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The 12 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend October 2018

October 2018 events in Ann Arbor Michigan Halloween

Now that October has arrived, we’ve completely embraced the fall festivities—and so have our Ann Arbor area communities. This month’s lineup includes craft shows where you can shop fall treats and find the perfect holiday gifts, holiday-themed concerts, terrifying attractions, and some of our most anticipated annual events.

Join the fun this October and attend an event in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter or Chelsea!


Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink


Arts + Culture


Ann Arbor Antiques Market | Ann Arbor

October 20 – 21, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council  

October 2018 events in Ann Arbor Michigan Halloween

Established in 1968, this historic antique market has been fueling our love of home decor and vintage finds for fifty years. Admission is $6 with free parking and kids are admitted for free! Come by in October to peruse antiques, jewelry, paintings, mid-century and Industrial design, folk art, repurposed furniture and more. It’s the perfect place to get some holiday shopping done!


Ann Arbor Annual Arts & Crafts Show | Ann Arbor

October 20, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | New Grace Apostolic Temple  

This juried arts and crafts show costs just $2 for guests over 12-years-old and includes shopping from more than 60 artists and crafters, a complimentary Kids Korner and face painting, access to food concessions and baked goods, door prizes and more. The show is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 so don’t miss out on the fun!


Westside Art Hop | Ann Arbor

October 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Old West Side

Westside Art Hop is presented as Michigan’s quirkiest Art Walk. The twice-yearly event showcases high-quality arts and crafts for sale to the public in a festive atmosphere. While exploring the West Side, you can peruse artworks, meet the artists, find decor for your home, or shop holiday gifts!


Band-O-Rama: True Blue! | Ann Arbor

October 21, 4 p.m. | Hill Auditorium  

A tried and true UM tradition, Band-O-Rama showcases the musical talents of all the University of Michigan bands. Celebrating its 54th anniversary this October, you can expect a classic mix of musical genres and an incredible musical performance.


Halloween Concert | Ann Arbor

October 28, 4:30 p.m. | Hill Auditorium  

The University of Michigan orchestras are joining forces for this Halloween tradition. Featuring spooky sounds, musical classics and Halloween favorites, the show celebrates the holiday with tricks, treats and great music. Come in costume or come as you are!



Community Celebrations


Night Terrors | Ypsilanti  

September 22 – October 31, various times | Wiard’s Orchard

October 2018 events in Ann Arbor Michigan Halloween

Michigan’s premier haunted attraction comes alive once again this October. Open at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October 28th and then again on Halloween night, Night Terrors features 89 acres of terror. The six haunted attractions include The Asylum, Hayride of the Lost, The Ultimate Haunted Barn and less frightening options like Scaryoke Live Music and Wiard’s Bakery where you can enjoy the homemade cider and caramel apples of Wiard’s Orchard.

For more information on the less haunted fall attractions available at Wiard’s Orchard, check out 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor.


ypsiGLOW | Ypsilanti

October 26, sunset | Downtown Ypsilanti  

From the same team that brings us FestiFools and FoolMoon every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through Downtown Ypsi. 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 26th for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art! Follow the team on Facebook for updates on workshops and the big event.





University of Michigan Homecoming Game | Ann Arbor

October 6, 2018 | The Big House

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

The University of Michigan faces off against the Maryland Terrapins for their homecoming game on October 6th. If you want to watch live in The Big House, get your tickets here.

The Wolverines also play Wisconsin at home on October 13th! See the full football schedule here.


Girls on the Run Superhero 5k | Dexter

October 21, 2 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark

This costumed race benefits Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan‘s financial assistance program. Suitable for kids and adults, race day includes three events: a 5k run/walk, a one-mile fun run and a kids dash for participants five years and younger. For registration information and pricing, check out the website.



Food + Drink


Art & Brew 2018 | Ann Arbor

October 4, 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

October 2018 events in Ann Arbor Michigan Halloween

Hosted by Ann Arbor Art Center and various Downtown businesses, Art & Brew 2018 is a celebration of local food and drink and a competition for the best food and beer pairing. When you buy your $50 ticket, you’ll be invited to join the bar crawl traveling to each participating restaurant to taste their beer and snack pairings, to create your own art at each one, and then to vote for the best pairing using #ArtandBrew on your favorite Social Media platform. See the participating venues and get more information here.  


Apple Daze Festival | Dexter

October 6, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Monument Park  

Hosted by the Dexter Lions Club in Downtown Dexter, Apple Daze Festival invites the community to enjoy local apples and apple products, participate in apple pie eating contests, take the family on festive hayrides and shop craft booths from local vendors and artists.


Chelsea Smoke & Ale Festival | Chelsea

October 12 – 13, various times | Chelsea Fairgrounds  

Smoke & Ale is a beer festival, BBQ cook-off and cornhole tournament all rolled into one. Featuring live music, local food vendors and a kids area as well, the event is family-friendly and costs just $5 for admission! Follow the team on Facebook for updates.



Happy October!

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19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Southeast Michigan and our Ann Arbor area communities have been built on a strong agriculture history. As a result, we’re blessed with year-round farmers markets, local agriculture experiences, and plenty of places to pick a pumpkin and sip fresh apple cider every fall.

To prove it, we rounded up 19 local spots where you can pick your own pumpkin, pick your own apples, watch your cider being pressed, eat a pumpkin donut, an apple donut and a cinnamon sugar donut, then enjoy festive, farm activities. This fall, make a trip to one (or more!) of these family farms and you’ll want to come back every year.



Alber Orchard & Cider Mill | Manchester

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Alber Orchard & Cider Mill is located just 30 minutes west of Ann Arbor in Manchester. Over the years, their tractor-drawn hayrides, 7-acre corn maze, you-pick pumpkin patch, kids play area, free straw maze and animal area have become family favorites. While visiting, you can also enjoy tours of the vintage cider press, fresh pressed and specially blended apple cider, and delicious, crisp heirloom and family favorite apples. There is no admission charge to enter Alber Orchard, but there are fees for some activities.


Blast Corn Maze | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Pumpkins

Blast Corn Maze is a famous seasonal destination in the Ann Arbor area. The huge, 10-acre corn field contains 3.5 miles of corn maze trails with three exits available for a short, medium or long journey. After you successfully traverse the maze, the whole family can pick a pumpkin from the you-pick pumpkin patch, take photos with farm props, test out the corn cannon, drive pedal cars and more.


Coleman’s Corn Maze | Saline

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Coleman's Corn Maze pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Coleman’s Corn Maze

A trip to this family-owned and operated farm includes three professionally designed corn mazes with five miles of challenging trails, hayrides, some of the best seasonal donuts in the region, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, you pick apples, a petting barn and more. Though these mazes aren’t haunted, you do have the opportunity to find your way through after dark—just bring a flashlight!


DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch | Belleville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

DeBuck's Corn Maze pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Open to the public every fall, DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch offers more than 15 acres of winding corn maze trails, a 20-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch, family-oriented fall attractions and hands-on field trips. During your visit, be sure to order up a delectable festival treat from Linda’s Country Kitchen; the menu includes homemade cinnamon sugar donuts, pulled-pork sandwiches, apple cider, nachos and more.   


Dexter Cider Mill | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Apples + cider

Just 20 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, hand picked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100-years-old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on-site.


