Home & Garden Would you give up city life to live in suburbia/vice versa?

labelwhore04

Member
Apr 14, 2011
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We the North
I'm just curious, i'm due to graduate university in 2.5 years and i'm really starting to think about my future. I live in a big, expensive city and real estate prices are through the roof and they're only going to keep increasing. I'm thinking of where i would want to buy a house and raise my kids in the future and i really want it to be in the city since i grew up here and i'm such a city girl, BUT housing prices are crazy and for the price of a small house in the city, you could get a nice 4+ bedroom house in the suburbs. I don't know if i'd be willing to give up living in the city though. I know this is a decision i'll have to make eventually so i just wanted some opinions, would you rather live in a smaller house in a community that you love/is convenient or would you rather live in a big house further away/less convenient? What would you give up?

I've always dreamed of living in a big house with lots of windows, BIG backyard, a garage, etc and that's so hard to find in the city nowadays.(especially at an affordable price)
 

Coco Belle

spreading love!
Jul 14, 2009
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I lived in the city for the first 5 years after I graduated. I enjoyed the experience but began to tire of it as my biological clock started to tick, and I had basically eaten at every restaurant and talked very loudly over music in every club, and I was sick of being panhandled at 3am when I went to the grocery store, and all I could think about was sitting in the backyard with my baby in my lap, etc. I think the majority of people start to feel themselves slow down a little bit, at some time or another, and they crave a quiet spot.

One thing I used to get annoyed about in the city was that if I ever needed something cheap -- like say, a toilet brush, or a comb to keep in my purse, or drugstore makeup, or something dumb like that -- the only place to go to buy such things was the overpriced stores that catered to downtown shoppers etc. Whereas I knew if I could just trek out to the burbs, there would be a Target/Ikea/Walmart/whatever that would do the job at half the price.

Instead I accumulated a collection of high end toilet scrubbers whose very existence annoyed me. (haha)

I live in one of the inner suburbs now (so not too far out from the city center, no more than 20mins in rush hour) and that's a great compromise. I live right next to a few big box stores, but I can swing by that downtown artisan bakery with little fuss if I so choose. It's really convenient, in fact more convenient than living downtown was. However, you might not be able to replicate this compromise in your own city. It all depends how things are set up where you are.

It is definitely cheaper to live in the burbs. The exception to this is if you are truly a person who LOVES city nightlife - then you'll spend a fortune getting to and from your favourite haunts every weekend (unless your burb is served by the train, etc).
 

Swanky

Admin
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O.G.
Jan 12, 2006
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6,280
Before I had kids I thought I'd be cool w/ raising them in the city. We had to move after we got married and shortly after found we were pregnant. We live in a big enough 'burb that I don't miss anything. I wouldn't raise my kids anywhere else, this works for us. IT has the best schools, best sports, less crime, great shopping and great restaurants plus no traffic!
 

oggers86

Member
Dec 7, 2008
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Leicestershire
I grew up in the country and then moved to various cities and suburbs. I would love to go back to the country when we have kids. Where we are now is hardly citified but its just more built up than I would like. I want my kids to experience what I did, playing outside in fields, building dens, playing football with the neighbourhood dog etc etc.

However, whilst growing up in the Yorkshire Dales was idyllic, we did face the problem of there not being much to do and transport issues once I got older. I would have to ensure I was willing to be by kids chauffer 24/7 pretty much if I were to move somewhere rural.
 

labelwhore04

Member
Apr 14, 2011
9,202
628
We the North
The thing about my city is that the burbs are only accessible by highway and traffic on the highway is madness during rush hour. My moms friends from work( who live in the burbs) say sometimes it takes 2 hours to get home. I'd most likely have a job in the city and i'm not sure if i'd be willing to spend so much of my time commuting. That would probably be my main concern.
 

Cait

only once you live
Dec 11, 2005
4,973
3
Never. My parents both lived in the city as kids, I now live in the city, and I get downright bored in the suburbs after a day or two. City all the way.
 

gillianna

O.G.
Dec 27, 2005
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When we lived in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale I liked having the opportunity to go out your door and be able to do so many different things. It was nice to have shopping and activities to do. We also lived out in the country on 5 acres of land and it was too far out. The nearest store was about a 12 foot wide campground store. You had to drive about 11 miles to reach a real store and small strip malls. Now we live in a smaller town, typical nice housing development which has lots of kids. This was our priority to have tons of kids as friends for our children. I think our town is not a place I love in any way. We do not have great shopping or anything special. But the kids came first. I really wish we would have moved to a beach community or a bigger town which offered you more in the way of lifestyle. Hubby just wanted the biggest house he could get for the money so we ended up here. We could have done a big townhouse by the beach or in a large town and have the kids in the neighborhood but a better lifestyle with more things to do. What is funny that so many of my friends feel this town is too crowded and want to move to the country while others think it is a hic town and want to move to the city.
 

