Want to know what it's like to retire in Ann Arbor?
My husband and I moved to Michigan over 35 years ago. Both being teachers and artists, we spent the first 25 years conducted workshops and retreats at our lake house just outside of Ann Arbor. Eventually, we purchased a small one bedroom apartment in Ann Arbor to be close to the city's vibrant art and cultural scene. After becoming a widow, I decided to retire full time to our apartment in Ann Arbor. My location is excellent because I am close to my friends and can walk to movies, concerts, and classes (which I take and I teach). Additionally, there is a world class hospital just down the street.
As the wife of a professor, I have an affinity for the college aged student. They bring a vibrant energy to the city. Besides having lots of exciting sports events and student performances, the university also has an extremely impressive University Musical Society that brings in top notch performances from all over the world. Nostalgically, I also enjoy the presence of many Tudor Style homes, which remind me of my childhood growing up on the East Coast. Generally, Ann Arbor has many of the impressive amenities that you’d expect from a much larger city – while at the same time, with a 20-minute drive, you can be out on a lake or driving through beautiful rolling countryside. Of course, many people who retire here choose to live out in the countryside. I just chose living in the city because I like being able to walk everywhere. I also appreciate that the city has a world class hospital where life changing research is going on and where I know my end of life care will be excellent.
Ann Arbor is an excellent city and consequently it is becoming quite popular. As a result, the traffic is getting bad and finding a parking spot can be difficult. It also has become somewhat expensive, both in the price of housing as well as the price of dining out. As I mentioned previously, I love the atmosphere created by the student body. However, the city is very integrated with the university, so if having 40,000 students running around nearby isn’t your style then you may want to consider somewhere else. Additionally, to state the obvious, Ann Arbor is located in Michigan and you have to be okay with winter. We definitely have all four seasons.
Ann Arbor has a strong liberal and intellectual background, and there is a spiritual atmosphere (especially among many of the older individuals who live here). This spiritual atmosphere does not necessarily always have a religious bent. Instead, many people enjoy meditating, yoga and similar activities.
Oh, the people are wonderful! They are certainly what I would miss the most. I honestly have hundreds of friends here. Being a college educated woman and someone who enjoys cultural events and so on, I really have found my group of people here. It has been very special for me to make such great friends.
While living in the city can be expensive, there are many other more affordable towns just outside of Ann Arbor. You can live in these nearby communities and get a lot of what Ann Arbor has to offer. These communities offer their own charm in the form of quintessential small towns (with cider mills, local restaurants, and close church communities). Additionally, if you want the ability to escape the busy nature of Ann Arbor, consider getting a place on a lake or in the countryside that surrounds the city. For those looking to maximize price and proximity, Ypsilanti is located just east of the city and provides both.
... check out Dorothyann's day in the life.