Donahee Farms | Plymouth

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

This working farm in Plymouth has more than 80 acres of pumpkins! During the fall, families can also enjoy hay rides, fresh apple cider, seasonal donuts, a hay maze and other activities. And when you’re not visiting during the fall season, you can find their produce, flowers and pumpkins at the Ann Arbor and Northville farmers’ markets.


Erwin Orchards | South Lyon

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

A famously fun destination in South Lyon, Erwin Orchards offers a you-pick raspberry patch, you-pick sweet cherries, a huge you-pick pumpkin patch and you-pick apples with 15 different varieties. Available seasonally, you can also enjoy award-winning, fresh pressed, unpasteurized apple cider or raspberry cider paired with apple spice and pumpkin donuts!


Jenny’s Farm Market and Cider Mill | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Jenny’s Farm Stand is a 200-year-old working farm in Dexter. Available year-round, you can shop seasonal produce, Jenny’s Hot ‘n Sweet Pickles, local products, baked goods, pie filling and more. During the fall, the family fun increases with a free straw maze, horse-drawn hay rides through the pumpkin patch, pony rides, hot and fresh pumpkin donuts, fresh apple cider and, more.


Lesser Farms and Orchard | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Lesser Farms and Orchard is a family-owned and operated farm. Though you can’t pick your own here, you can find some of the region’s best plums, apples, fresh pressed cider, homemade jams and jellies, beeswax candles, raw, local honey and pumpkins!


Lutz Orchard | Saline

Get directions | Apples + pumpkins

Located on 12 acres in Saline, this real, working farm offers fresh picked apples available seasonally, squash and pumpkins. During the fall, you’re invited to pick your own apples and meet the farm animals!


Maybury Farm | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider

Maybury Farm pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Maybury Farm

Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. During the fall, the farm fun gets festive with the Great Pumpkin Festival—a two-day family festival in October—and the corn maze, a festive adventure that continues through October before the farm closes up to prepare for Santa. Because they partner with Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery, you can also enjoy homemade donuts and fresh apple cider during your visit!


Obstbaum Orchards | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Apples + cider

Famous for their cherry juice concentrate, Obstbaum Orchards is a 40-year-old apple orchard and cider mill nestled in Salem on the outskirts of Northville. On autumn weekends, everyone is invited to taste fresh apple cider, seasonal donuts, homemade apple pies, hay rides and more.


Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider

Parmenter's Cider Mill pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery

With no admission fee and free parking, Parmenter’s in Northville is a great fall destination near Ann Arbor because they offer their own treats and they partner with neighboring places like Maybury Farm and Northville Winery and Brewing Co. for even more fun. Located within the historic homes of Cabbagetown, the urban cider mill offers year-round cider and you can watch it being pressed on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During weekends through September and October, you can also step inside the Nut Hut where they make candied almonds, the Fudge Hut where they make fresh fudge, and the Chow Mill where they serve hot dogs and kielbasa.


Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill | Plymouth

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Since 1977, Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill has been the local destination where families can enjoy fresh-pressed, award-winning apple cider, fresh-made donuts, crispy caramel apples, icy apple cider slushies, fresh baked pies and a fun farm experience that includes wagon rides, a children’s animal park, a cider mill garden and October pumpkin picking.


The Pumpkin Factory | Belleville

Get directions | Facebook | Pumpkins

Located just 30 minutes from Ann Arbor, The Pumpkin Factory is a family-friendly Halloween farm complete with a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and haunted hayrides through the fall season.


Three Cedars Farm | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

Three Cedars Farm pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Three Cedars Farm

Beginning Labor Day weekend each year, Three Cedars Farm offers old-fashioned fun for all ages. Farm activities include a you-pick pumpkin patch, a seven-acre corn maze, a barn yard play land with live animals, hay rides, train rides and reservable bonfire sites. Inside the Donut Hut, you can taste fresh, homemade donuts, freshly pasteurized cold apple cider, hot cider, coffee and icy apple cider slushes.


Wasem Fruit Farm | Milan

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

During the fall season, Wasem Fruit Farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples you can pick yourself, you-pick raspberries available in September and early October, you-pick pumpkins in October, and pears! During your fall visit, you’ll get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region!

Just next door, you can venture to Talladay Farms, where you can challenge your family on a trip through one of the Midwest’s largest corn mazes. It covers 27 acres!


Wiard’s Orchard & Country Fair | Ypsilanti

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Wiard's Apple Orchard pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard was founded in Michigan by George Wiard in 1837 and has become one of the region’s most beloved fall destinations. Covering nearly 100 acres and located just minutes from Ann Arbor, attractions include the seasonal Wiard’s Country Fair, an agri-entertainment park that offers orchards, a cider mill, you-pick apples, a corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, an apple cannon, giant inflatables, pony rides, hayrides, a petting farm, miniature golf, a haunted barn, children’s play areas and even more. Step inside the Country Store and Bakery to taste fresh cider, seasonal donuts, fresh baked pies, jams, jellies, honey and apple salsas.


Wing Farms | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

Founded in 1852 by James Wing, Wing Farms has lasted through more than 150 years and five generations and is still going strong today. Comprised of 205 acres, including the homestead, the family produces primarily corn, soybeans and rye as well as giant pumpkins available to pick every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the fall season. To get to the pumpkin patch, you’ll hop on a free hayride and you can enjoy fresh apple cider, too!

As an added bonus, Wing Farms raises their own turkeys and every bird is all-natural, non-GMO, antibiotic free and hormone free.


Do you have a favorite fall destination?  

Tell us all about them in the comments below!

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9 Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Home to 11,000 inland lakes and bordering four of the Great Lakes, we think Michigan could claim a couple unofficial records all on its own. And thanks to the residents of our beautiful state, we do have a handful of official Guinness World Records to call our own, too. And we’ve held others throughout the decades which have unfortunately been broken, including the world’s tallest dog and the largest rubber chicken toss.

To celebrate everything from the cool and empowering to the strange and quirky, we rounded up Michigan’s world records as of 2018. Do you think you can break one?


Largest attendance at an ice hockey match

It’s no surprise to hear Ann Arbor holds a hockey-related record. On December 11, 2010, The Big Chill at the Big House between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University hosted an audience of 104,173 people. Though that is the official number recorded by Guinness, the stadium estimated 113,411 people inside the stadium for the match.


Longest tail on a domestic cat and tallest domestic cat

Both Cygnus and Arcturus passed away in a tragic house fire in 2017 and, therefore, no longer hold their world records. However, their story is one to be celebrated. Farmington Hills residents, Lauren and Will Powers, adopted Cygnus and Arcturus in 2015 and were shocked to find they had two record-breaking pets. Cygnus’ tail measured 17.58 inches and Arcturus, a Savannah cat, stood 19.05 inches tall with a weight of about 30 pounds. Lauren and Will originally applied for the records to raise awareness for the Ferndale Cat Shelter which they still help to run today.

You can learn more about Ferndale Cat Shelter and their Catfé Lounge on the website here.


Largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

In Ypsilanti in 2017, 3,755 people gathered at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center to beat the record of 2,229 Rosies previously set in Richmond, California. These two gatherings — in Ypsi and in Richmond — have been battling for the record for several years going back and forth nearly every year. When they took the crown in 2017, the Ypsi gathering had 58 original Rosies who worked in factories during WWII.

And the reason this group gathered to set a new record was to support the Yankee Air Museum’s effort to save, preserve and renovate Rosie’s historic World War II-era factory: the Willow Run Bomber Plant. You can learn more about the record and the Bomber Plant here.


