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You gotta hand it to Michigan.

"Michigan: The giant hand holding Detroit back from trying to fight Canada."

Michigan is a northern American state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States (the eastern half of the Midwest). It is bordered to the south by the states of Indiana and Ohio, and by Wisconsin to the west. Michigan also shares a narrow maritime border with the Canadian province of Ontario. The state borders four of the five Great Lakes (Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie) and for this reason is known as the Great Lake State. Michigan is the only state to lie entirely on a peninsula, or (as it happens) two: the sparsely-populated Upper Peninsula (UP) in the north and the more densely-populated Lower Peninsula (LP) in the south. The LP famously looks like a mitten; if you ask a Michigander where he/she is from, very often he/she will point to a spot on the back of the left or front of the right hand (the fingers are populated, but not as heavily), using the hand as a rough map of the state. Metropolitan Detroit occupies the area around the first knuckle of the thumb, while Flint is about halfway up the thumb webbing on the palmar side. Saginaw and associated cities are up the thumb. Lansing is smack in the middle of the palm, and Grand Rapids occupies approximately the fourth (ring) finger's first knuckle (if using the back of the left) or a bit below the base of it (if using the inside of the right). Traverse City, the Leelanau Peninsula and associated "cottage country" all are located along the pinky finger, while Mackinac Island is just off the tip of the first (index) and adjacent to the middle finger.

An oft-forgotten fact about Michigan is that it is huge—the largest state east of the Mississippi by total area thanks to all those lakes and the second-largest east of the Mississippi by land area (Georgia is a little bigger). Its land area is approximately the same as that of England and Wales combined, and its total area is slightly greater than the island of Great Britain (in other words, Michigan has an entire Scotland's worth of lake). The shape of the state—two peninsulas roughly perpendicular to each other—makes getting from the UP border with Wisconsin to Detroit quite a long trip. note 

In terms of its politics, the state has been pretty swingy for the last century, willing to give moderate Republicans and Democrats a shot in elections. However, as of the 2022 midterm elections, the state now slightly leans Democrat. It currently has a Democrat governor and Senators, a majority Democratic state legislature, a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, and voted for Joe Biden after previously helping to elect Donald Trump.

The state can be broadly divided into regions, as follows:

  • Southeast Michigan: Centered on Detroit—the state's largest city—and home to roughly half of Michigan's 10 million people. Often called Metro Detroit, but this isn't strictly true; Ann Arbor (sometimes nicknamed A2 for short, pronounced "A Squared") is unquestionably in Southeast Michigan, but whether it's part of Metro Detroit is something of a hot topic. Either way, the Southeast is the home of the American automotive industry (GM's headquarters are in the iconic Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Ford's are in Dearborn—which is partially surrounded by Detroit—and Chrysler's are in the northern suburb of Auburn Hills). As a result, the region is highly dependent on the industry: when the Big Three are doing well, the area (although not Detroit itself) does well, too. When it isn't, the area generally suffers.
    • Southeast Michigan also has the dubious honor of being the most racially-segregated metropolitan area in the United States. After the race riots of the late 1960s, wealthier white Detroiters fled to the suburbs, leaving Detroit predominantly poor and black. This has major effects on the region's dynamics; this is understandably a hot topic.
