Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a vibrant city with a strong job market and affordable cost of living.
The city recently was ranked No. 20 on U.S. News’ list of the Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2023-2024 out of 150 other populous metro areas.
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To make the top of the list, an area must be a desirable place to live and have a healthy job market and high quality of life.
The loan experts at Compass Mortgage can help you get into your dream home in this beautiful area that is full of opportunities.
Read on for our list of 10 reasons why you should move to Grand Rapids.
As the second-largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids has a diverse, thriving job market.
According to the annual Grand Rapids Economic Forecast, the area is expected to grow at twice the rate of the national economy.
It’s home to more than 150,000 advanced manufacturing professionals and is in the top five large cities in the U.S. to start a small business.
Grand Rapids is also home to numerous other industries, including healthcare, education and technology.
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The Grand River runs through the heart of Grand Rapids, and the Lake Michigan shoreline is less than an hour’s drive away from the city.
There are multiple parks, nature preserves and trails peppered throughout the area and along the river. Popular destinations include Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and John Ball Zoo.
Blandford Nature Center has more than eight miles of trails through 264 acres of woods and meadows.
There is no shortage of things to do for nature lovers in Grand Rapids.
Relatively low cost of living
The Midwest is among the best places to settle down right now because the cost of living has remained affordable despite high home prices and interest rates.
Grand Rapids offers a vibrant city life to those who desire this environment, yet the cost of living is significantly lower than other major metro areas in the U.S.
Michigan’s cost of living is 11% below the national average, and it is considered the fourth most affordable state in the country.
While the average annual salary in Grand Rapids is $52,660, housing, transportation and everyday expenses are lower, so residents can stretch their budgets further.
Grand Rapids has a lively downtown area filled with restaurants, breweries, art galleries, museums, theaters and music venues.
Popular annual events and festivals in Grand Rapids include the Festival of the Arts, LaughFest and World of Winter and the annual Butterflies Are Blooming exhibit at Meijer Gardens.
Rich arts and cultural scene
We left out the most popular annual Grand Rapids event in the last section to include it here: ArtPrize.
ArtPrize is known as the world’s largest public art event, with hundreds of thousands of visitors in attendance each year.
Grand Rapids is also known for its famous art museum and performances by the Grand Rapids Ballet, the only professional ballet company in Michigan.
Reputable higher education institutions
Grand Rapids has several renowned higher education institutions, including Grand Valley State University, Calvin University and Aquinas College.
These institutions attract students and academics from around the world for their learning and research opportunities.
Strong sense of community
In addition to higher education, Grand Rapids has excellent schools and safe neighborhoods.
Due to its strong job market, great schools and affordable housing, the area draws in everyone from college students to young families and retirees.
The area is known to be friendly and community-driven, with active neighborhoods and numerous community events.
Grand Rapids prides itself on being an inclusive, diverse community that celebrates people from all walks of life.
The community is committed to making the area as accessible and sustainable as possible, with help from the Office of Equity and Engagement for the city of Grand Rapids.
Exceptional health-care services
Grand Rapids has nationally ranked hospitals, medical centers and research facilities, including the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Hospital Group.
Many of the area’s world-class medical facilities lie in the city’s multi-billion dollar investment on Michigan Street known as “Medical Mile.”
Craft beer destination
Last but not least, Grand Rapids has earned a few nicknames for its craft beverage scene, including “Beer City USA” and the “Craft Beverage Capital of the United States” from USA Today.
Many of Grand Rapids’ breweries are housed in unique, historic buildings that further enhance the visitors’ experiences.
Start the home loan process with Compass Mortgage
Grand Rapids is a beautiful, safe area to call home, with a robust economy and lower cost of living.
If you’re ready to start looking for your new home in Grand Rapids, start the loan process with the experts at Compass Mortgage.
We are committed to providing a simple, personalized loan process and acting as your partner and advocate throughout every step.
To put you ahead of the competition we offer borrowers our Get Committed® program, which provides a fully underwritten loan commitment that locks in your interest rate before you even find the property you want to buy.
A loan commitment essentially has the power of a cash offer, showing the seller you’re fully approved financially and that your deal isn’t likely to fall through.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto