For most of us, moving to Ann Arbor plants us squarely in a region of this country about which we know almost nothing. Flat farmland and cows: that’s the image that comes to mind when we think “Midwest.” Thankfully, Ann Arbor is a pleasant surprise: it’s a vibrant, diverse, and intelligent town with a great deal to offer in the way of community, activity and just overall charm, and big cranes. Ann Arbor is above all a college town and the University sets the tone for most of our lives here as students — and that’s a good thing since the University draws in great entertainment, thoughtful discussions and important political figures in its role as a premier research institution.
But the benefits aren’t just academic. The University has a wonderful sports culture that thrives on its powerful football, hockey, and basketball teams, which, even for those of us who came from division III schools as undergrads, are great fun. Individual sports opportunities are also plentiful, since Ann Arbor has an extensive rec sports association and some beautiful city parks with running, biking and cross-country skiing trails and canoe liveries.
Local festivals are plentiful, especially in the spring and summer. Elvisfest, the Frog Island Michigan Beer Festival, ArtFair, Top of the Park, and the A2 Film Festival are only a few of the annual events that we look forward to in Ann Arbor and neighboring Ypsilanti. There is no lack of night life year-round, since the University is surrounded by bars, pubs, and clubs that cater to different crowds and frequently feature local and Detroit-based musical acts. Restaurants in town are excellent and coffee shops exist on almost every corner. Bookstores, art galleries, boutiques, and the farmer’s market are great for local shopping and within an hour’s drive there are Galleria malls and outlets. Detroit is a relatively short drive from Ann Arbor, with its museums, sports complexes, music scene, restaurants and casinos.
In short, Ann Arbor is a medium-sized town with a lot to offer. It’s no New York, and yes, it’s cold, but it’s a great place to be. We know: this was written by several IPAMAA students who’ve lived here for five or six years!