What Bert Has To Say About Ann Arbor Metro Area
Ann Arbor is an important cultural center for Michigan. The University of Michigan and its campus dominate the scene both physically and culturally. The downtown has a pleasant small-town atmosphere with college-style restaurants, shopping, and entertainment and a couple of large medical complexes. Nearby wooded neighborhoods, especially to the northwest, offer excellent, if expensive, housing. Newer suburbs and commercial areas lie south. Many amenities, including spectator sports and museums, are provided by the university. Live music is abundant. The population’s educational attainment is among the top five nationwide. The area has a noted literary tradition, indirectly evidenced by the national bookseller Borders Group which makes its headquarters locally.
Aside from the university, economic activity is healthy with a mix of industries and research and development activities, many in the pharmaceutical and medical technology fields. The area has tight planning and growth controls; for example, corner convenience stores are relatively hard to find. This maintains the small college town feel but also drives up costs. Complex traffic arrangements make some parts of the city hard to get around. Nearby Detroit provides services and transportation not available in the immediate area. Crime rates are among the lowest in the state. However, home prices are the state’s highest and cost of living is above the national average.
The city is located on the banks of the Huron River on a mostly level plain, surrounded by a mix of agriculture and areas of deciduous woods. The climate is humid continental with a degree of influence from the nearby Great Lakes. Summers are warm and humid but seldom unbearably hot, with occasional rain and thundershowers and mostly cool, pleasant evenings. The winter climate, while consistent with the rest of the state, is unpleasant on a national scale. Winters are a mix of cold, rain, snow, and sleet, although the lakes moderate the worst of the cold. The contrast of lake-effect moisture and cooler temperatures produces cloudy periods in all seasons, particularly fall and winter. First freeze is mid-October, last is late April.