Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ace Deuce

There are other places, surely, for other people, but for me there is one place, Ann Arbor, for there it was I discovered what lifes' bright possibilities were.

— William Shawn

The Best Thing About Ann Arbor?

The Wolverines

No, not the animal. No, not the superhero. We're talking about The University of Michigan Wolverines. The rallying point for a city composed of a variety of different people from different walks of life, Ann Arbor consistently, and rightfully, winds up near the top of the rankings for best college towns in the U.S. While a large reason for that is the Wolverines and University itself, what lifts Ann Arbor above the rest is everything else that comes with it. Ann Arbor has an incredibly healthy job market, a phenomenal restaurant and bar scene, a number of great markets and festivals, and a claim to being one of the most walkable cities in the country with miles of parks and trails. Wolverine central is more than just a college town.

Here's a review from a local:
I love Ann Arbor; it's more than a "college town" to me. I don't have any particular connection to the university, I just live here and I like it quite well. I'm also biased, however, in that some of my family live here, and I moved here to get away from Illinois. Living in or near downtown is great. You can walk or bus everywhere, there are plenty of small convenience stores (and the food co-op!) so that you don't really need to go to Walmart/Meijer/Kroger/etc., and there is often something going on.

The Worst Thing About Ann Arbor?

Paying a Price

It’s tempting to say ‘the weather,’ but if you're considering the midwest that's probably unsurprising. One of the downsides of living in an area that’s a lot more than just a college town is that it costs more than just a small college town. The thriving economy and incredible amenities have driven housing and general cost of living well above state and national averages. It’s still cheaper than mega-cities like nearby-ish Chicago, but, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” and in getting much more here, be prepared for prices that reflect that.

Note from local in response to question if you can live here on $100k for a family of 4:
I was in similar situation a few years ago. $100k a year is a breakeven in Ann Arbor. The rental market was more difficult then we expected. It seemed gear towards students and it was expensive. After looking all over, we found a home to rent and it was $2500 per month. This was a couple years ago so probably more expensive now.

Lifestyle of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor provides more kinds of living options than you might expect. Downtown has fewer homes, but its proximity not only to all of the businesses but the University, the lively neighborhood of Kerrytown, and massive West Park provide a number of additional social opportunities as well. Neighborhoods like Hailsey are extremely family oriented, and neighborhoods like Burns Park are known for their own great restaurants and parks. Angell, which is home to a lot of student housing, also has large, high end homes if that’s more your price range, with great proximity to the school and “The Big House” (The largest football stadium in the country).

If you're interested in seeing what's happening in Ann Arbor check out the calendar of events:

Why You Should Move Here Now?

More than just the Wolverines

Cities like this, with big homes, tons of social and cultural options, and plenty of outdoor spaces, are perfect for a world in which more and more people work in front of their computers all day.