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The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Michigan is famous for its fall foliage thanks to the 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. And no other city could be more tree-filled than Tree Town.

Though the state’s Gold Coast rates as one of America’s Best Color Drives, according to Travel and Leisure magazine (and we definitely recommend doing it at least once), you don’t have to travel outside of Ann Arbor for a Michigan fall color tour of equally epic proportions.

Right in the city, you 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 hitting up these regional parks, recreation areas, and even one railroad!

 

Gallup Park | Ann Arbor

One of the best ways to see Michigan’s changing leaves is to hop on a canoe and cruise down the Huron River. Ann Arbor’s canoe liveries—located in Gallup Park and Argo Park—are open through the end of October so you don’t even need to buy your own canoe or kayak! While you’re in Gallup Park, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the 69 acres that make up the town’s most popular recreation area. Amidst the trees, you can enjoy scenic walkways that traverse small islands and pedestrian bridges as well as more than three miles of asphalt trails available for biking, rollerblading, walking and running.

 

Nichols Arboretum | Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum began in 1907 and has developed into miles of trails and land home to collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. These plants transform during the fall to showcase some of the best colors in Southeast Michigan, including golds, reds and even inky purples.

 

Furstenberg Nature Area | Ann Arbor

Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park containing wetlands, woodlands, prairie and oak savannah just west of Gallup Park. Owned and maintained by the city since 1971, the open space offers a half-mile paved trail that loops through the park and a granular trail that goes through the prairie and woods then connects to a quarter mile of wetland boardwalk. The heavily wooded lands boast a huge variety of oaks, maples and other types of colorful trees.

 

Riverside Park | Ypsilanti

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. Whether you’re fishing on the river, riding your bike, or walking along the trail during the fall, you’re guaranteed a glimpse of our state’s famous seasonal foliage.

 

Delhi Metropark | Ann Arbor

Located just five miles northwest of Ann Arbor, Delhi Metropark offers 52 acres of mature oak trees, open, grassy lawns, playgrounds, softball diamonds and more. Because the park is nestled against a bend in the Huron River, it has become a popular fishing and canoeing destination—both great activities during the fall! While you’re there, you may even spot a great blue heron, turtles or a white-tailed deer.

 

Southern Michigan Railroad | Tecumseh

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Southern Michigan Railroad

Each year, the Southern Michigan Railroad hosts Fall Color Tours, seasonal events that explore the area’s changing foliage from the comfort of a train car. Because the rides sell out every single year, the railroad is offering even more seating options now, including the open-air car for fair weather, the historic interurban coach and the entire Memorial Caboose available to rent. Rides depart on October 6th and 7th, 13th and 14th during the Appleumpkin Festival, 20th and 21st, and 27th and 28th. You can get more details on the website here.

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddle boat and kayak rentals.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. While exploring these grounds during the fall, keep your eyes peeled for russet red and blazing oranges.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes, 19 miles of trails and a full-service riding stable open through early December. When you reserve a trail ride with Brighton Recreation Riding Stable, you can explore Michigan foliage on horseback!

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

Combing serene woods with the calm waters of the Huron River, Hudson Mills Metropark offers 1,536 acres of land home to an 18-hole golf course, two 24-hole disc golf courses, a three-mile, paved hike and bike loop, and the nearly five-mile West River Trail which connects to the Hudson Mills loop and takes hikers and bikers on a journey that ends in downtown Dexter.

 

Independence Lake County Park | Whitmore Lake

Independence Lake County Park is one of Washtenaw County’s favorite open spaces thanks to 360 acres, 3.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, two miles of paved trails and, of course, fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Stroll along the lakeshore to get accustomed to the bright, changing colors then head to the edges of the Indy and Woodcock prairies to see the best color in the park!

 

Do you have a go-to fall foliage destination?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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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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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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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 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend August 2018

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

The culmination of summer fun in Southeast Michigan, August brings some of the season’s most highly anticipated festivals, races and events. Taking place in communities throughout the region, you can enjoy live music, tractor pulls, parades, craft fairs and even a United States Air Force air show!

