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We’re Two Houstonians Who Were Surprised by Ann Arbor’s Charm


By Joe Price, MBA ‘16; and Holly Price, MBA ‘17

“You’re moving where? Why? What would make you ever want to leave Texas?”

These were common questions when we announced we were moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, when Joe was accepted into the Ross MBA Program in early 2014.

We have both spent most of our lives in Houston, a huge city of over 6 million people known for its extremely hot and humid weather. It could not be more different from Ann Arbor, a relatively tiny “college town” where it snows in the winter. We drove from Houston to Ann Arbor that summer, not entirely sure what we had signed ourselves up for.

We ended up living in Ann Arbor for three memorable years (after a few weeks in Ann Arbor, Holly decided to also apply to Ross, and graduated in 2017). We were surprised by a lot of what we experienced in Ann Arbor: We saw all four seasons, including breathtaking colors in the fall, and adjusted to snowy winters without too many issues.

We walked most places in town, which is unheard of in Houston. We marveled at how the town exploded in maize and blue on game days and went to football, basketball, and hockey games. We built friendships with our classmates while we picked apples, drank hot cider, kayaked the Huron River, visited the peaceful Upper Peninsula, and watched movies at the historic Michigan Theater.

For U-M students, living in Ann Arbor functions as a bit of an incubator. Most people live within a short walk or drive from each other and few people have other friends/family in town. This helps create deeper relationships with classmates and encourages you to spend more time with each other.

Also, while you’re in the Ann Arbor “bubble,” you’re still close to Detroit and its large airport (which provides easy access for travel). Detroit is an incredible city with a rich cultural heritage, a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, impressive museums, and great concerts. We found ourselves going to Detroit at least once a month and are thankful to have been exposed to the city while living up the road.

If you go visit Ann Arbor, here are some of our favorite corners of town:

  • Jolly Pumpkin Joe is vegetarian and we were surprised by how easy it was to find fresh, veg-friendly restaurants. Jolly Pumpkin is a great example: delicious truffle fries, pizzas, and sides.  
  • Literati Holly’s idea of heaven. The best bookstore in the world with darn good coffee and carrot cake.
  • Nichols Arboretum For you outdoorsy types, a beautiful place to exercise and relax by the Huron River.
  • Frita BatidosThis was our first stop when we moved to town. Incredible Cuban fusion burgers and fries.

Oh, and while you’re downtown, keep your eyes peeled for fairy doors!

Go Blue!