The Michigan Daily will be exploring Ann Arbor’s most quirky, lively, and student populated neighborhoods during the next month to see what makes this city tick. Read the first installment about the Old Fourth Ward here.
Walk southwest of Central Campus and you’ll find yourself in the neighborhoods of Elbel Field and Yost Ice Arena, homes to student-athletes, the marching band and cost-conscious undergraduates, alike. These student-populated enclaves represent two of Ann Arbor’s 11 distinct neighborhoods.
Situated around Elbel Field and within walking distance of both Central and South Campus, the Elbel neighborhood is a convenient, affordable location for students, with undergraduates making up the majority of the neighborhood.
Elbel Field is named after Michigan alum Louis Elbel, composer of “The Victors.” Appropriately, the Michigan Marching Band holds its practices at the eponymously field at the heart of the neighborhood. For this reason, many of the marching band’s members choose to live in the neighborhood.
Elbel Field is also a popular location for intramural sports, as it includes a 100-yard turf football field, two sand volleyball courts, two softball fields, a picnic area and a field area. The University renovated the field in 2011 as part of an effort to improve its recreational sports facilities.
A lively, student-populated neighborhood, Elbel is a five minute walk from the Big House and the Intramural Sports Building. Due to its proximity to athletic facilities, the neighborhood is popular for student-athletes.
Business junior Matt Kaufman, a member of the club water polo team, moved into the neighborhood because of its proximity to the athletic training facilities. Elbel is also five minutes from the Business School, so he has an easy commute to his business classes.
“Location was a big factor in choosing where I live,” Kaufman said. “I could not live much closer than where I do right now. I am less than five minutes away from class and it’s also really close to where my team practices.”
While the location is convenient for students like Kaufman, Elbel is more than a 10-minute walk from the Diag and other Central Campus buildings. For students looking for a faster trip to campus, the Commuter South bus makes stops down Hoover Street.
Some students are willing to sacrifice location for the relatively cheap rent and proximity for the variety of eateries, cafes and other local attractions on State Street and Main Street.
Rent in the Elbel neighborhood is generally in the range of $600 to $700 per month, and can be as low as $550 per person, according to data compiled by The Michigan Daily in 2012.
Lower-priced homes tend to be farther from campus. In homes closest to Central Campus, rent can rise to upwards of $800 per month per person.
Popular places to eat near the Elbel neighborhood include fast food options such as Quickie Burger, Grilled Cheezerie, Mr. Spots and BTB Burrito, all located on South State Street. Students flock to these places to rejuvenate on Football Saturdays and for late nights snacks.
Kaufman said while the State Street eateries are convenient, there is a notable lack of food options for the health-conscious.
“Unlike on South University, where you find Revive … or the variety of places around Main Street and North State Street, there aren’t that many places to get healthy food,” he said.
Even so, those looking to work off the 3 a.m. burger and fries can take advantage of the activities available at Elbel Field, the IM Building and Yost Arena.
The Yost neighborhood is adjacent to the Elbel neighborhood and east of South State Street. Like Elbel, the Yost neighborhood attracts student-athletes and cost-conscious undergraduates because of its proximity to the University’s athletic facilities and affordability. The neighborhood is south of Packard Street and borders the eastern edge of South Campus.
The area is a short walk to the Yost Ice Arena, home to the Michigan hockey team. The arena often holds public skate nights for a $3 admissions charge.
Also like Elbel, the ice arena is named after a prominent Wolverine — former football coach Fielding H. Yost, who led the Wolverines to their first national championship in 1901.
Another reason why the neighborhood is brimming with undergraduate students is because of its affordable rent prices and lively social scene. Renters can expect prices as low as $550 per month per person.
At night, Yost’s social scene mainly consists of house parties hosted by undergraduates. Greenwood Avenue and Mary Court are streets known for their block parties.
Like Elbel, the Yost neighborhood is located near the same popular State Street food spots, but is sometimes considered problematically distant from Central Campus.
For students like LSA junior Kelsey Monkiewicz who don’t need to be close to the athletic facilities, the location is a drawback. Monkiewicz said the two main factors she considered when looking for off-campus housing were proximity to Central Campus and affordability. While her living experience has met the latter requirement, she said getting to class can be a pain, particularly in the cold winter months.
“I live with athletes so the location is great for them, but my walk to class is at least 15 minutes,” she said. “The buses don’t really run that frequently, which is especially inconvenient when it gets really cold out.”
Despite her issues with the distance, Monkiewicz said she does not mind other aspects of Yost, such as the frequent parties. She also said she considers Yost a safe area to live in.
“Sometimes you can hear music from other houses, but I don’t really mind,” she said. “It’s a college campus.”