Jump to content
Guest wolverine

Ann Arbor, MI

Recommended Posts

has anyone ever commuted from closer to detroit? i'm hoping to move about halfway between aa and detroit, but am worried about the commute (for me and my boyfriend, who is hoping to work in detroit)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/2/2017 at 12:27 AM, jmillar said:

Has anyone who received a Munger contract received their apartment number? Move in is a month away and it would be good to know my shipping address.

Do you remember when you received your Munger contract last year? I also applied for August move-in, for this year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, kiyokuro21 said:

Do you remember when you received your Munger contract last year? I also applied for August move-in, for this year. 

It was around May 20th, for starting in September.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!

I recently got accepted to UMich to pursue a MSW. I'm a Canadian student, and I don't know anyone in Ann Arbor.

Could someone share their thoughts on the Munger residence? I'm thinking of living there for my first year. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son has applied to live in Munger for 2018-19, along with Northwood.  He has not heard back yet.  Many things about Munger look awesome.  It's brand new with awesome amenities at a great location right by the Student Union and West Quad.  They are six or seven-bedroom apartments, with roommates selected from different graduate disciplines.  This appeals to my son.  He will be pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering but has many other interests.  Most of his college friends are not engineering majors.  But he is concerned about sharing a kitchen with five or six other students.  He likes to cook and worries about access to the kitchen facilities, cleanliness, and the willingness of roommates to pitch in and work together.  Tragedy of the Commons.

One other issue is that unlike Northwood, there is no student parking.  If you have a car, figure on another $165/month for a parking permit in one of two garages about three blocks north of Munger.

The building was a gift from John Munger, a billionaire Michigan alum, and his wife Nancy.  They also funded a similar graduate dorm at Stanford, Nancy Munger's college.

Edited by Beaudreau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for Munger residence, as a part of an application, what is the waiting time after you apply? and if they provide me contract, do I have the option to accept/reject it?

what are the other good option as I have only one month to find a room?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey so, kind of a weird post but wondering if anyone else kicking around A2 has some insight. I've been here since Fall 2016 and living in an apt on the Old West Side with a couple of different roomies and most recently with my husband who finally made it over from the UK (ask me about J1/ J2 visas, go ahead!!). We've kind of outgrown the outdated 2-bedroom shittily-insulated apartment life and are planning to move sometime next summer (our lease is up Aug 18th 2019). We're torn between trying to look for a little single-family home with at least 3 bedrooms or 2 bedrooms and a basement (for us and our future catchildren) that's in budget - easier said than done - OR for a pet-friendly condo that has at least 3 bedrooms/ 2 beds+basementy type space.

We're okay with moving further out from downtown than we are currently - my husband is a young professional and I'll be a candidate next year so will have much less coursework/ fewer reasons to be on campus. We'd ideally like something that also has an exercise room since we are paying monthly at the YMCA and could cut that cost out and re-deploy that money towards rent for a place that includes it. 

Do you live in a hip and cool and good condo complex? We were looking at Arbor Landings, but saw a lot of reviews that complained about poor maintenance response time. Tell me about your dang cool condo experiences. But not if it's $2K a month pls :(

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have experience with Haven of Ann Arbor? I'll be moving to AA in early August and I'm looking for a one or two bedroom apartment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, does anyone have any tips for job searching in Ann Arbor? I'm tossing around going to UM but my partner isn't sure she'll be able to find work there. She works at an education nonprofit now and has K12 teaching experience but would like to work in higher ed. Any help would be much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2019 at 10:19 AM, apex45 said:

Hey, does anyone have any tips for job searching in Ann Arbor? I'm tossing around going to UM but my partner isn't sure she'll be able to find work there. She works at an education nonprofit now and has K12 teaching experience but would like to work in higher ed. Any help would be much appreciated!

What kind of work would your partner like to do in higher ed? Getting a job at the University could be one way to go: http://careers.umich.edu/search/

Otherwise, you could look into nearby universities: Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 2/24/2019 at 1:19 PM, apex45 said:

Hey, does anyone have any tips for job searching in Ann Arbor? I'm tossing around going to UM but my partner isn't sure she'll be able to find work there. She works at an education nonprofit now and has K12 teaching experience but would like to work in higher ed. Any help would be much appreciated!

