If you could dream up the ideal American city to call home, chances are high that would look a whole lot like Ann Arbor, Michigan. This bustling, progressive, park-filled paradise has a little bit of something for everyone. After just one visit, you’re almost certain to fall in love, which is part of what makes Ann Arbor the best place to live in America. And when we say “best,” we’re not exaggerating: we analyzed more than 2,000 small to mid-sized cities across 40 data points to create our Top 100 Best Places to Live ranking, and Ann Arbor came in at #1 in 2018.
Why Ann Arbor, MI is the #1 Best Place to Live in America
Great schools. Gorgeous parks. Job opportunities. Friendly people. Is it any wonder Ann Arbor is our #1 Best Place to Live in 2018?
Here are a few reasons why Ann Arbor earned this well-deserved accolade:
Health And Education Lead The Way
Ann Arbor is most often recognized for being the home of the University of Michigan and its more than 44,000 students. (Not surprisingly, the local public school district is also fantastic.) U of M’s more famous buildings are central fixtures in town, and the university’s law school campus features a host of gorgeous Gothic facades that would be easy to mistake for Hogwarts.
During football season, the city regularly hosts a roaring crowd of 100,000 Wolverines fans packed into the Big House, the stadium where U of M wins its way to national championships. The campus is also home to the world-class Michigan Medicine health care complex, which provides excellent health care to locals and visiting patients from all over the country.
The Quirk Factor
In addition to the opportunities the city provides for hardworking academics and medical professionals, Ann Arbor is also a haven for creative types, seekers, and anyone who marches to the beat of their own drum. It’s home to funky thrift shops, galleries, new age bookstores and top-notch performance venues. Each year, the city plays host to the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which draws more than 400,000 attendees.
The Public Typewriter That Brought Ann Arbor's Community Together
It’s All About The People
Ann Arbor residents are deeply proud of their city, and most of them go the extra mile to ensure it stays a safe and beautiful place to live. Ann Arbor was environmentally conscious long before it was trendy, and continues to blaze a trail among Michigan cities when it comes to innovative ways to make a community more green. You can’t go more than a few blocks without spotting a recycling bin — a rarity in many other parts of the state. Ann Arborites are also active in local politics, and the vibrant student population contributes to a whole new level of civic engagement.
Walking, Biking And The Great Outdoors
Ann Arbor is a delightfully walkable city, and it’s loaded with biking and running trails. The community’s ample amount of parks make it easy to get out and hike, swim, and soak up the sun on the weekends. Gallup Park, one of Ann Arbor’s most popular outdoor spaces, offers 69 acres of fresh air and foliage that make it hard to believe you’re just a stone’s throw from the city center. Locals love to go kayaking and tubing in the nearby Huron River, or to stop by the U of M arboretum for a nature fix — and that’s just the tip of the outdoor recreation iceberg.
You’ll Never Be Bored Here
Ann Arbor is nothing if not eclectic, and there’s always something exciting to do here — no matter what your interests are or what time of day it is. Where else can you find all-night dollar pizza down the street from a world-famous classical performance venue with nearly perfect acoustics? In Ann Arbor, you’ll find farmers' markets, cafes, excellent shopping, top-rated restaurants and some of the best craft beer in the country — all within a few blocks of each other.
No matter what you’re into, Ann Arbor has it. Welcome to the most livable city in America.