Largest commercially available hamburger

Though this record is frequently combatted by chefs and culinary teams all over the world, the most recent record breaker was Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan in April 2018. Steve Mallie and his team have held the record multiple times and their most recent winner weighed a whopping 164.5 pounds. The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger is available with 24-hours notice for $350 but you can get less expensive 6- and 12-pound hamburgers, too.


World’s largest cherry pie pan

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

For over a decade, Charlevoix, Michigan claimed the record for the world’s largest cherry pie weighing in at 17,420 pounds. But, in 1987, Traverse City — a town also in cherry farm country and just 50 miles from Charlevoix — took the crown with a 28,350-pound cherry pie and a Guinness Book of World Records certification. Though this record was broken in 1992 by the small town of Oliver, British Columbia, the bakers in Oliver failed to keep their pie pan. That makes Traverse City the home of the world’s largest cherry pie pan and you can see both this pan and the Charlevoix pan on display in each city.


Youngest professional drummer

Julian Pavone was born on May 14, 2004 in a Detroit suburb and was just 4 years 10 months and 15 days old when he performed in his 20th concert on March 29, 2009. That makes him the youngest professional drummer on the globe! You can learn more about him, his talents, his albums and his inventions on his website.


Largest snowball

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Rolled by students attending ASME Michigan Technological University in Houghton, the largest snowball in the world measured 10.04 meters in circumference — that’s 32.94 feet! On March 29, 2013, this ice cold ball of snow measured 10.45 feet wide and 9.28 feet tall. Think you can beat it?


Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (male) ever

On May 30, 2009, Melvin Boothe had his record-breaking fingernails measured in Troy, Michigan for a combined length of 32 feet and 3.8 inches. Though Melvin passed away in December 2009, he still holds the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of male hands.


Do you know a record-breaker?

Tell us about them in the comments below!

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14 Things to Do in Ann Arbor Under $20

things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan budget-friendly under $20 free

The Ann Arbor area is a community packed with activity, opportunity and adventure, from the outdoor vistas in Pinckney Recreation Area to the heart of bustling downtown Ann Arbor. And if you know where to go, many of these activities don’t cost much at all.

It’s always nice to save a few bucks, so next time you’re looking for something fun to do under $20, consult our list that includes free experiences and budget-friendly adventures. Enjoy!


Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art


things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan budget-friendly under $20 free

Photo courtesy of Leisa Thompson via University of Michigan Museum of Art

Admission to UMMA is always free, but if you’re able, a $10 suggested donation is appreciated. Inside, you’ll get to view and learn about more than 20,000 artworks. This collection represents more than 150 years of art collecting and is one of the oldest in the country!


Tour Chelsea Milling Company


The home of JIFFY Mix and the industrial heart of Chelsea, Michigan, tours of the Chelsea Milling Company are free and open to the public with a reservation. Your one-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!


Learn at Leslie Science & Nature Center


This educational facility on the north side of Ann Arbor encourages sustainability, understanding and regular nature encounters. Join the fun and visit the grounds, trails and raptor enclosures outside any day from sunrise to sunset. The Critter House is open most Sundays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and allows you to observe frogs, turtles, snakes and more.


Play disc golf at a local park


Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

With the exception of buying a frisbee or two, this outing is completely free and can be enjoyed over and over again! Bandemer Park and Mary Beth Doyle in Ann Arbor both offer disc golf courses and Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti has an 18-hole course.

For more outdoor options, check out our blog post 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts.


Explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum


Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include eleven outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more. And during colder months, 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 the arboretum are admission-free, 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.


Skate at Yost Ice Arena


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 dollars, 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.


Meet the animals at The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms


things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan budget-friendly under $20 free

Domino’s Farms began back in 1925 and The Petting Farm, located on what is now a twenty-acre farm, opened its doors in 1984. When you stop by, you can meet alpacas, cattle, chickens, ducks, goats, llamas, peacocks, pigs, ponies, sheep, rabbits and Badger the cat!

General admission is $6 with discounts for seniors and children under 23 months. You can also get bags of animal feed for $2 and ride a tractor for $2!


See a movie at Michigan Theater or State Theater


The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball — and we’re so glad it was. Today, this historic theater and the State Theater offer regular showings of indie movies, limited releases, special screenings and more. Matinee tickets are $7 and regular ticket prices start at $8. To see the calendar for both theaters, click here.


Opt outside at a nearby recreation area


Boasting some of the most impressive outdoor recreation areas in the state (like Pinckney and Waterloo just outside of Chelsea), Southeast Michigan is filled with opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Non-residents can purchase a day-use pass at the entrance to the park for just $9. But Michigan residents have the opportunity to purchase the Recreation Passport for just $11 when bought with your annual license plate renewal. This lasts all year long and comes down to just 3 cents a day! For more information on admission, click here.

And, for ideas on what to do once you get to the park, check out our blog post 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts.


Get hands-on at Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum


The Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum specializes in interactive exhibits with the goal of helping both children and adults discover the scientist within. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics.

General admission is just $12.50, members are admitted for free, and admission is just $5 after 5 p.m. on Thursdays!


Paddle on Gallup Pond


Gallup Park Canoe Livery in Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park offers canoe, two-person kayak, one-person kayak, kid kayak, paddle boat, and rowboat rentals plus concessions, merchandise and river-themed programs. Though some of these programs and rentals exceed $20, you can rent a one-person kayak for two hours for just $15, two-person kayaks and canoes for two hours for $20, and a paddle boat for one hour for $12. All of these will allow you to get on the waters of the 2.5-mile Gallup Pond!


Paddle on Argo Pond


Argo Park canoe and kayak date Ann Arbor, Michigan

Up the river from Gallup Park, you’ll find Argo Park and the Argo Canoe Livery which offers similar programs and rentals. Here, you have the opportunity to explore the waters of the two-mile Argo Pond in rented one-person kayak, two-person kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. For full pricing details, click here.


Laugh at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase


Originally opened in 1984, this comedy favorite 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!

Purchasing tickets online in advance is the best price option, offering tickets for just $14. If you purchase tickets at the door, you’ll pay $16. And unlike many comedy venues, there’s no drink minimum at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase so you won’t need to spend more once you’re inside!


Play laser tag at Zap Zone

$8 – 18

Zap Zone is an Ann Arbor destination for play, including laser tag, bumper cars, arcade games and a virtual reality zone. Prices for each activity begin under $20 and three laser tag games costs just $18 per person!


Do you have local tips?

Tell us all about your favorite budget-friendly activities in the comments below!

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Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area [Interactive Map]

The best craft breweries in Ann Arbor

Since exploding in the 1990s, the Michigan craft beer scene has been enjoying a resurgence in craft, style and sheer number of breweries available. And beer lovers around the entire state have been enjoying it, too!

In Ann Arbor, we celebrate the industry with some of the state’s best breweries, with several hidden gems and with local, neighborhood spots we come back to again and again. To show off our community’s love for drinking local, we rounded up the must-try spots in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea and even Milan. Enjoy!

734 Brewing Company | Ypsilanti

15 E Cross St | Facebook

Ypsi born and Ypsi brewed, 734 Brewing Company is a new Depot Town staple. Home to a spectacular patio and even more spectacular beers, it’s a must-visit on every craft beer tour.


