Ann Arbor is both a hip college town and a thriving community of makers, doers, artists and entrepreneurs. While in the thick of our day to day lives, it might be easy to take for granted this amazing community we’ve come to call home. But we’re here to pause and to remind you why Ann Arbor is truly the best place to be.
So sit back, relax and let’s all remember just how much we love A2.
1. It’s actually the best place to live in the country.
Ann Arbor is consistently ranked on research and data-based lists of the best places to live in the United States. In 2017, our city ranked third on the Livability Top 100 Best Places to Live. Then on the 2018 Livability Top 100 Best Places To Live, A2 jumped to the number one spot! This particular Livability ranking started with a nationwide poll to find out what matters most to Americans. Then, nearly 2,300 cities were ranked on data points that cover economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and healthcare.
Ann Arbor has also been ranked on the 2018 National Geographic list, The Best Cities in the United States which ranked the best small cities to visit this year. And A2 snagged the number one spot in the Midwest on RewardExpert’s Best Mid-Sized Cities to Visit in 2017.
2. We love to learn.
Ann Arbor is home to the world-renowned University of Michigan. On its own, our hometown university has consistently ranked on National University Rankings amongst other ivy league superstars like Yale and Harvard. But the university paired with our outstanding community has landed Ann Arbor on lists of the country’s best college towns. This Livability list, 2017 10 Best College Towns, puts us in the top ten!
Through the university, our town has been blessed with community and kid-friendly educational centers like the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, the Exhibit Museum of Natural History and so many more. Many of these are also recognized as the largest and/or most significant university collections in the country!
3. Ann Arbor loves local.
We’ll get into the specific venue, business and restaurant details later on, but the short story is: Ann Arbor loves local. Whether you’re an up and coming musician, you have a new beer recipe to try or you just want to share your passions, there’s a spot in our business community for you — and plenty of people who will gladly test it out. Livability even ranked A2 one of the best cities for entrepreneurs in 2017!
4. Especially local books.
Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore
There’s no hiding the bibliophile culture of Ann Arbor. Since the Ann Arbor founding and the nationwide expansion of Borders, our book-loving community has gotten plenty of attention — but our book-loving nature has been with us for much longer. Today, our town is home to local legends like Literati Bookstore, Bookbound, Nicola’s Books and Aunt Agatha’s alongside beloved places like Common Language Book Bar and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tearoom.
For used and antiquarian books, you can go to our other favorite A2 shops Dawn Treader Book Shop, Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library Book Shop, Motte & Bailey Booksellers and West Side Book Shop.
For more on our local bibliophile culture, check out Kerrytown Bookfest and the Jewish Book & Arts Festival!
5. And food.
If you’ve eaten in Ann Arbor — as a student, a local or a visitor — you have a favorite food spot (or ten) that you would come back to again and again. And if you live here, you get to live right in the middle of all the abundance whether that’s pub food, global flavors, American classics or casual eateries. We obviously don’t have room to list all of them here, but you can read The 15 Best Date Night Restaurants in Ann Arbor, The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area and Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor which highlights a business that has revolutionized local eats.
6. It’s easy to spend time outside.
Photo courtesy of Kerrytown Market & Shops
Whether you’re perusing downtown districts like Main Street, The State Street District and Kerrytown Market and Shops or exploring one of 159 parks throughout Ann Arbor, there are plenty of excuses to get outside. In those 159 parks, you’ll find basketball and tennis courts, softball and soccer fields, a skatepark, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, boat launches, ice rinks, dog parks, disc golf and dirt bike courses and a course to play bocce ball.
7. And even easier to find a festival.
Are you a fan of film? Try the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Cinetopia Film Festival or the Jewish Film Festival. How about music? Don’t miss the Ann Arbor Folk Festival or Edgefest. How about music, cinema, comedy and culinary arts all rolled into one? Then you need to attend the Ann Arbor Summer Festival! Our town celebrates with festivals and events year-round whether it’s the 47th Annual Earth Day Festival or the free, annual community celebrations FoolMoon and FestiFools.
8. We’re a local hub for art and culture.
Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center
We already mentioned the noteworthy festivals above, but A2 is also the home of Shakespeare in the Arb each summer, Kerrytown Concert House, The Michigan Theater, The State Theater and the Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit exhibition, gallery and retail space. Through these venues, we get to enjoy local and touring dance performances, art exhibitions, cinema, concerts and more. And have you heard about our fairy doors?
9. It’s an affordable place to live.
You would think all the amazing things about Ann Arbor would come at a lofty price, but in reality, it’s a fairly affordable one. Penny Hoarder conducted a ranking, 25 U.S. Cities That Millennials Can Afford — and Actually Want to Live In, which rounded up the most livable cities ranked for their price, their fun and everything in between. And of course, Ann Arbor made the list.
10. Two words: The people.
It’s no secret we love Ann Arbor, but we firmly believe we wouldn’t be one of the country’s best places to live without the best locals, residents and visitors. Amongst all the rankings and awards Ann Arbor has been honored with, our favorite is the National Geographic ranking of the happiest cities in the United States which puts Ann Arbor in the top 20. We couldn’t do it without you, A2.
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