Peruse our top picks for August events below and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a second of the action.

 

 

Arts + Culture

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival | Milan

August 1 – 4 | KC Campground

Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The 2018 event features five different bands each day and a special guest on Saturday! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground.

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 7 – August 30, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2018 concert series kicked off on June 7th and continues through August with shows on August 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Ton-Up | Ypsilanti

August 12, 12 – 10 p.m. | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

Ton-Up Motorcycle and Music Festival is returning to Ypsilanti for the ninth year this August! Serving to promote and educate the public about the art, science and history of the motorcycle, motorcycle safety, and awesome music, this one-day event will bring vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to ABC in addition to local music and tons of fun.

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival | Dexter

August 13 – 18 | Monument Park

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the three-day exhibit in Monument Park.

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival | Ann Arbor

August 17 – 18 | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds

In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. This August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. Buy your tickets here.

 

DIYpsi | Ypsilanti

August 18 – 19 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists!

 

 

Community Celebrations

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Pride | Ann Arbor

August 3 – 5 | Kerrytown  

Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout the Kerrytown District this August, you can enjoy a parade, face painting, family-friendly activities, presentations, a silent auction and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the Jim Toy Community Center.

 

Dexter Daze | Dexter

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment.

 

Saline’s Summerfest | Saline

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

Returning to the streets of downtown Saline this month, Saline’s Summerfest is a hometown celebration like none other. In 2018, the event promises even more food, fun, music and memories but with all the local flare we’ve come to love.

 

Chelsea Community Fair | Chelsea

August 21 – 25 | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

One of our favorite community events in the region, the Chelsea Community Fair includes a rodeo, multiple tractor pulls, livestock competitions and auctions, demolition derbies, a local merchant tent, and more.

 

YpsiFest | Ypsilanti

August 24 – 26 | Riverside Park

In 2018, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival will be bigger and better than ever before. There will be two stages in the music, entertainment and beer tent, more arts and crafts vendors as well as a juried competition, an expanded Magical History Tour, a larger children’s entertainment area, and so much more! To stay up-to-date on everything coming this year, follow the team on Facebook.

 

Thunder Over Michigan Air Show | Ypsilanti

August 25 – 26 | Willow Run Airport

Presented by Wayne County Airport Authority at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event is bringing the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show will feature presentations from Team Oracle and Quicksilver P-51D as well so buy your tickets today and don’t miss it. Kids 15 years and younger are admitted for free!

 

Saline Community Fair | Saline

August 29 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Every year, the Saline Community Fair brings together the community to celebrate Saline’s favorite activities, local vendors and organizations. This year’s event will feature tractor pulls, carnival rides, racing and derbies, rodeo presentations, livestock and animal competitions and so much more.

 

 

Sports

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Triathlon | Ann Arbor

August 4, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Pinckney Recreation Area  

The third and final event in the Wolverine State Brewing Company Series of Races, the Ann Arbor Triathlon is the culmination of all your training, all your running, all your biking and all your swimming. Beginning at Halfmoon Lake in Pinckney State Recreation Area, you’ll swim the waters of Halfmoon, bike the country roads of the surrounding rural area, then run the 5-mile classic Poto Trail course to complete the challenge. If you’re ready, register online here.

 

Run Manchester | Manchester

August 4, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Downtown Manchester  

Run Manchester is the fun, race event that kicks off Manchester Street Festival. Starting in historic downtown Manchester racers will run through quaint neighborhoods, past award-winning schools and finish back downtown for cold drinks, live music, a vintage car show, a kids corner, duck races, a pancake breakfast and more!

 

 

Happy August!

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The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Our home state of Michigan — The Great Lakes State — 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.

And 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, these should all be on your summer bucket list!

 

Independence Lake Park | Whitmore Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 12 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission

Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless, year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your kayak or leap off the dock into the water. When you’re done, you can sunbathe on the beach or continue the water-themed fun at Blue Heron Bay Spray Park, which features water canons, geysers and water slides.

