So You’re Thinking About Relocating to Michigan?

By Rachel Gray September 26, 2023
Two people with beach towels walk away from the bright red Grand Haven lighthouse.

Photo by Michigan Economic Development Corporation

I don’t know about you, but before I make a big life decision, I like to do my research. Campus tours before picking my college. Test driving before buying a car. Dating my now husband for (quite) a while before saying yes. I even tried out a few dentists before settling on one. Hey, it’s a personal decision! So it stands to reason that if I were to relocate, I’d be checking out the place first!

Relocation is one of the top 3 most stressful life events someone can face (death of a loved one and divorce top the list). Research and try-outs can make the relocation process feel less overwhelming.

In addition to online research, here are some ways to “try out” a new city in person.

  • Take a vacation and plan a long weekend there. Physically visiting a city, walking around, and talking to locals is the best way to assess the vibe.
  • Think about your preferred hobbies or activities you typically like to do after 5:00p.m. and on the weekends. Are they available in their new town? If you’re an avid pickleball player, bring your paddles with you and go try out the courts in the new town.
  • If you are part of a professional association, see if the new city has a chapter located there and attend one of their events.
  • Find opportunities to talk with employers or business people. Attend an economic outlook or hiring event.

If you’ve found the “You Can in Michigan” site, then you’ve already taken the first step on the relocation journey. Through the regional pages on this site, you can start to get a sense of each part of Michigan.

Now, we invite you to go deeper.

From October 13 – November 30, the Back To Michigan event series is happening around Michigan. Each region invites people to come and explore the idea of relocation. There are hiring employers to network with and community ambassadors to learn from. Some regions are even hosting experiences like group hikes or a day at the apple orchard. Michigan has been doing these events for over 10 years and it has resulted in relocations to Michigan.

These events are free for job seekers and people interested in exploring the idea of relocation. Find an event happening in the region you’re interested in, learn more, and register at Many of these events happen around college homecomings or the Thanksgiving holiday.



Rachel Gray is the Executive Director of Hello West Michigan. She relocated to West Michigan in 2008 for school and stayed in the area after graduation. As a leader in the state’s talent attraction space, she leads Back To Michigan, the award-winning collaborative of partner organizations working to attract people to Michigan. Rachel was named Grand Rapids Business Journal 40 Under 40 in 2018.  In the summer, you’ll find her at the beach and in the winter, on the cross-country ski trails at Pigeon Creek Park in West Olive.