15 Best Places to Live in Michigan

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

Michigan is famous for being the bedrock of America’s auto industry, but the Great Lake State is as perfect a state as they come. Leave the harsh long winters aside, although you could start looking at the glass half full if you lived here long enough.

For starters, Michigan has such an abundant natural beauty that is hard to match.

No other state lays claim to such a wide stretch of freshwater shoreline as Michigan and its 3,000 miles of shore, with a million-and-one family-friendly attractions naturally built to encourage an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Everyone here happens to live within six miles of either a stream or a lake, but this should come as no surprise given the state has an astounding 11,000 inland lakes.

From millions of acres of forests, to thousands of miles of scenic trails, golf courses and ski areas, 100 parks and recreation areas less one, and close to 10 million acres of public land, Michigan has it all.

Even Popular Science magazine has given it a seal of approval by noting that Michigan will be the best place to live in America by the year 2100.

But its draw extends beyond the natural charm.

Well-paying jobs and high-quality education are a recurrent theme in Michigan. The 13th largest state economy by GDP is home to the University of Michigan, ranked fourth best public university in America by the U.S. News & World Report.

This is a state not short of well-paying jobs in sectors such as technology, professional and business services – trade, utilities, construction and transportation – not to mention leisure and hospitality.

Add one of the lowest cost of living in the Midwest to that equation, and it is not hard to see why Michigan remains a hot destination for tourists and potential residents alike.

Here then, are the 15 best places to live in Michigan for anyone looking to relocate in/to the Water Winter Wonderland.

1. Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MichiganSource: grego1402 / Flickr
Ann Harbor

This university town in Michigan is a culinary hot spot and makes the top of our list as one of the best places to live in Ann Arbor. Known for their creativity, the town of Ann Arbor has an abundance of events, retail, food, and music.

The town of Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan and has the largest football stadium in the United States called “The Big House.” Residents living in Ann Arbor enjoy their annual Art Fair, which is the largest art fair in the United States.

You can access any area of Ann Arbor by car, even though it can become congested during rush hour traffic. For residents without a car, Ann Arbor has a public bus service that makes traveling convenient for its residents. The community of Ann Arbor is safe, walkable, and bike-friendly

Throw in first-rate schools, beautiful neighborhoods and a happening downtown to that assortment, and what you have is the best place you can possibly live in Michigan.

That’s right, the livability of Ann Arbor hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rankings that be because this, this is the no. 1 Best City to Live in America, according to the 2017 rankings by data company Niche.

Some of the accolades the area has received recently include the country’s most educated city, one of the best cities for liberals in America, one of the best places to live for singles (families too), as well as the top travel destination in the Midwest.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Ann Arbor are:

  • Michigan Stadium
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art
  • Michigan Theater
  • Ann-Arbor Hands On Museum
  • Kerrytown Market & Shops
  • Hudson Mills Metropark
  • Ann Arbor Farmers Market
  • Leslie Science and Nature Center
  • Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

2. Okemos

Okemos, MichiganSource: Donald Schaberg / Wikimedia

Located in Ingham County, you’ll find the city of Okemos. This charming downtown area has excellent schools, vibrant open parks, and offers something for residents of all ages.

While living in Okemos, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a beautiful community near Michigan State University. The city also has some of the best, award-winning restaurants and local shops at the Meridian Mall.

There are many safe parks in Okemos where children can run free for hours; a nature centre with several hiking trails and even a historical village that comes complete with a chapel that hosts weddings, a general store and fishing pond.

Okemos is also conveniently located within close proximity of many small farms that produce all the fresh produce recommended by your nutritionist.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Okemos are:

  • Meridian Mall
  • Harris Nature Center
  • Meridian Historical Village
  • Ferguson Park
  • Indian Hills Golf Course
  • Wonch Park

3. East Grand Rapids

East Grand Rapids, MichiganSource: davidwilson1949 / Flickr
East Grand Rapids

East Grand Rapids is located only ten miles east of Grand Rapids and is one of the best places to live in Michigan. It’s also been voted one of the top ten greatest cities to raise your children.

While living in East Grand Rapids, you’ll notice the well-maintained homes, gorgeous nature parks, and a thriving business district that helps create one of the best communities. One of the best places that residents enjoy is The Gaslight Village business district.