 

Rolling Hills Park | Ypsilanti

Distance from Ann Arbor: 14 miles | Get directions

Ypsilanti’s Rolling Hills Park is a 439-acre park and one of the most recreational-diverse destinations in Washtenaw County. Anyone looking for swimming adventures and water-themed fun can enjoy a splash in the waves, a float on the lazy river, or a ride down the slides of the Water Park.

 

Van Buren Park | Belleville

Distance from Ann Arbor: 16 miles | Get directions

Van Buren Park Beach is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular spots for lake swimming. Just a 20 minute drive from Ypsilanti, the entire park offers hiking trails, three play structures, picnic areas, pavilions, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, a basketball court, grills, a community garden, restrooms and, of course, the beach with its own concession stand for snacks and refreshments!

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Distance from Ann Arbor: 20 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddle boat and kayak rentals.

For swimmers, there are two public beaches, one at Silver Lake and one at Halfmoon Lake. A third beach at Bruin Lake is only open to campers and you can see a list of available campgrounds here.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Distance from Ann Arbor: 19 miles | Get directions

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes. The best swimming lake can be found at Bishop Lake. The remodeled, universally accessible beach features a beach house with vending machines, picnic shelters and a sand volleyball court.

In addition to the lake and beach attractions, Bishop Lake is also home to Jump Island! This lake waterpark features an inflatable iceberg, inflatable slides, runways and more so you can slide, run, walk and play atop the water.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center.

Day-use swimmers should head to the public beach at the Portage Lake Unit. And registered campers can also take a dip at the beach accessible from the Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area | Brighton

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

At 4,000 acres, Island Lake Recreation Area offers a bit of northern Michigan just 30 minutes from Ann Arbor. In addition to mountain biking, hiking, boating and fishing areas, you’ll find two beaches available for swimming. There’s one at Kent Lake and one at Spring Mill Pond, a spring fed pond with more than 100 feet of sandy beach!

 

Kensington Metropark | Milford

Distance from Ann Arbor: 25 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas as well as scenic hiking and biking trails for hours of enjoyment.

And, on the 1,200-acre Kent Lake, you can swim at Martindale or Maple beaches, get soaked at the Splash ‘n’ Blast, or just spend the day fishing, boating and picnicking along the water.

 

Highland Recreation Area | White Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 37 miles | Get directions

Offering 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and lakes in the rolling hills of Southern Michigan, Highland Recreation Area is a destination for equestrian riders, mountain bikers, hikers and boaters during the summer months. Boat access can be found on four lakes within the park for fishing and recreational boating and swimmers can enjoy the public beach on Teeple Lake!

 

Seven Lakes State Park | Holly

Distance from Ann Arbor: 43 miles | Get directions

An hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park is made up of farmland, rolling hills, forested land and 230 acres of water. During the summer months, you can rent or bring row boats, canoes and paddle boats, or embark on a hike across more than six miles of trails. Near the swim beach, you’ll find a boat launch, a concession stand for snacks, restrooms and changing courts as well as horseshoes, volleyball and playground equipment!

 

South Beach Park | South Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 140 miles | Get directions

One of the most popular beaches for swimming along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, South Beach Park offers concessions, a playground and historic memorials in addition to the sandy swimming beach. Just steps from the beach, visitors can enjoy the skatepark or walk out onto the pier to watch the sunset against the beautiful South Haven Lighthouse.

 

Grand Haven State Park | Grand Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 165 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Within three hours of Ann Arbor, Grand Haven State Park is the furthest on our list, but offers some of the best views. The 48 acre park consists entirely of sandy beach with Lake Michigan bordering on the east and Grand River bordering on the north. From the beach, you can dip your toes in the water and enjoy scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse.

 

Just keep swimming!  

In the comments below, let us know where you’re headed this summer.

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8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Home to 159 parks 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 new hobbies available to every A2 local and visitor.

We rounded up our top eight activities to kick off your outdoor adventures. Mostly suited for warm weather, these are great ways to take advantage of our outdoor spaces this summer!

