Ann Arbor — often abbreviated as AA or A2 — is a city 35 miles (56 km) north of the Ohio state line and 45 miles (72 km) west of Detroit, near where the furthest exurban fringes give way to country and small towns. Founded in 1824, it was originally named "Annarbour" after the two founders' wives (Ann Allen and Mary Ann Rumsey) and an arbor of burr oak trees on the village site (although some have theorized that the name arose from an arbor of roses or grapes). Today the city has a population of about 115,000 people. As home of the University of Michigan, the city swells during the school year with thousands college students and thousands of visitors who come to town for football games and various festivals.
Ann Arbor is centered on the University of Michigan . The U of M campus intermingles with downtown, and the whole area is walkable, though day buses run between the campuses and the central business district. Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Thomson, Google, and Domino's have a major presence in the area. The University is well known for its medical school complex. Farther out, the city fades into urban sprawl (a mall and business parks in the south), then countryside dotted with towns, and to the east, Detroit suburbs. Buses beyond the city limits, except in the direction of Ypsilanti, are sparse or nonexistent; you'll want a car unless you have several hours to spare. On some autumn Saturdays, transport is difficult as 100,000-odd people pour in for university football games. Ann Arbor, or Tree town, is, as one might expect, full of trees; they line the streets, and in summer from the air, or year-round in Google Earth, all that can be seen is a green swath with a few buildings sticking out. (In the early 20th century, after having leveled the forest that once occupied the area, the city instituted an aggressive tree-planting program that's since borne fruit.)