Moving to Ann Arbor

Welcome to the first step of your exciting journey to Ann Arbor, MI! A wonderfully diverse city, Ann Arbor offers a harmonious blend of academia, lush parks, famous culinary, and captivating arts and culture right in the heart of Michigan. So whether your move is prompted by a career change, academia, or purely the charm of a dynamic city, our comprehensive relocation guide will help simplify the process and make your transition smoother. As we unpack all that Ann Arbor has to offer, let's embark on an exciting adventure together!

Moving to Ann Arbor, MI landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Ann Arbor

1. It's a University Town, and Proud of It

When you're considering your move to Ann Arbor, MI, you absolutely must know about the University of Michigan. This is no ordinary campus, as its sprawling grounds shape much of Ann Arbor's landscape and vibrancy. Expect a city buzzing with academics, artists, athletes, and enthusiasts of all kinds. Don't be surprised if you get drawn into the Wolverine spirit - Maize and Blue aren't just colors here, they're a lifestyle!

2. Your Diet Will Thank You

Ann Arbor boasts a food scene that rivals much larger cities. If you are a foodie, get ready for some serious palate pampering. With a dizzying array of multi-ethnic restaurants and farm-to-table options, foodie culture is a huge part of what makes Ann Arbor so special. And did we mention Zingerman's? From their legendary deli to their bakehouse, creamery, and coffee company, Zingerman's is an Ann Arbor institution that is sure to become a regular part of your diet.

3. Fairy Doors and Gnomes Make for Unique City Culture

Ann Arbor has a quirk that most outsiders don't know about - the fairy doors. These magical, miniature entrances can be found tucked away throughout the city, and they've been delighting locals and visitors alike since 2005. Linked to a local myth about small gnomes who live behind them, these fairy doors give the city a fantastical, otherworldly feel. It's just a small peek into the unique culture you'll find when you move to Ann Arbor.

4. Say Hello to Four Seasons

If you like variety in your weather, Ann Arbor won't disappoint. Residents get to enjoy all four seasons. Fall colors are spectacular, winters are snowy white (perfect for cozy nights in, or winter sports, if you lean towards the adventurous side), spring is a riot of emerging flowers and summers are comfortably warm. A change of scenery with each season keeps things interesting and the scenery forever beautiful.

5. Art enthusiasts, Rejoice!

Art is life in Ann Arbor and the city is adorned with public art installations, literary history, and music festivals. The city offers numerous independent bookstores and libraries, while the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and Art Fairs attract artists and artisans from around the globe. Also, the University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the USA, so you'll never be far from your next cultural adventure.

6. The Wave Field is a Must-Visit

Art and science converge in a grassy three-acre plot on the University of Michigan's North Campus. In this unexpected spot, you'll find the 'Wave Field', an undulating earth sculpture designed by renowned artist Maya Lin. This masterpiece is an example of "earth art", where the natural landscape is sculpted into artistic forms. Best part? It's a perfect picnicking spot in nice weather!

Whether you're drawn to the cultural richness, the academic buzz, the fantastic food, or intrigued by the fairy doors, Ann Arbor has something for everyone. It's a place where contemporary life merges effortlessly with historic charm, and fosters a sense of community without losing its cosmopolitan feel. So take the plunge and start your exciting journey in this spirited city. Welcome to Ann Arbor, we're sure you'll love it here!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Ann Arbor

Pros of Living in Ann Arbor

Excellent Education Opportunities

Ann Arbor is known for its high-quality education, being home to the University of Michigan, one of the top universities in the world. It also offers excellent public and private school options for younger students, making it a great place for families prioritizing education.

Vibrant Community and Cultural Scene

The city boasts a vibrant cultural scene with numerous festivals, art shows, and music events happening all year round. The Ann Arbor Art Fair and Summer Festival are particularly popular. It's also rich in culinary diversity, with many internationally influenced restaurants.

Access to Nature and Outdoor Activities

With numerous parks, trails, and rivers, Ann Arbor offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. The Huron River, in particular, provides a setting for various water sports, including kayaking and canoeing. Additionally, Nichols Arboretum is a haven for plant lovers.

Pedestrian-Friendly and Bicycle-Friendly City

Ann Arbor is known for being pedestrian and cyclist-friendly, with plenty of bike lanes and walkable neighborhoods. The city is also known for its well-maintained roads and pedestrian paths, making it an ideal place for those who enjoy walking or biking.