    • The Metro Detroit area has three main counties (the three most populated in the state). These three counties account for almost 40% of Michigan's population. In order:
      • Wayne County is the most populated, and is home to Detroit and its western, southern, and eastern inner-ring suburbs. Wayne County is primarily black, but has a large Arab minority. The main center of the Arab community is in Dearborn, the historic home and continuing headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, due to Henry Ford having hired many Middle Eastern immigrants to work for his company. (Largely because he was a flaming bigot with Nazi sympathies who refused to hire Blacks or Jews for his factories. Contemporary Dearborn Arabs find this funny given the state of American populism in the 21st century.) Also of note in Wayne County are Detroit's eastern suburbs—the Grosse Pointes, some of the richest ZIP Codes in the country; and the far less prosperous Harper Woods. Henry Ford's son Edsel (who for the record was not even a tenth as bigoted as his father) built his (large but very tasteful) mansion in Grosse Pointe Shores; today it's open to the public as a museum, with an onsite interpretive center serving as a classy event space and restaurant. Garden City in west central Wayne County has become internationally known for being the site of the world's first official Kmart store and the world's first Little Caesars Pizza restaurant, both of which, unfortunately, no longer exist.note  More recently, the communities of Plymouth and Canton have become centers for Indian immigration, being two of the four Little Indias of the metro area. The westernmost part of Wayne County starts to seem like it's about to get exurban/rural, but then runs directly into Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor area (for which see below). Meanwhile, to the south is Downriver, famously (in Southeast Michigan) home of the White working-class folk who fled Detroit after the 1960s but couldn't afford Macomb County—and who have made something of a sport of coming up with ever-larger food items to eat (for a solid while, Southgate was the home of the world's largest hamburgernote ); although Lincoln Park and Allen Park are fast becoming a center for the metro area's Latino population, evident in the many Mexican restaurants and stores that have opened in those two neighboring suburbs tenfold since the mid-2010s; historically center of Catholic Pole population and blue-collar Wyandottenote  has started becoming the metro area's newest hipster destination, and the island of Grosse Ile can be seen as Downriver's version of Bloomfield Hills.
      • Oakland County, located just north of Wayne (somewhat north-northwest, actually), is divided in two parts. The southern part, nearer Detroit, consists primarily of well-educated and white collar suburbs, but of varying characters. For instance, Ferndale and Royal Oak, older-growth former streetcar suburbs built along Woodward Avenue just outside Detroit,note  are today centers of quasi-urbanist hipster yuppiedom; Bloomfield Hills a few miles to the northwest is old-school country-club capitalismnote ; Troy to the north and Novi to the west are the other two Little Indias, populated heavily by Desi engineers, doctors, and researchers; and Madison Heights (sandwiched between Royal Oak and Troy) is an uncomfortable hybrid of old-school White working class and new arrival Chinese. Northern Oakland County is partly rural and partly exurban McMansion farms inhabited by people with enough money to live in Bloomfield Hills but not enough connections. Sandwiched between northern and southern Oakland County is Pontiac, a sort of mini-Detroit that serves as the county seat—but with a large Mexican population that has served as the city's saving grace since The '90s. Surrounding Pontiac to the east and north is Auburn Hills, where Chrysler has been headquartered since the 1990snote  and home to most of Oakland University (details on that are below) and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, the largest indoor outlet mall in Michigan.
      • Macomb County, to Oakland's east, is heavily blue-collar. The term "Reagan Democrat" arose from a report on white working-class voters in Macomb County. Of note, much like Oakland County, only the southern part of Macomb County actually matches the general description; northern Macomb County is rural/exurban, except that the McMansion owners in northern Macomb not only lack the connections to live in Bloomfield Hills, they lack the money as well. There is also a small transition zone in Sterling Heights—on the western edge of the county between Fourteen Mile and Hall (i.e. Twenty Mile) Road, which has become the main center of the local Iraqi community (primarily Chaldean Catholic, but other ethnic and confessional groups are definitely there), and the aforementioned Hall Road is well known for being a token example of major big box development in Suburbia.
    • This area is also the location of Hell, Michigan. Yes, we do have a town called Hell. Yes, Hell has frozen over many times. The story goes that the first few names the town submitted were rejected, leading the postmaster to angrily shout, "You can name it Hell if you want to!" The citizens thought it sounded good. (They have a lot of fun with the name - every October they hold a town-wide festival, "Halloween in Hell".)
    • Worthy of note are Southeast Michigan's major institutions of higher education other than the University of Michigan:
      • Wayne State University: A public school in Detroit itself, it has a reasonably decent medical school and law school, and is in a fairly safe part of the city (Midtown). Nevertheless gets tarred with the "It's in Detroit, it must be dangerous" brush—or at least it was before "hipsters moving to Detroit" became a thing starting circa 2012 (Midtown being, along with Corktown, the epicenter of this business).
      • University of Detroit Mercy: A private Catholic college, also in Detroit itself, noted for its surprising prowess at basketball. (Still, it hasn't gotten past the second round of March Madness. Curses.) Also, it is notably surrounded by spiked fences and has a secured driveway.
