outdoor space, etc. SF has a strong hold on us though, even when you have to strip your kid down and throw away his clothes.

  65. We live in a very homey neighbourhood in Toronto called Mimico. It feels like the town I grew up in because it’s by the lake and everyone seems to know everyone. BUT my friend has found needles in the snow banks and at the parks but honestly I think it would happen anywhere. People are gross no matter where you go ;).

    I wouldn’t move anywhere else though. I laughed at your friend’s comment about being freaked out about moving down the street. My husband wants the house on the corner to sell so he can buy it and I thought – move to the end of the street??? ;) I think we get comfortable where we are which isn’t a bad thing. We can always travel to those other places!

  66. We live in Edmonton, Alberta and we have a 22-month old daughter. We moved here 6 years ago from the East Coast of Canada. For the most part I think this is a great city and a good place to raise kids. We live right next to downtown in a neighbourhood that’s mostly condo and apartment buildings. It’s perfect for us because it’s close to the LRT and both of our jobs, and we don’t have a car. There aren’t as many families in the neighbourhood (a lot of people move to the suburbs once they have kids) but we are connecting with more of them at a new weekly playgroup, which is great. I think in the next 2 years we will have to move to a bigger city for my husband’s career – he is an opera singer. Possibly Toronto, Montreal, or NYC?? Pretty exciting. I think you can live almost anywhere and be happy – moving to a new place will not necessarily make you happier! That being said, some people connect to certain places more than others. I think we will be city people for a long time.

  67. I forgot to say that I live in a suburb just north of Atlanta. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it is pretty affluent so crime is low and the schools are great. Besides that though, it is a bunch of strip malls and traffic.

  68. My parents still live in the same house that I was brought home to when I was born. When I got married, I moved into my great-grandmother’s old house, which is behind the house my mom grew up in and my grandparents still live in. All this to say, I don’t move a lot. I like the roots of know that my kids will run around in the house I grew up in and got married at (and my dad built). But I also think that if I didn’t have such strong roots here, I would love to live in a city where I could walk places.

  69. Hi Joanna,
    Moving is a common theme in my thoughts…I live in Miami. Enough said?? I call it the gift that keeps on giving (read: sarcasm) b/c I can never seem to leave. Of course, I’ve lived away (Europe & Los Angeles, 2 and 3 years, respectively), but unfortunately this is where my family lives and now that I have babies, it’s hard to rationalize leaving grandparents, cousins, siblings behind. You are lucky NOT to have that problem so CARPE DIEM!

    My advice: do not move to Florida (even if your mom lives there). I love the idea of Marin county! I like LA especially Pacific Palisades which is so pretty and homey. When I was younger, the beach cities were fun, but now with the kids, I find the grossness factor too high!! And you have family all over the state, I think, right? Cali seems like the only choice!!

  70. When I was in high school my parents moved us from a small city out to the country, and I was so traumatized by the bumpkins that in protest, I moved to NYC for college. After college I decided to move back to Oklahoma and settle down and go to graduate school and have babies and raise them the same way I have fond memories of being raised. But my small city had turned into a horribly dangerous and violent place… making NYC look like Mayberry. I’ve since bought a house in the suburbs at a safe distance from the almost daily murders and robberies… for now. But I would take any chance I could to move to a safer state. I can’t imagine having to make that decision with children, but I would take gross over straight up dangerous, any day of the week.

  71. Oh gosh! That is gross! We live in Shanghai, and gross has sadly become my new normal. This city is so crazy, it’s constant clashing of modern and old. The other day I was walking my daughter to preschool and a little boy was pooping on an egg carton on the sidewalk about 2 feet away. His little brother next to him was also pooping, but no egg carton. And no one blinks an eye as they walk past in their suits and heels on their way to work inside tall skyscrapers just across the street.

  72. I come from England and from the age of 12-18 I lived in Spain and came back to England and for a year in 2012 I lived in Ottawa, Canada with my sister.
    I have never regretted moving but I know I would have regretted not taking the chance.
    I’m now settled in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England and am very happy to say I had the guts to travel to new places. Big change is good! Try it, you can always move back if you don’t like it!