Illinois: Downtown Chicago on Clark Street bridge over the Chicago river
When I lived in Illinois, it wasn't quite on the brink of fiscal insolvency. Although it still was a place where one wondered whether the status quo -- runaway spending, overpromising politicians, entrenched special interests -- would really last.
That aside, I some good runs in Illinois, living three on three or four occasions, depending on how you count. Out of college, I did Teach For America on the south side of Chicago, teaching smart and hard-working fifth graders and working with wonderful families at a charter school. And then I went back during business school and afterwards to Chicago to work in BCG's office there.
I had trouble handing Chicago's cold, dark winters. I did not have trouble loving Chicago's cold, dark architecture and city planning, including its skyscrapers, bridges, and OCD-friendly city grid.