In a recent article, we covered Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Novi, Michigan, in which we gave a lot of info and stats on demographics, the low crime rates, employment, schools, etc. All of that info is definitely important to consider when moving to a new city, however, it doesn’t quite explain what it’s like to actually LIVE there.
In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into Novi itself, along with some of the places to go and fun things to do. We’ll cover some of the local parks and share some info on what makes living in Novi, well… Novi!
LOCATION (Heading downtown)
Although we already touched on Novi’s location as far as proximity to downtown Detroit, DTW Airport, and Pine Knob, we wanted to dive a bit deeper into this. To do so, we first need to disclose one of the cons of living in Novi - there isn’t really a formal downtown area. To the south of Grand River and east of Novi Road, you will find Novi’s Main Street, but it’s more of just a shopping center. There are a couple of good bars and restaurants, but it is not a formal downtown. However, Novi is centrally located to a few other cities that have phenomenal downtown areas that Novi residents frequent.
Roughly 15 minutes to the west of Novi is South Lyon, which has a nice, up and coming downtown area. They do a great job incorporating the park system with their downtown and we recommend checking out the Lyon Grill Restaurant for some great eats.
15 minutes to the east is downtown Farmington, where you can find local shops, great food, a couple of bars including 1Up Arcade Bar and John Cowley & Sons Irish Pub, plus the beautiful Farmington Civic Theatre to catch a show.
Directly to the south five minutes outside of Novi is downtown Northville, which also has some great local shops and excellent dining options such as Lucy & the Wolf. Since the pandemic began, they began the Northville Downtown Social District, shutting down part of the streets for people to hang out and enjoy some food, drinks, and games. It became so popular that they have continued on with it today. There are also a ton of fun festivals that take place here throughout the year.
A bit further, If you continue south from Northville you’ll find downtown Plymouth, which is a local favorite. At the center is Kellogg Park, and all around this area you’ll find some fantastic shops, local bars, and a variety of dining options. It’s really hard to go wrong here, but a couple of favorite options in Plymouth are The Post Local Bistro, Sean O’Callaghan’s Public House, or if you’re feeling a little more fancy, The Sardine Room and Compari’s on the Park are great choices. Like Northville, you’ll find a whole host of events taking place here throughout the year.
Where Novi lacks a true downtown area, it more than makes up for in its extensive options for shopping. One of Novi’s largest draws for shopping is Twelve Oaks Mall, with anchor stores including Macy’s, Nordstrom, and JCPenny. As the largest shopping mall in southeast Michigan with 1.5 million square feet of retail space spanning two floors, you will find a wide variety of over 180 stores, 30 different restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory and Sedona Taphouse, plus 7,000 parking spots. Also if you head across the parking lot you’ll also find Toasted Oak Grill & Market, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Like any good mall, they also do a great job hosting special events including photos with Santa during the year.
Right across the street from Twelve Oaks Mall you will also find Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk, along with West Oaks 1 & 2 Shopping Center. Fountain Walk has over 10 additional restaurants & bars including Bar Louie and Black Rock Bar & Grill, along with a number of stores and some excellent entertainment options including Emagine Theater, BATL Axe Throwing, Escape Room, and Full Throttle Adrenaline Park. West Oaks Shopping Centers provides additional shopping with stores including Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack and many more.
For your grocery shopping, Novi residents have a wide selection between big box stores and several smaller independent specialty stores as well. Big box stores include Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, & Target, and Sam’s Club & Gordon Food Service for bulk shopping. For more local shopping be sure to check out Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Better Health Market, Pande Indian Grocers, Sangdoe Korean Market, and One World Market for Japanese fare, who also have a phenomenal made fresh sushi market located in the back. Just outside of the city border, you’ll also find a Trader Joe’s, Meijer, Aldi and two separate Costco Wholesale markets.
One of the biggest benefits of living in Novi is how family friendly the city is, so there is no shortage of family fun to be had. One of these unique to Novi is Michigan State University’s Tollgate Farm and Education Center. With 160 acres of managed land, Tollgate Farm offers wonderfully diverse programs for children including summer and winter camps and programs including farming, wildlife, beekeeping and more. They also host special events like seasonal night hikes, Maple Fest in springtime, Pumpkin Fest in the fall, Holiday Lights in December, and many more. It truly is an amazing place to visit and learn more about the world around us.
Another staple in family fun to be had in Novi is Paradise Park. As a full blown amusement park, with great food, a full bar (for the adults, of course) and a ton of activities it is easy to spend a couple hours or a full day at Paradise Park. They offer laser tag, an arcade, miniature golf, mini bowling, a fun slide, climbing wall, trampolines, go karts, Euro bungy and more. Prices vary per activity, or a 2 hour all access wristband can be purchased for $39 per person. Paradise Park is also a great place to host corporate events or host a private party.
For those who love the great outdoors, Novi also has an impressive Park System with over a dozen parks and 1,400+ acres of parkland. Each park also has its own amenities, making each one different from the last.