Coco Belle

spreading love!
Jul 14, 2009
3,145
3
The thing about my city is that the burbs are only accessible by highway and traffic on the highway is madness during rush hour. My moms friends from work( who live in the burbs) say sometimes it takes 2 hours to get home. I'd most likely have a job in the city and i'm not sure if i'd be willing to spend so much of my time commuting. That would probably be my main concern.
I have a vague idea of which city you live in... isn't there a train system?

I work on the opposite side of downtown to where we live and a good distance away, and it takes me 30mins from door to door. And that's taking two trains, one downtown and one out of downtown. Would that be an option? Perhaps looking in to burbs that have rail access?

ITA with you about the 2hour commutes. We bought in what's considered a run-down, older area of the city, and a few of my friends turned their noses up at us... but... it's a 20min drive from the city, 15mins on the train, and there's a station a 10min walk from our house. Works for us. I could NEVER spend 2-4 hours a day in a car, getting to and from work, life would just not be worth living for me!
 

HauteMama

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O.G.
Sep 22, 2006
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I can certainly see advantages either way, as I've lived in both. We now live in a rural area (where DH is originally from) and while I thought I'd go crazy here, it is perfect for the kids. The schools are excellent with small class sizes, and they have so much to explore out here - trees to climb, a creek with turtles and frogs, hiking, etc.

However, we are about 20 minutes away from, well, anything except school and a small grocer. For anything else we need to plan a little travel time, and that includes swimming or dance lessons or other non-school extra activities or shopping. There is no food delivery, and the nearest museum is an hour away (although we visit lots of places on reaks from school and over the summer).

There is a trade-off anywhere you live, and you just need to decide what works best for you and your family. What works for us might drive you crazy and vice versa.
 

Aslan

rainy
Nov 12, 2006
3,992
1
New York City
Okay, I have a very strong personal opinion about this subject. Hope I don't offend anyone. :lol:

I was born and raised in NYC. When I got married, I lived with my husband in the NYC suburbs for two years. I only just recently escaped back to the city after lots of work to convince hubby. I am so relieved. :cool:

Before I describe my experience with said suburban area, let me preface it by saying it is one of the wealthiest counties in the country. The majority of the populace is "liberal," well-educated, affluent and they live ONLY 20-45 minutes north of the city. If you are familiar with NY, you know what county I'm talking about. So the experiences I had there were quite a shock to the system.

I'm not white, but my husband is, and our family is interracial. I had a child of color already, and we have a biracial child (and another due in April). This area is overwhelmingly white. There is a small section where people of color live (not my color, I might add, but who cares) but it's literally two streets that the town locals affectionately call "insert ethnicity" row. In another towns in this county, it's the same way. Minority groups live far apart from the whiter, more affluent areas. By contrast, I'm used to the city, where routinely you will find expensive condos being within a stone's throw of subsidized housing. There's no way to effectively segregate yourself in NYC, even if you wanted to, and that's what I love about it.

The people in said suburb are very polite, but whenever I went places with the kids, I would get a bug under a microscope feeling. People couldn't help but stare at me and my children. Twas a very strange feeling. This town is no hick town, they are very close to the city and very well-educated. Stlll, my children and I were a shock to their systems.

The school my son attended was overwhelmingly white. He made friends well, but it wasn't the experience I wanted for my child. As a child I grew up around a lot of children of varying ethnicities, religions, etc. I hung out with various white, Asian, and Hispanic ethnicities. My son was missing out on that, and I didn't like it one bit. I also thought about my daughter, who is biracial and would be going to school in a few years. I wondered how her image of herself would be affected by the fact that there's no one like her around.

There were other things that I couldn't get used to. If I was missing something I needed for dinner, my husband would have to get in a car and disappear for at least 15 minutes. Growing up in the city, if I forgot an onion, I walked across the street to get an onion. Being in the suburbs, shopping for a few things (of varying type) involved an expedition to a mall or a big box store, usually 25 minutes away and required planning. In a two block radius of where I grew up in the city, I could get all the same things with a whole lot less effort. Twas really hard to get used to.