Arbor Brewing Company | Ann Arbor + Ypsilanti

114 E Washington St, Ann Arbor + 720 Norris St, Ypsilanti | Facebook

When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. On a trip to Belgium, the couple was further inspired to innovate and they brought the first sour program of its kind to the state of Michigan. Today, you can stop in the original Ann Arbor brewpub or swing by the Ypsilanti brewery.


Biercamp | Ann Arbor

1643 S State St | Facebook

Biercamp Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Biercamp

Biercamp has been one of Ann Arbor’s unique and best little shops since they opened in 2011. That’s when the meat shop showed us what good, natural meat is all about. Everything is made by hand in small batches using unique ingredients and family recipes. And all the meats come from farms where animals are raised humanely with no antibiotics, hormones, growth promoting drugs or artificial ingredients. The same care and attention is applied to their beer program. In the combination shop, taproom and beer garden, you can taste their small-batch craft beers which are also made in-house and by hand.


Bløm Meadworks | Ann Arbor

100 S 4th Ave #110 | Facebook

Blom Meadworks Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Synecdoche Design via Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Their session meads and ciders are light, dry, carbonated and sessionable. 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.


Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery | Ann Arbor

207 E Washington St | Facebook

BBQ and beer is a winning combination that has been tried and tested over the centuries and the Blue Tractor team is just about as knowledgeable as you can get in both categories. On the food menu, you’ll find classic smoked meats and barbecue dishes alongside unique, world-influenced meals. On tap, you’ll find six rotating selections every day, including award-winners which have snagged numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at competitions across the nation.  


Chelsea Alehouse Brewery | Chelsea

115 S Main St | Facebook

Originally located in Chelsea’s historic Clocktower Complex, Chelsea Alehouse Brewery opened in 2012 and relocated to downtown Chelsea in 2018. Their new interior features red brick walls and cozy booths, their food menu includes tacos, burgers, mac & cheese and fresh salads, and the beer list focuses on American and English style ales made for every beer drinker.


Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse | Ypsilanti

307 N River St | Facebook

This coffee bar and tap house is a Ypsilanti favorite. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” you’ll find some of the best craft coffee and craft beer, regular community events, and support of worthy causes. They’ve been featured on guides like The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor and The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area so you know you’re in for a treat.


Edelbrau Brewing Company | Ann Arbor

719 W Ellsworth Rd #2 | Facebook

Edelbrau is a term that has been used for hundreds of years to describe high-quality beer and this Ann Arbor team brews bold beers in homage to that tradition. Their beverages are served unfiltered without pasteurization or synthetic additives and each one is produced sustainably in a way that enhances the craft, the community and the industry. Stop in the brewery and taproom to learn what mindful brewing tastes like.


Grizzly Peak Brewing Co. | Ann Arbor  

120 W Washington St | Facebook

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Irene Tomoko Sugiura via Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

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. To see what’s on tap right now, click here.


HOMES Brewery | Ann Arbor

2321 Jackson Ave | Facebook

At HOMES, they take the brewery experience to a whole new level because they pair their brews with a food menu full of modern and inventive Korean food. Perfect for sharing, we recommend an order of Kimchi Fries, Pork Belly Bao Buns and maybe even a flavor-packed rice bowl. And, of course, don’t skip a flight of HOMES original brews.


Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales | Ann Arbor + Dexter

311 S Main St, Ann Arbor + 2319 Bishop Cir E, Dexter | Ann Arbor Facebook + Dexter Facebook

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Each location — whether full-service pub or casual hangout — offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, aged Jolly Pumpkin beers.


Original Gravity Brewing Co. | Milan

440 County St | Facebook

Original Gravity is Milan’s original brewery. Though Brad Sancho just opened this microbrewery in 2008, it’s the town’s only craft brewery and serves as the local destination for beer, community and fun. Focused on creating an outstanding taproom experience, their space has old-school arcade games, board games, televisions and delicious deli sandwiches.


Pileated Brewing Company | Ann Arbor  

2290 S Industrial Hwy | Facebook

Since their beginning, the brewing team at Pileated Brewing Company has been driven by experimental brewing. As a result, they produce beers inspired by traditional style but which have been innovated through ingredients, additions and more. So when you stop in, don’t expect to find a typical beer but do expect to find a new favorite! Because everything here is hand-stirred, hand-bottled, naturally unfiltered and bottle conditioned.


Pointless Brewery & Theatre | Ann Arbor

3014 Packard St | Facebook

If you like your craft beer served with improv comedy, then Pointless Brewery & Theatre is the perfect place to be. And if you’ve never had craft beer served with improv comedy, move this Ann Arbor original to the top of your to-do list. The taproom where you can try beers brewed on-site and enjoy frequent events is open Wednesday through Sunday. To see the theatre and improv show schedule, click here.


Salt Springs Brewery | Saline  

117 S Ann Arbor St | Facebook

Salt Springs Brewery Saline, Michigan restaurants

Photo courtesy of Salt Springs Brewery

Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery is housed in a beautiful, 116-year-old former church. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings in Southeast Michigan, you can enjoy true-to-style ales, wine and cider alongside locally-sourced food with stunning stained glass as the backdrop.


Stony Lake Brewing Co. | Saline

447 E Michigan Ave | Facebook

Husband and wife team Jerry and Heidi founded Stony Lake Brewing Company in 2014. Named after their favorite place on earth and inspired by their favorite microbreweries, they offer big beers with an emphasis on American Ales and fresh clean flavors, as well as hard ciders, wines and select sodas.


Townies Brewery | Ann Arbor  

2350 W Liberty Rd | Facebook

Located on Ann Arbor’s west side, Townies Brewery opened in 2018 in the old home of Glasshouse Brewing. New owners Dan and Patty Arban have completely reimagined the space and the building with new additions to the decor and to the patio. Swing by for a beer flight and enjoy our city’s newest brewery alongside frequent live music and a community atmosphere.


Unity Vibration | Ypsilanti

93 Ecorse Rd | Facebook

Dedicated to health, unity and community, this Ypsi favorite serves up kombucha tea and kombucha beer. Similar to a Lambic fermented in oak-barrels with hops and whole fruits, Unity kombucha beers are gluten-free, vegan, organic, bottle conditioned and raw. So whether you’re craving a belly-friendly tea or a unique craft beer, visit the taproom to try a small-batch and handmade beverage.


Wolverine State Brewing Co. | Ann Arbor  

2019 W Stadium Blvd | Facebook

Wolverine Brewing Co Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Brit Hueter via Wolverine State Brewing Co.

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 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.


Ypsi Alehouse | Ypsilanti

124 Pearl St #100 | Facebook

Located in the historic Centennial Center Building, Ypsi Alehouse serves a seasonally rotating menu of pub-inspired eats, craft beers brewed to highlight the finest locally sourced ingredients, and ciders and wines made on-site. As the headquarters of Mishigama Craft Brewing, you’re sure to find something to love here.


Do you have a favorite?

Do you have a go-to brewery further outside the Ann Arbor area? Or is there one in town that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend September 2018

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Though September brings the end of summer, it also brings us a long weekend to celebrate Labor Day, the beginning of Wolverine football season, and beloved fall harvest celebrations. In the Ann Arbor area, our communities are saluting the summer and welcoming the fall with cultural celebrations, great annual happenings, huge return performances, tours, fundraisers and more.

This year, join the fun at our region’s biggest September events. Will you attend a concert, a festival or Oktoberfest? Let us know in the comments below!

