1. It’s two states for the price of one: Michigan is more than just a Mitten, and both peninsulas are amazing wonderlands unto themselves. Under the Mackinac, you’ve got Detroit and other metropolises, vast forests, coney dogs, and the shores of Lake Michigan and Huron. In between, you’ve got a big-ass bridge and the wonders of Mackinac Island. And Up North, you have pasties, people who call you a troll, the Porcupines, and the spectacular Lake Superior shoreline. Driving from the base of the Mitten to Copper Harbor is like driving across the country, with all the geographic diversity and isolation included.
2. The basic invention of American music: Oh, sure, you can claim jazz and blues as the purest of American music. But The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, The Supremes, Michael Jackson, and others will live on at every wedding reception 'til the end of time thanks to Motown. And that’s to say nothing about MC5, Iggy, Madonna, Eminem, and Jack White.
3. The Great Lakes: Other states have “pretty good” lakes. Michigan has lakes that are basically like oceans, except there are no sharks and stingrays to screw up your placid floating. Add in nearly 3,300 miles of shoreline featuring everything from sand dunes to Petoskey stone rock spires and the Pictured Rocks and you’ve also got some of the world’s best beaches.
4. The beer scene: Grand Rapids is making a play among the best beer cities in the country with the likes of Brewery Vivant and Founders. But between Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter, Short's in Bellaire, The Vierling and Blackrocks up in Marquette, and Traverse City representing one of the best small-town beer scenes in the country, Michigan could supplant Oregon, Cali, and Colorado as the nation’s go-to beer destination.
5. Stubborn pride: Detroit and Flint constantly land on the list of the most violent cities in America, though talk to anyone from them and you’ll experience a stubborn pride and hope for a comeback more inspirational than Rocky and Rudy combined. Add in an Upper Peninsula that thinks it should be the 51st state (or its own country) and the legion of Walmart Wolverines who insist Ann Arbor is the sporting epicenter of the universe and you’ve got a recipe for unheralded pride.