Low Crime Rates

Ann Arbor is recognized for having lower crime rates compared to other similar-sized cities in the country. The city's continuous efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment contribute heavily to the high quality of life enjoyed by Ann Arbor residents.

Cons of Living in Ann Arbor

Higher Cost of Living

Ann Arbor has a cost of living that's somewhat higher than the national average. This is reflected in its housing market, grocery costs, and even entertainment costs.

Limited Nightlife

For those accustomed to an active nightlife, Ann Arbor might feel a bit quiet. While there are a number of bars and restaurants, the options can feel limited particularly to those moving from larger cities.

Traffic and Parking Difficulties

Traffic can be heavy especially around the University of Michigan during peak times, and parking downtown can be quite a challenge. These issues are often aggravated by the numerous events in town, such as football games and festivals.

Chilly Winters

Winters in Ann Arbor can be harsh, with cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. This can present challenges for those unaccustomed to dealing with winter weather, from driving on icy roads to shoveling snow.

Large Population of Students

With the University of Michigan as a central feature, Ann Arbor has a large population of students. This can create a bustling atmosphere during the school year but can also lead to congestion on roads and in certain parts of the city.

Modern day picture of Ann Arbor, MI highlighting pros and cons of living in Ann Arbor, MI

Is Ann Arbor a Good Place to Live?

Ann Arbor, MI is a great place to live because of its lively arts and culture scene, high-ranking schools, and bountiful recreation opportunities. The city boasts a vibrant downtown area filled with eclectic restaurants and shops, and it's home to the renowned University of Michigan, ensuring a thriving intellectual-athletic community. Furthermore, with numerous parks and trails scattered throughout, it's a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts!

What Is Ann Arbor Famous For?

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor is home to the renowned University of Michigan, known for its research, diverse student population, and football program. The "Go Blue!" spirit runs deep in Ann Arbor, with locals often donning the university's maize and blue colors.

Festifools Parade

Every spring, the city hosts the FoolMoon and FestiFools events, where locals and visitors alike enjoy a massive parade of unique, hand-crafted puppets and luminaries. It's a testament to Ann Arbor's commitment to community, creativity, and a little bit of silliness!

Art Fair

The city becomes an art lover's paradise every July when the streets are filled with the Ann Arbor Art Fair. This event, one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the nation, brings in artists from all over the world showcasing a wide range of creative pieces.

Foodie Destination

Ann Arbor might be small, but its food scene is mighty! For its size, the city boasts an impressive number of independently owned restaurants, earning it a reputation as a must-visit location for foodies. From favorite brunch spots to artisanal eateries, there's a fusion of tastes for everyone.

Capital building of Ann Arbor, MI in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In 2023, the property tax rate in Ann Arbor, MI is 2.041%. This is on the higher side compared to the national average property tax rate which is around 1.1%.

Sales Tax

As of 2023, Ann Arbor has a sales tax rate of 6%, which is actually the total sales tax for the entire state of Michigan. Thus, it remains consistent across different localities within the state. This rate is relatively close to the national median sales tax rate of 5.75%.

Income Tax

In Ann Arbor, MI for the year 2023, the state imposes a flat income tax rate of 4.25%. This is lower than the average income tax rate across the US, which generally falls between 5-9%, depending on the state and individual income level.

Housing Market

The Ann Arbor, MI housing market is relatively competitive compared to other parts of the US. The median home price in Ann Arbor is about $390,000, higher than the national average of $288,900. Homes typically sell for 1.9% below the list price and only stay on the market for around 16 days. The median rent is also higher at $1,583 compared to the national average of $1,470. Both renters and buyers planning to move to Ann Arbor should take into account the costlier housing market and the high demand for properties which often leads to a faster sales process.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is higher than the national average, mainly due to housing costs. Living in this education and culture-rich city comes with a higher price tag than many other cities in Michigan. While utilities and transportation are below U.S average, groceries and healthcare costs are slightly above. However, when compared to major cities like New York or San Francisco, Ann Arbor presents a more affordable, yet vibrant, city living experience.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Ann Arbor, located in southern Michigan, experiences a humid continental climate typical to the Midwest. It is characterized by four distinct seasons, with winters being cold and snowy, while summers are warm and humid. The city is noted for its unpredictable weather patterns and dramatic temperature fluctuations, often within a single day. Fall is particularly vibrant, showcasing a spectacular display of changing leaves. Regarding natural disasters, Ann Arbor has historically been susceptible to occasional occurrences of floods, severe storms, and tornadoes due to its geographical location. Flooding is most common in spring due to melting snow and heavy rainfall. Despite these, the city maintains a certain charm that lies in its natural beauty and the unpredictability of its climatic conditions.