For events and ideas for celebrating Labor Day weekend in Ann Arbor, check out How to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend 2018 in Ann Arbor.


Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink


Arts + Culture


Kerrytown BookFest | Ann Arbor

September 9, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market  

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

For the 16th year, Kerrytown BookFest is coming to one of Ann Arbor’s most beloved downtown areas. Celebrating books, authors, printers, publishers, sellers and readers, the event highlights the Ann Arbor area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts by showcasing local individuals, businesses and organizations.


Saline Antiques & Vintage Market | Saline

September 9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds  

Since beginning just a few years ago, Saline Antiques & Vintage Market has become one the area’s favorite places to shop real antiques. Every show features collectibles, jewelry, home goods and more. 


Ann Arbor Russian Festival | Dexter

September 15 – 16 | St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church

The 6th Annual Ann Arbor Russian Festival will include Russian dance, music and song ensembles, an infused vodka tasting for guests over 21, authentic foods, and so much more. Bring the whole family down to Dexter to celebrate Russian culture!


Orphan Car Show | Ypsilanti

September 16 | Riverside Park   

The term orphan car describes a vehicle built by a manufacturer that has discontinued business entirely, and because Ypsi has such an important history in cars and orphan cars, it’s the perfect place for this unique car event. The 2018 show celebrates the 20th year of the Orphan Car Show!


Old West Side Homes Tour | Ann Arbor

September 23, 12 – 5 p.m. | St Paul Lutheran Church  

The 45th Annual Old West Side Homes Tour celebrates Ann Arbor’s historic Old West Side whose architecture, streetscape, history and environment are especially characteristic of 19th-century, midwestern America. You can find $10 advance tickets at Nicola’s Books, The Jefferson Market, Downtown Home & Garden, Argus Farm Stop and Washtenaw Dairy, or you can purchase tickets the day of the event at St Paul Lutheran Church for $12. For more details, check out the website.


Philadelphia Orchestra | Ann Arbor

September 27, 7:30 p.m. | Hill Auditorium

The Philadelphia Orchestra first performed in Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium in 1913, was the orchestra-in-residence for the Ann Arbor May Festival for nearly 50 years, and last played in town in 1994. Now, they’re returning to Hill Auditorium for the first time in 24 years! This event is part of Series:You so you can enjoy it and four other events when you subscribe to get your tickets.



Community Celebrations


Saline Community Fair | Ann Arbor  

August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Rounding out the summer, Saline Community Fair provides days of fun for local families. Events include tractor pulls, a car and tractor show, the USA Auto Cross Enduro Derby, carnival rides, fair foods, and more!


Wiard’s Orchards and Country Fair | Ypsilanti

September 8 – October 28 | Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard

Operating for more than 180 years, Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard offers u-pick apples, a u-pick pumpkin patch, delicious cider, a corn maze and haunted thrill park, mini golf, hayrides, and more during the fall. Throughout the month of September, you can enjoy Wiard’s Country Fair on Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 8th. For full details, check out the website.


Harvest Festival | Ann Arbor

September 16, 2 – 5 p.m. | Sutherland-Wilson Farm  

The 10th Annual Harvest Festival at Sutherland-Wilson Farm is welcoming the fall harvest season with a performance by the Saline Fiddlers, face painting, carriage photos, lawn games, a pumpkin patch, house tours and self-guided building tours, a petting farm, and so much more. All of this is included in general admission which ranges from free for children under 2-years-old to $5 for adults.


Webster Fall Festival | Dexter

September 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Webster United Church of Christ

Hosted by the Webster United Church of Christ and the Webster Township Historical Society, this fall festival has something for everybody: hayrides, live music, an auction, a petting zoo, a children’s carnival, historical buildings, baked goods and preserves for sale, demonstrations like wool spinning and blacksmithing — and the famous pig roast!


Oktoberfest | Saline

September 28 – 29 | Downtown Saline

This fall celebration brings the spirit of Germany to downtown Saline. In celebration of the community’s sister city relationship with Lindenberg, Germany, you can enjoy traditional and modern music, a festive bier garten, a corn hole tournament, wiener dog races and so much more.





University of Michigan Football | Ann Arbor

September 1 – December 1 | Various locations

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Wolverine football returns on the first day of September! Though their first game of the season is at Notre Dame, they’ll be playing in The Big House on September 8th, 15th and 22nd. For the full schedule, click here. And, if you’re looking for local places to watch away games, check out The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area.


RunTough for ChadTough | Saline

September 29, 8:30 – 11 a.m. | Saline High School  

Benefitting The ChadTough Foundation, a local nonprofit in Saline, this running event is celebrating its fifth year with a family-friendly 5K and a one-mile fun run. Whether you want to virtually run to support the cause or you want to run the route yourself, you can register online here.  



Food + Drink


Chefs in the Garden Fundraiser | Ypsilanti

September 16 and September 30, 5 – 8 p.m. | Growing Hope Urban Farm

 Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Hosted by and benefitting Growing Hope Urban Farm, the Chefs in the Garden series brings together local charity, local food and urban farm education. The three-part dinner series will feature well known, local culinary talent at each event occurring on September 16th, September 30th and October 14th. For more information and tickets, click here.



Happy September!

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How to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend 2018 in the Ann Arbor Area | Events, Activities + More

Labor Day weekend 2018 Ann Arbor Michigan

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. In Ann Arbor, that means the kids are either back in school or are heading back on Monday so we need to pack a whole lot of fun into three weekend days.

To help plan your festivities, we rounded up the weekend’s best events alongside a few ideas and local activities that can make your long weekend one for the record books.

For more events happening throughout September, check out The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend September 2018.



Attend an event

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

Saline Community Fair  

August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Rounding out the summer, Saline Community Fair provides days of fun for local families. Events include tractor pulls, a car and tractor show, the USA Auto Cross Enduro Derby, carnival rides, fair foods, and more!


Dexter Summer Concerts

August 31 | The Monument Park Gazebo

The Dexter Summer Concert series ends its 2018 run on August 31st with Salmagundi! This Ann Arbor band brings horn-driven rock and roll for a full evening of dancing and fun.


Eastern Football vs. Monmouth

August 31 | Rynearson Stadium

Eastern Michigan University football returns during Orientation Weekend and the Eagles are facing off against Monmouth on our home turf. Kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.


Summer Games

August 31 | Pointless Brewery & Theatre

Pointless Brewery & Theatre combines improv comedy shows with craft beer. On August 31st, Summer Games returns with a lineup of playful improv games. Tickets are $15 each and there are back-to-back shows beginning at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.


The 2018 Ballet in the City Gala

August 31 – September 1 | Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League

The 2018 Ballet in the City Gala takes place on the University of Michigan campus. This exhibition event celebrates the best and brightest in the arts today by presenting the legendary works of George Balanchine in performance, hosting educational events, and offering up close and personal experiences with professional artists from around the country. There are two different events happening on August 31st and September 1st; get the full details here.


Michigan vs. Notre Dame

September 1 | South Bend, Indiana

Wolverine football returns on the first day of September! Though their first game of the season is at Notre Dame, you can watch locally at The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area. For the full schedule, click here.


African Comedy Show

September 1 | Power Center for the Performing Arts

Hosted by the Waganda and Wakenya Comedians, this laugh out loud comedy show is bringing talented stand-ups to Ann Arbor from Uganda and Kenya. The feature performance will be The Queen of African Comedy, Anne Kansiime, from Uganda and other sets will be given by Smart-Joker (Michael Omuka) and 2mbili (Dankan Onyango).