      • Oakland University: With a mailing address in the comfortable suburb of Rochester (which, for the record, is named after the one in New York State), but situated on both sides of the border between two other suburbs, namely Rochester Hills (which surrounds, and is named after, Rochester itself) and Auburn Hills. Formerly Michigan State University - Oakland, it won its independence—to the relief of the MSU administration in East Lansing—in The '60s, it currently acts as a commuter college, but it also has a strong nursing program and (as of 2011) has added a medical school.
      • Eastern Michigan University: Located in Ann Arbor's poorer, sadder twin Ypsilanti. Originally founded as a teachers' college, it currently acts as the University of Michigan's poorer, sadder twin (noticing a theme here?). It nevertheless still has an excellent College of Education, although it was surpassed by Michigan State sometime in The '50s or '60s.
    • Apropos of Eastern, Ypsilanti (or Ypsi for short) is home to the world's most phallic building and was once home to a state mental institution that famously housed the Three Christs of Ypsilanti.
  • Mid-Michigan: Centered on the state capital, Lansing. Moderately populated, its economy is dependent on agriculture, some industry (if you're driving a Cadillac in America, it was probably made in Lansing), government (around Lansing), and education (around Lansing and Mt. Pleasant). The Lansing area plays host to one major university (Michigan State University, in East Lansing), one significant third-tier law school (Cooley, in Downtown Lansing) a vocational college (Davenport University, again in downtown), besides the obligatory community college. Mount Pleasant is home to Central Michigan University, which is respectable enough for a "directional" college. CMU has an intense rivalry with Western Michigan, and to a lesser extent Eastern as well. CMU also boasts one of the best broadcasting programs in the state, and has beaten out MSU in recent years. Jackson, in the south-central part of the state, is roughly the midway point between between Ann Arbor and Lansing (traveling northwest) and between Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo (traveling roughly due west); it is notable in Michigan for playing host to Michigan's most important maximum-security prison and being the birthplace of the Republican Party.note  Flint—essentially Detroit-like, but smaller and in even more dire straights, having become infamous for its heavily contaminated drinking water—can be considered part of Mid-Michigan (with the Tri-Cities of Saginaw, Bay City, and Midland), Southeast Michigan, or...
  • The Thumb: A flat region corresponding to the "thumb" of the "mitten". Mostly agricultural; they particularly grow a large amount of sugar beets. Thomas Edison, while born in Ohio and spending most of his career in New Jersey, grew up in its largest city, Port Huron, which is a major crossing to Canada (the Blue Water Bridge connects Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario, and is probably the most direct route for most Michiganders to Toronto).note 
  • West Michigan: Often called the West Coast, since it lies on the shore of Lake Michigan. Centered on Grand Rapids, the state's second-largest city, which was historically a major base for the furniture industry (so much so that even today it's sometimes called Furniture City). Today, the most famous company in the city is "seriously, it's multi-level marketing, we swear we're not a Pyramid Scheme" consumer goods company Amway, although office-furniture giant Steelcase and the legendary Herman Miller company (of Aeron Chair fame) is based in the metro area, and its high-tech medical industry has been steadily growing; thankfully, this diverse economy has mostly spared the city from the woes of the state's other major cities. Also home to large numbers of stern Dutch Calvinists (to the point that there's a town of Holland just west of Grand Rapids with an annual tulip festival, wooden shoes, and a Dutch Reformed seminary/college),note  with a predictable effect on the region's politics: although the city of Grand Rapids itself is quite liberal (having been abandoned by the Dutch and taken over by Catholic Italians, Poles, and Latinos), the region as a whole was considered a very safe seat for the Republicans; it was securely Gerald Ford's seat for years (who was once House Minority Leader before being President), and Libertarian/Tea Party darling Justin Amash represented Greater Grand Rapids for years including downtown Grand Rapids itself; asking "How can that be?" will earn you a long and loud lecture on what "Gerrymandering" is. However, Democratic improvement in the suburban areas have put the seat in play for Democrats, but it was still held by a Republican in the moderate Peter Meijer (heir to the popular supermarket chainnote ) until the 2022 election, in which Democrat Hilary Scholten won the seat.
    • The more rural areas are noted for their fruit production, including viticulture (i.e. wine); Lake Michigan increases rainfall and moderates the climate, making the whole coast heaven for fruit farmers. As a result, Michigan as a state has the second-most diverse range of agricultural crops, beaten out only by California in that statistic. Also heavily dependent on tourism: there are lots of nice beaches on the lake shoreline which attract people from elsewhere in the state (and beyond; people from Chicago and its suburbs come too) in the summertime.
