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Storage units in Ann Arbor, MI - 14 facilities available

Renter's Guide to Ann Arbor

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the City of Ann Arbor was the 6th largest city in the State of Michigan, with a recorded population of 113,934. However, considering that there are over 43,000 students at the University of Michigan, you begin to get the picture of this city being very much a college town.

In fact, the university has had a major influence on Ann Arbor since it moved its campus there from Detroit in 1837 - a short move, even at that time, given that the distance from Detroit to Ann Arbor is only 43 miles. Another popular Midwestern city, Chicago is approximately 240 miles from Ann Arbor. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to get to Chicago from Ann Arbor, consider taking a direct bus. A one-way fare costs between $24 and $32.

In general, the climate in Ann Arbor is greatly influenced by its proximity to the Great Lakes, with mid-summer high temperatures in the mid-80s and winter low temperatures that average in the upper 20s.

Cost of Living in Ann Arbor, MI

The cost of living in Ann Arbor, Michigan is quite reasonable and well below the national average, far less expensive than that of cities like New York. Ann Arbor public transportation covers both the cities of Ann Arbor and neighboring Ypsilanti Township and is quite extensive in blanketing the cities with reliable, affordable, and frequent bus service. Cash fares in 2016 were $1.50 but considerably less for students and seniors as well as for those who purchase passes.

Food costs are well below that of larger cities whether at the grocery store or eating out at a restaurant, where meals average $13 for an inexpensive meal and around $45 at a mid-range restaurant.

Utility costs for an approximate 900-square-foot apartment average about $150, which is slightly higher than most large cities, but Ann Arbor cable channels and Internet service are provided by a number of companies and monthly costs are very reasonable at around $43. In general, the cost of living in Ann Arbor is slightly above the national average.

Living in Ann Arbor

There are many pros to living in Ann Arbor. The city is regularly recognized in various annual rankings, the most recent being Esquire Magazine’s "The 15 U.S. Towns Most Worthy of a Day Trip" (#5), Nerdwallet’s "Best Cities for Women in the Workforce" (#7), and Forbes’ "Top 20 Happiest Cities To Work In Right Now" (#20), as well as repeatedly making Livability.com’s top ten list of college towns. However, as Livability has pointed out, it’s a great place to live over and above the college town atmosphere. Certainly, the diversity of Ann Arbor neighborhoods plays an important role and some of the best neighborhoods in Ann Arbor, such as the Bryant neighborhood just south of U.S. Interstate 94, are quite diverse.

Like many other cities, Ann Arbor’s downtown development has meant more residents in the city’s central business district, and along with a soon to be launched bike-share program, all contribute to improving Ann Arbor’s walkability score, making it easier for residents to live without a car.

As for the downsides, Ann Arbor weather in the winter can be challenging, but the city’s numerous cultural amenities and strong economy far outweigh the minor discomforts of cold and snow.

Things to do in Ann Arbor

Though Ann Arbor is a relatively small town, it certainly doesn’t lack in big-city sophistication, culture, and wonderful neighborhoods. With more than 150 parks and the beautiful Huron River flowing through town, the city boasts an abundance of hiking and cycling trails, as well as some of the best canoeing and kayaking along the nationally recognized Huron River water trail. Coupled with numerous golf courses in the area, any outdoor enthusiast is never short of things to do in Ann Arbor year round.

The cultural scene is certainly driven by the presence of the University of Michigan and its several performing arts groups and facilities on campus. However, there are numerous local arts groups that are not affiliated with the university, including the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, the Arbor Opera Theater, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, and the Ann Arbor Ballet Theater. Over 30 independent bookstores call this city home.

Whether you’re in the mood for a classic movie or the latest Hollywood blockbuster, there are plenty of nice movie theatres in town to get your popcorn-and-film fix. Rave on Carpenter and Quality 16 on Jackson (a 1/4 mile west of Wagner Rd.) are two of the best places in Ann Arbor for movie buffs, and if you don’t mind a 30-min drive to Canton, definitely check out Emagine (next to Home Depot on 39535 Ford Road).

Given so much to do in Ann Arbor one can certainly work up an appetite and the city has nearly 300 restaurants in the area to satisfy that appetite, including Ann Arbor’s most famous eatery - Zingerman's Deli. Included among some of the best Ann Arbor restaurants are just about every well-known ethnic palate from Asian to European to Middle Eastern to Mexican and Central American, along with popular pizza joints, steak houses, and traditional American fare. The variety and quality of the food at eateries such as Aventura, Pizza House, Sava’s, The Chop House, and No Thai! rival any found in many major metropolitan cities.

Families with kids in Ann Arbor will surely have a blast at German Park’s public picnic events. There is a $5 fee per person yet entrance is free for children aged 12 and below; in return, you’ll get to enjoy some delightful authentic German dinners and lively dance performances.

As for shopping options, check out Bivouac, a unique store selling a mix of Men’s and Women’s clothing and gear. When you’re ready for some real retail therapy, Kerrytown Market & Shops will give you that and more with its interesting collection of designer shops and quaint, locally-owned boutiques. Briarwood Mall is another good option, with approx. 120 stores including Macy's, JC Penney, Von Maur, Sears, Victoria's Secret, Apple, and Coach.

Throughout the year there is a plethora of festivals and events, including the award-winning Ann Arbor Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the annual Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and of course The Ark Ann Arbor - the ever popular, nationally recognized acoustic and folk music festival. Finally, not to be overlooked, is the fall tradition of Michigan Football, which takes over the city on numerous weekends from September through November and on any given Saturday brings in more than 100,000 people to Ann Arbor to tailgate and fill "The Big House" to watch “Big Blue” football.

Employment and Economy

The University of Michigan employs roughly 30,000 people and therefore is the city’s largest employer. Nevertheless, the Ann Arbor economy is quite diversified, offering jobs in Ann Arbor industries such as automotive research and development, life sciences and health care services and research, software development, education, and publishing. After the university, the largest employers are Trinity Health (5,800), General Motors Milford Proving Grounds (3,750), and the Ann Arbor Public School district (2,500). The City of Ann Arbor unemployment rate (3.2%) was one of the lowest of any city in the country, much less the State of Michigan.

Education in Ann Arbor

When it comes to higher education Ann Arbor may just be one of the most recognized cities in the country - being home to the University of Michigan. Founded in 1817 - a full 20 years before Michigan became a state - it is considered one of the leading research universities in the US. Its graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and its athletic program competes in Division I of the NCAA in the Big Ten Conference. Probably nothing defines Ann Arbor more than “Big Blue,” as the university is known.

Ann Arbor public schools are part of the Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) district and operates more than two dozen elementary as well as high schools. Ann Arbor is also home to several private schools, including the highly recognized Rudolf Steiner School, which offers a Waldorf education, and several charter schools.

Tips for Renting in Ann Arbor

The State of Michigan has a rather extensive tenants’ and landlords’ rights ordinance, with which anyone renting in Ann Arbor should familiarize themselves.

Ann Arbor is often referred to as "Tree Town" for the more than 50,000 trees that line the city streets. Many of the residential areas are in the heart of Ann Arbor where the University of Michigan is located and apartments and townhouses in this area are generally occupied by students or young professionals. Since much of the population is college educated, Ann Arbor is a great place to live if you're looking for a place with a high education standard.

Depending on where one has moved from, and the Ann Arbor neighborhood that one is moving into, the housing market may or may not be considered affordable, so be sure to do refer to an Ann Arbor neighborhood map and do some extensive research on the various neighborhoods before signing a lease.

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