Willow Run at Purple Rose Theatre

June 14 – September 1 | Purple Rose Theatre

Willow Run is a world premiere show by Jeff Duncan and is ending its Purple Rose Theatre run on September 1st. The play takes place during WWII at the Willow Run Bomber Plant located near Ypsilanti—the largest factory under one roof in the world. Learn more and buy your tickets here.



Opt outside

Hiking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

Home to 159 parks just within the city and located at the heart of an impressive lineup of state recreation areas and open spaces, Ann Arbor offers countless opportunities to opt outside. From hiking and fishing in town to boating through the Chain of Lakes and even kayaking down the Huron River, there are a variety of options available to every local and visitor.

To get an idea of what you can do outside and where you can do it, check out 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts, which highlights some of our favorite adventures in our backyard.



Go camping

If you want to extend your outdoor excursion into an overnight adventure, we recommend planning a camping trip over Labor Day weekend. Pinckney Recreation Area offers six different campgrounds ranging from rustic spots without hookups to yurts! For reservation and pricing information, click here. And to check out the nine campgrounds in Waterloo Recreation Area, click here.



Dive into a Michigan lake

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Michigan borders four of the Great Lakes and contains more than 11,000 inland lakes. So, when you’re looking for a summer swimming destination, this is a good place to be.

In the communities around Ann Arbor, we get to take advantage of countless swim beaches, state parks and pristine waters. To help you on your water-themed summer adventures, we rounded up a handful of the best options around Ann Arbor. From just a few minutes away to about two hours away on the shores of Lake Michigan, check out The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer and start experiencing the true #PureMichiganLakeEffect.



Spend time with your kids

things to do with kids in Ann Arbor Michigan

As the last unofficial day of summer vacation, Labor Day weekend means your kids are either already back in school or they return to the classroom on Monday. Take advantage of your extra day by taking them on a local excursion they’ll never forget! Our guide, 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, includes details on Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Planet Rock, Young People’s Theater, Leslie Science and Nature Center and so much more!



Salute patio season

With the warm months winding down, we have to get ready to say goodbye to our favorite Ann Arbor patios. They’re the ideal places to satisfy any craving for sunshine, local food, Michigan beer or artisan cocktails. The local lineup includes garden patios, beer gardens, and patios bathed in cozy string lights or shaded by trees along Main Street. To start planning your patio tour, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor.



Take a wine tour of Southeast Michigan

Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

A long weekend is the perfect excuse to visit Michigan’s wine country. Different regions of our state have organized their own wine trails to highlight local wines. You can explore the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail near Grand Rapids, the Bay View Wine Trail in Northwest Michigan, the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail around Grand Traverse Bay, and the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail which goes right through our backyard.

For more information on Southeast Michigan’s best wineries, check out The 14 Essential Wineries to Visit Near Ann Arbor.



Visit a local museum

Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, so it makes sense that our little town is packed with museums and educational opportunities. The long list of options includes University of Michigan Museum of Art, African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Kempf House Museum, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, and the Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsi.



Enjoy your long weekend!  

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18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

things to do with kids in Ann Arbor Michigan

Sure, we may be a little biased, but we think the Ann Arbor area is the best place to live, work and play no matter your age. Not only are we a hub for culture, entertainment and education, but our city boasts some of the most adventurous, playful and fun destinations, organizations and businesses in the region.

To prove it, we rounded up 18 things you can do with kids in Ann Arbor. From educational opportunities to outdoor experiences, there’s something for every age and every interest in our kid-friendly guide.


1. Visit Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Hands-on museum Cupcake station things to do with kids in Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum specializes in interactive exhibits with the goal of helping both children and adults discover the scientist within them. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics. Learn more about the exhibits here.


2. Explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Matthaei Botanical Gardens boasts 11 outdoor garden spaces which feature bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials, and seasonally blooming flowers from spring to first frost. Outside, you’ll find nearly three miles of trails and inside the year-round conservatory, you’ll find plants from around the world.


3. Play in Gallup Park

Ann Arbor’s most popular recreation area, Gallup Park is a 69-acre park located along the Huron River and Geddes Pond. A haven for kids who love being outside, the park offers two playgrounds, a canoe livery for riding down the river, picnic areas and grills, two picnic shelters, an open field for play, and over three miles of asphalt trails suitable for biking, rollerblading, walking and running.


4. Meet the animals at The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms

Domino’s Farms began back in 1925 and The Petting Farm, located on what is now a twenty-acre farm, opened its doors in 1984. When you stop by, you can meet alpacas, cattle, chickens, ducks, goats, llamas, peacocks, pigs, ponies, sheep, rabbits and Badger the cat!


5. Climb at Planet Rock

Planet Rock Ann Arbor things to do with kids

Photo courtesy of Beth Gonzales via Planet Rock

Both beginner and experienced climbers can find fun challenges and learning opportunities at Planet Rock. Ann Arbor’s premier, indoor rock climbing gym, Planet Rock offers more than 25,000 square feet of climbing surface, a full training area and a giant bouldering mushroom. Their second location in Madison Heights offers a 15-meter official competition speed climbing wall and an ice climbing training area as well! Special programs for children ages 4 – 19 encourage body awareness, coordination and problem-solving skills, and each program includes free belay lessons for parents and free climbing while their child is in class!


6. Tour Chelsea Milling Company

Free and open to the public with a reservation, tours of Chelsea Milling Company — the home of JIFFY Mix — take guests through the packaging plant on a one-hour excursion that includes a video presentation, refreshments and a product sample. Yes, that means you get to enjoy a free muffin!


7. Shop at Mudpuddles

Located in Kerrytown in downtown Ann Arbor, Mudpuddles is a specialty toy store filled with smart and creative toys and games for all ages. Local owners Jan and Sharon hand select every item in the store so you can rest assured each one will be suitable for education and fun!


8. Peruse the Ann Arbor Farmers Market

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market occurs year-round on Saturdays and again on Wednesdays from May through December. As a bonus during the summer and fall, you can enjoy the monthly Food Truck Rally, too! Get more information and specific dates here.


9. Learn at Leslie Science and Nature Center

Leslie Science and Nature Center Ann Arbor Michigan things to do with kids

Photo courtesy of Leslie Science and Nature Center

This educational facility on the north side of Ann Arbor encourages sustainability, understanding and regular nature encounters. Join the fun and visit the grounds, trails and raptor enclosures outside any day from sunrise to sunset. The Critter House is open most Sundays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and allows you to observe frogs, turtles, snakes and more. Free admission makes this one of our favorite budget-friendly options!


10. Visit Kidopolis

Kidopolis Imagination & Discovery Center is a safe and fun play space for all of Ann Arbor’s little ones. With a strong emphasis on development, the play facility is designed to support cognitive development, demonstrate clever and fun ways to recycle, and facilitate personalized, self-guided play. Kids ages 2 to 100 can stop in and play in Kidopolis’ Mini Hollywood!


11. See a show at Young People’s Theater

Young People’s Theater is a completely volunteer-run organization in Ann Arbor that provides professional theater experiences, training and educational opportunities for young people from preschool through high school. From summer camps and dance classes to live stage performances, there’s something for every family to enjoy!


12. Jump at AirTime Trampoline Park

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.