Typical weather in Ann Arbor, MI

Economy & Job Market

Healthcare and Social Assistance

Education Services

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Retail Trade


Ann Arbor, Michigan has a vibrant, diverse, and growing economy that is a mix of several sectors. The city has historically been a powerhouse in the education sector, due in large part to the University of Michigan, which employs over 30,000 people. Additionally, the healthcare and social assistance sector is a major contributor, with Michigan Medicine acting as one of the city's largest employers. Retail trade has also seen significant growth in recent years, spurred on by a flourishing downtown scene. The manufacturing industry, which once dominated the Michigan economy, still maintains a noteworthy presence in Ann Arbor. Furthermore, the professional, scientific, and technical service sectors have experienced significant growth, making Ann Arbor a burgeoning hub for tech startups and research institutions.

If you're making a move to Ann Arbor and planning to plunge into the job market, it's an exciting time! In 2020, the city was named as the best city to live in America, largely due to its strong job market. The schools and hospitals are always on the lookout for staff, while the growing tech scene offers an array of opportunities for the tech-savvy. The manufacturing sector, although not as dominant as it once was, is another potential source of employment. With the low unemployment rate (2.6% as of 2019), Ann Arbor's job market is thriving and offers a wide range of jobs in various sectors. So, sharpen your resume and get your interview outfit ready - Ann Arbor's job market is waiting for you!

Traffic and Transportation

Hey there, curious commuter! Let's buckle up and zoom into the transportation scene of Ann Arbor, MI. With average commute times bookmarking approximately 20 minutes, there's ample time to enjoy a good podcast, delicious donut, or a steaming cup o' joe (safely, of course!). But if driving's not your gig, Ann Arbor's got you covered with zippy public transportation - courtesy of TheRide, boasting over 1,500 stops in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and the surrounding area. Super convenient, right? For those looking to soar high and hop onto air travel, the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport - just a 30-minute drive away - serves as your gateway to the world. So, whether you prefer to wheel around town or take to the skies, Ann Arbor makes sure the journey to your destination is part of the fun!

What is the traffic like in Ann Arbor, MI?

Best Neighborhoods in Ann Arbor

1. Kerrytown

Welcoming all food lovers with open arms, Kerrytown could be your ultimate destination. No more boring Sundays - Ann Arbor Farmers Market in the neighborhood serves as your palate's paradise. When you're done sipping your morning joe at the cafe, head over to Kerrytown Concert House for some quality, eclectic music. The vibes here reflect a fine balance between the historic and modern Ann Arbor. Brick streets and buildings dating back to the 19th-century beautifully blend with trendy restaurants, artsy boutiques, and bustling markets. This cool neighborhood invites a lively crowd that appreciates both history and modernity.

2. Burns Park

Burns Park is the ultimate treasure trove for architecture enthusiasts. Its quiet, tree-lined streets are graced by homes boasting a dazzling variety of architectural styles. Burns Park, the jewel in the neighborhood's crown, hosts various community events and offers tennis courts, a playground, and a small zoo. If you love outdoor activities, this park will spoil you rotten. The neighborhood's walkability and proximity to downtown and the University of Michigan campus make it very desirable. That beautiful blend of convenience and tranquility gives Burns Park its truly unique charm.

3. West Side

A west-side story of a different kind is happening right here in West Side Ann Arbor. Imagine an attractive mix of residential spaces, commercial hotspots, and beautiful parks. Sounds dreamy, right? West Park is the neighborhood's central landmark, offering residents symphony concerts during the hot summer months. Be a part of downtown Ann Arbor's pulsating life since West Side is just a stone's throw away. This melting pot of diversity guarantees never-ending excitement.

4. Downtown Ann Arbor

If you are someone who revels in city excitement and vibrancy, go full urbanite in Downtown Ann Arbor. Being the heart of the city, it offers everything from bars, clubs, restaurants, and vibrant shopping markets. Its pulsating nightlife, diverse restaurant scene, and streets filled with music just might tip the scales in its favor for a city groover. From comedy shows at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, music festivals, to art fairs like the Ann Arbor Art Fair, downtown looks to entertain all tastes, treating all residents to a cultured living experience.

