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Posted on Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Love it or gripe about it, Ann Arbor tops several "Best of" lists

By Tony Dearing

At this time of giving and receiving, we find ourselves giving thought to all of the accolades that Ann Arbor has received this year.

Do you value quality of life? Or quality of education? Are you a fan of football or food and drink? Are you young or old, or single or raising a family? Well, it seems you are living in the right place. Once again this year, Ann Arbor found itself on a remarkable number of “Best of’’ lists - an honor that adds to our national luster, if not our own appreciation of all that we have here.

Whether you are an unabashed Ann Arbor-lover or one of those jaded souls who used to read “Ann Arbor is Overrated’’ with relish, it’s hard to deny our town’s special standing in the world when you consider all of the lists that we topped in 2010, such as:

Forbes magazine, America’s Most Livable Cities, No. 4. “The key to finding the easiest places to live may be to follow the students,’’ Forbes said. “Most of the metros on our list - including Ann Arbor . . . - are college towns.’’

Forbes magazine, Top College Sports Towns, No. 1. Our football team may still be trying to climb back to the top of the Big Ten, but our sports environment is second to none, according to Forbes. Citing Ann Arbor’s “excellent mix of livability and sports,’’ it rates us as tops, ahead of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Norman, Okla. Forbes also ranked the Ann Arbor Public Schools in the top 10 among school districts nationally., America’s Top 25 Most Educated Cities, No. 2. This ranking was designed to identify communities with the “highest levels of collective brainpower, as indicated by their residents’ educational attainment.’’ said that 77.4 percent of Ann Arborites attended college, and 25.5 percent hold advanced degrees., Best Places to Live in America, No. 46. CNN Money calls us a “friendly college town’’ with all the benefits of a larger city, and describes our downtown as a “mecca’’ of arts and culture.

Parenting magazine, Best Cities for Families, No. 4. Describing us as a “smallish but sophisticated city,’’ Parenting praised Ann Arbor for the amount it spends per student on education. It also noted that Ann Arbor is rated as one of America’s greenest cities, and one of its best cities for walking. Not to be left out in this category, also rated Ann Arbor as one if its top 10 cities to raise a family., top 25 hottest spots for the rich and single, No. 21. Noting that Ann Arbor has “plenty to offer’’ beyond football, CNN Money says “bookworms might find romance at Border’s flagship location,’’ and that a frigid winter day might be spent checking out the Hands-On Museum or staying warm at one of our local microbreweries.

Midwest Living, Top Midwest Food Towns, No. 3. “For years, University of Michigan students and faculty have sipped beers and lattes at downtown’s sidewalk cafes,’’ Midwest Living says. “The city retains that college-town vibe, but the dining scene has grown up.’’ Among the eateries it praises are Zingermans, Vinology, Logan and Gratzi.

CNNMoneycom, 25 Best Places to Retire, No. 11. While acknowledging that our winters may be a “deal-breaker’’ for some, CNN Money says those who chose to retire here will find their calendar packed with theater, art shows and sports. It also praises our high doctor-to-patient ratio, and programs that the University of Michigan offers to those over 50.

Bicycling magazine, America’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities, No. 14. The magazine said it ranked cities based on such factors as segregated bike lanes and municipal bike racks. “To make our top 50, a city also must support a vibrant and diverse bike culture,’’ the magazine said. “It must have smart, savvy bike shops.’’

This is by no means a complete listing of the honors that Ann Arbor accumulated this year. But you get the idea. Sometimes, you don’t appreciate what you have when you’re sitting right in the middle of it. Enjoy the holiday season, and find time to go out and partake of the things that make us the envy of most of the nation.



Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 5:35 a.m.

Get real folks this town might deserve some of it's it's accolades, but the fact is a very small group of people run this town, Mr Dearing is one of them. I am tired of being told how great this town is when we don't have a REAL newspaper. Or a fair election process. These 300 or so folks the "Ann Arbor Oligarchy" control all the press and thanks to Tony Dearing we have ten years of Heifjte appoimtments. They sneak elections through in August when everyone is on vacation. It would take little homework to discover how many of these lists Mr Dearing and his political cronies the heifjte 300 solicited themselves. These folks City Council /DDA members sit around making press releases stating how great Ann Arbor is burnishing their political careers waiting in line for the Lansing cattle call. Have u no shame Mr Dearing? Print some real news

Kai Petainen

Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 11:43 p.m.

cool list!


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

Bah! Humbug! This place hasn't had a clue since all the smarmy losers who live their lives by "lists" started moving here a generation ago. What a crock!


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

It all depends what kind of cyclist you are. Lots of people commute down Liberty every day. The bike lanes are great and very safe. Huron is a lot more challenging as there is no shoulder and all 4 lanes are very narrow. Cyclists can certainly take the lane, but it's often easier to take a quieter street like Washington or Liberty. Wandering a bit off topic, I'm sure there would be a lot of differing opinions, but personally I feel that Huron west of downtown would be a lot nicer for drivers and cyclists if they switched it to a bike lane / auto lane / turn lane / auto lane / bike lane configuration. I hate driving in those narrow lanes. However, it's a state trunk line, and MDOT seems unwilling to allow it.

Barbara Goodsitt

Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

So lucky to live in this great town, but I disagree about biking! I wouldn't feel safe biking on many of Ann Arbor's roadways. The bike paths in parks are nice, but bikers on Huron St. and Liberty are living dangerously!


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

You have posted many of the reasons why we decided to live in the Ann Arbor area. There are just a few other places that have the options this area offers. Good article.


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

"Best City Government Ever" -Mystery Magazine 2010 Best Of Edition


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

perhaps the high quality of life ratings says something positive about overall city governance.... but don't let that stop the perpetual grousers.


Sun, Dec 26, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Any ratings pertaining to city government?