Photo courtesy of Little Flower Soap Shop
Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday or an anniversary, gift-giving gives us an excuse to spoil our friends and family and an opportunity to shop local!
Thankfully, the Ann Arbor area is full of fun, locally made products and unique experiences you should gift this year! We rounded a few “Totally Ann Arbor” gift ideas to help give you a little inspiration. From baking classes at Zingerman’s Bakeshop to a bag of coffee from your favorite local coffee shop—you’ll find a few great ideas right here!
Everyone loves a good film, so why not grab tickets to a showing at Michigan Theater or The State Theatre? Both are historic theaters, offering regular showings for independent films and located just steps away from one another in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. To see upcoming showtimes for both theaters, click here.
Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages and topics range from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Depending on how deep your loved one wants to delve, you can choose a class that lasts just a few hours, a full day or four weeks. To see upcoming topics and classes, click here.
A Book From a Local Author
It’s no secret that we love all things literary here in Ann Arbor. Not only were we the birthplace of Borders, a massive bookstore chain that spread across the globe before closing its doors in 2011, but we’ve also been home to numerous spectacular authors over the years. From Alexander Weinstein to Jane Kenyon—any novel from a local author would make a fantastic gift for the bibliophile in your life! Pick one up at one of our favorite local bookstores this season.
Photo courtesy of Encore Records
Unbeknownst to many, Ann Arbor actually has a thriving music scene. Not only are home to some of the best music venues around—including the Blind Pig and The Ark—plenty of fabulous musicians call our city home! So head to Encore Records, Ann Arbor’s premier location for vinyl records, CDs, sheet music and cassettes, and get your favorite music lover a locally made LP.
RoosRoast is hands down one of the best coffee roasters in Michigan and word of this has reached as far as Portland, San Francisco and Manhattan. With their Loring Smart Roaster, they use 80% less energy than similar roasters and still create outstanding coffees. Stop in for a cup of Joe (and a few pastries) for yourself and leave with a bag of freshly roasted coffee to give away!
From chocolate to bumper stickers, The Rocket Candy and Novelties has it all. In their quirky shop in Ypsilanti, you’ll find a wide selection of locally themed items, all perfect for the Michigan enthusiast in your life. Grab them a t-shirt, a sticker for their water bottle, or a unique coffee mug—the possibilities are endless!
Photo courtesy of Grizzly Peak Brewing Company
A landmark in Downtown Ann Arbor, Grizzly Peak began serving craft beer in August of 1995 from their century-old building with wood floors, tin ceilings and exposed brick walls. The kitchen produces scratch-made pub eats and the brewhouse produces classic beers in a wide range of styles. If you have a beer lover in your life, there’s nothing better than a growler or a half growler full of freshly fermented beer—especially Grizzly Peak’s Bear Paw Porter or Blackberry Cream Ale—to give your loved one a taste of Ann Arbor’s growing beer culture.
Perfectly merging vintage and modern, FOUND offers a mix of home decor, pillows, rugs, textiles, candles, jewelry and gifts. And many of those goods are made right here in Michigan by local artisans! Stop in and pick up a unique gift for your special someone (we recommend a locally made candle). Their brick and mortar location is in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district, but you can also shop much of their inventory online here.
This award-winning day spa offers a full spectrum of healing day spa services, including massage, facials, organic spray tans, waxing and nail services in the heart of Kerrytown. They’ve even been voted the Best Day Spa in Washtenaw County every year since 2012 by Current Magazine’s Best of Washtenaw. And is there a better way to tell someone you love them than by treating them to a spa day?
Holly and Justin Rutt are just a couple who love soap and the process of making it. In their Chelsea studio, they’ve craft all-natural soaps and beauty products and package them in adorable boxes, bottles, and canisters just for you. And if you’re looking for a really special gift, they offer small gift boxes that include all of your favorite products, from lip balm to cream deodorant, and can be shipped right to your gift recipient’s door!
When it comes to buying presents for your whole family, we can’t forget about our fur babies! Wags to Wiskers was founded in 2002 and has been providing a massive selection of unique pet toys, natural and holistic pet foods, and plenty of community-based pet supplies to the Ann Arbor area. Head to one of their stores in the area (they have a location in Chelsea and Ludington too!) and grab your favorite pup or kitty a present this season—just don’t forget a few gourmet treats while you’re at it!
Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you and your loved one will be able to learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in categories like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. To see the full schedule and reserve your spots online, click here.
Highlighted in 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is home to countless interactive exhibits where children and adults can get interactive and discover their inner scientist. If you have a parent in your life that is constantly looking for something to do with the kids—why not grab them an annual membership to this kid-approved museum? The basic family membership tier costs $80 and includes free members’ nights, discount birthday parties, and free or discounted admission to more than 290 ASTC science centers worldwide!
Tickets to a Show at The Ark
The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music. Founded in 1965 by four area churches, the venue has grown to offer more than 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. Because they feature artists from all over the world, there’s no better gift to get your music-loving special someone than tickets to a show! Click here for information on upcoming performances and events.
Ann Arbor’s favorite tea spot, TeaHaus offers options suited for a quick stop or an entire afternoon. For example, the full English tea is a three-tiered service brought out to each table complete with white China and linens. The experience includes all the tea you can drink, four finger sandwiches, the soup of the day, two scones with jam, jellies, lemon curd and clotted cream, and three desserts. Whether you’re looking to get your coworker a bag of special tea or your mom a unique tea service experience—you can do it here! Just make sure you make your tea service reservation a few days in advance.
We’re firm believers that you can never have too much #umich gear. Thankfully, the University of Michigan is chock full of fan items to gift—from coffee mugs to scarves. Grab your loved one a Go Blue! beanie for the cold weather or a sticker for their car. And if you want to do something truly special for the Wolverine’s fan in your life, you can purchase some tickets to an upcoming game to attend together!
What Did We Miss?
What Ann Arbor-specific gifts are you planning to give out this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!