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15+ Best Places to Live in Michigan (2023): INSIDER’S View

Discover the Best Places to Live in Michigan

Looking for the best places to live in Michigan? You have many beautiful places from which to choose: Michigan has some of the most affordable housing in the country.

We all know and love Michigan for its scenic views, beautiful coasts, and densely wooded landscapes, but there are more reasons to live in Michigan than what meets the eye. Michigan is full of quaint beach towns and big cities that make fantastic places to live, work, and play, offering all the beautiful sights, with the added benefits of homeownership, community, and family-friendly fun.

Here are the 15 best places to live in Michigan.

ann arbor - best places to live in michigan
Ann Arbor MI

Best Places to Live in Southeast Michigan

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is easily one of the most desirable places to live in Michigan – and for good reason. Full of art and education, Ann Arbor is an exciting city with a culture unlike any other. This university town is home to the University of Michigan which gives it a unique lively atmosphere that separates it from its metropolitan neighbor, Detroit, which is only 45 minutes east.

Downtown Ann Arbor is pedestrian-friendly with a bustling dining scene and active nightlife that appeals to young Michiganders. Although living in Ann Arbor can be pricey, residents can take advantage of stellar schools and amenities offered by living in a larger city.

Grosse Pointe

In Metro Detroit, the Grosse Pointe area is ever-increasing in popularity. While Grosse Pointe is a city all its own, the name is shared by five individual towns: Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Shores, and Grosse Pointe Park. These Grosse Pointe towns are all located along Lake St. Clair, which means there’s plenty of lakefront parks with space for adults and children to enjoy the outdoors.

Here people live a safe quiet suburban lifestyle with excellent schools, safe streets, a tight-knit community, and plenty of activities for all ages, which makes it popular among retirees and young families alike.


Novi is a huge Detroit suburb with a population of over 60,000 and growing. There’s good reason for Novi’s growth, which includes great public schools, parks, retail spaces, nightlife, and employment opportunities, which makes it perfect for both families raising children and young adults looking for fun.

Even though Detroit is about a half hour away, if you live in Novi, you don’t need to leave the city to shop and eat well. It’s the perfect blend of the urban and suburban lifestyles which makes Novi the best place to live, work, and play.

popcorn wagon in downtown plymouth - best places to live in michigan
Popcorn Wagon in Kellogg Park in Plymouth MI


Plymouth is among one of the most desirable suburbs of Detroit in Wayne County. With highly rated public schools, a low crime rate, and a small welcoming community of about 9,000 people, raising a family here is a goal many Michiganders have in common.

Despite its small size, there is still plenty to go in Plymouth, including gorgeous golf courses, parks, and a weekly farmers market. Downtown Plymouth hosts an abundance of events for locals and visitors to enjoy, including the much-loved Taste of Plymouth and Michigan’s second largest art fair, Art in the Park. There’s a strong community feel here, too, with residents gathering in Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth for concerts and community events year-round.


North of Detroit in Oakland County, Rochester is a highly desirable suburb with an ever-growing population. Not only does it rank highly for education, employment, and outdoor activities, but it has a bustling nightlife that draws in young adults as well as families.

Rochester is the oldest settlement in all of Oakland County, meaning it’s filled with historic buildings and unique architecture that bring a special charm to the streets. The city center is walkable and filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and other nightlife options. Not to mention, with its close proximity to downtown Detroit, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular.

harbor in Alpena mi - best places to live in michigan
Harbor in Alpena, MI

Best Places to Live in Northern Michigan


Nestled in picturesque Thunder Bay on Michigan’s Sunrise Coast, Alpena is the quintessential Lake Huron beach town. Enjoy a laid-back lifestyle where you can spend a Saturday visiting art galleries, strolling the picturesque downtown harbor and relax in the evening at a winery on the coast.

This relaxed town has a strong sense of community with about 10,000 residents. Because of this, it is favored among retirees who are looking to spend their golden years relaxing on white sand beaches. Despite this relaxed atmosphere, the peak summer months draw plenty of tourists on vacation, which means there are plenty of activities and events to enjoy and participate in during the summertime.

traverse city - best places to live in michigan

Traverse City

Traverse City is more than a pretty town on the Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan. It’s one of the best beach towns to live in with a community that knows how to strike the balance between economic growth and small-town charm.

Employers in northern Michigan are flocking to Traverse City, creating a booming economy with plenty of job opportunities, and residents are snatching them up. Living and working in Traverse City can feel a lot like vacation all the time when you embrace the northern Michigan coastal lifestyle, so it’s no surprise people are jumping at the chance to live here.

best lake michigan beaches

Best Places to Live in Mid-Michigan


In the heart of the mid-Michigan metropolitan area lies Michigan’s capital city, Lansing. Here residents live, work, and play in a massively important center of commerce, education, and government. This variety of fields fosters a wide range of job opportunities and plenty of diversity among residents.

Lansing is also home to Michigan State University, which brings a youthful vibrance to the town and provides plenty of educational opportunities through campus museums and events. You might think with all that it offers, a home in Lansing would be out of the average Michigander’s budget, but actually, it remains a highly affordable place to live.