The Gaslight Village business district boasts several restaurants that are conveniently walkable. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Reeds Lake is a top favorite for avid kayakers, sunbathers, and fishermen. If you’re a family who enjoys the outdoors, East Grand Rapid is the perfect place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in East Grand Rapids are:

  • Fulton Street Market
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Fish Ladder Park
  • John Collins Park
  • John Ball Zoo
  • Grand Rapids Downtown Market
  • Grand Rapids Children Museum
  • Manhattan Park
  • Reeds LakeWoodland Park

4. Birmingham

Birmingham, MichiganSource: Alexey Stiop / shutterstock

Situated between the city of Detroit and Pontiac, you’ll find the city of Birmingham, one of the best places to live in Michigan. Birmingham can easily be accessed from all major highways. With a population of around twenty thousand, Birmingham maintains its small suburban feel.

In Downtown Birmingham, you’ll be able to take advantage of plenty of business and cultural activities in this pedestrian-friendly area.

In addition, Birmingham also has many amenities, over twenty parks that offer many recreational opportunities to its residents. Their wooded trail system has convenient bike paths and the Rouge River, plenty to keep you occupied on nice warm days!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Birmingham are:

  • Emagine Palladium
  • Birmingham 8
  • Detroit Zoo
  • Quarton Lake
  • Cranbrook Art Museum
  • Henry Ford Museum of Innovation

5. Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, MichiganSource: Ken Lund / Flickr
Beverly Hills

Situated near Detroit and with a population of around eleven thousand people is the city of Beverly Hills Michigan. Beverly Hills, Michigan has many eye-catching parks that are excellent for enjoying outdoor fun. 

Known for its culture, the city of Beverly Hills also has many museums to appreciate the community’s culture. This amazing community offers more than just urban experience, it offers big city amenities.

The homes in Beverly Hills, Michigan are filled with charming characteristics on tree-lined streets and gorgeous winding roads. To help bring the community together, Beverly Hills also has special events, community parks, and riding stables

Living here is a safe choice, and the chances of you being the victim of property crime is a paltry 1 per cent.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Beverly Hills are:

  • Detroit Zoo
  • Booth Park
  • Beverly Hills Village Park
  • Creative Arts Studio
  • Diamond Jack’s River Tours

6. Novi

Novi, MichiganSource: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia

Novi is known to have one of the fastest-growing populations in the state of Michigan. Novi is also home to the Suburban Collection Showplace, which is the largest conference convention in the state of Michigan. 

In the city of Novi, you’ll find many educational institutions, making it a perfect location for families who are looking to relocate. While living in Novi, residents get to enjoy an abundance of activities such as splash pads and parks during the summer.

With its excellent schools and friendly communities, Novi is the perfect place to call home.

Novi is one of the fastest growing cities in Michigan, and it continues to attract a number of top employers, including the likes of Magna International and Ryder.

And oh, it is quite diverse too, boasting the highest Japanese population of any city in the Great Lake State. They number more than 2,600.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Novi are:

  • Emagine Novi
  • Twelve Oaks Mall
  • Paradise Park
  • Whirlyball Novi
  • Lakeshore Park
  • Novi Putting Edge
  • Novi Bowl Family Fun Center

7. Troy

Troy, MichiganSource: Cadiomals / Wikimedia

If you’re looking for a true place where families and businesses thrive, you’ll want to keep Troy on the top of your list as one of the best places to live in Michigan. Troy has been continuously recognized for its high-quality of life and made the list as Niche’s top ten best suburbs to live in Michigan.

Popular among its residents in Troy is the Troy Community Center that has workout equipment, an indoor aquatic facility, dance studio, and preschool area. They also have an outdoor community that has shuffleboard courts, walking and hiking trails, and childcare for its members.

If these factors rank high on your agenda, along with top-rated schools, beautiful homes, world-class dining and plenty of attractions, then the affluent town of Troy is just the ideal place for you.