    • Southwest Michigan — near the border with Indiana — is sometimes (along with northeast Indiana) known as Michiana and has its own dynamic. The parts closer to the middle, like Kalamazoo, are a bit more like Mid-Michigan, but the far southwest is another story. It's closer to Chicago than anything else, and could be considered to be an outpost of Greater Chicagoland. The region's proximity to South Bend, Indiana (home to the University of Notre Dame) also uniquely makes it one of the state's only areas to have a significant number of Notre Dame football fansnote  Historically quite industrial; now quite depressed. A sort of mirror image of Detroit and its suburbs has popped up, with St. Joseph being predominantly rich and white and Benton Harbor, across the St. Joseph River, being predominantly poor and black. We should note here that Benton Harbor is home to the headquarters of Whirlpool Corporation (as in washers and dryers and dishwashers and stoves and...), and this region's fortunes rise and fall with Whirlpool much as Detroit's rise and fall with the Big Three.
      • Kalamazoo is a frequent target of "no seriously, this place exists" jokes, largely because of its name (which is admittedly an Inherently Funny Word) and its location (almost exactly halfway between Chicago and Detroit).
      • Kalamazoo's major industry is pharmaceuticals, as the original home of the long-gone pharma giant Upjohn. However, Pfizer retained Upjohn's manufacturing and research facilities in Kalamazoo after acquiring them, so there's a good chance that any given American's medicine has some Kalamazoo involvement. Of particular note is Kalamazoo's role as the home of the main US production facility for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
      • Kalamazoo plays host to two educational institutions—Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College. WMU is notable for being a party school (nicknamed "Wastern") rather like Indiana's Purdue University, but of a substantially lower caliber in most areas except for Medieval Studies, while Kalamazoo is a liberal arts college notable for sending all its undergrads abroad for a year and being ridiculously expensive. However, two other areas in which WMU has long held much prestige are vocal jazz (their vocal-jazz ensemble "Gold Company" has a long track record for winning the highest awards for collegiate vocal jazz music) and its aviation program. Many of the nation's air-traffic controllers earned their credentials at WMU. Another major attraction there is the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, known to locals as the "Air Zoo". Consisting of two buildings (which are far enough apart to require a short drive), its aircraft collection is surprisingly diverse and rich, and includes one of the only two SR-71B "Blackbird" trainer aircraft ever built (the sole surviving B) and the only remaining Curtiss XP-55 Ascender (on long-term loan from the Smithsonian, but restored in-house by Air Zoo staff). Also nearby is the Gilmore Car Museum (an automotive history collection rivalling that of even the Motor City itself).
      • East of Kalamazoo but still in the Lower Peninsula's southwestern quadrant is Battle Creek, which is somewhat famous for being the breakfast cereal capital of the world. Home of two of the nation's big three cereal brands: Kellogg's and Post (well, it's the birthplace of Post, only Kellogg's still has its world headquarters in Battle Creek) hence the town's nickname of Cereal City.
      • Historically, Kalamazoo also was home to the maker of the iconic Checker taxicab.
  • Northern Michigan: Or should we say Northern Lower Michigan. Sparsely populated; while there's a fair amount of agriculture in the area, there's also a lot of wilderness. There's a line running roughly from Muskegon (on the West Coast) to Bay City, south of which lives over 80% of Michigan's population. Folks from south of the line often go "up north" to this part of the state to get away; hunting and fishing are popular, although other forms of tourism are also important to the economy. Very few areas of dense population.
    • Traverse City—roughly at the "pinky" of the "mitten" is noted for its fruit production (the lake effect moderating its climate), particularly cherries and grapes (so, yes, you snobs and drunkards, wine). Even crops considered to be warm-weather (like peaches) can thrive in the region. It does still get cold of course, but actually helps with some of the fruit; this region produces some really good ice wine (an originally German style of dessert wine that requires the grapes to freeze solid on the vine; this concentrates the sugars). Also home to a film festival started by Michael Moore; locals have mixed feelings about this.
