This second-largest city in Michigan will require a heavy cold-weather coat, but the trade-offs are low cost of living and mild summers spent lounging on the banks of the Grand River or nearby Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids originally grew as a hub for gypsum mining, furniture production and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. Although the industries have adjusted over time and remain important to the local economy, Grand Rapids has since developed a booming healthcare community, with research, innovations and patient care among the world’s best. Plus, with housing prices well below the national average, this mid-sized city is an absolute steal! Grand Rapids homes for sale are currently listed at a median price of $159,800. Homes for sale in Grand Rapids are available in sought-after neighborhoods like eclectic Heartside, historic Heritage Hill and up-and-coming Medical Mile.

Beer enthusiasts are likely to feel instantly at home in Grand Rapids, which boasts more than 75 local craft breweries and is now known as Beer City USA. Cideries are on the rise in the area as well, thanks to an abundance of apple growers nearby. With wineries both in and near the city, Grand Rapids is also a low-key, but high quality spot for tastings and tours. The social experience continues, with a preponderance of farm-fresh dining options as well as over 100 music venues to the city’s credit. Indeed, there’s a scene for every personality to enjoy, from martini bars to night clubs to sports bars broadcasting the big games of the day.

There are also plenty of ways to commune with nature in Grand Rapids, whether you’re climbing the sand dunes or fishing any of the local waterways. Mountain bikers, hikers and walkers, in particular, love any of the area’s many trails, starting with the Kent Trails system near downtown. Grand Rapids is also a golfer’s paradise, with many perfectly tended courses from which to choose. Of course, the area is rich in historical significance, from the Native American mounds at Millennium Park and picturesque lighthouses to the fascinating Dutch community.