Whether you are brand new to Washtenaw County or have been here for years, there are still probably a few places you could explore more thoroughly. Luckily, the communities of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter, Chelsea and Manchester offer an impressive number of tours that will help broaden your Southeast Michigan horizons!
Below we have a list of our favorites, from factory and local business tours to self-guided history tours that will help you learn more about our area’s past and present. Have fun!
In-Person Guided Tours
View Tree Town from one of High Five’s pedal trollies! Just grab 13 of your friends and enjoy a tour of Ann Arbor’s local breweries, restaurants, bookstores and attractions. They handpick tour stops that best showcase the type of city Ann Arbor is, but if you don’t see your favorite destination on the list—give them a call! They would love to work on a custom tour with you. Click here for pricing and to book your tour.
The home of Jiffy Mix and the industrial heart of Chelsea, the Chelsea Milling Company has been milling flour in the area for more than 100 years! Tours of the facility are free and open to the public with a reservation. Your 1.5-hour journey through the factory includes an inside look at the packaging plant, a video presentation, refreshments and a product sample. Yes, that means you get to enjoy a free muffin, too! Call (734) 475-1361 to schedule your tour.
The Kempf House Museum, built in 1853, was home to the Kempfs, a busy German-American Family who lived and worked here in the 1890s. This Greek Revival house is a unique resource because of its national architectural significance, downtown location, and the distinguished contributions of the Kempfs to the musical culture of Ann Arbor. Today, it is home to the Kempf House Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the Bennett-Kempf house, its garden and collections. Tours are available by appointment! Call (734) 994-4898 or email email@example.com for more information.
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 occurred on September 7, 2013. Superfans can tour the stadium and the Crisler Center at just $15-20 per person! Get information on tours here.
Using only the highest quality ingredients, sourced directly from family farms in Ecuador, Mindo Chocolate Makers crafts true bean-to-bar chocolate. And while they’re crafting those delectable bars, they’re supporting local economies in chocolate-growing communities and promoting sustainable practices. Want to take a tour and see behind the scenes? Click here.
Tour the network of secret routes and hidden places of the Underground Railroad in Washtenaw County on this bus tour from the African American Cultural and Historic Museum of Washtenaw County! These tours are special events and only happen a few times a year. Click here to learn more and to stay updated on any tour announcements.
The creamery’s story started in 2001 with the now-famous Real Cream Cheese and continued into a full range of cow’s and goat’s milk cheeses, gelato and sorbets. Today, each cheese and gelato starts with the best local milk from small-scale, regional farmers. Then, they’re crafted with old-world techniques and plenty of time to preserve the flavors and characteristics of each cheese and each ingredient. On-site at the Creamery, you can enjoy tours of the building and see their famous dairy products get made right before your eyes! See all the upcoming options online on the event page.
Virtual & Self-Guided Tours
The City of Ypsilanti has partnered with the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority to create an online, self-guided tour (with maps!) that will help you explore historic sites of interest throughout Ypsi. Enjoy highlights like the Parish House Inn, the Griffin Residence, the Ypsilanti Historical Museum and much more. Click here to get started.
Recently, Eastern Michigan University’s YpsiWrites partnered with the University of Michigan Museum of Art to create self-guided art tours that will take you on an adventure through our community. Each stop highlights a specific piece of art, including Ypsilanti’s colorful and inspiring murals, sculptures, drawings, architecture, and found art. Just head to their website, choose the neighborhood you want to explore, download a tour packet (or pick one up from a local business) and enjoy seeing Ypsi through the eyes of local artists and writers. Each art stop on the guide includes a writing prompt that you do alone or complete with your family!
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce has put together several self-guided tours with brochures that will help you explore everything the area has to offer!
Tour de Birds — A handy, self-guided driving tour exploring birding sites in the area.
Over the years, Washtenaw County has put together online and driving tours of the area to guide visitors and locals through county sites, villages and rural areas. Check out these tours and get to know your community—all from the comfort of your car or home! Most tours can be accessed online or through the Vamonde app on your phone.
Ann Arbor Modern Tour — Sample the extensive residential work undertaken by architecture professors at the University of Michigan for their colleagues and other professionals in the Ann Arbor Hills neighborhood between 1950 and 1970.
Washtenaw County Foodways — A virtual tour that highlights the local food traditions of Washtenaw County, featuring the foods and stories of the many different peoples of the county with local recipes.
Washtenaw County Historic Barn Tour — Drive past historic barns in Bridgewater, Manchester and Sharon Townships to see examples of nineteenth and twentieth-century agricultural structures.
Washtenaw County Esek Pray Trail Tour — The Esek Pray Trail travels through Superior Township and features a variety of exceptional nineteenth-century residences, one-room schoolhouses, and other resources tied to the family of Esek Pray, a founding leader of the State of Michigan, and his contemporaries.
Washtenaw County German Heritage Tour — Venture onto the back roads of Freedom, Lodi and Scio townships to witness a landscape dotted with traditional farmsteads associated with Michigan’s largest (and first) German settlement.
Washtenaw Women Vote — A virtual tour of historic sites here in Washtenaw County connected to suffrage activities leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Willow Run: Arsenal of Democracy — A web-based story map tour that integrates images of the Willow Run Bomber Plant, B-24 Bombers and Rosie the Riveter to give a glimpse of everyday life for those who participated in the war effort in the Ypsilanti region.
Which tour will you try first?
Let us know in the comments below!