What is her education? What is her background?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for housing/area recommendations with no breed or weight restrictions for dogs.  I also have two cats, and am having trouble finding a place that either doesn't have breed restrictions or a two-pet limit.  I'd like to be within walking/biking distance to campus (International Studies MA so I'm not quite sure what part of campus those classes will be on yet) but I also don't mind a short commute.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/13/2019 at 3:24 AM, JennyGoat said:

Looking for housing/area recommendations with no breed or weight restrictions for dogs.  I also have two cats, and am having trouble finding a place that either doesn't have breed restrictions or a two-pet limit.  I'd like to be within walking/biking distance to campus (International Studies MA so I'm not quite sure what part of campus those classes will be on yet) but I also don't mind a short commute.  

You are better looking outside of AA. I found a few apartments in Ypsilanti that meet your requirements. You need to be willing to take public transit, which is not bad in comparison to the rest of the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 3/12/2019 at 4:24 PM, JennyGoat said:

Looking for housing/area recommendations with no breed or weight restrictions for dogs.  I also have two cats, and am having trouble finding a place that either doesn't have breed restrictions or a two-pet limit.  I'd like to be within walking/biking distance to campus (International Studies MA so I'm not quite sure what part of campus those classes will be on yet) but I also don't mind a short commute.  

Try calling Wickfield Properties, I don't think they have a two-pet limit but I'm not sure. I am actually looking for someone to take over my lease with them for a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom near campus (2nd and William) either June 1st or July 1st so if you find out that they accept more than two and you're interested in talking about that more, let me know! I'll DM you too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone, 

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! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2019 at 8:33 AM, Onwarrdz said:

Hi everyone, 

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! 

 

 

Congrats on getting into UMich and starting your new journey. I just finished my PhD there last August and was living there for 6 years so I feel like I am in a good position to offer some words of advice. I have no idea your gender/age so you may or may not be able to relate to me, but I am a 35 year old male. I grew up in California and have mostly lived in big cities. Most notably I lived in LA for 8 years before moving to Boston to do my Masters for 3 years, and then Ann Arbor after that. I currently live in San Diego. So I do consider myself a big city person and I never pictured myself living in a small midwestern town before considering Ann Arbor. I'll detail more answers below, but I'll give you the conclusions right now. I absolutely loved my time in Ann Arbor and I miss it already. Now, I will say that I am not sure I could live in Ann Arbor for the rest of my life, particularly because of my industry, and also because my friends family are mostly in California, but honestly if I was absolutely forced to live there forever, I could make it work and live a happy and fulfilling life. Living there for 6 years was the right amount of time for me and I thoroughly enjoyed my entire experience there.

Now, the most important words of advice I can give you are "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". What I mean by this is you have to accept that Ann Arbor will in no way compare to the big city offerings (e.g. restaurants, clubs, bars, number of stores, number of events, etc) of London, Toronto, or NYC. And don't let any locals try to convince you otherwise. BUT, you may learn that isn't a negative thing. By giving up the sheer number of offerings of big cities, you gain a ton in other lifestyle options that may or may not be more important to you. So going back to the "When in Rome" phrase, I am a firm believer that if you are open-minded and willing to adapt to your new home, you can learn to love it in a different way than your past homes, and you might end up loving it just as much if not more. But that is completely on you and your attitude. The worst thing you can do is spend all your time dwelling on all the big city things you are "missing" when you are there. That is a nasty trap. I fell for it the first time I made my big move from LA to Boston and it hindered me from embracing my new city because I just kept making comparisons. Once I gave that up and stopped comparing, I learned to embrace the differences and figure out why those differences don't have to be negative. That completely shaped my attitude which then shaped my experiences. I didn't make that same mistake when I moved to Ann Arbor. Instead, I immediately got there and tried to figure out what lifestyle changes made Ann Arbor so special and then adapted those into my experiences. I really want to emphasize the importance of this paragraph because I can already tell from your post that you are fighting against what Ann Arbor doesn't have instead of realizing what new things you will learn. 

For me, what I came to love about Ann Arbor was the small town charm. I never understood that before living there. I always thought I needed a big city with endless options to be happy. Well I found out I don't. I learned that giving up billions of options meant I got to focus on smaller number of things, but in a much deeper way and with much richer quality. An example of this is the weekly Kerrytown Farmer's Market. It is a wonderful Farmer's Market and because of the smaller size town, it means that a high percentage of people attend. That means you get to run into familiar faces often, catch up with people you haven't talked to for a bit, and build relationships with a community. I used to make it a habit of stopping into the Kerrytown grocery store that has a sandwich shop and the cook there is amazing. I would just chat with him while he was cooking my food and it became a regular thing such that we would talk about travels, music, whatever. Those random relationships are easy to build in a small community that I never appreciated before. 

Similarly, things like bars and restaurants become more personal. In big cities you have so many choices that you tend to make a huge list of all the restaurants you want to check out, which is a ton of fun for sure, but at the same time it often means you never go back to the same places (even if you loved the food) because you have so many other places on your list to get to. I'm a foodie and I'm guilty of this. But in Ann Arbor you have fewer options, and that gives you the opportunity to make a spot your own. You will develop your own favorites, go there regularly, try more things on the menu, argue with your friends why this spot is special to you, etc. Like you have a deeper connection with a place and it means more to you. There is a wonderful charm in that. There's also the benefits of not needing reservations for places and not having to wait an hour to sit down. You can literally call your friends for a casual dinner and everyone can get into town within 15 minutes (whether by bus, car, or walk) and go straight into a restaurant and get seated. 

The other thing that really awakened new experiences for me was the nature aspect. I noticed you didn't mention this in your post, and I didn't think that much about it previously either. But if you have lived in cities your entire life, I urge you to spend some time tracing your roots back to nature. Ann Arbor is simply beautiful. It is littered with parks and an awesome river that flows through the middle of it. There are little trails all along this river and you can spend hours getting lost in serene places while rarely running into other humans. You will probably encounter more deer in these areas then you will people. I picked up both trail running and mountain biking because of this. And then I got into road cycling because you can actually ride on quiet country roads across miles of farmland with very light car traffic. And what is great about these things is that they aren't a destination that you have to plan for. These places are right outside your door. You can be outside and in the heart of nature within a few blocks of campus. And if you really want to experience the joy of real wilderness, take a trip to the Upper Peninsula. That area is one of my absolute favorite places in the country. It is so remote and a place you would never really visit unless you lived in Michigan. And again, I wasn't necessarily a huge nature person before getting to Ann Arbor, but that is a big part of the lifestyle and something so easy to embrace when there. 

Finally, I'll leave you with some practical and logistical words of advice. Yes, you can live in Ann Arbor without a car. Personally, I always owned a car because I like the freedom of getting out on a whim and I just love traveling around, but I did keep my daily driving to a minimum. If you go sans car, opt to live as close to campus as you can afford. Living in walking distance will really make your day to day life easier, particularly in the winter time. The bus system is actually pretty decent, but it doesn't run super late and they become fairly infrequent (like once an hour or half hour) once you get to early evening. Also, living nearby downtown will just make your social life easier since you won't know anyone when you move there. And once winter comes it gets so much harder to motivate yourself to go out and do things if you are living further away, don't have a car, and have to rely on standing outside in the bitter cold for a bus to arrive.

And I know you mentioned not caring about sports. But I advise you to ponder that a bit and consider why you don't like sports. Just because it was never your thing before doesn't mean it can never become a part of your life if you are open-minded. Part of the fun of being at UMich is school spirit. Would your interest be different if all your friends were into sports and going to games? Have you ever thought about the social aspect of it? There are lots of people that don't necessarily care about the team itself, but there is a lot of fun in just hanging out with friends in a lively environment while day drinking and laughing. I just advise that you don't automatically write off sports when you are there. It is undoubtedly a part of the lifestyle of UMich and it might mean more to you when you are there and feel a sense of community around it.  See if there's an aspect of it that you can get into.