    • People also have a good if rather immature laugh at the expense of Gaylord, which has precisely two claims to fame: being exactly halfway between the North Pole and Equator (at 45 degrees north, a distinction it shares with Alpena) and being the smallest city in the US with a Roman Catholic cathedral. (And probably the smallest city in the US to have a TJ Maxx, but the jury's still out.)
    • Another notable tourist town in northern Michigan is Oscoda, where the first known Paul Bunyan stories were published. It had a massive Air Force base (Wurtsmith) until 1993. Alpena still has the area's largest commercial airport.
    • Also home to Mackinaw City, another popular tourist town and the southern anchor of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas and is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere between anchoragesnote . Also a common base for tourists to...
    • Mackinac Island, an extremely popular tourist destination/summer retreat for Midwesterners that is be a portal to the past—almost all motor vehicles are banned from island. It gained national recognition as the filming location for the Cult Classic Somewhere in Time. It also hosts both the official summer residence of the Governor of Michigan and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy'sNote for politics nerds  annual Policy Conference, the latter of which is a libertarian-leaning conservative shindig that attracts right-wing luminaries from across the state and indeed the country. Since the conference usually happens in late May-early June, at a time the Governor is frequently on the island, this can create some awkwardness when the Guv is a Democrat.
      • Note: Yes, the city is spelled "Mackinaw" and the bridge and island are spelled "Mackinac." Blame the French. For reference, both are pronounced "Mackinaw."
      • Mackinac Island is also incredibly famous for its fudge. 14 different fudge shops make 10,000 pounds of fudge per day during peak travel season meaning that tourists from the lower parts will travel to Mackinac Island just to get a taste of it; some consider it the best fudge on earth. There's even an ice cream flavor named after it.
  • The Upper Peninsula: Even more sparsely-populated and wilderness-covered than Northern Lower Michigan (only 3% of Michiganders live here), with an economy broadly similar to that region. Its inhabitants ("Yoopers") are considered to be a breed of their own, with a distinctive dialect that sounds more Minnesota than Michigan, thanks to heavy Nordic (particularly Finnish) immigration. It gets thicker as you approach the border with Wisconsin. They call other Michiganders "trolls" because they live "under da bridge" (the Mackinac Bridge, which carries I-75 from St. Ignace in the UP to Mackinaw City in the LP). Famous for pasties—the Cornish kind, little folded meat pies. Yoopers have on occasion threatened to secede from Michigan and either join Wisconsin or form their own state, named Superior (named after Lake Superior, which sits directly above it); these proposals have gotten nowhere but have brought attention to the UP's grievances. The mining industry historically dominated the area due to its rich copper and iron ore veins, but mining in the area hasn't been economically viable in several decades. To this day though, the western Upper Peninsula is frequently nicknamed "Copper Country," and is the unlikely location of one of the Midwest's best engineering schools, Michigan Technological University, which got its start as a mining school.

Other facts about Michigan:

  • The two largest Universities in the state are the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University (in East Lansing, which is immediately east of Lansing). The two Universities are leading National Research Institutions and they share an intense, in-state rivalry with each other in sports—and everything else.note  How friendly this rivalry gets depends on who you ask; since many Michiganders have relatives who went to both, and many went to both themselves (it's actually surprisingly common for doctors and lawyers from Michigan to have attended MSU for undergrad and then Michigan for med school/law school) there's often a desire to keep the peace, but others regard the other school as The Enemy (or at U of M, The Second Enemy, The First Enemy being Ohio State), with whom there is no reconciliation. If Michigan State is playing against Ohio State, U of M will be angry no matter the result. U of M feels they're the only school allowed to defeat Michigan State, but they also don't want MSU to rob them of the opportunity to conquer the Buckeyes. That said, if Michigan's luck has been lousy enough to rule out a Wolverines-Buckeyes game, then most U of M fans will (grudgingly) root for the Michigan State Spartans. The rivalry against Ohio State stems all the way back to Michigan's birth as a state, during which the then-Michigan Territory declared war on Ohio over who the city of Toledo belonged to. This border dispute awarded the Toledo Strip to Ohio and gave Michigan the Upper Peninsula as a Consolation Prize. Some Michiganders remain bitter to this day about the whole debacle even though Wisconsin arguably was the state hurt the most by the "Toledo War" and in the long run Michigan actually made out quite well with the Upper Peninsula's abundant natural resources.note 
  • The state has four major professional sports teams, all centered in Detroit. They include the Detroit Tigers (Baseball), the Detroit Lions (Football), The Detroit Red Wings (Ice Hockey) and the Detroit Pistons (Basketball). Minor-league teams also abound in Michigan, particularly with baseball and ice hockey—particularly the latter, with one major development team (the Grand Rapids Griffins) and four top-tier/major junior hockey teams (in the Ontario Hockey League, the Saginaw Spirit and Flint Firebirdsnote ; in the United States Hockey League, the Muskegon Lumberjacks; and the USA Hockey National Team Development Program based in Plymouthnote ). We should also note that of Michigan's 14 public universities, seven field Division I men's ice hockey teams—especially impressive considering that four of those seven are actually Division II schools.note  This love of hockey is probably one reason that some have joked that Michigan is the honourary [sic] eleventh province of Canada.