 

 

Hiking

Hiking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

Wonderful nature walks and hikes can be found in every Ann Arbor area park, nature area, recreation area and open space. Just within Ann Arbor itself, you’ll find trails through Nichols Arboretum, Bluffs Nature Area, Dolph Nature Area and Bird Hills Nature Area, the largest park in Ann Arbor. And minutes from town, Pinckney Recreation Area and Waterloo Recreation Area offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore!

 

Bird Hills Trail

Inside Ann Arbor’s largest and most forested park, the Bird Hill Trail is a serene getaway within the city limits. It traverses a quick, hilly route with plenty of magnificent views!

 

Bog Trail

Located just outside of Chelsea, Waterloo Recreation Area’s Bog Trail is a 1.5-mile trail that leads to a floating bog in Cedar Lake.

 

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail

The 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail travels from Big Portage Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area to Green Lake and into Pinckney Recreation Area.

 

 

Biking

Mountain biking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

Whether you’re looking for road biking or mountain biking, you can find the perfect trail in and around Ann Arbor. In addition to road and dirt routes through our communities, the surrounding parks and open spaces offer countless multi-use trails suitable for rugged bicycle adventures.

 

Huron River Drive

Amongst local bikers, the classic road bike choice is the 24-mile route along Huron River Drive from Ann Arbor to Dexter and back.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

Mountain bikers can opt for the Island Lake Recreation Area bike loops which, together, cover about 15 miles. You can travel the East Loop around the Huron River, the nine-mile West Loop, or both!

 

DTE Energy Foundation Trail

Located in Waterloo Recreation Area, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail is already an extensive trail system and is still being developed for even more mileage. As of June 2018, mountain bikers can enjoy the 4-mile Green Lake Loop and the 4.5-mile Big Kame Loop.

 

 

Kayaking

Kayaking near Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities have developed along the banks of the Huron River and amidst countless lakes and ponds suitable for paddle sports. So, whether you want a challenging route down the river or a peaceful float atop a lake, you’ll find the perfect setting right here.

 

Argo Park

Argo Park is home to the Argo Canoe Livery where you can rent kayaks and tubes, buy concessions and participate in river-themed programs. From here, you can enjoy a relaxing, 3.7-mile paddle down the Huron River to Gallup Park, a trip that typically takes 1.5 hours.

 

Gallup Park  

Another Ann Arbor park, Gallup also has its own livery — Gallup Park Canoe Livery — where you can rent materials, learn about the river and embark on river trips. Leaving from here, your trip will begin with a van ride upriver to Barton Park then continue on the water through Argo Pond, down the Argo Cascades, and back to Gallup Park. The trip is 5.7 miles and takes about 2.5 hours.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

Inside Waterloo, paddlers will find 11 inland lakes open to kayaks, canoes and rowboats of all kinds.

 

 

Boating

Boating lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

In Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a lake or river. And thanks to our impressive system of lakes connected by the Huron River, boating is a popular summer sport amongst the locals of Washtenaw County.

 

The Portage Lake Chain of Lakes

By far the most popular boating route in the Ann Arbor area, the Chain of Lakes is located in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties and is comprised of seven lakes connected by the Huron River. The trip begins at Little Portage Lake and Big Portage Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area, travels through Base Line Lake, Whitewood Lakes, Gallagher Lakes and Strawberry Lake, then ends at Zukey Lake in Hamburg Township.

 

Seven Lakes State Park  

About an hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park offers 230 acres of water for swimmers, paddlers, fishermen and, of course, boaters!

 

 

Swimming

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

The Great Lakes State contains more than 11,000 inland lakes with plenty of shoreline for swimmers. Some of these beachside waters even boast man-made water parks! 

 

Independence Lake Park

During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Just off the beach, you can also enjoy water-themed fun at Blue Heron Bay Spray Park.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

You’ll find two beaches available for swimming in Island Lake Recreation Area. There’s one at Kent Lake and one at Spring Mill Pond, a spring fed pond that offers more than 100 feet of sandy beach!

 

Rolling Hills Park  

Anyone looking for swimming adventures and water-themed fun near Ypsilanti can enjoy a splash in the waves, a float on the lazy river, or a ride down the slides of the Water Park.

