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urbanvb

Favorite western US city

Which is your fav western City ?  

54 members have voted

  1. 1. Pick your favorite western City

    • Oklahoma City
      1
    • Denver
      1
    • Las Vegas
      1
    • Seattle
      13
    • Portland, OR
      9
    • Boise
      1
    • Salt Lake City
      2
    • Sacramento
      0
    • Los Angeles
      6
    • San Diego
      4
    • San Francisco
      12
    • Phoenix
      4


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Originally I wanted to poll large cities all across the US to see how they all ranked compared to one another but since I can only list 15 per poll I will try to break it up into sections. In a few weeks or maybe longer, I will take the ending results and form one MEGA poll.

I am really looking for your picks of best cities based on first hand knowledge - you live/have lived there or traveled there quite a bit. Please give examples of why you picked your favorite city and anything else you wish to add.

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I'm going to have to go with the only western city that I've visited and I absolutely loved it: Los Angeles. Yes is sprawled (and sprawling) out of control, but at least it gives you options. :thumbsup:

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Hard to name my favorite - there are a lot & many of these are my very favorite for the whole of the US.

Denver

Seattle

Portland

& though unlikely will ever afford to live there - San Francisco & San Diego.

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SF. I'm biased though because I've lived here for 7 years... alas, I am leaving in a few months, though. Why I love it: wonderfully diverse, all kinds of crazy and eccentric subcultures, great music, film and art scenes, beautiful beautiful skyline, lots of neighborhoods with distinctive personalities (hard to beat the mission!), hyper-literate and intellectually-inclined - thus tons of fantastic bookstores, amazing array of restaurants of all kinds, great pedestrian culture and bustling street life, and part of a broader area (the bay area) with tons of natural beauty to offer (if you're into that sort of thing - me, I think concrete is beautiful!!) That said it ain't perfect - apart from the ridiculously high cost of living that everyone knows about, I have a few minor complaints: it's not REALLY a 24 hour city. Hard to get food after 11 p.m. unless you limit yourself to a few select places. Most clubs and bars close at 2 a.m., the few exceptions stop serving liquor at 2. The subway stops running obscenely early (12:15ish, even on weekends), which is probably my single biggest complaint, as I don't own a car. And if I were to get really specific I would lament the fact that the new owners of the Castro don't seem to put on as interesting programming as before, and I think the local film scene is suffering as a result.

Apart from SF, I also LOVE Portland, based on my one-week visit a few years ago. But I lucked out and had nonstop sunshine the whole time, which I gather is unusual. Seattle is also great; the vibe of the whole Pacific Northwest is very positive for me.

I have massive mixed feelings about L.A. There's a lot of unfair and uninformed anti-LA disdain in SF (and in the Northeast, where I'm originally from), and I think LA does have some fabulous things to offer, and I'm also just generally strangely fascinated with that city, probably because I read lots of Raymond Chandler and watch lots of film noir. But there are certainly valid complaints about the sprawl, the absolute car dependency, an the suffocating overabundance of superficial and narcissistic culture.

Phew that was an unnecessarily long post!

Cheers,

S

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Had to go with San Diego. I find it the most progressive.

Phoenix, way too suburban.

Portland, too conservative in it's architecture, though I admire it's place at the forefront of city planning and land use.

San Francisco, the most over rated.

Los Angeles, too superficial

Seattle, too wet

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In what sense do you find San Diego "progressive"? I'm curious, as it's one of the few major U.S. cities on either coast that I haven't spent any time in at all. (Well, actually, I was there for 6 months as a baby - but needless to say, I don't have many recollections of that ;) ) But from what I've heard and read about San Diego, "progressive" isn't usually the adjective that comes to mind. I don't mean that to be derogatory - it's just that I associate San Diego with relatively conservative politics - lots of anti-immigrant measures come from there and a huge presence of military bases - and I imagine, perhaps wrongly, that its organization of space is somewhat comparable to Los Angeles - sprawling and suburbanized. I've heard San Francisco friends complain about a relative lack of culture there as well. I have no idea if any of this is fair, so I'm asking not to disagree with your position or denigrate the city, but to learn about it, and hopefully have my completely baseless associations challenged! This summer I'm driving across the country and hoping to do a straight shot down to San Diego before I start heading east, so it would also be great to learn a bit about the city in advance...

