Urban vs. Suburban Living

So we’ve been living in the DC suburbs for almost two months now.  And I’m surprised to find myself really missing SF a lot more than I thought I would be.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I ended up really enjoying urban living and the easy opportunities that it brought about.  So here’s a compilation of the pros and cons to both urban and suburban living!

Suburban Pros

  1. Space!  Omg, it’s luxurious out here–more house, a larger backyard, maybe a front yard and side yard too!  We no longer live in a community where the houses are pretty much on top of each other, and a little brick yard.  My kids can freely roam around the backyard to play soccer, wade in the kiddie pool, or have a picnic under a tree.
  2. And with space comes a lot of nature.  I mean every city has a large urban park, like Golden Gate Park in SF and Rock Creek Park in DC.  But there’s nature in your backyard like large trees, grass, and tons of different animals roaming about.  Hello, deer?!
  3. Parking!  It’s so easy to park any where here.  It’s kind of weird not having to parallel park or factor in extra time to find parking.

Suburban Cons

  1. Nature!  I hate bugs!  They are all over the place.  They bite.  I hate it.
  2. I hate how you have to drive to do anything.  It’s not easy to walk any where, even though it may be half a mile away.  Unless you want to walk on the wild side, e.g. sidewalk-less streets.  No thank you.
  3. Strip mall after strip mall after strip mall.  It’s hard to find anything mom and pop, which is good and bad.  But we can agree there’s no charm to a strip mall.  And the cookie cutter houses.  No charm there, and slightly bordering on Stepford-ish.
  4. Kid activities are a bit difficult here.  It’s not as abundant and things are just further out.  There’s a world of difference when you have to travel at least 10 miles to get some where vs. a few miles, especially with a baby.  A quick 15 minute drive to the zoo is now a 40 minute ordeal.  You get the drift.

Urban Pros

  1. Culture!  Not that suburbia can’t have culture because there are different pockets here with different cultures.  But it’s just nice walking around your urban neighborhood and seeing different types of people going about their daily lives.  There is no seeking–it’s just apart of the mesh of daily urban living.  And I know most people may not necessarily view this as a pro, but I personally like my child to be exposed to the urban poor.  I want them to see homeless people because I want them to know that the world is not perfect and that there are people out there that need some help.
  2. Walking!  Even though I hated walking in SF and those bloody “hills”, everything was easily walkable.  There were three different parks I could easily walk to, a grocery store, shops, restaurants, everything all easily walkable from my house.  I miss it, surprisingly.
  3. Kid stuff!  You live close to museums and the zoo to take your kids to, local artists are always playing music you can expose your child to; all just a quick bus or car ride or walk away.
  4. The charm of different neighborhoods and iconic cityscapes.  Each neighborhood is known for something and it’s always amazing to see something so iconic of your city, especially during sunrises and sunsets.  Nothing is ever the same, so you are always discovering something new.

Urban Cons

  1. Crime.  I mean there’s crime in suburbia too.  But it doesn’t seem to happen so close to home like it did when we lived in SF.
  2. EXPENSIVE!  Good grief is it expensive to live in a city!  Your buck just doesn’t travel as far when it comes to housing and food and everything in a city.
  3. Public schools aren’t the best in most urban areas.  You just hope that you can afford to live in the best urban school district, you win the school lottery, or you make enough money to send your kid to private school.
  4. Parking!  Sometimes paying for a space to house your car is just as much as a bedroom in a shared home (no joke!).  And then there’s that whole parallel parking thing.  But I guess that’s why you rely on public transportation and walking more.

Obviously this isn’t an extensive list, and you may disagree.  But these are my pros and cons right now.  I’m sure that the list will change as I become more acclimated to suburban living.

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