In Midland, you get the best of both worlds with the benefits of city life in an affordable community. Located close to both Bay City and Saginaw, Midland gets the benefit of being near these two larger cities without paying extra for them.

The low cost of living in addition to a low crime rate and fantastic schools erases all the mystery around what makes Midland such a great place to settle down and raise a family. It’s also a short drive from Saginaw Bay for summertime beach days.


Just outside Lansing, Okemos offers a different way to live the mid-Michigan lifestyle. Here you are close enough to Lansing to enjoy all the amenities offered in the city, while maintaining enough distance to enjoy peace and quiet as well as a high-quality school system.

Okemos is a safe community with plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy nature. Kids love to play in the parks for hours and the Harris Nature Center invites people of all ages to escape into the woods for a while. Okemos is also close to many small Michigan farms where you can grab fresh local produce to incorporate into your meals.

Grands Rapids - best places to live in michigan
Grand Rapids Michigan

Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids

Michigan’s second-largest city behind Detroit, Grand Rapids is one of the liveliest places in the state. With diverse neighborhoods and plenty of things to enjoy as either a resident or a visitor, there’s something for everyone here. Young adults flock to Grand Rapids to enjoy city life in western Michigan.

Visit phenomenal art galleries, museums, theaters, and parks, then end the day at one of the many craft breweries in the area. Like all large cities, public school systems, safety, and housing selections vary by district, but overall, the high-quality big city lifestyle at a fair price draws in numerous new residents.

Unique attractions like the Grand Rapids Downtown Market and Millenium Park make this such a special place, as well as its proxmity to Lake Michigan and Grand Haven, one of the top tourist destinations in Michgan.

holland mi
Holland Michigan


On the shores of Lake Michigan, Holland is a widely beloved town in Michigan. A massive wooden windmill, sandy beaches, countless tulips, and the smell of traditional Dutch pastries wafting out of the bakeries in the city center paint a picture of what makes Holland special.

The small-town charm, coastal views, and low crime bring in visitors, but the great schools and commitment to the growth and development of children bring in people looking to stay and raise their families here. The strong economy provides a wide range of jobs as well, making the move a more realistic goal than you might think.

Beaches like Laketown Park and Holland State Park add extra opportunity for outdoord activities, too.


It’s not just fun to say, it’s fun to live in Kalamazoo too. This riverside city in southwest Michigan is no more than two hours from Detroit or Chicago, or one hour from Lansing or Grand Rapids. Don’t let its proximity to larger cities fool you, though, Kalamazoo has a lot to offer its residents locally as well.

Kalamazoo is home to the first pedestrian mall in the United States and it’s filled with all kinds of local shops and restaurants that extend beyond the mall and into the walkable downtown. Enjoy high-quality brews, expressive arts, and nature preserves in town, or take a drive down scenic M43 for a day trip getaway to the Lake Michigan coast.

boats on Lake Michigan - Saugatuck mi
Saugatuck Michigan


While Saugatuck is a popular beach town for tourists in the summer, it’s just as enjoyable to live year-round. Located right where Kalamazoo River empties into Lake Michigan, this former lumber town has transformed several times over the years. Today it boasts extensive art galleries and harborfront views that reflect its historical significance as a port town and art hub.

Residents love Saugatuck for its close community, hikable and cyclable landscapes, highly rated public school system, and safe streets. Its walkable downtown makes a day out with the family effortlessly fun. Not to mention, enjoying Oval Beach on a hot summer day is easy when it’s just across the river.

Marquette MI

Best Place to Live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


In the Upper Peninsula, living in the “big city” takes on a whole new meaning, since the biggest city up there is Marquette, which is home to only about 20 thousand. Like much of the Upper Peninsula, Marquette is oriented around the great outdoors with plenty of nature trails, waterways, and even ski slopes, however, if you head downtown, you’ll see there’s plenty of city life here.

Breweries line the historic downtown and the sizable student body of Northern Michigan University brings a buzzing energy into the city. Residents also enjoy plenty of festivals and cultural events that take place in town all the time. In addition to the good schools and low cost of living, it’s no surprise that Marquette is an ever-growing and popular place to set down roots.

Marquette is one of the fastest-growing cities in Michigan, too, with tons of opportunity for outdoor adventures in places like Presque Isle Park home to the famous Black Rock Cliffs, and the Noquemanon Travel Network.

Even More of the Best Places to Live in Michigan

Still looking for family homes in Michigan? Keep in mind that Michigan has some of the safest cities to live in America, with unemployment rates lower than the national average, great local schools and a strong job market.

  • Bloomfield Hills
  • Buchanan
  • Northville Township
  • Farmington Hills
  • West Bloomfield
  • Rochester Hills
  • Huntington Woods
  • Lansing MI
  • Forest Hills
  • Royal Oak

More Places in Michign to Explore

Fun things to do in detroit
15 last minute getaways in michigan
30 best Michigan beaches - best beaches in Michigan
30 best things to do in michigan

About The Author-

Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.