Cheers,

S

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I've at least been in all the cities mentioned. Lived in a couple of them and have family and friends who at one time or another have lived or still live in about two thirds of the candidate cities. So why do I pick Los Angeles?

It sprawls, traffic is terrible, its expensive, and though the smog has improved, we all know where LA usually ranks nationally in air quality. There are far too many minimalls and too many gangs. Too many cars and yet I know of no city with this diversity of people, geography, attractions, and diversions; no American city except New York with as many cultural activities. No other big city with as nice homes and yards except maybe San Diego.

LA probably has the most interesting architecture in the country (not the tallest) Shindler, Neutra, Geary, Green and Green, Lautner, Case study homes, California Crazy, Googie etc. and also the nicest home gardens. I still marvel at my citrus, passion fruit, banana trees and guavas.

When the Jacarandas bloom, blocks of trees go lavender, the coral trees bloom red, the silk floss trees, and magnolias white. Jasmine and roses bloom the year around and spread their fragrance to mix with the citrus blossums. While most of the country is under snow, our peaches and plum trees blanket our lawns with blossums.

Our Universities, Cal Tech, UCLA, USC are among the best academically in the country and don't forget UCI, Cal State (Northridge, LA, Fullerton< Long Beach), Occidental. Pomona. Harvey Mudd. Claremont, Cal Poly Pomona, etc. And we have the best intracity sports rivalry in the US. Most professional sports are represented with multiple teams (baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer). We are the only city in the world that could host an Olympic games on one month's notice.

We have some of the best shopping in the world (Rodeo Drive) and some of the funkiest (Melrose ave) If you know where to go, you can find anyting in the world here from Mexican birria to Indian and persian style Ice creams, saris and kimonos, Paris fashion and the biggest garment and jewelry districts in the USA.

LA has cuisine from all over the world, and some of the most sophisticated Asian cooking in the world, in the San Gabriel Valley.

For recreation we have easy acess to 10,000 ft high mountains, the ocean, and the desert. We can swim and ski on the same day. Catalina Island is an hour away by fast boat and there are 75 miles of beaches stretching down to Orange County.

We have the best parade in the county, the rose parade, the strangest art festival, Pagent of the Masters; Chinese New year celebrations compete with Vietnamese celebrations of Tet. We have Tamale festivals and Tofu festivals and Greek festivals and the Old Topanga banjo and fiddle contest.

There are more museums than Paris, great farmer's markets. the best new concert hall in the country as well as the hollywood bowl. Between 120-160 theatrical productions to choose from every week, 3 opera companies, and the TV filmings. And I still see the occasional red tail hawk in my back yard, not to mention the occasional red fox and raccoons still visit my back yard.

Our sunsets over the Pacific are among the most beautiful in the country especially from the hills. Our city is a crazy melange of very urban even ugly urbanity mixed with nature. You never know what you will find when you start to explore our canyons, urban and mountain. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

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I guess what I mean by progressive is that San Diego's growth is huge and they are very agressively creating a dense central urban core. They seem to be actively promoting city living and creating neighborhoods where none existed. I could be wrong but they seem to be fighting to keep a hold on urban sprawl, or atleast offering a city alternative. I understand your confusion, but I was not refering to their right wing leaning politics. I'm not familiar with that aspect enough to comment (though I've heard).

I have been monitoring their projects thread and found it the most exciting and why I say progressive. They seem to have a clear objective, and not just a random collection of projects.

