Lansing is an epicenter for thriving culture, entertainment, business, and even LGBT pride; every single year in August, the Michigan Pride festival’s parade extends from the Riverfront Park in Niles, MI all the way to Lansing. Additionally, the Capital City African American Cultural Association hosts a parade in Lansing every year as well.
Located right next to East Lansing, home of the Michigan State University Spartans, Lansing is home to many of the most prominent and beloved businesses in the entire state of Michigan. Biggby Coffee, one of the most popular local coffee chains in Michigan, is headquartered in Lansing. Elderly Instruments, a music retail outlet, is considered an instrument & record “megastore” and is a favorite among the local musicians.
Lansing is also home to a number of specialized city museums, including the Impression 5 Center, a children’s science center, the Lansing Art Gallery, which is Lansing’s oldest museum, and the Michigan Library and Historical Center.
The city is also no stranger to an excellent palette of an eclectic musical oeuvre. The city annually hosts the Old’s Town Festival of the Moon and Sun, a two day festival celebrating local music with food and drink. A notable community philharmonic, known as the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, is a local favorite as well.
Of course, the Lansing Jazzfest is one of the state’s largest and most well-known festivals.
2. Ann Arbor
One of the most iconic cities in the entire United States, Ann Arbor consistently ranks as among the best cities in the country for a number of categories. Some recent rankings Ann Arbor has enjoyed include being #1 for “Small American Cities of the Future” by fDi magazine, #1 for Most Intelligent College Towns In America by ZoomTens, and #13 for Top 100 Cities to Live In by website Livability.
Home to the University of Michigan and its nationally renowned Wolverines, Ann Arbor is a pocket of cultural & artistic diversity, making it one of the best places not just in Michigan for college students, but in the entire country for any young professional or family.
The city is named after its legendary Nichols Arboretum, an expansive, 123-acre natural park located between the university’s Central and Northern campuses. Free and open to the public, the arboretum is a favorite for the city’s residents and tourists, as it includes open fields, intense scenes of greenery, and even a man-made stage that some people use for special events, such as weddings.
Outside of the arboretum, the city is home to a number of dazzling events that the residents regularly participate in. One such event is the Ann Arbor Film Festival, a leading gathering of works of moving image artists in the midwest. Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, and George Lucas all had early works showcased at this festival, which is the third-oldest film festival in the country.
Perhaps the most loved cultural experience in Ann Arbor is its four-week “Top of the Park” summer festival, where local, national, and international entertainers collectively gather to display for thousands of residents and tourists.
If you have ever been to Kalamazoo, you know that the city is the perfect combination of comfortable, classic midwestern family city and exciting sprawl of student and diversely artistic life.
Simply put: Kalamazoo is the best city to live in Michigan.
One of the hallmarks of Kalamazoo that makes it ideal for any family to claim residency is its unique promise to all of its residents. For students seeking to attend any public or community college or university within the entire state of Michigan, the Kalamazoo city government will pay the entirety of the student’s tuition. Known as the Kalamazoo Promise, this program is among the most unique in all of America.
Research published by the Upjohn Institute has shown that the Kalamazoo Promise has successfully encouraged & continually increased college enrollment and active participation for attending college. The researchers concluded that the economic benefits of the Kalamazoo Promise have had substantially positive impacts for the students and families that have benefitted.
But let’s not stop at just the Kalamazoo Promise…
Outside of this historic program, Kalamazoo is imbibed with ripe culture that can suit anyone’s taste who lives in the city. The city’s Art Council hosts an event known as “Art Hop” – at Art Hop, businesses and galleries display work by local artists on the first Friday of every month.
The city is also home to Western Michigan University, a leading university that was recently ranked in the top 100 by Washington Monthly in its 2015 college guide. The school is particularly notable for its Law School, Medical School, and Jazz Performance program at the university’s School of Music.
Other regional attractions include several theatre groups, including the Kalamazoo Civic Players, New Vic Theatre, and Farmer’s Alley Theatre. The city also hosts a famous Animation Festival every other year at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Combining the vibrant artistic culture, classic midwestern feeling, ebullient student life, and a tuition-free college promise to all of its high school graduating residents, Kalamazoo should be considered not just the best city to live in Michigan, but among the top 10 in all of America.
Featured Image by Michigan Municipal League Via Flickr Creative Commons