As far as social stuff, yes there are places to dance. There are clubs that do have "club" type of dancing. But there's also salsa and swing clubs as well if you really want to do more serious dancing. And yes, there are plenty of vegetarian options. A lot of my best friends at UMich were vegetarian. There is a pretty big farm-to-table scene there and a lot of emphasis on fresh foods. Ann Arbor can be quite hipsterish so you won't have a hard time finding good food, coffee, and drinks. There won't be a dozen Indian restaurants or anything, but there will be a handful, and the best ones (Cardamom) won't be far off the best ones you can find in big cities. And yes, there are plenty of bars that are not just sports bars. Check out The Last Word or The Ravens Club. There is also a really vibrant art scene there. Google Ann Arbor Art Fair. That fair is on par with many big city art fairs. Also, look into UMich's "Passport to the arts" program. As a student you will be able to pick up free tickets to many different art performances, movies, musicals, etc. Check out UMich's School of Music, Theater, and Dance calendar. Look at how many events are free. You can literally walk in and sit down on a live performance without any tickets or anything. And these things are going on a daily basis, right in the heart of campus. For bigger and more professional performances, check out UMS as there are lots of famous performers that come through (e.g. Yo-yo Ma) and there are discounted student tickets available for most shows.  

Hopefully that reply helps settle your anxiety a bit. Again, just be open-minded and you will be fine. I tried to give more general outlook advice here, but if you have more questions or want more specific names of places you can shoot me a message. Best of luck on your upcoming journey!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2019 at 11:33 AM, Onwarrdz said:

Hi everyone, 

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! 

 

 

Heya! I'm a Torontonian living in Ann Arbor and I'm super happy here actually. I eventually want to settle in a big city but this place is honestly perfect for me for grad school - I get my work done, but I usually find something fun to do when I have time. 

1) The poster above said this already, but it's really nice being so close to nature. You can get to the Arboretum super easily and have a nice walk. Do you love KAYAKING? Well you should LEARN TO because you can kayak here and it's FUN AF. (You can even go down the cascades and capsize like my husband and I did. Really really fun. Except for when he realized he had left his phone in his pocket...)

2) This is a great place to be a vegetarian or a vegan. You will have zero problems. There's a huge veg scene here (look up The Lunch Room, Vedge Cafe) and great options at nearly every regular restaurant too.

3) There are some nice bars that aren't sports bars. My personal favourites are Last Word, Arbor Brewing Company, Mash, Raven's Club. The undergrads hang out usually in very specific parts of campus and I honestly can't say I cross pass with them often off campus. I live on the Old West Side as well and on my street it's mostly grad students and young professionals, and some families too. (If you're looking for an affordable 2-bedroom apartment really close to campus that's ideal for someone without a car, let me know; I'm trying to find someone to take over my lease)

4) Don't underestimate Detroit. There are great museums, there are great restaurants, and there's a really cheap quick bus to get there. Food scene in Dearborn is great - a little less accessible without a car but also, you will make friends who have cars for sure.  

5) Really easy to get to Chicago on the train or bus! 

6) I'm busy tonight so I can't write a longer post but please get in touch if you want to talk more. Always happy to meet other Canadians here in A2.

7) Congratulations and welcome! If you're in need of friends, I'm a chatterbox and love friends. My husband (who's British) and I have a car. Let's hang out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, ciistai said:

Heya! I'm a Torontonian living in Ann Arbor and I'm super happy here actually. I eventually want to settle in a big city but this place is honestly perfect for me for grad school - I get my work done, but I usually find something fun to do when I have time. 

1) The poster above said this already, but it's really nice being so close to nature. You can get to the Arboretum super easily and have a nice walk. Do you love KAYAKING? Well you should LEARN TO because you can kayak here and it's FUN AF. (You can even go down the cascades and capsize like my husband and I did. Really really fun. Except for when he realized he had left his phone in his pocket...)

2) This is a great place to be a vegetarian or a vegan. You will have zero problems. There's a huge veg scene here (look up The Lunch Room, Vedge Cafe) and great options at nearly every regular restaurant too.

3) There are some nice bars that aren't sports bars. My personal favourites are Last Word, Arbor Brewing Company, Mash, Raven's Club. The undergrads hang out usually in very specific parts of campus and I honestly can't say I cross pass with them often off campus. I live on the Old West Side as well and on my street it's mostly grad students and young professionals, and some families too. (If you're looking for an affordable 2-bedroom apartment really close to campus that's ideal for someone without a car, let me know; I'm trying to find someone to take over my lease)

4) Don't underestimate Detroit. There are great museums, there are great restaurants, and there's a really cheap quick bus to get there. Food scene in Dearborn is great - a little less accessible without a car but also, you will make friends who have cars for sure.  