Pavilion Shore Park, opened in 2013, is an 11 acre park that sits on the southern shore of Walled Lake and has several trails for biking and walking, a picnic area, a pier for fishing and many more facilities. This particular park also has an interesting history as it is located on the site which was once the Walled Lake Amusement Park and Walled Lake Casino. The amusement park was opened during the early 1900s and the casino, which was built in 1917 and subsequently destroyed by a fire in 1965, hosted a ton of important musical groups of the time. Today, the area is under the protection of the Pavilion Shore Conservancy, an organization which is dedicated to preserving the ecological balance and historic heritage of the park.
Lakeshore Park, located just 0.2 miles from Pavilion Shore Park is also a popular park frequented by locals, however it has a different set of amenities. Here you will find sand volleyball, a beach with swimming, horseshoe pits, BBQs, picnic shelters, play structures and over 10 miles of mountain biking and multi-purpose trails.
Wildlife Woods Park, located right next to Deerfield Elementary and Novi Middle School, features more than 50 acres of fields and wooded land. For those with children, you can actually access the school playground from the park grounds when school is not in session. It also has a picnic shelter that can be rented, an athletic space for soccer, softball, tennis and basketball, as well as open field space. This park also features an outdoor exercise area with 8 equipment units allowing up to 18 people to exercise at one time. These stations are designed for people ages 14 and up and they are also wheelchair accessible. Joining the latest craze, you will also find four pickleball courts located just south of the exercise area.
Bosco Fields, located on 11 mile and Beck, is a brand new park dedicated to soccer, featuring 13 different soccer fields. At the moment there is not much more to this park, although there are plans to add a splash pad in the future.
Probably the most unique park in Novi is the Novi Water Tower Park and R/C Raceway. Although a smaller park at just over 3.5 three acres, as the name suggests you will find a R/C Raceway Track here that was just completed in spring of 2022. The track is open to 1/8 scale and smaller battery powered R/C models and is open from dawn to dusk May 1 through November 1. You’ll find this cool little park at the intersection of Novi Road and Trans-X Drive.
Ella Mae Power Park, is an athletic complex located behind the Novi Civic Center, which it shares parking with. The park is used primarily by softball leagues and is one of the premier sites in the area for softball, featuring six ball diamonds and hosting a number of leagues. Although the park’s primary use is for softball, 28 acres of the park’s grounds are heavily forested with mature hardwoods, and includes a trail system for hikers, as well as two play structures and a small shelter.
Fuerst Park is located at the corner of Ten Mile and Taft Road and is an eight acre park that offers a great setting for leisurely walks on the paved trials while enjoying the rolling hills. It also has a 150-seat amphitheater with family-friendly performances taking place May-October.
One of the jewels of Novi’s Parks & Recreation is the ITC Community Sports Park. Located at the corners of Eight Mile and Napier Road, this park is known as the premier soccer and baseball complex in the area, and plays host to many tournaments throughout the year. There are also tennis and basketball courts within the park. If sports are not your thing, the ITC park also has one picnic shelter that is available for community use throughout the year or to rent for gatherings of all sorts. There are two play structures, one near each entrance of the park, which are open all year round.
Another interesting part of the ITC Park is the ITC Corridor Trail. This trail is a little over 4.5 miles long and connects the Ascension Providence Hospital campus to the ITC Sports park. For right now, this is the only stretch that has been built and is available to the public, but the ultimate goal is that the trail will link a number of regional facilities – such as Maybury Park, the I-275 Corridor and Hines Park - which are in the neighboring towns of Northville, Livonia and Westland with parks in Novi. Once finished, people will be able to hike and bike between different parks and communities instead of risking shared traffic lanes with cars on the roads.
For additional information on the above parks and others within Novi, please see the interactive map below
Another aspect that makes living in Novi such a fun place to call home are annual community events that take place. Each May, Novi hosts the family friendly carnival themed event Spring Palooza at the Novi Civic Center with live entertainment, police and fire demonstrations, outdoor games, food, and more. There’s also an annual Memorial Day Parade, the Michigan State Fair takes place over Labor day Weekend at the Novi Suburban Collection Showplace, as well as numerous other shows and conventions that take place there throughout the year, including the Motor City Comic Con each October. Taking place in December at Fuerst Park is also the Fuerst Festive Nights with a holiday light stroll, food vendors, visits with Santa, carolers and more to get everybody in the holiday spirit.
PROS & CONS
It’s plain to see that we’re big fans of Novi, but just like any other city it does have its pros and cons. Let’s start with the good. Aside from all of the wonderful things mentioned in this article, Novi is routinely ranked in top 100 lists of best places to live in the U.S., including by Money Magazine and Forbes.
A couple of cons we feel are worth mentioning are the for one, home values have skyrocketed over the past few years, even more so than other places in Southeast Michigan. In fact, the average home value in Novi of $497K is roughly 50% more than the Metro Detroit average $306k. The second con of living in Novi is heavy traffic - specifically at the I-696 / I-96 / I-275 interchange where the three merge. This stretch of freeway tends to get backed up on a daily basis during both the morning and afternoon rush-hour commute, which can be a hassle, especially during times when construction is present.
While we may be a tad biased, Novi is without question one of the top cities in Metro Detroit that we enjoy visiting and spending time in. It’s not hard to understand why the families we work with everyday are also in agreement that Novi is a wonderful place to both live and raise a family in! To learn more about Novi and to see a list of homes currently for sale, visit our page HERE, or visit our YouTube to watch one of our many videos about the city.Posted by Michael Perna on