Best Places to Live

Ann Arbor, MI

Population: 119,980
iStock Photo/tiny-al

Go blue! Ann Arbor is perhaps best known for being the home of the world-renowned University of Michigan, but this energetic city is so much more than a college town. In addition to being a great place to raise a family, it’s also a bustling hub for innovation in automotives, technology and healthcare. In Ann Arbor, you’ll find smart, passionate people who are pushing the boundaries in everything from cybersecurity to craft beer.

Top Industries: Education, healthcare, automotive research and development and manufacturing 

Best Coffee Shop: Zingerman’s Coffee Company, an off-the-beaten-path spot where you can learn all about coffee, brewing methods and more during coffee classes and tastings. Watch the coffee bean roasting in action while you munch on something from the “toast bar,” which features artisan bread, spreads, cheese and spices.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: You can’t go wrong with HOMES Brewery, which locals say has changed the beer game in Ann Arbor. It’s named after the five great lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior — and, in addition to brewing some tasty sours and fruited beers, serves up epic pan-Asian foods inspired by street food.

Must-Have Meal: The Seared Big Eye Tuna at Pacific Rim, a downtown restaurant that’s popular for special occasions like graduating from the University of Michigan or date night. It’s served with ginger-miso sauce, wasabi oil, julienned jicama salad and crispy sushi rice.

Best Co-Working Space: Cahoots, a co-working and event space that’s popular among techies and located right downtown.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Check out Isalita, a high-energy Mexican restaurant that’s right downtown and super popular with young professionals. It’s affordable and has amazing truffle guacamole.  

Creative Hub: The University of Michigan Museum of Art, aka UMMA, has an amazing lineup of arts programming all year long. The on-site cafe also hosts talks and events meant to help make art more accessible.

Favorite Weekend Activity: A visit to White Lotus Farms is the perfect way to refresh and recharge after a busy week. This working farm sells fresh veggies, as well as handmade breads, cheeses and soaps. It’s a great place to take a leisurely walk and see some adorable farm animals, too. Families love it here.

Free Way to Have Fun: Go on a Fairy Door hunt. Throughout Ann Arbor, fairies have taken up residency — and they have some whimsical doors!

Local Dream Job: Candy Maker at Zingerman's Candy Manufactory

Read More: 
Why Ann Arbor, MI is One of the Best Places to Live in America
Don't Want to Give Up Big-City Life? Check Out Ann Arbor 
Love Vintage Shopping? Here’s Why You Should Visit Ann Arbor

- Sarah Kuta

“The energy of the city is palpable. There are people out and about year-round for shopping, paddling, hiking and bar-hopping. The innovative influence of the university and the world-renowned tech startups in the area inspire the whole community to think bigger and challenge the status quo."

Margaret Wyzlic
Destination Ann Arbor Director of Communications

Ann Arbor, MI Ranking Data