 

 

Fishing

Fishing lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

With a license, fishing is available in many of our area lakes and recreation areas. For those just starting out, we’ve rounded up a few of the region’s great options.

 

Argo Park  

The Huron River offers fishing opportunities up and down its banks. At Argo Park, you can fish for carp along the embankment that forms part of the Argo Dam. Just a ten-minute walk from Downtown Ann Arbor, this is the closest fishing to the heart of town!

 

Lillie Park

Lillie Park in Pittsfield Township offers shore fishing in multiple locations on Haven Lake.

 

Lake Erie

Second best to deep sea fishing, Lake Erie offers boat angling opportunities to catch walleye, crappie, bluegill and more.

 

 

Disc Golf

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Played much like regular golf, disc golf is played with a frisbee instead of a ball. Many Ann Arbor area parks offer courses complete with metal baskets to use as landmarks.

 

Rolling Hills Park

The same Ypsilanti park that offers swimming and a water park offers an 18-hole disc golf course!

 

Bandemer Park

One of two disc golf courses in Ann Arbor city parks, the course at Bandemer Park winds through a wooded area along the Huron River. It is a nine-hole course, and each hole has three tee pads.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

The disc golf course at Waterloo Recreation Area is an 18-hole course at the Portage Lake Unit.

 

 

Horseback Riding

Equestrain horse back riding trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

In Ann Arbor area parks, horseback riding trails are nearly as prominent as mountain biking trails!

 

Pinckney Recreation Area

Across more than 11,000 acres of open space, Pinckney Recreation Area offers 13 miles of equestrian trails, a staging area and a stable

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

Waterloo Recreation Area offers 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible from a staging area off Loveland Road. And, Horse ‘N Around Stables inside the park offers horse rentals, boarding, lessons and more.

 

Brighton Recreation Area

Home to a full-service riding stable and an equine experience suited for all riding levels, Brighton Recreation Area offers 19 miles of trails, a riding stable, rustic equestrian camping and a staging area. For more information on rentals and programs, check out Brighton Recreation Riding Stable.

 

 

How do you #OptOutside?  

If you have a favorite park or activity in the Ann Arbor area, let us know in the comments below!

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Your Ultimate Guide to Chelsea, Michigan

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan

Located just 15 minutes from Ann Arbor, Chelsea is a thriving community with agricultural roots and a vibrant arts scene. Both of these characteristics drive the family-friendly culture that has blossomed in the community. From world-class dining and theatre to local festivals and seasonal concerts, there’s something everyone can enjoy every month of the year. And because it’s tucked between more than 30,000 acres of state land, it’s an outdoor paradise too!

To learn more, watch the video below. Then, keep reading to explore some of the town’s best local businesses, events and attractions!

 

 

 

The Essential Eateries

 

The Common Grill

112 S Main St | Facebook

This downtown Chelsea restaurant is known around the state and even as far as the James Beard House in New York City where self-taught chef Craig Common was invited to prepare a dinner for their members and guests. For more than 25 years, Craig and his team have been serving innovative new American cuisine with a seafood-forward menu and outstanding service. Preview that menu here and get ready for an unforgettable meal.

 

Zou Zou’s Cafe & Coffee Bar

101 N Main St | Facebook

Zou Zou's Cafe Chelsea, Michigan

Famous for fresh crepes and live entertainment, Zou Zou’s in downtown Chelsea is a breakfast, lunch and dinner destination. Swing by for a grab and go breakfast or lunch during the week then come back every weekend to enjoy live music from local musicians. On Thursday, they open the mic to any solo acts, bands, storytellers, poets and comics who want to share their skills!

 

Smokehouse 52  

125 S Main St | Facebook

Phil and Jenn Tolliver opened Smokehouse 52 in downtown Chelsea in February of 2013 and it’s been a beloved neighborhood eatery ever since. Phil’s passion for BBQ began when he was a child growing up on a hog farm in Stockbridge. Now, that passion translates into the most delicious and authentic BBQ in the region — all accented by authentic wood-fired pits, barn beams and great bourbon!

