Ann Arbor, Michigan is a beautifully unique college town, home to a thriving community of makers, doers, artists and entrepreneurs. The area is also best known as the home of the University of Michigan, legendary annual events, fairy doors and bookstores galore.
Our city consistently makes “best of” lists in almost every category and it’s no wonder as to why. Ann Arbor plays host to some of the country’s best restaurants, cultural gems, sprawling parks and so much more! We love it here, so we’ve rounded up the top 11 reasons why we’re thankful to call A2 home. Happy reading!
It’s a great place to raise a family
If you have a family or are planning to start one soon, you’ve chosen a great place to call home. Thanks to our beautiful parks system, year-round family-friendly events, strong school districts and educational attractions, Ann Arbor is one of the most kid-friendly and family-friendly cities in the state and in the country! Livability even ranked Ann Arbor on their list of 5 Best Cities for Families in Michigan, and WalletHub ranked us highly in Best Places to Raise a Family in Michigan.
Ann Arbor was recently named one of the best cities in the United States for singles by Value Penguin and we aren’t surprised! All of the things that make our city so desirable for families are great for young professionals as well. Plus, our growing economy, fantastic nightlife and thriving cultural attractions are just cherries on top for those who aren’t looking to settle down just yet.
We take our food seriously
If you’ve eaten in Ann Arbor—as a student, a local or a visitor—you have a favorite food spot that you would come back to again and again. You can get just about anything you’re craving, 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 15 Best Vegan + Vegetarian-friendly Restaurants in Ann Arbor, and Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor, which highlights a business that has revolutionized local eats.
And our brews are next level
If we had to create a list of things Ann Arbor is known for, beer and coffee would definitely be on there. Since exploding in the 1990s, the Ann Arbor craft beer scene has been enjoying a resurgence in craft, style and sheer number of breweries available. And beer lovers around the entire state have been enjoying it, too! But that’s not all, Ann Arbor is also home to some pretty spectacular coffee shops where you can sip on some non-alcoholic brews. For a full list of our favorite breweries, click here. And for a list of Ann Arbor’s most celebrated coffee shops, click here.
Parks, gardens and rivers—oh my!
Whether you’re perusing downtown districts like Main Street, The State Street District and Kerrytown Market and Shops, or exploring one of the 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.
We’re home to some of the best schools in the country
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 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 one from USA Today puts us in the top ten!
There’s always something to do
Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman via the Ann Arbor Summer Festival
From historic movie theaters to eclectic bookshops and monthly art walks—there’s always something to do and explore in the Ann Arbor area. One of our favorite ways to spend a day in the area is by attending one of our cities many festivals! 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!
We’re a local hub for art and culture
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?
It’s a music lover’s paradise
From the raucous rock and roll provided at The Blind Pig, to more than 300 nights of live music at The Ark and the Sonic Lunch summer music series, there is no shortage of live music options in Ann Arbor. Factor in University of Michigan venues like Hill Auditorium and the Power Center, plus the iconic Michigan Theater, and you’ve got a hotbed for musical acts from across the globe!
And a booknerd’s heaven
There’s no hiding the bibliophile culture of Ann Arbor. Since the Ann Arbor founding and the nationwide expansion of the now-closed Borders, our book-loving community has gotten plenty of attention. 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, Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tearoom, and so many more. For a full list of our favorite local bookshops, read Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped.
It’s an all-around great place to live
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! Why? Because it really is the best. We have great schools, food, music, culture and people—what more could you want?
Why are you thankful?
Let us know why you’re thankful to live in Ann Arbor in the comments!