Advice for Anyone Moving to Michigan

moving to michigan map

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.

mackinac island 1

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.

lake michigan 1

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.

michigan pothole 1

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.

superman ice cream michigan 1

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.

euchre card game michigan 1

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!

moving to michigan

Explore Life in West Michigan

If you’re serious about moving to Michigan these articles will help you find your spot and plug in.

7 Things to Help you With Your Move to Grand Rapids: Schools, Neighborhoods, Local Lingo, Realtors & More
RELOCATION GUIDE Thinking About Moving Your Family to Grand Rapids, MI? If you're considering a move to Michigan's fastest-growing metro ...
Read More
Before You Buy Your Dream House, Do These 4 Things
MSUFCU’s 4 Key Mortgage Rules, Including the House-to-Income Ratio Buying a home is exhilarating! You can dream up what kind ...
Read More
Moving to Grand Rapids? How to find Neighborhoods, Doctors, Schools and More
Tips for Moving to Grand Rapids and West Michigan Moving to a new home is a lot of work, no ...
Read More
5 Days to Explore the Best West Michigan Neighborhoods to Live
It's hard to get a feel for a town unless you check it out yourself. Here are ideas for what ...
Read More
19 Amazing Things to Do in Walker, Sparta & Comstock Park
Where you an Find all the Family Fun for Northwest Grand Rapids Area There's a lot of big fun to ...
Read More
29 Ways to Spend the Day in Jenison, Grandville and Hudsonville
Loads of Family Fun Awaits You in the West Grand Rapids Suburbs Want to know the unique gift that the ...
Read More
28 Terrific Things to do in Kentwood, Caledonia and Southeast Grand Rapids
Southeast Grand Rapids is growing, and families are flocking to Caledonia, Dutton, Cutlerville and Kentwood. Here are 21 ideas for ...
Read More
Why People Love Rockford, Belmont & Cedar Springs, plus 22 Things to do Here
Rockford and Cedar Springs is for Outdoor Lovers For years I thought that Rockford was just another nice small town ...
Read More

16 thoughts on “Advice for Anyone Moving to Michigan”

  1. I am born and raised Michigander and I actually really like michigan alot I am just no longer a fan of Detroit 🙁 I want to move out of state for a better life but a part of me is just feeling like maybe I should just move to a different part of the state instead.

  2. I’m originally from northern Germany and currently stuck in east central Illinois. I have been to Michigan numerous times and parts of it remind me of home. I plan on moving up there in two years but am not quite sure how to start.

  3. Great article, I left to work in DC, and couldn’t wait to get back.

    But I must say.. the Mitten’s humidity is nothing compared soooo many other states. We just believe it is!

    Really… its not bad, refreshingly low actually.

  4. Lived in Michigan most of our lives. My wife and I haved traveled most of the world and can’t wait to get back to Michigan. Michigan is beautiful the year round. When you cross the bridge to the upper peninsula it’s the most breathtaking sight you will ever experance.

  5. Nice article to one distant cousin from another. Vander Weide was my mothers maiden name. She was one of 7 or 10 depending on how you look at it
    True Michiganders
    I have always said Grand Rapids is city with a small town feel. Oh, how it has continued to grow. It continues to change with all kinds of opportunities for all .

  6. Been in out of state 16 years. Baby Imma coming home in June. Home is where the heart has always been. Miss my Michigan.

    1. What a hoot. Perfect description of home with the right touch of humor. My compliments on a well written article.

  7. George Peter Block Jr

    I enjoyed reading your article online about advice regarding moving to Michigan.

    I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and lived there most of my life, but now I live in Michigan. In my many travels to Michigan over the years, I have always marvelled at how proud Michiganders are of their state, with Michigan map window stickers and bumper stickers on their cars. NOBODY in Illinois has an Illinois map window sticker or bumper sticker on their car. Lol.

    Here is a song I wrote, “Michiganders.” I hope you get a smile out of it. Only 2 minutes long…..

    Keep up the good work.


    George Peter Block, Jr.
    Boyne Falls

  8. You for got the michigan sense of humor just in case the people don’t pick up on it through some of the things that made me laugh born and bread michigander but have been out of the state

  9. A lot of these are accurate! Lol I am originally from Florida (I know; usually people move the other way around) and I have noticed those things over the years. It’s funny though because most people I talk to here are oblivious to it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *