March 20, 2013

Des Moines vs. Bozeman

As I have been here in Bozeman for eight months now, I would like to offer some comparisons between Bozeman and Des Moines. I think I may have done something similar when I first moved here, but that was probably a bit rash.

Bozeman: 37,000+
Des Moines (proper): 250,000+

I suppose this depends on your perspective, is more people better, or worse? I like the size of Bozeman, it's a nice size enough size (especially with the University) so that I don't feel like I live in the boonies, but it's still small. Des Moines is also a nice size, offering more diversity (of all stripes) because of said size, but it's still a small enough city that there are plenty of opportunities. 

Winner: I call this one a wash. I like both.

Bozeman: The best food I've had is at the Co-op sandwich bar. It was delicious.
Des Moines: La Mie. Zombie Burger. A Dong's. Centro. The Cheese Shop. Anywhere with sushi.

To be fair, I don't eat out much in Bozeman, my budget doesn't really allow for it. But  what I have had, hasn't been all that impressive. Minus that sandwich from the Co-op - that was amazing. But there are many days when I miss La Mie something fierce.

Winner: Des Moines - easily.

Bozeman: On an average two mile commute, I'll see anywhere from 10-20 bikers
Des Moines: On an average one mile commute, I usually would see 1-2

This is also a hard one to decide. I think the college here, and being in a much smaller town influences the biking culture a lot. It's a huge part of it, and there seems to be a lot less push back from non-bikers. But does that make it a better biking town? There are very few paved trails here, so I'm almost always in a bike lane or on the road. 

Winner: It's also a wash.

This is hard to compare as well, Des Moines has more distinguishable neighborhoods with historic significance, but Bozeman does much better at making their new homes interesting, instead of cookie-cutter copies of each other. Not that I still want to live in a new home; but at least they look interesting. 

Winner: Wash.

Bozeman: Summer and Winter
Des Moines: Four distinct seasons

Fun fact that I didn't realize when I was young - EVERYONE says "If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes." I thought it was just a midwest thing. Nope. Everyone says it. It's weather. It changes.

Now Bozeman does have four seasons, but from my experience, and what has been confirmed by folks who have been here longer is that Spring and Fall are pretty short. Plus, there are a lot less trees that change colors here as well as maples. So Bozeman lacks a super beautiful fall. HOWEVER, it has the best summer. People complain when it hits 90 during the day - which, I suppose is warm. But when there's no humidity, and it cools off to 55 every night, so no houses have air conditioning, and I just moved from Iowa where it's over 100 degrees during the day, well, I think it's fabulous. As are run-on sentences.

As for the winter in Bozeman, I would say the only difference is that its longer than Des Moines. And dryer. Which really does make a difference - I can just brush the snow off my car and go. Shoveling? What's that? I can just brush it away with a broom. Naturally, this is brutal on my skin, but easy-peasy for snow removal purposes.

Winner: Depends on my mood. And the season. Bozeman wins summer. Des Moines wins for complete seasons.

Bozeman: Four miles to the mountains from my door step.
Des Moines: Rolling hills. Sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, I love the plains of the midwest, and appreciate their beauty. But MOUNTAINS. So much more epic.

Winner: Bozeman.

Bozeman: Alkaline soil
Des Moines: Nice soil.

I won't get into it too much, because it's really, really nerdy. But I didn't know how good I had it gardening in Des Moines.

Winner: Des Moines

Bozeman: No sales tax
Des Moines: Variety

No sales tax is nice. I'm sure there's more variety in Des Moines. But I don't shop much either place. Though Bozeman does have some amazing thrift shops, thanks to the University.

Winner: Today, I'd say Bozeman. But, meh.

So, there's my point-by-point analysis. Are there other things I should compare between the two?

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