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Thread: Cities You Know Well

  1. #1
    Aug 2005
    Anchorage, AK

    Cities You Know Well

    I've been thinking a bit lately about the various levels of knowledge a person can have about cities. What does it really mean to be familiar with a given metropolitan or micropolitan area? One way to look at this is in terms of how confident one is about having opinions and giving recommendations about a city when asked about it.

    I'd say that for me at least it's not so much a sharp divide between cities I know and those I don't, but more a continuum of places I've been to. At the high end, I can give detailed recommendations about things like neighborhoods, restaurants, things to do, etc. These are generally places I've lived for significant periods of my life, which means there are rather few of them. Below that are places I've visited frequently, often over a long period of time, and about which I can give some opinions or recommendations but not very many. Below those are places I've only visited once or twice and may have formed impressions of, but don't feel confident offering advice about. (Below those, of course, are the places I've never been to at all.)

    Here's a rough list, in descending order of familiarity, of the cities I would say fall into the first two categories for me:
    1. Albuquerque, NM
    2. Ithaca, NY
    3. Philadelphia, PA
    4. Washington, DC
    5. Cambridge, MA
    6. Kayenta, AZ
    7. Farmington, NM
    8. Santa Fe, NM
    9. Flagstaff, AZ
    10. Durango, CO
    11. Page, AZ
    12. Houston, TX
    13. Phoenix, AZ


  2. #2
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Ocean to the east, land to the west
    This is fun. I've chosen to concentrate on metro areas rather than cities themselves, to avoid the listing of, say, Saint Paul and Minneapolis separately. But the knowledge does very a little by subarea:

    1. Boston, MA (incl. Cambridge) - by far #1
    2. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
    3. Chicago, IL
    4. Portland, ME
    5. Washington, DC
    6. New York, NY
    7. Milwaukee, WI
    8. Grand Rapids, MI
    9. Amherst/Northampton, MA
    10. Toronto, ON

    It drops down down quickly but there are a number of places below these where I would not be too shy to offer advice to a visitor... doesn't mean I'd know anything about the place.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Tri-Cities, Washington
    Blog entries
    By virtue of my living in or travelling to these places most often:

    1. Denver Metro area
    2. Fort Collins, CO
    3. Greeley, CO
    4. Loveland, CO
    5. Memphis, TN/Southhaven, MS
    6. Spokane, WA
    7. Coeur d'Alene/Hayden, ID

    I don't get out much.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone

  4. #4
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Aug 2007
    Back in SE Texas
    1. Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, SC - Lived in the area for 10 years.
    2. Charlotte, NC/Rock Hill, SC- Went to college in Rock Hill for 4 years.
    3. Mankato, MN- Grad school for 2 years
    4. Indianapolis, IN - Currently living and working in Indy.
    5. Twin Cities, MN - My planning lab while I was in grad school, plus was in the cities a lot during the weekend. One of my internships was a suburb of Minneapolis.

  5. #5
    In no particular order:

    Louisville, KY
    Indianapolis, IN
    Muncie, IN
    Philadelphia, PA
    Scranton, PA
    New York, NY
    Atlantic City, NJ
    Plainfield, NJ
    Copenhagen, DK
    Lyngby, DK

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio
    Listed from "well-known-to-me" to "somewhat-known-by-me".....

    Toledo, OH (Metro)
    Napoleon, OH (City)
    Detroit, MI (Metro)
    Port Clinton, OH (City)
    Marquette MI (I know more about Marquette, less about ring cities such as Negaunee and Ishpeming)
    Cleveland, OH (Metro)
    Chicago, IL (Just Chicago, not so much metro)
    Findlay, OH (City)
    Manistique, MI (City)
    Twin Cities, MN (Metro)
    Duluth, MN (Metro)
    Fort Wayne, IN (Metro)
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI (Just USA Soo)
    Cincinnati, OH (Metro)
    Toronto, ON (Metro)
    Tampa, FL (Metro)


  7. #7
    I've only lived in Birmingham and Huntsville, AL. Outside of those two cities, I'm pretty familar with Atlanta and Washington, D.C. I'm also very familar with St. Louis. I'm somewhat familar with Chicago, Nashville, and Omaha.

    I'd be most confident in offering an opinion on either Atlanta or St. Louis.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    May 2005
    Blog entries
    1. Chicago, IL metropolitan area
    2. Door County, WI (sorry, not a city)
    3. Rockford, IL
    4. Milwuakee, WI
    5. Macomb, IL
    6. Springfield, IL
    7. Quad Cities, IL/IA
    8. Cedar Rapids, IA
    9. Bloomington/Normal, IL
    10. Punta Gorda, FL
    11. Fort Myers, FL
    12. Champaign, IL
    13. Indianapolis, IN
    14. Washington, DC/Arlington, VA
    15. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
    16. Memphis, TN
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  9. #9
    May 2008
    North America
    The list of U.S. cities I know well is so long that it would exceed the post size limit...

    So I'll just mention one region that I know inside out: New York City and Long Island. I'd be happy to answer people's questions--and on those rare occasions where I don't know the answer, I'm sure to know somebody who does.

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