Would anyone be able to provide me with any encouraging words about moving to Ann Arbor? I'm starting my PhD there in the fall and am really having a hard time looking forward to moving to a small town.
For reference, I'm Canadian and I've lived in Toronto and NYC, and am currently living in London. I don't drive and am not really in a financial position to buy a car and start doing it. I'm really used to being able to take super easy transit all around a city and having lots of interesting cultural things to do or tons of different restaurants and nightlife destinations, and just generally being in a big city. I've visited once last year for a few days, and found the whole thing a bit claustrophobic. I'm just really not a small town person.
I'm trying to do research into it and I'm not really finding much to work with. The internet just keeps telling me it's a family friendly place (I'm finding this hard to take as anything other than it's boring, things close early and there are a lot of children around), easily walkable (this did not seem to be the case when I was there--there were so many highways and roads with no sidewalks and I swear 1/3 of the land was just parking lots), and better than other small towns in the Mid-West (which I can't help thinking is a bit of a low bar in this respect). Unfortunately I'm not really in to college sports either, so that whole thing is lost on me. It also seems difficult to get to other place around Ann Arbor without a car. The only option to Detroit was the Greyhound? And none of this seems to be made up by cheap rental prices either, given the captive market of students.
People seem not to hate Ann Arbor though, so I feel like maybe I'm missing something. Is there an arts scene at all? What are the bars like (that aren't sports bars)? Are there areas that aren't crawling with undergrad frat boys? Is the food scene any good (I'm vegetarian)? Any good places to go dancing? Does everyone just take ubers and they're super cheap or something?
I mean, I guess it's only a four hour train to Chicago, but that's hardly commuting distance.
Does anyone have anything to say that makes the next 5+ years of my life seem less like a yawning expanse of boredom and me trying desperately to spend time elsewhere?
Would really appreciate any tips at all!