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A Love Letter to Ann Arbor | 12 Reasons We Love Living Here

Dear Ann Arbor, we love living here. There’s just something about you. Maybe it’s your weirdness or the amazing coffee shops. Perhaps it’s the fantastic restaurants or the incredibly friendly people. Whatever it is—it has us swooning.

To showcase our true love for you, we rounded up some of the reasons we adore living here. And for those of you reading this, we hope you discover some new, interesting things about A2 to appreciate. Let us know why you love Ann Arbor in the comments below!

 

The quirk factor

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Ann Arbor is weird—and we’re proud of it! While we’re known countrywide as a great place for hardworking academics and medical professionals, A2 is also a haven for creative types, seekers and anyone else who marches to the beat of their own drum. It’s home to funky thrift shops, galleries, top-notch performance venues, chewing gum walls, fairy doors, human-sized carrots and so much more. Our weirdness is what makes us so unique and wonderful—and we love it!

 

It’s a local hub for art and culture

Because of our top universities and museums, it’s not a huge surprise that Ann Arbor is a Midwest hub for art and culture. Our city is home to Shakespeare in the Arbthe Kerrytown Concert HouseThe 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. We even get to enjoy these amazing culture centers during a global pandemic, through virtual art classes, movies and performances. 

 

The location can’t be beat

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While Ann Arbor is an excellent destination in its own right, there are many larger cities, hidden gems and incredible small towns just a short drive away. From metro Detroit to the Pinckney Recreation Area to Saline and Manchester’s charming small towns, you don’t have to go very far to explore the best of Michigan when you live in Ann Arbor! 

 

We love local

All you really need to know about Ann Arbor is that we love local. Local musicians, artists, photographers, shops, restaurants, bars—you name it, and we’ll go out of our way to support it. It’s what makes A2 such an amazing place for entrepreneurs! In fact, in 2019, Ann Arbor was named One of the Top Startup Cities in the Midwest by Chicago InnoOne of the Top U.S. Tech Hubs by Bloomberg and one of the Best U.S. Cities for Entrepreneurs in 2017 by Livability

 

And books

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Photo courtesy of Dawn Treader Book Shop

Ann Arbor is truly a bookish city, through and through. 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 BookstoreBookbound and Nicola’s Books 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 ShopFriends of the Ann Arbor District Library Book Shop and West Side Book Shop.

 

And food

If you need another reason to want to move here, how about our incredible food scene? You can get just about anything you’re craving in Ann Arbor, 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 Top 9 Restaurants in Ann Arbor (According to Yelp)The 14 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, to give you a good idea of exactly how much amazing food we have to offer!

 

It’s easy to spend time outside

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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.

 

Our coffee scene is unmatched

Even though Ann Arbor is fairly small, that hasn’t stopped us from consistently landing on coffee rankings with famous coffee cities like Portland, San Francisco and Berkeley (in fact, Livability just put us at #3 on their list of Unexpectedly Awesome Coffee Cities!). We just really love coffee. That’s why we’re home to some pretty spectacular coffee roasters, coffee shops and other caffeine-related businesses. Visit our guides on The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann ArborThe 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area; and 7 Coffee Subscriptions in the Greater Ann Arbor Area if you’re looking to get a better look at our coffee scene! 

 

And there’s plenty of places to get a great drink

Ann Arbor Restaurants

Photo courtesy of The Last Word

Breweries, cocktail bars, distilleries—you name it and Ann Arbor has made a name for itself in that space. We’re all about small-batch, artisanal drinks and that mindset has turned A2 into a haven for lovers of craft drinks. Here, you’ll find unique cocktail bars like The Last WordRaven’s Club and Night Cap, great wine at spots like Aventura, and a whole slew of incredible breweries

 

It’s one of the best places in the country to raise a family

If you have a family or are planning to start one soon, Ann Arbor is an amazing place to do so. 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.

 

Our education systemare top-notch

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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 IvLeague 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. We were even named the #1 Most Educated City in America by WalletHub in 2020.

Through the university, our town has been blessed with community and kid-friendly educational centers like the University of Michigan Museum of ArtMatthaei 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!

 

The people are amazing

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. And during hard times—whether it’s an environmental disaster or a pandemic—the remarkableness of our locals is just exemplified even further. Over the past year, we’ve witnessed locals flock to support small businesses, help deliver food to the needy, donate blood, pack lunches for children, and so much more. Ann Arbor is a beautiful place to live, not only because of our art scene, delicious food, fabulous education system and quirky lifestyle but also because locals never give up an opportunity to support one another. 

 

We love you, A2! 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Ann Arbor! Why do you love living here? Let us know in the comments below! 

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