There is also a historic village area in Troy which offers classes in log cabin cooking (talk about prepping!) woodcarving and blacksmithing.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Troy are:

  • Somerset Collection
  • Troy Historic Village
  • State Nature Center
  • Rising Phoenix Archery
  • Troy Family Aquatic Center
  • Detroit Zoo

8. Farmington Hills

Farmington Hills, MichiganSource: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia
Farmington Hills

Known as the second largest city in Oakland County, Farmington Hills is located in the upscale suburbs of Michigan. Farmington Hills has over six hundred acres of public park areas that include a splash pad and dog park area.

If you’re an avid golfer, Farmington is also home to the Farmington Hills Golf Club, a one hundred and seventy five acre golf course that has trees, fairways, ponds, and rolling hills.

Farmington is known for having pleasant neighborhoods, an abundance of shopping opportunities, and a historic district. To continue with its growth and development, the city of Farmington continues to keep its downtown area preserved and well-developed.

In addition to the aforementioned, there are multiple art galleries in the area, a vintage cinema and vibrant downtown.

What’s more, the overall crime rate is 66% lower than the national, and the area is safer than 80% of the cities in the United States.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Farmington are:

  • Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
  • Heritage Park
  • Perfect Game Bowling Alley
  • Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve
  • Woodland Hills Nature Park
  • Farmington Hills Nature Center
  • Farmington Hills Golf Club

9. Farmington

Farmington, Michigan on MapSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

Farmington is known as one of the wealthiest cities in the United States and one of the best places to live in Farmington. Within the city, there’s a population of around ten thousand residents, with the median housing value floating well below the national average

Farmington is famed for its historic district, Victorian-style homes and high-performing schools, factors that have all contributed to CNNMoney featuring it several times in its Best Places to Live survey.

The cost of living in Farmington reflects what is best about Michigan: such a high quality of life in relation to living costs.

Median home value in Farmington Hills is below average, cheaper than the national average. Same case with the rental prices.

Which means the annual household income of goes a longer way here in Farmington, considering the national average is around fifty thousand.

There is so much to love about this gorgeous suburb.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Farmington are:

  • Zap Zone Amusement Park
  • Zekelman Holocaust
  • Center
  • Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Farmington Civic Theater

10. Midland

Dow Gardens, Midland, MichiganSource: rickyd48740 / shutterstock

Midland is a town of 42,000 residents located in Midland County.

If you are on the hunt for a perfect setting that guarantees the benefits of city life without the stratospheric costs that go with it, Midland is just the place for you.

Most of the residents here ply their trade in the white collar sector, and that alone should give you a hint of the kind of place you can expect.

However, what goes contrary to expectation is the low cost of living in Midland. Like awesomely low.

Median home value is below average, which is about the cost of a decent three-bedroom three-bath single-family home! Rent itself averages is cheap, shaving 200 dollars off the national average.

Some of the biggest employers include Chemical Bank and Dow Corning, both of which are headquartered in this county seat.

Add a low crime rate to that mix and you will understand why Forbes named Midland, Michigan as a best small city to bring up a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Midland are:

  • Dow Gardens
  • The Tridge
  • Midland Center for the Arts
  • Down Diamond
  • Emerson Park
  • Midland Area Farmers Market
  • Plymouth Park

11. Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, MichiganSource: Michigan Municipal League (MML) / Flickr

Located in Michigan you’ll find the city of Kalamazoo, home to three colleges and universities, healthcare systems, affordable housing, and clean and safe communities. In Kalamazoo, you’ll find many parks, lakes, and golf courses.

Kalamazoo is also home to some of the top businesses such as medical science and craft and beer industries. The city of Kalamazoo is also popular for its music, visual arts, dancing, and performance theater

Homes here fetch way below the national average. The nightlife is buzzing, partly due to the presence of Western Michigan University.

The dining scene features everything from out of the way cafes, to the oldest microbrewery in the state, with a vibrant art scene as characterized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts which houses over than 3,600 works.

You will also find an indoor amusement park and aviation museum at Air Zoo, where you can get a good feel of how a WWII bombing mission would be like.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Kalamazoo are:

  • Kalamazoo Valley Museum
  • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
  • Kalamazoo State Theatre
  • Kalamazoo Farmers Market
  • River Valley Trail
  • Lawton Ridge Winery
  • Gilmore Car Museum

12. Northville

Northville, MichiganSource: Michigan Municipal League (MML) / Flickr

In Northville Michigan, you’ll find an abundance of gorgeous neighborhoods, a thriving business district, and excellent city schools. The city of Northville provides its residents with plenty of parks, walking trails, and historical landmarks.

