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Living in Ann Arbor

Known as the Great Lakes State

Michigan features more shoreline than any other state except Alaska, with shores along four of the Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Lake Michigan divides the state into two peninsulas. Residents and visitors alike are able to enjoy the great outdoors of Michigan. With more than 3,200 miles of shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes, 5,600 miles of snowmobile trails, dozens of downhill ski resorts and four national parks, there's more than enough nature to go around. In autumn, when the leaves of the state's lush forests explode into shades of red, orange and yellow, you'll have the luxury of enjoying the views on driving tours, at fall festivals or cider mills or at the vineyards nestled in the most scenic areas of the state.

Ann Arbor is a small cosmopolitan city in southeast Michigan, approximately one hour west of the greater Detroit metropolitan area. Ann Arbor has a population of just over 125,000. In addition to the cultural opportunities provided by the university, the city provides a lively arts scene, excellent restaurants, microbreweries, coffeehouses, music clubs, museums and other entertainment. Ann Arbor's "Tree City" nickname stems from the dense forestation of its parks and residential areas. The city holds more than 50,000 trees sited along city streets, and is home to 147 parks.

Here are some fun places in and around Ann Arbor:

Farmer's Market - The Ann Arbor Farmers Market features locally grown food, plants, prepared food items, and handcrafts, all sold by the people who make them. Located in the historic Kerrytown District, in a lovely open-air marketplace.

Detroit Zoo - The Detroit Zoo is the largest family attraction in Michigan, with over one million guests a year. The Detroit Zoological Society, a non-profit organization, operates both the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, located in the city of Detroit. The Detroit Zoological Society is responsible for the care and feeding of more than 1,800 vertebrates and 5,000 invertebrates representing over 270 species.

Urban Fairies - Walking around downtown Ann Arbor, you can find evidence of urban fairies living and working here. New fairy doors keep appearing around town but of the original group who settled in Ann Arbor, one can be found at a residence, nine in Ann Arbor businesses, and one in a kindergarten classroom. Try to find them all!

Zingerman's - A family of businesses all located in the Ann Arbor area, including Zingerman's Delicatessen, Zingerman's Bakehouse, Zingerman's Creamery, Zingerman's Roadhouse, and Zingerman's Coffee Company.

The Ark - The Ark is Ann Arbor's nonprofit home for acoustic music. Considered one of the top music clubs in the world, The Ark is renowned for the quality and breadth of its programming. The Ark is an intimate 400-seat club presenting performers who fall into the wide-ranging genres of folk and roots music. With live music nearly 300 nights each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere, The Ark is a sure bet for a memorable evening of enriching entertainment, musical artistry, and personal warmth.

Top of the Park - One of Ann Arbor's most beloved events, Top of the Park is the annual outdoor music and movie series produced by the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Focusing primarily on local and regional artists, the admission-free event is the perfect complement to the national and international scope of the accompanying Ann Arbor Summer Festival. And this year, Top of the Park takes place at its exciting new location at Ingalls Mall. Whether you come before or after an indoor performance, or simply to hang out on a warm starry night, bring your family and friends for a fun-filled evening of eclectic entertainment and lasting Ann Arbor memories.

People's Food Co-op - Provides services and natural products that promote nutritional awareness, environmental responsibility, and a sustainable community for all.

Children's Hands-On Museum - A fun place to discover the wonder of science, math and technology, while using imaginative and interactive learning experiences.

Here are some more tips from some Ann Arbor townies:

Walking at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at dusk; Shakespeare in the Arboretum, a summer tradition; a bike ride through Gallup Park; a walk through the Arboretum in any season – a little bit of heaven right here in A2; a Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park.

A little bit out of town: Toledo (~1 hour away) Imagination Station (a hands-on science museum), Toledo Mudhens baseball, Toledo Zoo. Rolling Hills Water Park, Ypsilanti Township (wave pool, lazy river, water slides, kids area and more).