  • Bowling. Michigan is the "Bowling Capital of the World;" by most estimates, there are more bowling centers per person in Michigan than anywhere else in the US, or in the world for that matter. Pretty much everyone in Michigan knows how to bowl, and bowling alleys are very common points of family entertainment in the daytime and early evening, turning into a bar-type setting later at night. This trend is most pronounced in Southeast Michigan, but really, bowling is big statewide.
  • Euchre. Euchre is popular. If you don't know how to play, you're not from here. You don't have to be any good; you just have to know how to play.
    • The joke goes, "if you know how to play (and pronounce) Euchre, you might be from Michigan...
      • ...or from Minnesota
      • ...or from Wisconsin.
  • The wilderness and going "Up North." The northern part of the state, as mentioned, has a lot of wilderness and other protected areas—most of it forested. Michigan has the nation's largest state-forest system, with 3.9 million acres under state protection; the US Forest Service also owns about 2.8 million acres. Combined with the state park system and national parks and lakeshores in the state, about one-fifth of the land in Michigan is protected—and none of this counts privately-held land that people simply aren't developing (which amounts to at least 2 million acres). Naturally, all this natural beauty leads to all kinds of nature-related tourism. Michiganders from the heavily-populated south—particularly Southeast Michigan—commonly go "Up North" to camp, fish, swim, and hunt in the large wilderness and semi-wilderness. Many own cabins or cottages, providing a base of operations for all this outdoorsy fun. Of course, the people who live up north also know about all this and fish and hunt more than the tourists—the stereotype of the Yoopers is that all they do is hunt. Virtually everyone in the state knows when firearm hunting season starts for deer (November 15, in case you're wondering).
    • A related phenomenon on the west coast of the state (on Lake Michigan) is the influx of tourists who flock to the region's beaches (yes, Lake Michigan has beaches—and pretty ones, we might add). Many of these come from Chicago and environs; like the Detroiters who have cabins and cottages in the forest, the better-off ones will often have lakehouses in Michigan. This can cause some friction, and so people from the Michigan West Coast are liable to call these tourists "FIPs"—"Fucking Illinois People."note  (Ernest Hemingway, who loved Michigan's wilderness, was a FIP: from near Chicago, his family had a house near Petoskey.) Beachgoing tourists from other parts of the nation, particularly Florida and California, are easily recognized thanks to how confused they are by the lack of salt in the water, and the lack of salt scent in the air. They always seem to assume that if the water extends to the horizon, that it "must" be saltwater.
  • Beer. Time was, Wisconsin was where the breweries were. But for some reason, the craft beer thing really caught on in Michigan—even more than in traditional brewing regions. Michigan today has two of the largest and most widely-distributed craft breweries in the country (Founders out of Grand Rapids and Bell's out of Kalamazoo; neither is a "true" microbrewery, as they produce more beer than that). (Also: We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that one of the most successful products from Bell's is their "Two-Hearted IPA", a first-wave American IPA with a strong rosemaryish flavor explicitly named for the Two-Hearted River that Hemingway so loved to fish. The beer is sold nationally with a trout theme on the packaging, to give you an idea of the popularity.) There are at least fifteen more craft breweries in the state, plus a plethora of brewpubs, and really, Michiganders have gotten rather used to the idea of being a "Great Beer State"—these beers are increasingly a source of state pride and a symbol of renewal in a state that really needs a drink sometimes. The state government has even cautiously made moves that would encourage the industry and Michigan beer culture, starting with a bill in the State Senate in 2013 that would impose a British/German-style requirement that a pint at a bar always contain exactly 16 oz.
