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The Best Cities to Move to in Michigan

photo of michigan and the best cities to live in

Did you know that U.S. News ranked Michigan as the third most affordable state to move to? It has a low cost of living and better housing affordability than most states.

Yet, if you aren’t familiar with Michigan, you may be at a loss for which cities in Michigan to move to. For most, Detroit is the only one that pops into mind. Living in the capital city of a new state may not seem very family-friendly or affordable.

Luckily, we have put together some of the top cities in Michigan to move to, including the best for families, new job opportunities, or outdoor enthusiasts. Keep reading for more information!

Finding the Best Cities in Michigan

Living in Michigan might be different from the eyes of a recent college graduate who is single and looking for an apartment versus a family of six who wants to settle down into a large home. Luckily, Michigan has something for everyone, and even cities like Grand Rapids can appeal to both population groups.

When you decide to move to Michigan or simply shift over to one city, here are a few things to consider:

  • Home prices
  • Neighborhoods (e.g., crime rates, school systems)
  • Job opportunities
  • Things to do

How can you tell what size house you need? For starters, look at your current family and how big your house is. Do you feel cramped or on top of each other all the time?

If you are looking at expanding your family, it could be a great time to pack up. Declining neighborhoods, salary changes, and limited storage are all key signs it’s time to find a better neighborhood.

1. Moving to Grand Rapids

When considering moving to Michigan, you can’t neglect Grand Rapids. There are plenty of affordable neighborhoods, excellent outdoor recreation, and great food!

It is the perfect combination of suburban life and city dwellers. It also has quick and easy access to:

  • Beaches
  • Ice rinks
  • Parks
  • Orchards
  • Museums
  • Art exhibits
  • Music
  • Shopping
  • Zoo
  • Hockey games
  • And more!

Lake Michigan is a short drive away, where you can enjoy summer-filled fun on the beaches with the kids or friends. If you are interested in work, Grand Rapids is one of the largest cities in Michigan.

It has an ever-growing downtown area and tops Michigan’s largest cities at number two. Since 2010, it has grown by over eight percent.

While the region is primarily known for its booming auto industry, it also holds roots in the timber and furniture industry. It is one of the largest cities in America for furniture making. Don’t be discouraged if the furniture is not your forté.

High-rise buildings in Grand Rapids’ downtown region ensure that there are opportunities for those involved in tech, law, medicine, and much more.

Grand Rapids Cost of Living

The main benefit of living in Michigan is that it is cheaper than other regions in the country. Michigan ranks approximately 89.6 out of 100 on the various cost of living factors. Grand Rapids is even lower at 87.8

Median housing prices are just under $230,000, although the growing national housing market could increase this price quickly. While downtown may appeal to college students, recent graduates, or studio apartment dwellers, there are many suburban regions.

There are many public school systems like:

  • East Grands Rapids
  • Forest Hills
  • Northview
  • Kentwood
  • Wyoming
  • Byron

Some of the best suburban areas are Eastgate, Eastown, Creston, and Alger Heights. You will find variations between farmland and close-knit communities. Earlier this year, Grand Rapids was ranked as the best city for raising a family.

The metropolitan area has more than a million residents and most kids. Grand Rapids is also in the top five percent of school systems and has many excellent institutions for teachers looking to move. What goes into the best city rankings for families?

  • School system ratings
  • Crime rates
  • Child care costs
  • Household percentage of children
  • Parks and recreational areas

Grand Rapids was the only city in Michigan to make the top ten list, so if you want some of the best suburbs in Michigan, start looking at houses here today!

Grand Rapids Colleges and Universities

There are over a dozen different institutions for higher education in Grand Rapids. Some more common universities and colleges include:

  • Calvin University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hope College
  • Davenport University

With many universities, colleges, and technical institutions, you can provide your kids with a great education once they graduate high school or continue education yourself!

Grand Rapids for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Besides being closely tied to Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Cannonsburg Ski Area is close by for winter bums looking at heading outside for skiing or tubing. If sledding is more your speed, check out Grand Rapids sledding hills at parks around the city, such as:

  • Manhatten Park
  • Richmond Park
  • Belknap Park

And if you want to try out ice skating after watching your favorite hockey team, the Rosa Parks ice rink is right in the downtown area and is something everyone can enjoy. And for summertime activities, don’t forget to check out the many trails for biking and walking.

You can check out local farmer’s markets, try out patio dining, or visit bars for a night of fun! There are options for ziplining, paddleboarding, animal parks, and much more for the kids.

Finding Grand Rapids Moving Company

Moving to one of the best suburbs in Michigan starts with a qualified and reliable moving company. Whether you live in Michigan or are coming from out of state, transporting heavy furniture and boxes can damage your belongings and cause a world of headaches.

Big Lake Movers specialize in residential and apartment living at affordable prices. Having movers familiar with the Grand Rapids region means you will get flexible working hours, higher efficiency, and help get the job done right.

If you don’t know how to navigate a tricky household, such as tight stairwells or narrow halls, a moving company can save you from hurting your back or worse! Backed by excellent reviews, you can spend the rest of your time focusing on getting your family situated in your new home!

2. Moving to Holland

Unless you are from Michigan, you might raise an eyebrow at the term ‘moving to Holland.’ Unfortunately, we aren’t talking about the Netherlands, although moving to Holland, Michigan should be at the top of your list as some of the best neighborhoods for families.

Holland came in at number two as the healthiest and happiest city in America, so who wouldn’t want to find out what it offers? It also has a tight-knit and large suburban community, making it ideal for families. It also ranks highly on another prestigious list – the top five cities in the U.S. by Forbes magazine.

If you don’t want a bigger city like Grand Rapids, Holland has a much smaller population of around 33,000. It is still located on the west side of the state by Lake Michigan. Other than another close city to the shorelines of Lake Michigan, what else does Holland have to offer?

  • Art attractions
  • Festivals
  • Low cost of living
  • Increasing job market
  • Excellent dining and brewery options

If you are a working parent concerned about commute times, Holland also has a less than average commute than national averages by almost ten minutes! Median homes prices are around $263,000, slightly more than Grand Rapids but lower than national averages. The cost of living in Holland is over nine percent lower than in the rest of the nation but slightly higher compared to the rest of Michigan.

Small Town City Vibes

For those seeking a quieter lifestyle, Holland is just the place for you. It ranks number one for quality of life compared to other small cities across America. These measurements included:

  • Commute
  • Walkability
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Cultural centers

Other great cities in Michigan that ranked high on quality of life factors were Flint, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon. Holland is well known for its nearly two dozen restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

Every May, it hosts the Tulip Time Festival, which draws residents from nearby cities. And as if you needed further incentive, it is another city that caters to healthy lifestyles and outdoor enthusiasts.

Holland has developed a five-mile sidewalk system that is fully heated. In the middle of winter, you can enjoy dry sidewalks for your daily run or walk without hindrance. It also boasts plenty of parks and open space for hiking or skiing.

3. Moving to Kalamazoo

Another highly ranked city for a better quality of life is Kalamazoo. There are over 20 neighborhoods in this small town, topping the list as one of the best suburbs in Michigan. Kalamazoo is notoriously great for families, but it doesn’t stop there.

If you want the benefit of the city life, Kalamazoo also holds some of the best universities and higher institutions in the state, including:

  • Western Michigan University
  • Kalamazoo College

It also offers a two-year institution at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Kalamazoo’s large shopping center, local craft breweries, and growing arts scene make this a great moving option for single adults or vibrant city dwellers. For the kids, you can stop by the local zoo (you can’t have a name like Kalamazoo and not have a zoo), farmer’s markets, or parks.

And believe it or not, it ranked number one last year in terms of coolest places to live with the lowest cost of living.

How Much Does It Cost To Live in Kalamazoo?

Kalamazoo’s cost of living is below 80, with the rest of Michigan nearing 90. This number is almost 20 points below averages nationwide. Other areas you will find cheaper in Kalamazoo compared to other cities in Michigan are:

  • Grocery bills
  • Housing costs
  • Transportation

Median home prices in Kalamazoo are under $190,000, although this number (like other cities) is subject to change with increasing home values. Some sites place this number above $200,000 after last year’s housing price increases.

You will find cheaper housing prices here than in other regions, especially if you need a larger home to fit your growing family. Some neighborhoods to start searching in are West Main Hill and Oakland-Winchell.

Working in Kalamazoo

One of the homeowners’ concerns with relocating is finding a high-value job. In smaller cities like Kalamazoo, you may worry about long commute times or unavailable jobs.

Luckily, Kalamazoo has a host of job opportunities and an unemployment rate below six percent. Most job opportunities are in industries such as:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Social assistance

Stryker and Poch Staffing are two larger industries where you may look for jobs. Stryker specializes in medical technology, including orthopedic supplies and other medical products.

Poch staffing focuses on IT, human resources, management, and more. They are a professional placement service and a growing field for communications and tech majors.

Western Michigan University is not only a great opportunity to continue your education but is another place for job options. Located in the heart of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University is a top research institution in the state.

4. Moving to East Grand Rapids

East Grand Rapids, located in Kent County, is bustling with suburban regions and families. It has excellent school systems, job market, and low crime rates. It gives off a rural vibe while still putting you close to cities and job opportunities.

There are plenty of shops, coffee places, and restaurants to keep your interest. Bustling with parks and outdoor recreation, you can take the kids out for walks or go on a run without too much worry. What else makes living in East Grand Rapids worthwhile?