13. Eat at The Cupcake Station

Cupcake station things to do with kids in Ann Arbor

The Cupcake Station has five locations in the Ann Arbor area, including one downtown. Made in-house and from scratch every day, you’ll find 24 unique flavors available each time you visit. Stop in to try creations like Cotton Candy Sweet Treat, Hot Fudge Sundae and Strawberry Sunshine!


14. Scream for ice cream

Speaking of sweet treats, handmade, local ice cream is just about the most kid-friendly item on the menu. And we rounded up the ten best places for ice cream in Ann Arbor to make your ice cream adventure quick and easy!


15. Go on an outdoor adventure

If you have a kid who loves outdoor adventures, you’re in the right place. Here in Ann Arbor, we have countless open spaces and parks within the city limits and we’re just minutes from some of the state’s most impressive recreation areas. To get the low down on our favorite activities — from hiking to horseback riding and even disc golf — check out 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts.  


16. Visit The Creature Conservancy

The Creature Conservancy Ann Arbor things to do with kids

Photo courtesy of Kim Ellis via The Creature Conservancy

The Creature Conservancy began back in 2005 when Al the alligator was left abandoned at the door of a local veterinary hospital. He was soon joined by a sloth rescued from a trailer park, a macaw left at a pet boarding facility, ball pythons found in a dumpster, and iguanas wandering loose on the UM campus. Now, you can meet Al, Poco the sloth, Tulip and Maybelline the red kangaroos, as well as all their friends on Saturdays and Sundays between 1 and 5 p.m.


17. 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. Kids and adults can spend their quarters along the entire wall of pinball machines, play video games, and try their hands at pool or air hockey!


18. Play laser tag at Zap Zone

The Ypsilanti Zap Zone is one of our favorite places for laser tag, but that’s not all they have. Enjoy an entire day of fun with bumper cars, an arcade and a virtual reality experience.


Do you know a local Ann Arbor kid?

Tell us about their favorite activities and destinations in the comments below!

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The 13 Best Places to Get a Burger in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Amongst all the food trends we love (shout out to you, brunch!), there’s one we can rest assured will never go out of style: the burger. From fast, casual eats to gourmet creations, the toppings may get more strange but the mouth-watering, beloved burger remains an American classic.

To show off our own local flavors, we’re touring Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and even hopping over to Saline to track down the best burgers in town. Be warned, our guide features burgers (and photos) that will likely cause an immediate craving. But luckily, these hometown spots are right down the street. Enjoy!


Elevation Burger | Ann Arbor

3365 Washtenaw Ave + 529 E Liberty St | Facebook

Elevation Burgers Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Elevation Burger

This chain restaurant has two Ann Arbor locations and is dedicated to the fine art of the burger. Theirs feature 100% organic, grass-fed and free-range meat. You can choose from five delicious signature burgers, vegetarian and vegan options, or build your own. Then, be sure to load up on fresh cut fries and thick, hand-scooped milkshakes!


Frita Batidos | Ann Arbor

117 W Washington St | Facebook

It’s all in a name, right? And at Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction. The Frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo and served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. A Batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). That’s what we call a perfect pairing!


Sidetrack Bar & Grill | Ypsilanti

56 E Cross St | Facebook

Sidetrack Bar and Grill Ann Arbor Michigan best burger Ypsilanti

Photo courtesy of Sidetrack Bar & Grill

Sidetrack has been a Ypsilanti destination since it opened its doors in 1850 and it’s easy to explain why. They serve some of the best pub food, pour some of the best beer, and offer it all in one of the best neighborhood atmospheres. Their burger — Our Famous Burger — was included on GQ’s 2005 round-up of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, so it’s probably about time you tried it.


Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | Ann Arbor

304 S Ashley St | Facebook

If you’ve been in Ann Arbor very long, you know Krazy Jim’s — and you know exactly how to order. They’ve been serving up customizable sliders with one-of-a-kind style since 1953. When you arrive, simply grab a tray and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to order. By the time you reach the end of the line, you’ll have one of Ann Arbor’s best burgers prepared just the way you want it and made with fresh beef, ground in-house daily.


Rappourt Brew & Chew | Ann Arbor

2721 Plymouth Rd | Facebook

The family-owned Rappourt offers a communal dining room and a true community atmosphere. Pair that with a gourmet burger and you’ll leave happy every time. Their menu offers three signature burgers: their namesake burger topped with Gruyere cheese, the A2 Melt with Wolverine Lager beer cheese, and the Diner Burger which features a smashed patty and classic toppings. Additional bonuses include 48 taps of rotating craft beer and a delicious Vegetarian Black Bean Burger!


Hunter House Hamburgers | Ann Arbor

609 E William St | Facebook

Hunter House Hamburgers Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Hunter House Hamburgers

Hunter House Hamburgers was established in 1952. Their original home is a small, white pill-box diner on the first paved road in America in Birmingham, Michigan. Their second location opened in Ann Arbor in 2014. Consistently named one of the best restaurants in the Detroit area and frequently ranked the best burger in Michigan, Hunter House is a must-visit!


Got Burger | Ypsilanti

301 W Cross St | Facebook

In the Got Burger kitchen, the meat is always fresh and the burgers are always handcrafted with natural ingredients. If you decide not to build your own, you can choose from nine signature options, including the vegetarian Portobello Bliss. But with choices like the Puree Garlic Burger served with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pureed garlic sauce, it may be tough to choose.


Craft Breww City | Ann Arbor

640 Packard St | Facebook

CBC is a sports bar, a beer bar and a gourmet restaurant all rolled into one. Alongside one of the biggest selections of craft brews and beers anywhere, they offer a menu of pub-inspired eats that includes everything from Duck Poutine to Chicken Parmesan. And right in the middle of that menu, you’ll find ten one-of-a-kind signature burgers. For example, the Pretzel Burger comes with maple glazed bacon, cherry BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun. Yum!


HopCat | Ann Arbor

311 Maynard St | Facebook

HopCat is known for a lot of things, including their famous Crack Fries and having 100 beers on tap. Today, we’re making sure they’re known as the home of one of the best burgers in Ann Arbor. In addition to a classic burger, a turkey burger and a black bean burger, the menu features four stuffed burgers: a half-pound of signature beef patty stuffed with Wisconsin American cheese! See the menu here then get to HopCat ASAP (you’ll want to, trust us).


Sizzles Burgers and Subs | Ypsilanti

10 N Adams St | Facebook

Sizzles Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Sizzles Burgers and Subs

Sizzles may craft some of the best hoagies and sub sandwiches in town, but the other half of their menu is dedicated to gourmet burgers. The namesake Sizzles Burger is stuffed with cheese and topped with fresh jalapeños, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, romaine lettuce and tomatoes. You’re definitely going to want to try it!


Dan’s Downtown Tavern | Saline

103 E Michigan Ave | Facebook

Offering a laid back, neighborhood bar setting, Dan’s Downtown Tavern has been a Saline favorite for years. Their menu features comfort foods, one of the largest craft beer selections in town and an entire section dedicated to custom burgers. You can choose one of 15 creative flavor combinations — from the Cowboy topped with chili, bacon, jalapeños and BBQ sauce to the Peanut Butter Burger which includes a peanut butter infused patty!


The Wurst Bar | Ypsilanti

705 W Cross St | Facebook

The Wurst Bar may be named for its gourmet bratwursts, but the burgers should definitely not be overlooked. Made with house-ground brisket and dipped in a blend of umami-rich sauces and flat iron grilled, every 6.5-ounce burger is cooked to order and comes atop a pretzel, sesame seed or brioche bun. Is your mouth watering yet? If not, check out Mr. Monster on the menu.


