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Oklahoma City, OK

The name says it all - simply Okay - 10/21/2016
The pros :

1. Insanely low cost of living (you can get a two-bedroom detached or semi-detached house with a garage and yard in an area 15 to 20 minutes from downtown with good schools and moderate crime for $150 to $175,000, and pay less on groceries and gas than the national average).

2. Growing IT, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors.

3. Tons of outdoor recreation opportunities.

4. Pro basketball, and a pretty good team at that.

5. Mild winters compared to the rest of the Midwest.

6. Above-average salaries + below-average cost of living + average taxes = "the American dream" still remotely possible.

7. Low unemployment rate.

8. Nice art gallery and orchestra.

9. Well educated populace.

10. Clean, attractive downtown.

11. Most restaurants per capita in the continental US.

And now the cons:

1. Horrid schools.

2. High property crime.

3. Inane sales tax.

4. "Good ol' boy" conservative types everywhere.

5. Over-reliance on the oil industry.

6. Issues with illegals and drug cartels.

7. Corrupt politicians.

8. Oppressive summers.

9. Horrid traffic.

10. Sprawl that makes Southern California look like Scandinavia.

11. Nightlife consists of High school football and bible study.

12. Two words. Giant. Spiders.

In short: if you can get over the cons and find a job, it's actually a pretty nice place, but if you seek arts and culture or livable summers, look elsewhere.

Norman, OK

It's nice but... - 7/15/2016
I was born here, raised here, and spent most of my formative years here, but plan to leave soon. The schools are good, the healthcare is okay, and there is very little crime. The local university brings world-class art and natural history museums, some beautiful gardens, and even a few sporting and concert venues, but for most cultural amenities you have to drive 30+ minutes to nearby Oklahoma City. The neighborhoods are a mixed bag, with some featuring historic Victorian bungalows on large plots of land close to downtown and the university, some featuring generic mcmansions halfway between a strip mall and the projects. Traffic is average, but amplified by constant construction. Shopping is okay, with a large indoor mall located at I-35 and main st., and an outdoor "lifestyle center" further north on the site of the old naval air station. Public transport is nice, with one of the largest bus systems in the country, daily rail service via Amtrak to OKC and Ft. Worth, and future commuter rail service, but you still need a car to get around. Nightlife is average for a small southern town, with a few bars and clubs centered on the university and a large Indian casino on the outskirts of town. The local culture is interesting, with yuppie bohemian types coexisting with southern conservatives, and growing black, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBT populations. The local music scene is one of the best in the nation, with bands big and small, local and foreign frequently playing in the few-and-far-between nightspots scattered throughout the city. Downtown is attractive, with tons of small businesses and deep historical value. The climate is okay, with short, cold, wet winters and long, hot, dry summers typical of the upper south, with high humidity and sunny skies year-round, but the frequent severe storms detract from the niceness of it. The economy is tied to oil and defense, so you can be filthy stinking rich one month and dirt poor the next. And lets not forget one of the region's largest auto malls, the legendary mile of cars. Overall, it's a bland little college town in a bland part of the country, but with a few little (emphasis on the little) quirks that make it unique. In short: a great place for students, an even better one for families, and a great one for seniors, but if you want job opportunities or arts and culture, look elsewhere.

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