There's more! I'm a really big museum goer, I like to eat out (various ethnic cuisines), and I liked to go out at night (kids really curtailed that, but I'm still in my mid-twenties). The suburbs didn't offer much in the way of those three things. The museums are really far apart and there are not as many of them. I would go six months without going to a museum in the suburbs. There was no variety of ethnic food and the ethnic restaurants around sucked majorly. The bar/club scene? Practically non-existent.

Now that I'm back in the city I'm so much happier! We still have our car (most people here don't have one) but we walk everywhere. My husband is more fit than ever! We go and take the kids to museums and cultural events practically every weekend. I have glutted myself on great Thai and Indian restaurants. :smile: I can walk across the street to get the habanero I'm missing for dinner (had to drive for thirty minutes to get a habanero in the 'burbs!).

But most importantly, my son is finally attending the diverse school I wanted him too. He's exposed to a lot of different types of kids, just as I grew up. I'm excited to send my daughter there!

That's not to say that living in the city isn't without tradeoffs. Parking and traffic sucks. We moved into a small apartment and the monthly pricetag is a little obscene. :lol: I know that we could afford a very spacious suburban home 5 times the size or more. But I'm so happy.
 

oogiewoogie

Life is good.. :)
O.G.
Mar 27, 2007
6,347
6
Beachy SoCAL...♥
it's all personal taste.. and I can totally relate to Aslan's post on a different level w/ my own current living situation.

Since you're young, why don't you try both? Maybe rent a year in the suburbs and see if you're able to adapt to it and love it & if it doesn't work out move back to the city?

For me.. I rather live in a smaller space/shack closer to the beach, than a large home in the valley.
 

Elara

O.G.
Aug 2, 2007
1,893
0
Somewhere on the East Coast
I can honestly say I'd prefer living in the city, or living in a rural area. I've been living in the suburbs now for the past 15 years, and much of the time I've hated it. I grew up on a farm, and so I was used to being able to go outside and pretty much do what I wanted without worrying about what the neighbors think. After college, I moved into an apartment in the city, and loved that, as I could walk pretty much wherever I wanted to go.

The only thing that saves me now is that our new house (in the suburbs- I lost the argument with my husband, but made him compromise) backs up to woods, is surrounded by mature trees, and we have no neighbors on one side so we have a lot of privacy. We also have trails in our development that are backed by acres and acres of woods, with no other houses in sight.
 
Oct 20, 2008
4,172
1,318
manhattan
i'm in nyc now but in california, i had the best combination of city and suburb. i lived in a town near san francisco where i could have easily functioned without a car: no more than 5 blocks to 2 grocery stores (one gourmet), bank, post office, library, parks, restaurants, independent boutiques and chain stores (jcrew, banana republic, etc...), train station to get to sf (20 minutes) or south bay. i was 2 stops from work. it was also a safe town - many times i left my car unlocked or window rolled down while parked overnight in the street and nothing had been taken. i definitely want to move back there.

ETA: you definitely pay for this ideal situation... it's one of the more expensive places to live in the bay area. unfortunately, i moved to one of the few places (per square foot) that is even more expensive :hrmm:
 

layd3k

O.G.
Jun 1, 2010
1,328
88
Toronto
I definitely prefer the city. I live in Toronto, but in one of the suburbs and I can't stand it. When I am done school, get my career going and am able to purchase a place I am starting with a lovely condo right in the middle of it all. I feel there is so much more energy, life and constant-motion in a city. The people are also much more interesting. I know that whenever I go to my parent's cottage, a 2 hour drive from Toronto, I am bored the minute I get there and curse myself for even agreeing to come along.
 

babykat

Member
Dec 31, 2010
142
2
Minneapolis
As long as I have my own house (e.g. not share walls with other people..either a condo or apartment) I think I could do either city or suburbs.

I also need a garage.

I live in a suburb of Minneapolis currently, its pretty unbearable having to scrape ice off a car at 6am on a January morning. a GARAGE is a must in the great north!!

**Besides, I wouldn't even call living IN Minneapolis proper as traditional "city" living. The mass transit system here is pretty non-existent. I think it would be an adventure to live in Manhattan (without a car) and maneuver through my day using the subway.