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I would go with Seattle even though the weather is ugly for three quarters of the year, it has an urban vibe that it is different from that of Northeastern cities or Chicago, plenty of cultural life and a reasonable amount of suburbia.

I live in San Diego and I like it, weather is great, has an interesting city vibe if you don't live in the suburbs, but lacks a more diverse and engaging cultural offer. Compared with other cities in the U.S. with more than 1 mill. people, San Diego tends to seem a little bit like a big summer resort in terms of cultural life. San Diego and S.F. are completely over-priced house markets, just thinking than the average price of a house in S.D. is $600,000 says it all.

Portland seemed to me a nice, progressive city, but too grey and impersonal, it reminded me of some bland cities in Scandinavia.

Las Vegas is simply a nightmare, Phoenix is giant sprawl in the middle of the desert, Denver is okay too, but in my personal opinion it needs to get rid of that "giant REI store" vibe and finally I think that L.A. despite its bad image it is an interesting place to visit and looks like a big social lab experiment.

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Y'all should visit Boise if you get the chance. I've been to every city on that list and Boise impressed me the most. It is probably the smallest in terms of popuation, which was attractive to me because it is a relatively easy place to understand compared to the larger cities. It has a surprisingly vibrant and compact downtown, with mountains as a backdrop to the city. It may not have the distinct neigbhorhoods of the larger cities, but has done a lot with a much smaller population. It is also full of amenities for a medium-sized city.

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Seattle and San Diego are close for me, but I have to go with Seattle. I like the people there more.

I have to ask, why are Oklahoma City and Sacramento up there? Oklahoma City isn't really "Western" by many definitions (more Midwestern if you ask me, which no one did). If it's there, shouldn't Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso all be on there as well?

Speaking of which, where's ABQ and Tucson? Both are certainly "Western" and much larger than Boise.

And, although I've never been there (the closest was Vallejo), I've heard nothing good about Sacramento from those who have spent time there. Maybe that explains why it has no votes.

Just my opinion (since no one asked).

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Definitely San Francisco. I just got back from visiting and must say that it is the most unique place I've ever been. The density is amazing, the culture is abundant, and the skyline is breathtaking (can't get enough of Transamerica!). It's also very comforting to be surrounded by such open-minded people.

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I haven't been to any... but San Francisco would be my uninformed choice. I love the tight, dense urban fabric.

Seattle and Portland seem like nice progressive places too.

San Diego... I dont know much about... but I assume it's ok.

I don't care for the "interior west" cities though.

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Seattle is the best, in my opinion.

Las Vegas is the absolute worst, in my opinion.

Salem, Oregon is one of my favorite western cities.

Why Salem of all places?

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I would go with Seattle even though the weather is ugly for three quarters of the year, it has an urban vibe that it is different from that of Northeastern cities or Chicago, plenty of cultural life and a reasonable amount of suburbia.

I live in San Diego and I like it, weather is great, has an interesting city vibe if you don't live in the suburbs, but lacks a more diverse and engaging cultural offer. Compared with other cities in the U.S. with more than 1 mill. people, San Diego tends to seem a little bit like a big summer resort in terms of cultural life. San Diego and S.F. are completely over-priced house markets, just thinking than the average price of a house in S.D. is $600,000 says it all.

Portland seemed to me a nice, progressive city, but too grey and impersonal, it reminded me of some bland cities in Scandinavia.

Las Vegas is simply a nightmare, Phoenix is giant sprawl in the middle of the desert, Denver is okay too, but in my personal opinion it needs to get rid of that "giant REI store" vibe and finally I think that L.A. despite its bad image it is an interesting place to visit and looks like a big social lab experiment.

Portland..grey and impersonal...I strongly disagree. All these comments about the rain bug me. The Pacific Northwest gets less rain than New York or Miami. Granted, it's a slightly different kind of rain, but it's not that bad. It's what keep things green, something I cannot say for a lot of other cities.

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