The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling and the days are getting shorter—fall is in full swing here in Ann Arbor and we couldn’t be more excited!
While school is now in session, that doesn’t mean A2 isn’t ripe with kid-friendly adventures to embark on. Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween events and more are all here to keep your family happy and entertained in the afternoons and on crisp fall weekends. To help you navigate it all, we rounded up a few of our favorite seasonal, family-oriented activities in the area below. Have a great fall!
Pick pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch
There’s no better way to celebrate fall with your family than by heading to a local U-Pick pumpkin patch! These small businesses often feature fields where you can pick your own pumpkin as well as other fall activities like corn mazes, slides, hayrides, seasonal snacks and more. The Ann Arbor area is packed full of pumpkin patches spanning from Chelsea to Novi. We have a list of our favorites right here!
Or apples at a local apple orchard
Get lost in a corn maze
It just wouldn’t be fall in Southeast Michigan without apple cider and cider donuts! The sweet, soft, cinnamon-y taste of apple cider donuts mixed with the tart, refreshing sip of pressed apple cider are a match made in heaven. So, we aren’t surprised that many pumpkin patches, apple orchards and bakeries offer these sweet treats. Dexter Cider Mill, Three Cedars Farm, Wasem Fruit Farm and Wiard’s Orchards are all famous for their donuts and cider. Stop by and see what all the fuss is about this season—we promise you’ll never look back.
If cider and donuts aren’t your family’s thing, why not head to one of the area’s favorite creameries for a different type of fall treat? Blank Slate Creamery just announced their 2021 fall menu and we can’t wait to try everything on it! This year, don’t miss their Warm Apple Crisp Sundae, complete with a scoop of Tahitian Vanilla and a warm, salty caramel drizzle, which is perfect for fall. They also have a new Plum Braggot Sorbet and a Carrot Cake ice cream flavored with spiced and roasted carrot puree.
Our destination for creativity in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is a fantastic place to learn a new skill—no matter how old you are! They offer both in-person and virtual classes for all ages, including several fall-themed ones you don’t want to miss. Learn how to craft clay pumpkins or pen spooky illustrations. Make clay ghosts or learn how to illustrate with watercolor and ink. The world is your (and your child’s!) oyster when it comes to AAAC classes. Click here to explore their upcoming class calendar!
Take a hayride
Hopping on a carriage filled with hay and pulled by a tractor or horses is a classic autumn activity! There are plenty of places offering hayrides in the area this season, from Domino’s Farms to Alber Orchard, Donahee Farms, Ostbaum Orchards and more. But if you have older kids (specifically teenagers), don’t miss Wiard’s Night Terrors: Haunted Thrill Park’s Haunted Hayride. This spooky ride, dubbed the “Hayride of the Lost”, features plenty of hair-raising sights and a free donut and cup of cider at the end of the trip. Click here to get tickets.
While you’ll usually be greeted by goats, chickens and pigs at Domino’s Farms, this Halloween they (in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre) have another trick up their sleeves. During their Halloween Trail, you can take a guided tour along a path that houses deadly werewolves, free-range zombies and other unique characters. Tickets cost $20 per person while children under the age of three are free.
From the same team that brings us FestiFools and FoolMoon every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through downtown Ypsilanti. In the weeks leading up to the event, local artists, businesses and organizations host GLOWorkshops so you can create your own luminary and costume. Then, you can join the community on October 29th for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art! Follow the team on Facebook for updates on workshops and the big event.
Bake a fall dessert at home
Pumpkin pies, apple cobblers, cider donuts—fall is the perfect season for indulgent desserts. While Ann Arbor restaurants do a great job at making these tasty treats for us to enjoy, if you want to try your hand at making some yourself, Michigan bloggers have you covered! We have a list of our favorite fall dessert recipes that range from gluten-free apple crisp to some maple pecan blondies. You can find it here.
Watch an outdoor movie
Over the past year, the Ypsilanti DDA Community has brought us several outdoor movie showings like Coco, Soul, A League of Their Own and much more. This Halloween season, they’re showing another spooky classic: Casper! Just head to Frog Island Park and enjoy watching the family-friendly flick under the stars. Just don’t forget to bring your own chair, blankets and snacks!
Take a virtual fall field trip
While exploring the world from behind a computer screen was daunting in early 2020, thousands of new online resources have given us the ability to broaden our (and our family’s) horizons with just a few clicks. If you want to enjoy the best fall has to offer while still staying safe this season, check out these exciting virtual field trips from The Educator’s Spin on It! Tour an apple packing facility; see cider made in New England; watch a giant pumpkin time lapse; meet pumpkin farmers; and learn how to roast your own pumpkin seeds—all from the comfort of home.
Trunk–or–Treat in Saline
Calling all ghosts and goblins—downtown Saline has invited you to the least-haunted, safest Halloween event of the season! On October 27th from 6:30-8:30 p.m., volunteers will be parking all along Main Street and filling their trunks with hundreds of goodies just for you and your family. Click here to stay updated and to learn more about this exciting trick-or-treating event.
Hit the trails
Michigan is famous for its fall foliage. You can encounter a kaleidoscope of color found in our state’s open spaces, along the shores of our lakes and rivers, across rolling hillsides, and even in our tree-filled cities. Right in Ann Arbor, you and family can meander the sidewalks and parks of the Old West Side, Huron Parkway or the University of Michigan campus. But if you have a little extra time and a stronger craving for brilliant reds, oranges and golds, we recommend hiking through some of our many parks or recreation areas! Click here for our list of the best hiking spots in Ann Arbor.
Have a great fall!
What family-friendly activities are you looking forward to this season? Let us know in the comments below!