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16 Birthday Party Ideas in the Ann Arbor Area that are Better than Dinner and Drinks

things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you’ve been in Ann Arbor long, the following sentence probably won’t surprise you. Our hometown is loaded with amazing local food and impressive craft beer. So, when you’re looking for a place to celebrate your birthday, dinner and drinks is always a good option. But if you’ve been there, done that, we’re happy to tell you it’s not your only option.

When you’re looking for something more out of the box, you’ll find plenty of escape rooms, classes, tastings, tours, businesses and venues that can help you have an amazing birthday. We rounded up those experiences in one place and included everything from last-minute options to huge, memorable experiences. There are enough things on this list for your next 16 birthdays!

Looking for kid-friendly ideas? Check out 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor for inspiration.



Escape at Decode.

As Michigan’s top escape game, Decode offers some of the most interesting and complex escape rooms in the state—and they have facilities in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit! In Ann Arbor, their facility offers a three-part adventure called Minerva’s Trilogy. The story is about Minerva, an adolescent Artificial Intelligence machine with lofty goals. The Minerva Project and Minerva’s Return are the first and last parts, both one-hour escape rooms. And the second part, Minerva’s Escape, is a free puzzle hunt through downtown Ann Arbor.


Take a tour with By the Sidewalk Food Tours.

Birthday things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Founded right here in Ann Arbor and inspired by our hometown neighborhoods, chefs, businesses and history, By the Sidewalk Food Tours explores all of that and more. The Classic Ann Arbor By The Sidewalk tour is a three hour, guided walking tour through downtown Ann Arbor and Kerrytown that pairs food tastings with history, art, architecture and local stories.


Play (and eat) at Revel & Roll.

Revel & Roll offers 27 lanes of bowling, as well as billiards tables, an arcade with nearly 100 different games, shuffleboard, more televisions than anyone in the country, and chef-inspired dining options in case you work up a hunger.


Tour Michigan Stadium.  

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the United States and the second largest stadium in the world. Though the official capacity is 107,601, its record attendance is ‎115,109, which broke a record on September 7, 2013. Superfans can tour The Big House at just $20 per person and see the field, the game-day locker room, the press box and more. Other tour options offer an inside looks at the Crisler Center and Yost Ice Arena, too! To learn about all of them, click here.  


Take a class with White Lotus Farms.

White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution, specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses, and soothing botanicals. Their varied experience and knowledge on the farm, in the bakery, in the creamery and with botanicals makes their classes some of the most fun in the region. Topics include cheese making, croissant baking, food pairing and more. To see the schedule, click here.


Laugh at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase.

Originally opened in 1984, this comedy headquarters offers a lineup of up-and-coming stand-up stars, as well as nationally touring acts. The 18+ venue has hosted Tim Allen, Drew Carey and Ellen DeGeneres in the past, and has a calendar full of events every single weekend! You can see that calendar here.


Practice art at Ann Arbor Art Center.

Ann Arbor Art Center things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition. They do this through rotating exhibitions in the 117 Gallery, special events, and an impressive lineup of classes and workshops. Topics include everything from drawing and painting to metalsmithing and wheel throwing in the Ceramics Studio. To see the class schedule, click here.


Get behind the scenes at Bløm Meadworks.

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried.

Want to learn even more? Their event calendar includes things like board game night, yoga in the taproom and monthly tours of Bløm. For $10 on the first Saturday for every month, you can take a tour of the meadworks that explores the Bløm story, the name, the crafting process and more. You can get more information on the event page here.


Build a personalized tour with Savor Ann Arbor.

Founder and Owner Marcie fell in love with Ann Arbor through its food, attended the University of Michigan, and has lived here ever since—always learning and trying new restaurants, meals and cuisines along the way. Her customizable tours offered through Savor Ann Arbor explore our town’s history, architecture, shops and food in fascinating ways. You can start with a template like Mixology, Chocolate Heaven, Arts & Architecture, or you can customize your experience from the ground up.


See a show at Dreamland Theater.

Dreamland Theater is unlike any other theater in Michigan. This small, non-profit puppet theater and community space is located in downtown Ypsilanti and offers classes and performances in puppetry, theater, music, independent film and other arts. To find out what’s going on right now at Dreamland, check out their Facebook page here.


Learn to cook with Zingerman’s Bakehouse.

Birthday things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

When you sign up for a baking or cooking class at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, you’ll get an insight into their delicious breads, pastries, cookies, cakes and more! The class schedule includes pizza, doughnuts, French baguettes, soups, brownies and so much more. The best part is Zingerman’s takes care of all the cleanup and you get to take home your leftovers. Check out the class schedule here.


Visit Yankee Air Museum.

Yankee Air Museum is an aviation, aerospace and science museum located at Willow Run Airport just a few minutes outside of Ypsilanti. Exhibits offer hands-on experiences and insights into World War I and World War II, Willow Run and Rosie the Riveter, The Vietnam War, aircraft restoration and so much more.


Improvise at Pointless Brewery & Theatre.

If you like your craft beer served with improv comedy, then Pointless Brewery & Theatre is the perfect place to celebrate your birthday. In the taproom, you can taste beers brewed on-site and enjoy frequent events like league shows, improv games, showcases and more. And if you want to learn the ropes, check out Pointless School of Improv for information on classes. To see the theatre and improv show schedule, click here.


See a show at Purple Rose Theatre Company.

Located in Chelsea, The Purple Rose was founded in 1991 by Chelsea native and critically-acclaimed actor, Jeff Daniels. The building that houses the company’s Garage Theatre was once a used car and bus garage owned by Daniels’ grandfather. Now, the facility has developed into one of the best places for theatre production in the state. Click here to see the schedule of current and upcoming shows.


Enjoy a tasting at Wines on Main.

Wines on Main things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Wines on Main

Wines on Main is a cozy fine wine shop in downtown Chelsea. Their team of experts offers learning experiences and tastings from their collection of boutique wines, which are sourced from the finest regional, local and global wine cellars. You’re invited to come by for daily wine tastings, monthly educational classes, wine flights and more.


Play at Pinball Pete’s.

Pinball Pete’s opened its doors more than 30 years ago and has since become the Ann Arbor destination for arcade fun. You can spend your quarters along the entire wall of pinball machines, play video games, and challenge your friends to a game of pool or air hockey.


Happy birthday!

If you have an interesting party suggestion, tell us about it in the comments below.  

Charles Reinhart Company

Charles Reinhart Company

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