Oh I love this thread. Lately I've been loving where we are--in West Philadelphia. Now I must offer a disclaimer--I've never lived on the Wes coast, and it seems that once people have lived in Portland or Berkely etc they have higher standards. However, here in West Philly, housing is very cheap (we bought our huge victorian row house for less than 200k). There is a food coop, a small park that is getting improved with gardens and a new playground as we speak, a great coffee shop, grocery store, three bookstores, arts league, yoga class and thai restaurant all within a ten minute walk. Also two community gardens in my hood and a farmers market that runs from April through December. We are a five minute trolley ride from downtown Philadelphia--with all that entails, and about an hour to the beach or to real (east coast) country. About twenty minutes to a nice hiking trail by a stream where we take our dogs on the weekends. In the last week I've met two homebirthin' mamas in the coffee shop--and I know that there are a lot more. Philadelphia is also a pretty bike friendly city. The downsides: it's pretty dirty, it can be noisy, its not as safe as where I used to live in Manhattan and although I happen to like urban landscapes, it is definitely a little weak on the natural beauty. This winter has been pretty long and cold and the summers are hot and humid. Keep the answers coming!