Place: Somewhere in the United States, but from there it gets tricky.
Searches attempted thus far: Various WikiTravel and Craigslist pages for potential locations. Also whatever comes up on Google for the city names etc.
Here are the criteria, in approximate order of importance:
1) I would prefer Maryland or Delaware. Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma are also options. (This is for plot reasons and has to do with a specific legal quirk/loophole that all of those states share and that my MCs are planning to exploit.)
2) It should be possible to rent a small apartment for relatively low cost - say, $500 or less for a one-bedroom.
3) Population density is negotiable, to a point. Ideal would be a smallish city with a larger city an hour or so away (New Castle, PA or Jamestown, NY would be excellent choices if I could use those states, which I can't.) The larger city doesn't have to be in one of the previously-listed states - just the place the characters actually live.
The larger city itself is also potentially possible but a little trickier. Anything extremely rural is right out: there should be at least some basic services within walking distance.
4) Also helpful, but not of critical importance:
- A Starbucks (specifically) in the area.
- Home to a community college, or at least with one close by.
- NOT having a reputation as being notoriously unsafe.
More information about potential places would be helpful as well to help me decide. I've considered Athens, GA and Oklahoma City, OK as possibilities, since it's looking like Maryland and Delaware might be too expensive to make this work.
EDIT: I'm going to go with Athens, GA - it looks like the relevant law there was repealed a couple years ago, but not so long ago that I can't still make the story work. Thanks, everyone!