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13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

Thinking of moving to Michigan? With a population of just under 10 million, the Great Lakes State has a lot to offer, from affordable housing to stunning landscapes. The state’s economy has had its ups and downs, sure, but the Wolverine State is still drawing new residents. Check out our list of 15 things to know before moving to Michigan. 

Find out now: How much house can I afford

1. Michigan is one state in two parts.

If you can’t picture what Michigan looks like on a map, check it out. It’s one state made up of two peninsulas. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is famous for its natural beauty. The lower part of the state is famously shaped like a mitten.

2. There’s a great public university.

The University of Michigan is one of the most highly regarded public universities in the country. Residency in Michigan will qualify you (and your children) for lower-priced tuition at the University of Michigan, which will earn you significant savings on a top-rate education.

3. Michigan is a swing state. 

13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

As we all saw on November 8, 2016, Michigan is a swing state. If you’re moving to Michigan, prepare to be bombarded with political ads and canvassers during presidential election cycles.

4. If you eat meat, you should try a Coney dog.

Michigan, and Detroit in particular, boasts a culinary delicacy known as the Coney dog. Coney dogs feature a chili topping known as “Coney sauce,” and it’s this sauce that sets the Coney dog apart from your average hot dog.

Related Article: Top 13 Tips If You’re Moving to Detroit

5. Sports are huge in Michigan.

Sports, both professional- and college-level, are huge in Michigan. The University of Michigan football team provokes some very strong feelings among Michiganders, as do professional teams such as the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Tigers.

6. Yes, Michigan winters are freezing.

13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

What you’ve heard about Michigan winters is true. It gets very cold and snowy in the state, and you might need to set aside some money in your budget if you don’t already own a good coat and some winter boots. Trust us – you’ll be happy to have them.

7. Michigan homes are affordable.

Michigan has made headlines as an affordable place to buy a home. The state’s population declined between 2000 and 2010. That, plus the foreclosure crisis that hit the Detroit area hard, has left a glut of houses on the market, which means prices are low.

Still, it’s smart to consult a financial advisor before making a major purchase like a home. A matching tool like SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.

Related Article: The Cost of Living in Michigan

8. Ann Arbor is blue through and through.

Though Michigan as a whole may be a swing state (and have a Republican governor and legislature at the moment), Ann Arbor, Michigan is reliably blue. Like most college towns, Ann Arbor has a left-of-center vibe.

9. Detroit is changing every day.

13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

Detroit has gone through some big – and controversial – changes in recent years. The trend of hipsters moving to Detroit has been written about extensively so we won’t dwell on it, except to say that the sprawling Michigan city is changing every day and absorbing new residents drawn to the city’s history, culture and affordable housing.

Check out current mortgage rates in Michigan.

10. Michigan has beaches.

Michigan may not border the ocean, but it does have beaches. Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior, as well as some of the state’s smaller lakes, provide excellent, sandy beaches that will blow you away.

11. Michigan has covered bridges.

If you think covered bridges are exclusive to New England, think again. Michigan’s many scenic roadways also feature covered bridges, which make great places for photos.

12. Michigan boasts many scenic lighthouses.

The many large lakes in Michigan made lighthouses a necessity, particularly in earlier times when moving timber and other goods along Michigan’s lakes was essential to the state’s economy. The historic lighthouses are beautiful remnants of Michigan’s past.

13. Craft beer is thriving in Michigan.

13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

Some of the most beloved and well-reviewed craft beers in the country come from Michigan (we’re looking at you, Bell’s) and the craft beer scene in Michigan is thriving. So if you drink beer, moving to Michigan is a great chance to immerse yourself in all the fun things that are happening in the beer world there.

14. Michigan’s population is holding steady.

After losing population between 2000 and 2010, Michigan is now stable, and its population is growing, albeit slowly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s population grew by 0.4% between 2010 and 2015.

15. Sometimes, you can see the Northern Lights in Michigan.

13 Things to Know Before Moving to Michigan

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights after moving to Michigan. Your best bet is to look for the Northern Lights over Lake Superior (on nights when conditions are optimal, that is). That way, you won’t have to worry about light pollution impeding your view.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of moving to Michigan, it’s probably best if you don’t make your move in the depths of winter. Freezing temperatures and deep snow can make moving to Michigan in the winter a real pain. You don’t need a moving permit to move to Michigan, but it’s a good idea to line up parking for your moving truck so you don’t violate city rules.

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Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia's work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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