  • Weed. Michigan was the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational cannabis, beating even Illinois to the punch by a year (2018 vs. 2019). As a result, it has become the center for a substantial marijuana industry, one of the most vibrant in the country. This is helped by the fact that its two southern neighbors, Indiana and Ohio, show no signs of legalizing. As a result, billboards for various Michigan dispensaries dot I-80/I-90 (the Ohio Turnpike and Indiana Toll Road) near all exits leading to a road that goes to Michigan, and billboards advertising dispensaries dominate as you move into Michigan. (For instance, on I-75 north from Toledo, pretty much all the billboards are for dispensaries for the first 10 miles north of the state line.)
  • Snow. Lots of it. The presence of the Great Lakes coupled with the cold air masses that blow in from the west results in swaths of Western and Northern Michigan (and the U.P.) lying in "snow belts" that get subjected to the phenomenon of "lake-effect snow", leaving these places buried in the white stuff. This is a likely contributor to the "Meanwhile, in Michigan..." meme which depicts Michiganders going about their business in over a foot of snow; this is sometimes contrasted to Southerners (such as Floridians and Louisianans) panicking over a fraction of an inch of snow.

Works set in Michigan:

  • See all works on the page for Detroit for works set in Detroit and Metro Detroit.
  • Escanaba in Da Moonlight—Set in the UP, but beloved of all Michiganders for Jeff Daniels' role.
  • Anatomy of a Murder—Set in Ishpeming, again in the UP.
  • Ernest Hemingway's famous short story "Big Two-Hearted River" is centered on a trout fishing trip in (again) the UP. (Fun fact: Bell's Brewery takes the name of its main year-round beer, the Two-Hearted Ale IPA, from the Hemingway short story. Trout are prominently featured on the packaging.)
  • Somewhere in Time—Set on Mackinac Island, where it was filmed.
  • Most of the American Pie movies: the characters go to/went to high school in Grosse Pointe (next to Detroit), but there are locations across the state (particularly band camp, heavily implied to be somewhere in the vicinity of Hillsdale County).
  • The House With a Clock in Its Walls—Set in the fictional town of New Zebedee, which is itself based on the city of Marshall.
  • The Loud House primarily takes place in the fictional Michigan city of Royal Woods, which may be based on Royal Oak, the hometown of creator Chris Savino.
  • Joe Pera Talks With You - set a quirky, fictionalized version of Marquette, in the Upper Peninsula
  • Sufjan Stevens' 2003 LP Michigan is a Concept Album all about the eponymous state.
  • InCryptid: Several short stories are set in the fictional Buckley Township in the Upper Peninsula (not to be confused with the real Buckley, which is in the "hand").
  • Don't Look Up: Set in Lansing, Michigan, and in fact the protagonists are staff at Michigan State University.

Famous Michiganders:

  • Blue Stahli: From Detroit.
  • Bob Seger: Born in Dearborn, grew up in Ann Arbor. Still lives in a northwest suburb of Detroit.
  • The Stooges: Formed in Ann Arbor. Iggy Pop was born in West Michigan.
  • MC5 was another famous Ann Arbor band.
  • Jeff Daniels (born in Georgia) grew up in Chelsea and attended Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.
  • Magic Johnson is originally from Lansing, and his decision to attend Michigan State was in part driven by a desire to stay close to his family.note 
  • Gerald Ford, of course (though he was actually born in Omaha).
  • Malcolm X, though born in Omaha (strange, ain't it?), was raised in Lansing and spent some time in Flint before making his name in Harlem. Lansing's former Main Street (long since turned into a service road for I-496) was renamed "Malcolm X Boulevard" in 2010. (It intersects Martin Luther King Boulevard a little over 3/4 of a mile southwest of the State Capitol—right outside the GM factory where all those Caddies come from, in fact.)
  • Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit; he later moved to New Jersey.
  • Gilda Radner was born in Detroit.
  • Ellen Burstyn was born and raised in Detroit.
  • Lily Tomlin was born and raised in Detroit.
  • Motown entertainers, including the Supremes, Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas (Martha Reeves is now a Detroit councilwoman), Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, etc. and label founder Berry Gordy.