5) Really easy to get to Chicago on the train or bus! 

6) I'm busy tonight so I can't write a longer post but please get in touch if you want to talk more. Always happy to meet other Canadians here in A2.

7) Congratulations and welcome! If you're in need of friends, I'm a chatterbox and love friends. My husband (who's British) and I have a car. Let's hang out!

Actually I want to add now that I'm taking a break from work. You can get to Detroit with the Detroit Connector, a bus that costs like $6 each way and runs pretty regularly. The centre of town is indeed walkable (you must have been in a different part of town, probably down Washtenaw Ave) and transit isn't bad. Obviously snow affects it but honestly even in terrible snowstorms I've been able to get around fine. Sometimes it is more reliable than the TTC lol. Ubers are also not bad here and since this isn't a huge place it's not expensive to take an Uber across town. 

Aside from promo-ing my own place (though the deal is really good), the area where I live, the Old West Side, doesn't seem to be home to many undergrads. There are a lot of neighbourhoods like this - Water Hill is another. Those are some good neighbourhoods if you want to avoid the fraternity/ sorority kids, be in walking distance of downtown and everything central, and also afford your rent. Burns Park also seems to be popular and a lot of the streets off Packard too (though you're more likely to get undergrads down that way).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Onwarrdz I am relocating to Ann Arbor from Berlin, Germany, and share your concerns about a more parochial living experience. The academic program is excellent but I have a hard time conjuring enthusiasm for Ann Arbor. The university-area rental stock is in terrible shape and incredibly expensive. As far as I could tell during my visit, there are no major grocery store or useful stores in the downtown, meaning one has to bus/drive just to get day-to-day necessities. We are currently car-free and want to remain that way, but it seems impossible to do so given the town's infrastructure. 

I'm sure I'll find elements of small-town living that are enjoyable and appreciate what others have laid out, but ugh, I'm dreading this move. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, ExileFromAFutureTime said:

@Onwarrdz I am relocating to Ann Arbor from Berlin, Germany, and share your concerns about a more parochial living experience. The academic program is excellent but I have a hard time conjuring enthusiasm for Ann Arbor. The university-area rental stock is in terrible shape and incredibly expensive. As far as I could tell during my visit, there are no major grocery store or useful stores in the downtown, meaning one has to bus/drive just to get day-to-day necessities. We are currently car-free and want to remain that way, but it seems impossible to do so given the town's infrastructure. 

I'm sure I'll find elements of small-town living that are enjoyable and appreciate what others have laid out, but ugh, I'm dreading this move. 

 

I really think you guys are unnecessarily stressing out about being disappointed with Ann Arbor. before you even giving it a chance I can honestly tell you that throughout my time there and since I have talked to literally hundreds of people that have spent time living in Ann Arbor and not once have I heard anyone say they were miserable and regretted being there. That's not exaggeration. Though I have heard people regret their time at my other universities, UCLA and Boston University, two cities which many people are excited to be in.  

Yes, rent near the university is priced relatively high in comparison to surrounding neighborhoods. But keep in mind those "higher" prices are still way below the prices you would pay in any major city. The rent in downtown Ann Arbor is literally about half of what I paid in LA, Boston, and now in San Diego. It is all relative. And like everything else in life, you have to make compromises. If you want to live in downtown you get the benefit of walking to campus and downtown, but at the expense of not being by any major grocery stores and paying higher rent. If you prioritize low cost and being closer to bigger chain stores, than living in the surrounding neighborhoods is the better choice. But that also doesn't mean you can't make it work living in downtown without a car. I would say most people living in downtown go without a car and do just fine. I spent some time living in Kerrytown myself and while I owned a car, I never drove it day to day. Regarding groceries, I shopped a lot at Kerrytown farmer's market on Saturdays for produce, and then for other stuff I would often go to the Kerrytown Market or the People's Co-op. Both will be a little more expensive than a large chain store like Kroger or Meijer, but you are paying for the convenience of a small, local market. They will have all of the common grocery items you would want. But if you want to do bulk shopping at Kroger or Meijer, you can easily sign up for zipcar and rent out cars by the hour, use Uber/Lyft (very plentiful), or take the bus. Both the city bus and the blue bus are free for students. The blue bus even has convenient stops in downtown that go to North Campus and drop you off across the street from the Kroger on Plymouth. That's probably about a 15 minute bus ride. Super easy. Also, if you are into cycling at all I would highly recommend getting a bike. Ann Arbor is a great cycling town and it is easy to bike around and get to the grocery stores as well. I know people that cycled all throughout the winter time too. 

