Winter is coming and it’s bringing plenty of frigid days to Ann Arbor! After you’re done snuggling up in front of the fireplace, we encourage you to get out and explore our amazing community this season.
We’ve curated a list of the best things to do on a cold day in the Ann Arbor area. Whether you’re looking to spend the day outside in the snow or cozied up playing a few games at the local arcade—we’ve got a little something for everyone on our list. Stay warm!
A beloved Michigan pastime, snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and explore during the winter. We recommend heading to the Waterloo Recreation Area, which offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea. Guests in the park can walk the trails, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, hunt, play disc golf, and even ride horses. All the trails within Waterloo are open to snowshoeing throughout the winter. Though they’re not groomed, this offers more than 40 miles of snowy trekking. To see a list of all the park’s trails, click here.
In our opinion, there’s no better way to stay warm during the colder seasons than baking! Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. Here, you can 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 spot online, click here.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the U-M campus. While the gardens might be closed this season, during the winter, you can enjoy the year-round indoor conservatory filled with plants from around the world. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Both the gardens and arboretum offer free admission, but if you decide to drive, you’ll have to pay $1.70 per hour for parking at Matthaei with a $5 daily maximum charge.
Wolverine State Brewing’s flagship beer, Wolverine Premium Lager, was born out of a desire for an outstanding, approachable beer that was true to Michigan’s character. Today, this Ann Arbor craft brewery is still operating as the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do—from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations. This season, they have plenty of their usual brews along with a few seasonal ones that are definitely worth a try! Check out their website to see what they currently have on tap.
Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: A local celebration of dining in our community. From January 12-17, 2020 experience cuisine that delights your palate and defines the art of dining in Ann Arbor. Restaurants offer fixed pricing for lunch and dinner with extraordinary menus tailored to the event. Now is your chance to discover new restaurants and enjoy old favorites at a discounted price. Make reservations now as spots fill up quickly.
Airtime has locations all over Michigan, including Ann Arbor and Canton. Each park has open jump areas as well as separate dodgeball zones, Olympic-grade foam mosh pits, and a basketball “Jam Session” area for the aspiring basketball star in all of us. Perfect for avoiding the chilly air and getting in a bit of exercise and fun–Airtime is a great option for those looking for something to do with kids this season.
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 family or friends to a game of pool or air hockey!
Organized by the Chelsea Area Chamber, Curling Fest 2020 is an entire event of curling fun for beginners and experienced competitors alike! Team tournaments are scheduled for an hour Friday, February 7 to compete for the Chelsea Curling Cup. You can enjoy all you can eat pizza, salad and pop—all in a heated tent from 8 p.m.-Midnight! The event is right around the corner so make sure to get your tickets as soon as possible.
Centered around Milan’s downtown shopping area, Wilson Park and Edgetown, this annual event is one of our favorite winter happenings. Activities include a chili cook-off, Let’s Chill Winter Fest Wine Walk, indoor and outdoor winter games, ice carving, an artisan tent, food, The Big Freeze, and more. For full details, check out the event’s Facebook page here.
Catch 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. In the past, they’ve brought big names like Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.
Built in 1915, Nickels Arcade is a covered shopping district with a variety of shops to explore, including Mix, Van Boven Clothing, The Arcadian Antiques, Bivouac, and the Caravan Gift Shop, which has been in operation since 1927. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building is considered one of the only remaining examples of a free-standing commercial arcade building in the state of Michigan. Before you start your adventure in Nickels Arcade, be sure to fuel up with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate at Comet Coffee.
Bowl Away the Winter Blues at Revel and Roll
Revel and Roll offers 27 lanes of bowling as well as billiards tables, interactive and virtual video games and chef-inspired dining options in case you work up an appetite. We recommend visiting on a Thursday night so you can enjoy bottomless bowling, including shoes, for just $12 from 10 p.m. until close!
The University of Michigan ice arena, Yost Ice Arena, offers programs like Public Skate, Noon Skate and Sticks-n-Pucks. All three allow you to skate at one of the most recognized and iconic rinks in college hockey! Public Skate admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students, kids and U-M faculty. For $3 more, you can rent skates, too. And Noon Skate prices are even lower. Get all the pricing details here and be sure to check the arena schedule before you go to make sure it’s open for free skating.
Take a Winter Hike
Hiking isn’t just an activity for warm weather. Take a scenic winter hike and enjoy a special (and free!) exciting seasonal pursuit. We highly recommend taking on Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti, which offers 5 miles of paved trails and 3 miles of hiking trails that have stunning views of the landscape. Or head to the Border-to-Border Trail, where you can observe the Huron River and other magical, winter landscapes.
What do you plan to do this season in Ann Arbor? Let us know in the comments!