Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ace Deuce



Sunny Days: 178
48100 Affordability
95100 Schools
50100 Diversity
16100 Safety

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.

Neighborhoods in Ann Arbor

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There is plenty of off-campus housing for students in Ann Arbor. If you want to live near the football stadium then Elbel is a popular choice. You also get easy access to Elbel field, an athletic complex that includes a football field, volleyball courts, softball fields, soccer, cricket, rugby and ultimate frisbee fields. So if you want to play or are an athlete this is a good choice. Tappan is a good choice if being near the greek houses are important to you. The Law Quad and Ross School of Business is also in the area so you’ll find plenty of older grad school students in the area.

  • Elbel
  • Tappan
  • Old Fourth Ward
  • Oxbridge

Check out the Umich Off-Campus Housing site for school vetted listings:

Downtown Ann Arbor

Young Professionals/DINKs/SINKs

Ann Arbor has a growing downtown business district with plenty of small tech and creative businesses filling the commercial real estate. For that reason young professionals love to live in the apartments and condos downtown to have a simple walk to work.

Add to the in-town business district an awesome restaurant and bar scene downtown and you have the basics covered. Throw on top of all that the Art Galleries including the Ann Arbor Art Center, the jazz and other live music clubs, the bookstores, the AA Hands-On Museum, theaters, ice cream shops, and too many other things to list, and you can see why the area is popular for those looking for a good walk score to work and play.

Check out the Main Street Ann Arbor "things to do" site for a wrap-up of the areas places and activities:

Old West Side / Burns Park Ann Arbor


Old West Side is a beautiful historic district that borders downtown. Families can choose from smaller Cape Cod-style homes and much larger older homes to get the best of both worlds. Live on quiet streets but have just a short walk to all the great restaurants, and the culture and social experiences of downtown. You also get to live near the Pioneer High School, state-wide renowned for academics, sports and overall excellence.

Another great options is Burns Park. Also filled with tree-lined streets and old beautiful homes, the draw to Burns is the historic Burns Park which offers year-round play for families including a great playground, basketball courts, softball fields, tennis courts and a sledding hill for winters.

  • Old West Side
  • Burns Park
  • Lowertown