If you decide you want to prioritize saving money and being closer to chain stores, I highly recommend looking at Ypsilanti area off Washtenaw or the Old West Side area off Jackson and Maple. I lived in both those areas and both have really easy bus access to campus and both have really easy access to a Kroger. Ypsi even has easy access to Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Both are about a 20-30 min bus ride to campus depending on where you are exactly. I know the bus doesn't sound as appealing as walking to campus, but there are pros and cons. The major pro of the bus is that during the wintertime I would rather sit on a heated bus for 30 min than walk for 15 min outside while it is snowing and windy. If you aren't familiar with Ann Arbor's winter, there will typically be snow on the ground from November to April, nearly half the year. So consider that as well.  

Bottom line, it is really easy to make Ann Arbor fit your desired living situation. If you want to be downtown, there are plenty of options for getting around and you can easily be fine without a car. There's a ton of nightlife and restaurant options and I would argue that one of the best parts of living out there is taking advantage of all the good restaurants and nightlife. But if you are in a low income situation and want to save money, you don't have to live in downtown. The surrounding neighborhoods are also great and have lots to offer. And again, if you are willing to take the bus, ride a bike, catch an Uber/Lyft, you can still get by without a car if that is important to you. 

Also, keep in mind that Ann Arbor is very small. So when you are zoomed in on Google Maps worrying out about how "far" grocery stores are, really consider the actual distance. Most people would consider the Old West Side area to be the western border of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti would represent the eastern border. The distance from Old West Side to Ypsilanti is about 5 miles. That's it. You could literally bike from border to border in like 20 min. And UMich campus falls right in the middle of the two, so you are talking about being 2-3 miles away from campus if you are living outside of downtown. That scale is entirely different than what you are used to in Berlin. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son's favorite undergraduate professor at Texas A&M is from Tokyo.  He absolutely loved his PhD studies in Ann Arbor, saying that it was the best five years of his life.  Now my son has followed his example and is just finishing up his first year in Ann Arbor for his PhD in aerospace engineering.  My son loves Ann Arbor.  He lives on the old west side area discussed above and walks to Kroger (even with his car).  Next year he is moving into a house with new friends in the Kerrytown area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a quick question about housing. I found an apartment in Ypsilanti for August 1. I held the apartment and I'm waiting on the landlord to send me the rental contract, so I'm starting to get a bit nervous about not having a place come August. How easy is it to find housing in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti in July for an August move in date?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Tigla said:

I have a quick question about housing. I found an apartment in Ypsilanti for August 1. I held the apartment and I'm waiting on the landlord to send me the rental contract, so I'm starting to get a bit nervous about not having a place come August. How easy is it to find housing in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti in July for an August move in date?

From asking graduate students my own experience (been looking and asking), not easy at all especially in Ann Arbor. You'll have to pretty much have to keep checking for openings and 99% of decent places have near 100% occupancy. There have been quite a few openings in Ypsilanti though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/28/2019 at 12:48 AM, Tigla said:

I have a quick question about housing. I found an apartment in Ypsilanti for August 1. I held the apartment and I'm waiting on the landlord to send me the rental contract, so I'm starting to get a bit nervous about not having a place come August. How easy is it to find housing in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti in July for an August move in date?

I actually think those months are very doable to find temporary housing because there are a ton of summer sublets available. You could always do something like that while you lock down more permanent options. If you are flexible with where you live and especially if you are open to Ypsi I found there were lots of housing options available. And I don't think you need to get too nervous at this point. This is about the time that current residents in apartments are deciding if they are going to stay for the next year or not. I know when I moved around to different apartment complexes I would usually find places around this time of year, turn in applications, put a deposit down, and then be told I have a spot in the complex, but they didn't know where yet. They would have to wait til mid summer to let me know the exact unit I would get based on who is moving out. That pattern happened in like 3 different places I moved to so don't be surprised if you go through something similar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.