Dismissing Ann Arbor as just another college town would do this southeast Michigan city — often called “Tree Town” — a huge disservice. Sure, University of Michigan game days have the town bustling, but for the 121,000 residents that live here, cheering on the Wolverines at “The Big House” (or at a nearby sports bar) is just a fraction of what Ann Arbor has to offer.
There’s also a flourishing arts scene, a growing number of breweries and wineries, a year-round farmers market and an active downtown full of locally-owned shops and restaurants. If you head to the downtown district, make sure to locate all the tiny “fairy doors” business owners have hidden throughout the area. (And open them, too! Each one reveals a unique fairy “home” to explore.)
Ann Arbor also boasts the top hospital in the state and claims the second-highest educational score on our list. U-M has something to do with that, but Ann Arbor’s public schools are highly rated, too.
Most importantly, all are welcome in Ann Arbor. Last year, local representatives launched an Equitable Engagement Initiative to bring a diversity of voices into city planning. Necto, a popular Ann Arbor club, hosts the state’s longest-running LGBTQ+ Pride Night. It’s gone down every Friday since 1984. — Aly J. Yale
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Median Household Income
Median Home Price
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.