After Chicago, I visited San Francisco. I've been there several times before, but this time I was lucky to stay with friends in Marin County, and then in San Francisco proper, which enabled me to see more parts of the city and surrounding area. I also made it out to visit my brother in Berkeley a couple times. Compared to NYC, rents seem pretty similar, but the apartments and quality of life seems hard to beat.
The Bay Areas beauty always strikes me. Everywhere you look is incredible greenery, from oak trees to succulents. One day I went to a reservoir to fly my drone, and it struck me that as much as I was enjoying the scenery, it probably didn't even crack the top 10.