 

Cleary’s Pub

113 S Main St | Facebook

This family-run pub operates with a strong community focus, offering up a fun atmosphere, a full bar and a food menu that will keep you coming back again and again. Preview the menu here then swing by during the weekend to enjoy live music. And don’t miss the House-made Crab Stuffed Mushrooms!

 

Mike’s Deli

114 W Middle St | Facebook

This legendary deli in Downtown Chelsea serves up a regular menu of long-time favorites alongside daily specials that always impress. Handmade and fresh every day, you can enjoy hearty sandwiches, savory soups, salads and, our favorite, freshly baked cookies!

 

Thompson’s Pizza

20700 W Old US Hwy 12 | Facebook

This hometown pizzeria has won several local awards for their classic pies and creative recipes. Offered alongside craft beer and other traditional bar foods, we recommend ordering one of the best pizzas in the region and you’ll soon find out why this is a family favorite!

 

 

Things to Do

 

The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Purple Rose Theatre Company Chelsea, Michigan

Famous across the state for the educational opportunities offered and stand out shows throughout the year, The Purple Rose was founded in 1991 by Chelsea native and critically-acclaimed actor Jeff Daniels. The building that houses the company’s Garage Theatre was once a used car and bus garage owned by Daniels’ grandfather. Now, the facility has developed into one of the best places for theatre production in the region! Click here to see the schedule of current and upcoming shows.

 

SculptureWalk

This self-guided walking tour takes you past 12 different sculptures throughout downtown Chelsea. For more information on the art, you can embark on a free, guided tour offered throughout the year from the main lobby of the Chelsea District Library! Follow the team on Facebook to see photos and get updates.

 

Robin Hills Farm

As one of the area’s popular agri-tourism options, Robin Hills Farm is much more than just a farm. This eco-destination and recreation farm offers workshop classes in art, home and garden, health and wellness, and cooking, community events, festivals, summer camps and more. Follow the team on Facebook for event and farm updates!

 

Historic Walking Tour

Recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, Chelsea’s charming downtown is filled with history, stories and architecture. If you want to enjoy a self-guided tour of the neighborhood’s historic places, maps are available at the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chelsea Historical Museum — which is a great place to start. Operated by Chelsea Area Historical Society, the Mial M. Boyd House is one of the oldest houses in Chelsea!

 

Chelsea Farmers Market

The Chelsea Farmers Market is a year-round destination for anyone who enjoy shopping locally and mingling with the community. With one market day during the winter and two during the summer, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to support our local growers, makers and producers!

 

TreeHouse

This indoor playground and cafe is a favorite amongst kids of all ages — and their parents! The 9,000 square foot location boasts a huge climbing and playing structure, five slides, a baby and toddler area, swinging bridges, basketball hoops and of course, a huge tree house!

 

 

Outdoor Recreation

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

As the largest park in the Lower Peninsula Waterloo Recreation Area includes more than 20,000 acres, two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. Needless to say, it’s an outdoor haven located just minutes from downtown.

 

Pinckney Recreation Area

Covering over 11,000 acres, Pinckney Recreation Area offers several lakes, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches, boat and canoe rentals, private liveries and stables. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, it’s a paradise for backpackers, mountain bikers and anglers. During the winter, their system of over 40 miles of trail can be used for cross-country skiing and even snowmobiling and ice fishing in designated areas!

 

 

Annual Events

 

Chelsea Painters Art Fair | June

For a full weekend each summer, the Chelsea Community Fairgrounds is taken over by jaw-dropping fine arts. A local tradition for almost half a decade, the Chelsea Painters Art Fair draws collectors and art connoisseurs from all over Michigan and even from neighboring states!

 

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights | June – August

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan events

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Festivals

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights is one of the most anticipated summer celebrations in the region. Each Thursday from early June through mid-August, musical acts from across various genres perform at 11 stage locations around downtown. Check out this year’s lineup here.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival | July

This weekend festival began over three decades ago and has grown to be one of the best summer events in the region. Over two days and three nights, you can experience live music, an indie art market, kids’ entertainment, a classic car show and more in historic Downtown Chelsea.