  • Marvin Gaye was raised in the District, but moved with his family to join Motown.
  • Aretha Franklin, although born in Memphis, was raised in Detroit. She lived in the area up until her death in 2018, and was active in the community. She even made a ham with a glaze based on Vernors (Detroit's native sweet, strongly-flavored ginger ale; Vernors-glazed holiday hams are quite common in Detroit's Black community).
  • As was Eminem (albeit born in Missouri). Hence those "Imported from Detroit" commercials that Chrysler previously ran.
  • James Earl Jones was raised in Jackson, after moving away from his family in Mississippi at age five. He's still the narrator for the "Please come here" video for the University of Michigan (from which he graduated in 1955).
  • S. Epatha Merkerson, again from Detroit.
  • Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters is from Marshall, although MythBusters was based in San Francisco.
  • Gillian Anderson (although born in Chicago and later based in England), from Grand Rapids, was voted "most likely to get arrested" by her high school classmates.
  • The White Stripes, also from Detroit. Jack was born in Detroit, and Meg in the nearby suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms.
  • Alice Cooper is from Allen Park, but was raised in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, although raised in Long Island and New York City.
  • Tom Selleck was born in Detroit, but based in California.
  • Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, was born in Jackson and spent a lot of time in Michigan in his youth (although Ohio has a stronger claim on him). He's most famous for writing the "I know it when I see it" definition of "hard-core pornography" (as opposed to "erotic art") in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1967). It is really quite a shame, as he's highly respected for jurisprudence on court access, civil rights, free speech, and the Fourth Amendment.
  • David Spade is from Birmingham, but grew up in Arizona.
  • Henry Ford was from what used to be Greenfield Township; the place where he was born is now part of Dearborn (which also hosts the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, as well as a few other places named after him).
    • Incidentally, Ford's racism is responsible for making Metro Detroit in general and Dearborn in particular the single largest Arab community in North America: Ford hated black people so much he preferred to bring in workers from Yemen and Lebanon, paying their fares across the Atlantic, rather than hire blacks. The Arab immigration established a nucleus that snowballed into what it is today.
  • Terry O'Quinn grew up in Newberry in the Upper Peninsula and went to Central Michigan University.
  • Madonna, born in Bay City, raised in Rochester Hills.
  • Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi are from Royal Oak, where they became childhood friends.
  • Jeremy Davies, from Traverse City.
  • Tim Allen was raised in Birmingham (although born in Denver) and attended CMU and Western. He currently narrates the "Pure Michigan" tourism ads. This is why Home Improvement was based in Michigan (with his birth state taking center stage for his next sitcom)
  • Kid Rock (Romeo), who still lives in southeast Michigan and hosts discount concerts for local fans on occasion. And was seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 (although he ultimately backed out).
  • And Kid's protégé, Uncle Kracker (Mount Clemens)
  • Arte Johnson (Benton Harbor)
  • Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, but grew up in Port Huron. He moved to Kentucky at 19, was fired there, and ended up in New Jersey (where he made his name).
  • The Insane Clown Posse, from Detroit.
  • Michael Moore, born in Flint, raised in Davison.
  • Ted Nugent, the Motor City Madman himself, is from Redford, a suburb of Detroit.
  • Baseball great Derek Jeter was born in North Jersey but raised in Kalamazoo, and for this reason and this reason only, people from Kalamazoo who were around when Jeter was with the Yankees are allowed to be Yankees fans.
  • Jordan Klepper, The Daily Show correspondent and host of The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, is from Kalamazoo.
  • Danny Brown is from Detroit, and writes frequently about the abject poverty he grew up with there.
  • Thomas Ligotti is another Detroit native, and his fascination with urban decay likely stems from this.
  • Experimental rock band His Name Is Alive hail from Livonia, in the southeastern part of the state near Detroit, and even named their debut album after the town.
  • Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens was born in Detroit and moved with his family up north to Petoskey at the age of 9, attending, amongst other high schools, the famous Interlochen Arts Academy. (As mentioned above, he also released an entire concept album about the state in 2003).
  • Professional wrestler Heidi Lovelace (WWE's Ruby Riott and AEW's Ruby Soho) was born in Edwardsburg but is based out of Indiana.

...F*** Ohio.