Zingerman’s Roadhouse | Ann Arbor

2501 Jackson Ave | Facebook

Zingerman’s Roadhouse is a go-to option amongst many Ann Arbor locals. So when you’re craving a burger, it’s always a safe bet. This branch of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses brings the fresh ideals of Zingerman’s together with globally-inspired eats and locally-sourced ingredients. That means when you order your burger, you can bet the hand-formed patty was made with Washtenaw County meat!

To learn more about all the Zingerman’s businesses in Ann Arbor, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.


Do you have a favorite local burger?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 13 Best Places to Eat After Midnight in Ann Arbor

New York Pizza Depot Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Ann Arbor is a college town, a foodie haven, a live music locale and a craft beer gem all rolled into one. That entertaining blend makes it the perfect place for late night eats to flourish. And luckily, we have plenty of local options to choose from! That is, when you’re looking for something other than the neighborhood Jimmy John’s (open as late as 4 a.m. on weekends!).  

To help you satisfy all your late night cravings, we rounded up the best food in town that can be enjoyed past midnight. On our list, you’ll find pizza joints, tequila bars, cookie delivery, the best hamburger in Michigan and, of course, Ann Arbor’s 24-hour diner. Enjoy!


Fleetwood Diner

300 S Ashley St | Facebook | Food served 24 hours  

Fleetwood Diner is the home of late night eats in Ann Arbor. You can get their entire menu of diner classics 24 hours a day. The lineup includes omelets, pancakes, egg dishes and the famous hippie hash which is a plate of homemade hash browns topped with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom, broccoli topped and feta cheese.


Pizza House

618 Church St | Facebook | Food served until 4 a.m.

Pizza House has been the late night pizza destination in Ann Arbor since they opened in 1986. You can eat in the dining room until 4 a.m. any night of the week and you can also get pizza delivered right to your door until 4 a.m. every single night! Their downtown headquarters is also the home of The Garage Bar where you can get your Pizza House eats with one of 32 beers on tap, craft cocktails and more.


BTB Burrito

810 S State St | Facebook | Food served until 4 a.m.

BTB Burrito Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Photo courtesy of BTB Burrito

BTB Burrito was born right here in Ann Arbor to fill the town’s need for high-quality, local, counter-service eats. Thanks to their late night hours seven nights a week, they’ve become the go-to late night spot for students, residents and townies alike. So next time you need a great burrito, a plate of nachos, a side of guacamole and a warm churro after midnight stop in or order delivery!


Old Town Tavern

122 W Liberty Rd | Food served until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday

When Old Town Tavern opened in 1972, it was a blue collar bar that served to accommodate third shift workers from area factories who needed to refuel as early as 6 a.m. Today, it’s still a beloved townie bar and they still accommodate diners at unique hours. Wednesday through Saturday, you can get their menu of burgers, sandwiches and Southwestern plates until 1:30 a.m. — and until 10:45 p.m. on all other nights of the week!


Insomnia Cookies

1229 S University Ave | Facebook | Food served until 3 a.m.

Insomnia Cookies was started by student Seth Berkowitz in a college dorm room in 2003 at the University of Pennsylvania. And the rest is history. Or rather, the rest is cookie delivery. Located just a quick walk from the Michigan Union, the Ann Arbor retail shop is open until 3 a.m. and inside, you’ll find cookies, brownies, ice cream, cookie ice cream sandwiches, cookies served with milk and so many other combinations! Even better than that, you don’t have to leave your home because everything on the menu can be delivered until 3 a.m. too!


New York Pizza Depot (NYPD) 

605 E William St | Facebook | Food served until 4 a.m.

New York Pizza Depot Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Photo courtesy of New York Pizza Depot

The story of Ann Arbor’s NYPD begins with Italian-born Domenico, Mauro and John. They moved to New York nearly fifteen years ago, honed their craft in the big city, then brought real, New York-style pies to Ann Arbor. The huge menu includes wings, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, Italian specialties, calzones and pizza which you can get until 4 a.m. every night of the week.


Good Time Charley’s

1140 S University Ave | Facebook | Food served until 1 a.m.

Home of fishbowl cocktails and one of the best sports bar atmospheres in town, Good Time Charley’s is a classic hangout for Ann Arbor locals looking for a good time — and for great food! Luckily, we can get all of that until 1 a.m. every night of the week. The pub menu, featuring Monster Fries, Homemade Pretzels and Queso, a Chicken Tenders Platter, wings and more, is served late into the night and you can keep the drinks coming until 2 a.m. when Charley’s officially closes down.


Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery

311 S Main St | Facebook | Food served until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery is the Ann Arbor outpost of Northern United Brewing Company’s Jolly Pumpkin line of beers brewed in Dexter. In the taproom and restaurant, they serve craft beer on draft, food menus that feature upscale pub classics and a smaller late night menu served Friday and Saturday until close.


Kosmo’s Bop Shop

308 S Ashley St | Facebook | Food served until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday

In 2001, Don Kwon purchased the Kerrytown eatery Kosmo’s and immediately began adding Korean-inspired flavors to the menu. Now, it’s 17 years later and Kosmo’s has become a favorite in Ann Arbor for innovative Korean fusion dishes. Try the famous Seoul Dog if you want a get a taste for yourself! The second location, the Late Night Bop Shop, serves food until 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, until 12 a.m. on Thursday and until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


Hunter House Hamburgers

609 E William St | Facebook | Food served until 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday

Hunter House Hamburgers Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Photo courtesy of Hunter House Hamburgers

Hunter House Hamburgers was established in 1952. Their original home is a small, white pill-box diner on the first paved road in America in Birmingham, Michigan. That location is the oldest continually operating restaurant in Birmingham and their second location opened in Ann Arbor in 2014. Consistently named one of the best restaurants in the Detroit area and frequently ranked the best burger in Michigan, Hunter House is a must-visit when you get a late-night craving in A2.


Tios Mexican Cafe and Tequila Bar

401 E Liberty St | Facebook | Food served until 2 a.m.

Founded by Tim and Harriet Seaver in 1986, Tios Mexican Cafe has been A2’s Tex-Mex favorite for decades. Open and serving food until 2 a.m. seven nights a week, you can order from the unique menu of South American, Spanish and Mexican dishes late into the night. Just make sure you order a specialty margarita or sangria too!



1140 S University Ave | Facebook | Food served until 2 a.m.

Form their casual space perched above South University, Cantina serves bold tacos made from quality ingredients alongside tequilas, whiskeys and craft margaritas. After 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, you can get a special selection of snacks and the full lineup of drinks as late as 2 a.m. And you’ll definitely want to on the weekends because on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, they have live DJs playing late into the night!


Aut Bar

315 Braun Ct | Facebook | Food served until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday

Aut Bar is a gay bar, a pub and a brunch destination all rolled into one. Homemade, hand cut, hand dipped and local — their food menu is made up of artisanal eats like an Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with Caviar, the Aut Burger made with Knight’s Market ground beef, a Portabella-Tempeh Burger and a full lineup of Mexican dishes. During the week, you can eat until 11 p.m. but on Friday and Saturday, the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m.


Do you have a go-to?

If you have a favorite local, late night spot in Ann Arbor, give them a shoutout in the comments below!

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