 

Chelsea Community Fair | August

One of our favorite community events in the region, the Chelsea Community Fair includes a rodeo, multiple tractor pulls, livestock competitions and auctions, demolition derbies, a local merchant tent, and more.

 

Smoke & Ale Fall Festival | October

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.

 

Hometown Holiday | December

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan events

Photo courtesy of Kate Zurenko Photography via Chelsea Festivals

A neighborhood tradition for more than 30 years, Hometown Holiday takes place over three days in December. The activities start with the ceremonial lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Pierce Park and continue with festive crafts and cookie decorating, visits from Santa, a parade, theatre shows, a historic home tour and so much more.

 

Chelsea Spring Expo | April  

Hosted by the Chelsea Senior Center, this annual expo includes more than 140 local vendors, a wildlife safari show, a student art show, a kid zone, a bake sale and so much more! Admission is free so mark your calendars every year for this community event.

 

Midwest Literary Walk | April

Now ten years old, this Chelsea District Library event invites community members, authors, readers and eaters to celebrate literature. Each event is within walking distance of the next so you don’t have to miss a minute of the action and education in downtown Chelsea!

 

 

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Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan

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Jumpin’ July Events

July in Ann Arbor is more than just fireworks. People near and far flock to the area for the amazing fairs, food, festivals and fun.


Sonic LunchJune – August

Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch is a free outdoor concert series. Every Thursday from noon to 1:30 pm June 1 to August 31, Sonic Lunch features a live band at the corner of Liberty and Division in downtown Ann Arbor. Each week a different area restaurant is on-site selling a Sonic Lunch for concert-goers to purchase.

The concerts are free and suitable for all ages. Some seating is available but lawn chairs are welcome. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a revitalizing mid-day break. As a result, Sonic Lunch has become one of the coolest summer events in Ann Arbor. For the full artist line-up visit www.soniclunch.com


Summer Concert Series June 16 – August 25

Spend the evening enjoying music in downtown Dexter’s Monument Park each Friday throughout the summer.


Camaro Superfest June 30 – July 2

Camaro Superfest 2017 will be held at last year’s show site – Riverside Park in Depot Town – Ypsilanti, Michigan, which is located only 1.5 miles from the Marriott at Eagle Crest. They will still have food vendors and lots of room for trucks and trailers.  Bring your chairs and blankets and relax at this year’s event.


Manchester Fireworks July 3

Watch fireworks with family and friends at Carr Park on Monday, July 3, 2017. The beer tent opens at 8 p.m. with live music from local bands at 9 p.m. Fireworks start at dark, usually around 10:15 p.m.


Ann Arbor 4th of July ParadeJuly 4

The 28th Annual Ann Arbor Fourth of July Parade will be held on Tuesday, July 4 at 10 am. The parade, featuring floats, music groups, and walking groups, will travel through downtown Ann Arbor. Children 12 and under are invited to be a part of the Bike Decorating Contest between 8 – 9 am and then ride their decorated bikes in the parade. Leading the parade will be this year’s parade Grand Marshal, long-time LGBT pioneer, icon and advocate extraordinaire, Jim Toy.


Ypsilanti Independence Day ParadeJuly 4

The 88th Annual Ypsilanti Independence Parade” will be held in Depot Town on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 at 11 a.m. The parade begins on the corner of Oakwood and Cross Streets and ends at Rice Street in Ypsilanti’s Historic Depot Town. There are over 50 participants in this year’s parade including veterans, marching bands, Elvisfest, local businesses, church groups, live bands, and classic cars.


Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck RallyJuly 5

Get outside for dinner this summer. Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck Rallies take place on the first Wednesday evening of each month, beginning in May. Trucks, carts and other local vendors will be on site from 5-8 pm. Bring a chair, a friend, and get ready for some tasty eats and live music.


Michigan ElvisFest July 7 – July 8

Named “One of the best music festivals in the Mid-west” by Chicago Tribune, the Michigan ElvisFest returns July 7-8. This two day concert has spectacular performances by the best professional Elvis Tribute Artists in North America, as well as other amazing tribute entertainers, including: Tom Jones, The Blues Brothers, and James Brown. Don’t miss your chance to pay homage to the king of rock and roll in Ypsilanti’s beautiful Riverside Park.


