Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a surprisingly popular retirement destination.
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For many people, where they live depends on the place they were born, where their job takes them, or where their families are located. But when it comes to choosing a retirement home, there are other factors at play. While many retirees head to warm climates, putting Florida on top of most lists of best places to retire, there's one colder-weather destination that stands out, too.

Retirees who welcome the changing seasons, appreciate a small town atmosphere, and can tolerate — or even enjoy — a cold winter, should consider Ann Arbor, Michigan, a city that follows close behind Florida locales on U.S. New and World Report's 2021-2022 list of Best Places to Retire in the U.S. The city, nicknamed "Tree Town," offers a variety of outdoor activities, cultural events, excellent health care in the state of Michigan, and an appealing range of home prices.

Historic Michigan Theater, built in 1928, located on East Liberty St in Downtown, Ann Arbor
Credit: Getty Images

College towns are known to be ideal retirement destinations for their involvement opportunities, concerts, sports events, speakers, libraries, and museums, as well as restaurants and lively atmosphere. With the University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor and very much a part of the community, retirees can take advantage of all the university has to offer including the campus itself, with walking trails, restaurants, and river views.

In addition to the university's cultural and entertainment attractions, it also supports the community through Michigan Medicine, one of the largest health care complexes in the world. Patient care, research, education, and treatment facilities are available to residents of the Ann Arbor area.

Aerial View of Downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan in Summer
Credit: Jacob Boomsma/Getty Images

Every July, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, the largest juried art fair in the nation, features nearly 1,000 artists and attracts about half a million guests to a 30-block downtown area.The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) promotes entertainment and community spirit throughout the year and hosts an annual June festival that includes concerts, art exhibitions, dance, circus, and comedy.

Walking trails, gardens, and an indoor conservatory are available to residents at no cost at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. Located along the Huron River, Gallup Park features 69 acres of picnic area, hiking and biking trails, and boating. A year-round farmers market offers local produce and adds to that Midwestern small-town charm. There's a walkable downtown for shopping, dining, and nightlife. In winter, snow sports include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating—and there's always just staying warm around a cozy fireplace.

With all that Ann Arbor, in southeast Michigan's Lower Peninsula, has to offer, we hope we've given some future retirees a few reasons to consider heading north instead of south.