I’m gonna level with you.
It’s freezing cold here in winter and unbearably humid in the summer.
And you’re what? You’re MOVING to Michigan?
Are you SURE?
Don’t Go Moving to Michigan on a Whim
People say we are one of the most beautiful states in the U.S.
And that we have majestic, sandy shorelines, endless outdoor exploration, world class performance arts, friendly people, and really good food. Oh, and a decent cost of living.
But seriously. We are totally fine keeping this gem to ourselves. I hear Ohio has some pretty great…. something. Okay, so that was a stretch. Indiana! You’ll love it there. Pretend you never heard about our secret Michigan wonderland.
I mean, move here if you must.
As a lifelong Michigander who dreamed of life around the world though, I must warn you: once you move here you won’t leave. You won’t be able to find another place that can hold a candle to Michigan.
So if You’re Still Thinking About Moving to Michigan…
We think there are a few things you might want to know before you take the leap.
01) Our state is shaped like a Mitten and we’re proud of it.
02) Your hand is shaped like a Mitten (and the other like the Upper Peninsula) and should be used as a map at any opportunity
03) We are constantly defending ourselves against Wisconsin, the state that occasionally pretends to look like a Mitten and is secretly plotting to steal the U.P. from us. (We went as far as giving land to OHIO to have the U.P. We shall never relinquish it.)
04) Upper Peninsula residents are called Yoopers and people in the Lower Peninsula are called Trolls. (Get it? Because we live under the bridge!) Visitors are fudgies because they flock to the fudge shops on Mackinac Island.
05) The Bridge is the Mackinac Bridge, and the only one that matters.
06) Golf carts and snowmobiles are allowed on Mackinac Island but no other motorized vehicles, by law, are allowed there. Take a horse or ride your bike.
07) Mackinac is for the bridge and the island. Mackinaw is for the city. They are all pronounced the same, however. (Would you like us to tell you how? Mack-in-AW.)
08) We tell tourists that the Mackinac Bridge swings over from the lower peninsula to the upper peninsula at night.
09) We’re still a little bitter over losing the Toledo war to Ohio and you’ll hear about it.
10) If you wear red on big game days prepare to defend yourself. (See above.)
11) Big Game Days are when Michigan State University or University of Michigan is playing. And no, you cannot root for either. You must pick one.
12) The Great Lakes are unsalted. It’s your Michigander duty to play along with any jokes implying that sharks, whales, or other saltwater creatures live in them.
13) “Up North” is a magical place where Michiganders go for summer vacations. No one agrees on where Up North starts, but it’s definitely south of the bridge….(and north of wherever you live).
14) We’re proud of how tough we are in the winter. (What even IS winter? I mean, I guess it’s a little cool out there. And there’s 2 feet of snow, but really, it’s NBD.)
15) If you think it’s too cold, don’t worry. It’ll get colder. And then you’ll really appreciate our two months of summer.
16) If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait 15 minutes; it will change.
17) Our nickname for summer is “construction season.” And while summer is a solid 2 months, construction can span year round, really.
18) It’s Pop. 1000%. Sprite, Coke, Pepsi, Mtn Dew, is never soda or coke. It’s always pop.
19) We are convinced we invented Superman ice cream, Coney Dogs, and Vernors. Don’t question it.
20) We can tell you’re new here by your pronunciation of places like Ypsilanti, Charlotte, Bois Blanc Island, & Dowagiac. (I’m sorry – these are too hard to explain here. Google it. Or try the pronunciation on a coworker and watch them cringe. THEY can pronounce it for ya.)
21) You’ll need an ice scraper if you’re going to have a car. Possibly 2.
22) Layer, layer, layer. Especially in the spring, we could be 58 and sunny in the afternoon and 30 with snow a couple hours later. So always keep a few bits of clothing handy that are out of season, just in case. (A “fleece” is a warm coat, not just a fabric, and it’s one of our favorite layers.)
23) Do yourself a favor and buy really warm, waterproof winter gear when you get here. The stores will be picked over by November.
24) You will know you are finally one of us when you too add an “s” to the end of every store name! (Wait, it’s not really Meijers??)
25) We don’t go to the DMV to get a driver’s license in Michigan. For that, you need to go to the Secretary of State, otherwise pronounced “Secretariah State.”
26) Euchre is like our state card game. Any of your neighbors should be able to teach it to you.
27) The first day of deer hunting season is a holiday in most rural parts. (Some schools even have the day off.)
28) Choose Halloween costumes that can fit over a winter coat.
29) No, the Lions won’t ever win. But we cheer for them anyway.
30) Ope. You say it after bumping into someone or committing some other minor infraction.
31) The plastic bags the bagger puts your groceries in are called Meijer(s) bags. Even if they came from Wal-Mart, Target, or the local grocer.
32) The sun hibernates for a few months every winter. Get a light therapy lamp and take vitamin D when you get here.
33) If you move here from California, everyone will ask you why you left. They’re just jealous of the sunshine.
34) Living in Michigan is something special made better by the people you know. Say hey to the people you meet, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and get involved. We’re glad you’re here!
Explore Life in West Michigan
If you’re serious about moving to Michigan these articles will help you find your spot and plug in.