We could go on and on listing awards, accolades and honors our little city has won (like 5 Great College Towns to Settle In Post-Graduation), but now, we’re going to let the community speak for itself. Keep reading to find out exactly what makes Ann Arbor the best college town in America.
1. The school
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but we can’t talk about our perfect college town without bragging about the university that makes it what it is. The University of Michigan is continually ranked amongst the best universities in the nation, and in the US News & World Report 2019 ranking of the best national universities, it makes the top 30. Boasting a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 30,000, UM offers students more than 1,500 organizations, more than 60 Greek chapters, and an impressive lineup of athletics for both athletes and fans.
Is there any activity more stereotypically college than disc golf? We don’t think so, and Ann Arbor is home to two public courses maintained by the city, as well as a FootGolf course! In fact, our city boasts nearly 2,100 acres of parkland and 14 recreation facilities where visitors can hike, bike, picnic, swim, cross-country ski—you name it.
Every college town needs a hub for local food, local events and local character. Not only is this the place you’ll spend most of your free time, it’s also the place you’ll take your parents, your friends and your family every time they visit. Here in Ann Arbor, that place is Main Street, the heart of downtown, located less than half a mile from the UM campus.
You’re going to spend a lot of time in The Big House. But UM athletic events will also make you well acquainted with the Crisler Center and Yost Ice Arena because our university is home to one of the best football programs, one of the best basketball programs, and one of the best ice hockey programs in the country. Needless to say, you’ll have a way to show off your Michigan pride all year long! #GoBlue
Ann Arbor’s local and public art provides a way for you to practice your own creativity, a way to admire the work of your peers and your community, and an opportunity to get some iconic Instagram photos. Yes, we’re talking about The Michigan Wings, the perfect spot for your first day of school photo and your graduation photo. You can find this blue and maize mural at the corner of East William and Maynard streets at Tower Plaza.
Other landmark murals include The Bookstore Mural which depicts the colorful heads of Woody Allen, Edgar Allan Poe, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka and Anaïs Nin. And you have to snap a photo at the Singing in the Rain mural located on the 5th Ave. entrance to the Library Lane Parking Structure!
To start your official exploration of Ann Arbor art, visit Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit arts center that hosts rotating exhibits, classes, events and a supply shop.
10. The craft beer
Craft beer culture seems to especially boom around major colleges and universities — and we don’t think that’s a coincidence. Here in Ann Arbor, we’ve experienced the craft beer boom as much as any other college town (and maybe even more than most). To get the lowdown on the city’s best, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area. It even has an interactive map so you can track down the one closest to you right now!
Are you a University of Michigan alumnus?
Let us know why you think Ann Arbor is the best college town in the comments below!