Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. In Ann Arbor, that means the kids are either back in school or are heading back on Monday so we need to pack a whole lot of fun into three weekend days.
To help plan your festivities, we rounded up the weekend’s best events alongside a few ideas and local activities that can make your long weekend one for the record books.
For more events happening throughout September, check out The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend September 2018.
Attend an event
August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Rounding out the summer, Saline Community Fair provides days of fun for local families. Events include tractor pulls, a car and tractor show, the USA Auto Cross Enduro Derby, carnival rides, fair foods, and more!
August 31 | The Monument Park Gazebo
The Dexter Summer Concert series ends its 2018 run on August 31st with Salmagundi! This Ann Arbor band brings horn-driven rock and roll for a full evening of dancing and fun.
August 31 | Rynearson Stadium
Eastern Michigan University football returns during Orientation Weekend and the Eagles are facing off against Monmouth on our home turf. Kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.
August 31 | Pointless Brewery & Theatre
Pointless Brewery & Theatre combines improv comedy shows with craft beer. On August 31st, Summer Games returns with a lineup of playful improv games. Tickets are $15 each and there are back-to-back shows beginning at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
August 31 – September 1 | Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League
The 2018 Ballet in the City Gala takes place on the University of Michigan campus. This exhibition event celebrates the best and brightest in the arts today by presenting the legendary works of George Balanchine in performance, hosting educational events, and offering up close and personal experiences with professional artists from around the country. There are two different events happening on August 31st and September 1st; get the full details here.
September 1 | South Bend, Indiana
Wolverine football returns on the first day of September! Though their first game of the season is at Notre Dame, you can watch locally at The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area. For the full schedule, click here.
September 1 | Power Center for the Performing Arts
Hosted by the Waganda and Wakenya Comedians, this laugh out loud comedy show is bringing talented stand-ups to Ann Arbor from Uganda and Kenya. The feature performance will be The Queen of African Comedy, Anne Kansiime, from Uganda and other sets will be given by Smart-Joker (Michael Omuka) and 2mbili (Dankan Onyango).
June 14 – September 1 | Purple Rose Theatre
Willow Run is a world premiere show by Jeff Duncan and is ending its Purple Rose Theatre run on September 1st. The play takes place during WWII at the Willow Run Bomber Plant located near Ypsilanti—the largest factory under one roof in the world. Learn more and buy your tickets here.
Home to 159 parks just within the city and located at the heart of an impressive lineup of state recreation areas and open spaces, Ann Arbor offers countless opportunities to opt outside. From hiking and fishing in town to boating through the Chain of Lakes and even kayaking down the Huron River, there are a variety of options available to every local and visitor.
To get an idea of what you can do outside and where you can do it, check out 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts, which highlights some of our favorite adventures in our backyard.
If you want to extend your outdoor excursion into an overnight adventure, we recommend planning a camping trip over Labor Day weekend. Pinckney Recreation Area offers six different campgrounds ranging from rustic spots without hookups to yurts! For reservation and pricing information, click here. And to check out the nine campgrounds in Waterloo Recreation Area, click here.
Dive into a Michigan lake
Michigan borders four of the Great Lakes and contains more than 11,000 inland lakes. So, when you’re looking for a summer swimming destination, this is a good place to be.
In the communities around Ann Arbor, we get to take advantage of countless swim beaches, state parks and pristine waters. To help you on your water-themed summer adventures, we rounded up a handful of the best options around Ann Arbor. From just a few minutes away to about two hours away on the shores of Lake Michigan, check out The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer and start experiencing the true #PureMichiganLakeEffect.
Spend time with your kids
As the last unofficial day of summer vacation, Labor Day weekend means your kids are either already back in school or they return to the classroom on Monday. Take advantage of your extra day by taking them on a local excursion they’ll never forget! Our guide, 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, includes details on Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Planet Rock, Young People’s Theater, Leslie Science and Nature Center and so much more!
Salute patio season
With the warm months winding down, we have to get ready to say goodbye to our favorite Ann Arbor patios. They’re the ideal places to satisfy any craving for sunshine, local food, Michigan beer or artisan cocktails. The local lineup includes garden patios, beer gardens, and patios bathed in cozy string lights or shaded by trees along Main Street. To start planning your patio tour, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor.
Take a wine tour of Southeast Michigan
A long weekend is the perfect excuse to visit Michigan’s wine country. Different regions of our state have organized their own wine trails to highlight local wines. You can explore the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail near Grand Rapids, the Bay View Wine Trail in Northwest Michigan, the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail around Grand Traverse Bay, and the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail which goes right through our backyard.
For more information on Southeast Michigan’s best wineries, check out The 14 Essential Wineries to Visit Near Ann Arbor.
Visit a local museum
Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, so it makes sense that our little town is packed with museums and educational opportunities. The long list of options includes University of Michigan Museum of Art, African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Kempf House Museum, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, and the Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsi.
Enjoy your long weekend!