5. Old West Side

A cozy, historic neighborhood with a relaxed pace, that's Old West Side for you. Take a casual stroll through its peaceful streets and soak in their calm atmosphere. If you are looking for a quiet residence close to downtown, this neighborhood might be your cup of tea. Its charm is its best asset, wrapped in beautifully restored Old German-style houses. Old West Side's simplicity and composure provide a beautiful contrast to the bustling downtown, combining the best of both worlds.

In conclusion, Ann Arbor is an eclectic mix of historic charm and modern vibrancy, reflected in its diverse neighborhoods. Whether it's the history-laden streets of Kerrytown, the architectural finesse of Burns Park, the diversity of West Side, the bustling downtown, or the tranquil Old West Side, each neighborhood offers an unique experience. Though the decision might seem overwhelming, rest assured each choice comes with its slice of marvelous Michigan life.

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Things to Do

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Michigan! Known for its bustling university scene, beautiful green spaces, and diverse culture, Ann Arbor is a gem that perfectly balances small-town charm with big-city sophistication. Let's jump right into the city's top 7 attractions to discover after you've unpacked those moving boxes.

1. Visit The University of Michigan

The heart and soul of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan is not just for students. It boasts a beautiful campus with serene paths and a stunning architectural blend of old and new. Don't miss the U-M Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and the famous Big House, which is the largest college football stadium in the country.

2. Explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

Communing with nature is easy in Ann Arbor! The Matthaei Botanical Gardens have stunning indoor and outdoor exhibits, a children's garden, and a conservatory filled with exotic plants. Nichols Arboretum, known as 'The Arb' to locals, is a haven of natural beauty with woods, meadows, and walking trails, not forgetting the splendid peony garden blooming in spring.

3. Try Ann Arbor's Unique Dining Scene

If food is your thing, then you're in for a treat. Ann Arbor is a foodie's paradise with cuisine options from every corner of the globe. Places like Zingerman's Delicatessen and Millennium Club boast of popular local and international delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds.

4. Discover the Fairy Doors

Here's a quirky, off-the-beaten-path thing to do: discover the Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor. These are tiny, whimsical doors scattered throughout the city's downtown, at Ann Arbor District Library, and in some local businesses. Make a day of finding them all, and let your imagination soar!

5. Drift down the Huron River

For those who love the outdoors, paddling down the Huron River in a canoe or kayak is a must. It's a fantastic way to relax, see local wildlife, and enjoy the natural beauty of Ann Arbor. Local companies like the Gallup Park Canoe Livery offer rentals if you don't have your own equipment.

6. Explore The Hands-On Museum

Designed for the child in everyone, The Hands-On Museum is a place where learning comes with a healthy dose of fun. Visitors are encouraged to touch, push, pull, and engage with exhibits covering everything from physics to music, making it an educational adventure for all ages.

7. Get Creepy at The Brinery

Though it might not be on everyone's radar, The Brinery is a unique Ann Arbor spot that's worth a visit. This fermentation station considers pickling, kimchi-making, and all things fermented its mission. You can indulge in tours, tasting, and buying their locally-sourced and preserved goods. It's a delightfully strange experience!

From its culinary delights to its hidden fairy doors, from education-integrated-with-fun experiences to delightful nature-laden adventures, Ann Arbor, MI will always find ways to amuse, educate, and delight you. It's a city that embraces its quirkiness, its love for education, and its stewardship of the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds it. Upon exploring these seven must-see attractions, you're bound to fall in love with this city, just like we have.

Things to do in Ann Arbor, MI?

Find Movers for Your Ann Arbor Relocation

After exploring our comprehensive guide, it's clear to see why making a move to Ann Arbor, Michigan is an exciting option for many! Indeed, it's a city filled with vibrant culture, diverse dining options, top-rated schools, and beautiful, lush outdoor spaces. And when it's time to make your move, let Great Guys Moving aid in making the process truly seamless. Known for our rigorously vetted, quality moving companies offering affordable rates, we're here to connect you with the perfect help for your relocation. Don't wait! Request your free, no-obligation moving quote today with Great Guys Moving, and take the first step towards your exciting new chapter in Ann Arbor.

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