Just sixty years ago, Sterling Heights (or Sterling Township, as it was known then) was little more than a place to grow rhubarb. In the decades since then the only thing that's been growing in this city is the population; Sterling Heights is now the fourth-largest city in Michigan. The former home of rapper Eminem, Sterling Heights is one of the safest cities in the country for its size.
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Housing Statistics Sixty-nine percent of properties are owner occupied in Sterling Heights. Twenty-six percent of properties are rentals, and the remaining five percent are vacant. It's expected that the growing number of rent to own homes will only increase the percentage of owner occupied properties. The annual residential turnover rate is low, at just nine percent, suggesting that people living in Sterling Heights have a happy life. While the median sales price has been on the increase, reaching $129,000 from May-July 2013, the number of sales have actually dropped by a third from last year.
Local Events and Festivals Sterling Heights plays host to a number of music festivals that highlight a variety of musical genres. The Forever Festival takes place in September, which is open to people of all ages and features global dance acts. If electronic dance music isn't your cup of tea, you might be interested in the Stars and Stripes Festival, which takes place over the last weekend in June and has four stages with bands playing rock and pop. Away from the music there's also a BMX stunt show and even a petting zoo, making Stars and Stripes a true family event. Finally, there's Sterlingfest, which is held in Dodge Park during July or August and features a mix of carnival rides and live music.
Transportation and Commute Without a car, you'll be limited in Sterling Heights. There is practically no public transport system within the city, although SmartBus does operate two lines that run through the city into downtown Detroit. The lack of public-provided options means that only 0.5 percent of residents use mass transit to commute to work, while a massive 88 percent drive alone and just eight percent carpool. Meanwhile, commute time is just slightly above that of the national average at 28.9 minutes. The M-59 and M-53 are the major roads in the city, heading north and west respectively.
Local Shopping It's fair to say that when it comes to shopping you can do it all at one destination: The Lakeside Mall. This is the city's largest shopping center, and it has a number of national anchor stores supporting around 100 smaller retail lots. Pretty much everything you might need - from fashion and jewelry to housewares and technology - is available at the right price in this traditional shopping environment. Unfortunately, it's all fairly cookie-cutter fare. If you're looking for something a bit more unique to Sterling Heights, check out Countryside Craft Mall and Antiques at Van Dyke Ave and 18 Mile Rd. Here you'll find hundreds of specialty shops run by independent and local dealers selling furniture, art, pottery and more.
Local Restaurants Sterling Heights has a number of stellar restaurants. Red Hot and Blue is perfect if you're craving the big hearty flavors synonymous with Southern hospitality, while Grand Azteca offers simple but satisfying Mexican dishes. These are both on Van Dyke Ave, and while there are enough restaurants on this road to keep you full all year round, if you venture into other parts of the city you'll be rewarded with some of the area's finest offerings. Lebanese restaurants are abundant in Sterling Heights, with La Saj on Southcove Drive being considered among the best, while for pasta or pizza you could try the great value Antonio's Italian Cuisine on E 14 Mile Rd.