WHEN SHOULD YOU BEGIN: Housing applications are sent to students who have been admitted to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and have officially confirmed their intent to enroll. It is important that students provide their School or College information about their marital or family status so the proper University Housing application can be sent. (These are questions on the application for admission.) If you don't receive a FH&SGH application but qualify and want to apply for FH&SGH, please contact the Housing Information Office by e-mail at with your name, address, and UM ID number so they can send you one.

Allow two to four weeks after you confirm your intent to enroll to receive a housing application.

We recommend you begin your housing search as early as you are able since availability will decrease as the summer progresses.

Refer to the Housing Website for more information.

Ann Arbor consistently ranks high

Ann Arbor has been recognized as:

  • Best College Town - Forbes, 2009
  • Best Place in Michigan to Raise Your Kids - Buisness Week Magazine, 2009
  • One of the Top 25 Arts Destination in the U.S. - American Style magazine, 2009
  • No. 10 of the Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit with Your Dog -, 2009
  • Healthiest Hometown in America - AARP Magazine, 2008
  • No. 27 America's Best Small Towns - Money Magazine, 2008
  • Top Five Surprisingly Gay-friendly Small Towns -, 2008
  • No. 1 Healthiest Hometown in the United States - AARP The Magazine, 2008
  • 2008 Tree City USA community (for the 27th year) - Arbor Day Foundation
  • Best Main Street in Michigan - Automobile Club of Michigan, 2008
  • No. 27 of the top 100 U.S. cities in which to live - CNN/Money Magazine, 2008
  • No. 7 Top Organic Food Supply City - Country Home Magazine, 2008
  • No. 4 Smartest City in the United States - Forbes Magazine, 2008
  • Bicycle-friendly Community - League of American Bicyclists, 2008
  • 2008 Inspiring Efficiency Leadership Award to the City of Ann Arbor Energy Office - Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • No. 24 of America's 50 Greenest Cities -, 2008
  • No. 3 Best Walking City - Prevention Magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association, 2008

More information can be found on ArborWeb and the City of Ann Arbor's Website.

Housing information

On-campus: On-campus housing for graduate students is available through Family and Single Graduate Housing (FH&SGH). They operate 1083 units on North Campus, a great location for School of Music students. Units are primarily intended for multiple-person households, though single students are encouraged to apply. While all occupants of a family housing unit must be related (married, same-sex domestic partner and/or living with children), single graduate students are eligible for two-bedroom units with a roommate of the same gender.

Some of the features of Family and Single Grad Housing:

  • Efficiency apartments to three-bedroom townhouses
  • All residents affiliated with U-M, 94 percent at a graduate or professional level
  • Nearly all the United States and over 70 countries represented
  • Free and frequent bus service to all parts of Ann Arbor campus
  • Reasonable rates/ no application fee or security deposit
  • Utilities and high speed DSL connection included in rent
  • Near North Campus Recreation Building
  • On-site nationally accredited child development center
  • On-site health clinic
  • Adjacent parking

Off-campus: Off-campus housing simply refers to any housing not owned and operated by the University. Off-campus housing includes shared housing -- fraternities, sororities, and student owned-and-operated co-ops--as well as standard apartments, houses, and rooms. Many graduate students seek off-campus housing.

The city of Ann Arbor has a myriad of neighborhoods to choose from. The University's Off-Campus Housing Program maintains an on-line map that highlights neighborhoods around North, Central, Medical and South Campuses. Each listed neighborhood is accompanied by a brief description and a few pictures designed to give the viewer a taste of the area. In addition, there is an option to search for available housing within a specified neighborhood.

Generally, rent is higher in neighborhoods closer to campus. For students that live further away, the university offers limited parking in commuter lots around Ann Arbor and free U-M bus service from these lots to the Campuses. In addition, Ann Arbor offers a multitude of bus routes allowing access to campus from many areas of the city. They are also free to U-M students with a valid M-Card.

The average costs of off-campus housing per month are:

Rooms - $620/month

Efficiencies - $656/month

One-bedroom apartment/house - $743/month

Two-bedroom apartment/house - $1,044/month

Three-bedroom apartment/house - $1,501/month

The Housing Information Office's Off-Campus Web page allows you to post an ad for a roommate and view the ads of students who are looking for housing and/or roommates.