  • Hiking trails at Hodenpyl Woods
  • Reeds Lake
  • Gaslight Village
  • Local concerts
  • Award-winning school systems
  • 15-minute commute times

Reeds Lake is one of the best parts of living in East Grand Rapids and is a great fishing source.

East Grand Rapids Cost of Living

Why is it more expensive to live in East Grand Rapids? One of East Grand Rapids’ downsides is its higher cost of living and expenses.

It ranks above national averages at 118.7, and median home prices are above $500,000. But it ranks fairly average for utilities and transportation. With close access to high-paying jobs in Grand Rapids, you may find the seclusion of East Grand Rapids worthwhile.

5. Moving to Wyoming

Wyoming, Michigan, is another suburban city with under 80,000 people living there. Housing prices are lower in this region, but the average income is also less, so ensure you account for that!

It ranks fairly average for families, public school systems, and housing. It excels at nightlife options and diversity.

Many residents in Wyoming are homeowners, and you will have plenty of suburban community options. Average prices on homes are under $130,000, making it a highly affordable place to live in Michigan!

Property crimes and theft are also much lower in this city than national averages. You can experience a unique opportunity to work for local businesses or health centers if you don’t feel like commuting to the city.

6. Moving to Rockford

Rockford is another city located in Kent County with a population below 7,000. That’s right – if you are looking for a change from the fast-paced life of Detroit or Grand Rapids, this may be the option for you!

Since it is located in the same county as Grand Rapids, you are under 20 minutes from driving there for work. You can benefit from the small-town vibe and plenty of outdoor activities. Rockford is close to various parks, golf courses, fishing, kayaking, and more.

Rockford has local breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops, so you won’t have to travel into downtown Grand Rapids. If you are bringing the kids along, don’t forget to check out:

  • Accidental Art
  • Epilogue Books
  • Aunt Candy’s Toy Company
  • Nature preserves
  • The Rockford Riddler

Throughout the year, Rockford hosts several events, such as the Summer Art Market and Art in the Park.

Outdoor Fun Near You

You also have easy access to state parks, where you can find various biking, hiking, and running trails. The 92-mile trail at Fred Meijer White Pine Trail runs all the way to Cadillac. Local river trails are easy to take the kids on and give you a great outlook on the small-town charm.

If you are interested in mountain biking, try out the Merrell Trail, which is seven miles long and great for all levels! Lastly, don’t forget to bring along your pet when you move to Rockford. They have a local dog park where you can let your furry friend run off the leash.

Planning for Pets

Are you worried about how to move with your pet?

Packing up the kids is one thing. You also want to move somewhere your furry pet will have an opportunity to be active. Rockford is great for pets, but here are a few tips to help you make the moving process more manageable:

  • Keep them away from packing boxes
  • Pack all your dog’s supplies
  • Consider long-distance moves
  • Ensure your new home is pet friendly
  • Ensure they have identification
  • Don’t change their diet

Long-distance moves are harder for your pets, and you may need to set up a temporary residence for them until you complete the moving process. You could use:

  • Boarding kennels
  • Family or friends
  • Pet sitting services

When you move into your house, double-check it is fenced in, and there aren’t any hazards. Things like pools, hot tubs, or fire pits can pose health risks for furry friends.

7. Moving to Three Rivers

Three Rivers, Michigan, is nearly 20% lower in cost of living than the rest of the nation. It has under 8,000 people living there and home values under $200,000.

Unemployment rates are also more than one percent lower than national averages. It ranks fairly average across the board on schools, family-friendly suburbs, and nightlife.

So what draws homeowners to this quaint town?

  • Corey Lake Orchards
  • Covered Bridge Farm
  • Hot air balloons

Three Rivers Farmer Market can help you get a great sense of locally grown produce and residents. You are also close to Coldwater Michigan, which can give you access to all the outdoor adventures that Michigan offers, including many freshwater lakes. Summer theaters in this region draw visitors from neighboring towns for local programs and shows for the whole family.

Hiring a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company can take the stress and worry out of moving into your new home. It gives you time to focus on the family, explore the neighborhood, and make any changes or upgrades to your new home.

You can opt between moving labor and full-service movers. What is the difference? Moving labor only includes moving heavy items you don’t want to break your back trying to.

Full-service movers pack, load, and unload all your items, including the small things. It is ideal for apartments and new homeowners who want a quick, efficient, and safe moving process. It can also reduce your risk of damaging items since these are professional movers with a high level of expertise with fragile packages.

Benefits of Moving to Michigan

The best cities in Michigan have plenty of outdoor fun, excellent schooling systems, and job opportunities. Many suburban cities are also much lower than other regions in the country for housing costs.

With several kid (and adult) friendly things to do, any family can find a neighborhood they’ll love in Michigan. Are you ready to get started with your next move?

Don’t let the fear of packing keep you from buying the home of your dreams. At Big Lake Movers, we are here to help with your next move, so contact us today to get a quote!

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