For transportation, there are a vast amount of city roads and bike lanes for both exercising and commuting.

Top-class schools, low crime, beautiful surrounds, plenty of attractions and high salaries to match.

For its part, Northville is a gorgeous historic suburb ranked the 20th best place to live in Michigan by Niche.

It presents a wide array of choices for homebuyers, ranging from stately Victorian homes, to modern townhouses and condos, with residents taking home above average.

The Northville Art House will appeal to arts and culture enthusiasts what with its gallery exhibits and public classes. The city parks are well maintained and guarantee enough room for outdoor recreation aficionados who are into things swimming, biking or hiking; fishing even.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Northville are:

  • Maybury State Park
  • Tipping Point Theatre
  • Northville Downs
  • Northville Art House
  • Marquis Theatre
  • Garage Grill and Fuel Bar
  • The Northville Gallery
  • Northville Farmers Market
  • Maybury Riding Stable
  • Rotary Park

13. Rochester

Rochester, MichiganSource: Darren56brown / Wikimedia

Rochester Michigan is filled with natural beauty, water space, and is surrounded by rolling greenery. It has over three hundred and fifty shops, dining locations, and professional businesses.

This suburb of Detroit has a population of around thirteen thousand residents and is one of the best places to live in Rochester. The city of Rochester is known for its arts and culture, professional sports, and low cost of living.

The area scores a strong A+ for education on Niche.com, A- for jobs, A- for outdoor activities and A- for nightlife.

Crime is not as low as one would ideally want it to be, but there is a reason Rochester scores A+ on the “Good for Families” category.

Overall, it is a beautiful and amazing place, with plenty going on to keep its residents happy.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Rochester are:

  • Yates Cider Mill
  • Rochester Play
  • Rochester Hills Museum
  • Rochester Municipal Park
  • Classic Lanes
  • Hermitage Gallery
  • The Village of Rochester Hills
  • X-Golf Rochester Hills

14. Berkley

Berkeley, MichiganSource: BondRocketImages / shutterstock

Known for its small town charm, Berkley has a warm and loving atmosphere through its neighborhood. Berkley was the only city in Michigan that was named by Money Magazine as one of the top fifty best places to live in the United States in 2015.

Berkley continues to attract new residents with its excellent school system, entertainment, business opportunities, and healthcare

With a number of high-performing public schools and low crime, it is no surprise that many families choose to settle in this beautiful corner of Michigan.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Berkley are:

  • Detroit Zoo
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Yellow Door Art Market
  • Emagine Royal Oak
  • Legoland Discovery Center Michigan
  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
  • Toledo Zoo
  • Domino’s Farm Petting Farm

15. Plymouth

Plymouth, MichiganSource: Kenneth Sponsler / shutterstock

Rounding off our list of 15 best places to live in Michigan is Plymouth, a Detroit suburb with a population of about 9,000 people that you will find nestled in Wayne County.

Plymouth has some highly rated public schools that are one of the main draws to this area. It also boasts plenty of outdoor attractions for a town its size.

The scenic Hilltop Golf Course is a popular playground for golf lovers, while the Plymouth Riverside Park provides impeccable grounds to unwind or go for a stroll. The weekly farmers market is a great spot to congregate with neighbours.

Plymouth also hosts several events to keep everyone entertained, including the Taste of Plymouth and Art in the Park, not to mention posh boutiques and delightful eateries.

It is a beautiful community to be a part of; a community where homes sell for below average.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Plymouth are:

  • Penn Theatre
  • Plymouth Historical Museum
  • Kellogg Park
  • Plymouth Pub
  • Plymouth Township Park
  • Knockerball Michigan

15 Best Places to Live in Michigan:

  • Ann Arbor
  • Okemos
  • East Grand Rapids
  • Birmingham
  • Beverly Hills
  • Novi
  • Troy
  • Farmington Hills
  • Farmington
  • Midland
  • Kalamazoo
  • Northville
  • Rochester
  • Berkley
  • Plymouth