Huron River DayJuly 9

Come celebrate the wonderful Huron River at Gallup Park. Fun festival activities include $5 canoe/kayak rentals, children’s activities, live animal programs, river exhibits, live music, food, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding and much more. Ride your bike and receive a coupon for a free boat rental.


Manchester Community Fair July 7 – July 15

There’s nothing like the Manchester Community Fair to help kick-off the summer. This year’s 73rd annual fair includes a carnival with rides, animals and exhibits, a rodeo, tractor pulls and nightly entertainment. It’s fun for the whole family.


2017 Rolling Sculpture Car ShowJuly 14

Bill Crispin Chevrolet and the Main Street Area Association present the 23rd Annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show on July 14 from 2-10 pm. Taking place in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, the Rolling Sculpture Car Show is a one of kind experience for the car enthusiast. All cars are welcome to exhibit at the Show.

The event itself is free and open to the public. Spectators enjoy the energy of more than 300 exotic, antique, classic, and one of a kind cars on Main, Liberty, and Washington streets in downtown Ann Arbor. Plenty of public parking is available in all structures and surface lots.


Saline Celtic Festival July 13 – July 15

The Saline Celtic Festival is famous for its rich blend of Celtic music and dance. There’s plenty to see and do at the festival, including jousting, Irish Football, ancient athletics and sheepherding. This is the place to go for a fun-filled day of crafts, ducky river races, story-telling and more. Celtic Festival festivities kick off on Thursday, July 13th at Saline’s downtown Summer Music Series, where you can get a sneak peek of the music and events the festival has to offer. Gates open at Millpond Park in Saline on Friday, July 14 at 5:30 pm and Saturday, July 15 at 10 am.


Ann Arbor Art Fair July 13 – July 15

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is a collective of four award-winning art fairs that takes place every July in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. The event attracts over 500,000 visitors annually. In addition to art exhibits, the fair also features music performances and Art Activity Zones, which are family-oriented stops offering special projects designed to engage and challenge even the youngest of fairgoers. Ann Arbor’s downtown restaurants and retailers add to the festivities by tempting sidewalk sales and outdoor dining.


Townie Street PartyTownie Street PartyJuly 20

The Townie Street Party, now in its 13th year, is a kick-off to Art Fair week in Ann Arbor. It will be held Thursday, July 17, from 5:00 pm until 9:30 pm at North University and Ingalls Mall in Downtown Ann Arbor. The Townie Party celebrates all things local and is our way of thanking Ann Arbor residents for so graciously hosting the Ann Arbor Art Fair each year. The Townie Party offers a fun-filled evening for the whole family where visitors can enjoy terrific music by some of the area’s most well-known bands; grab a bite of Townie grub; enjoy a brew at the Townie Pub; or take a stroll through the Kids’ Art Fair, which showcases the work of young Washtenaw County artists in grades 4 – 12.


Manchester Chicken BroilJuly 20

The annual Manchester Chicken Broil will be held Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm at the Alumni Memorial Field in beautiful Manchester, Michigan, just 15 miles southwest of Ann Arbor. This long-time civic event is considered the largest of its kind, serving approximately 10,000 meals in a four-hour period. Net proceeds are used to benefit a variety of causes in the Manchester area, including the public schools, community parks, library and local civic organizations.


2017 Summer Beer Festival July 21 – July 22

The 20th Annual Summer Beer Festival will host more than 100 Michigan breweries sampling around 1,000 different craft beers. Food will be available for purchase inside the festival, and guests will enjoy live music from a variety of Michigan bands. The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the Summer Beer Festival takes place rain or shine in the lovely outdoor setting of Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park in historic Depot Town.


Chelsea Sounds and Sights FestivalJuly 27 – July 29

Sounds & Sights Festival, presented by Golling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Chelsea, is an annual summer weekend event in historic Chelsea, Michigan. The event started over three decades ago and is a highlight of summer that draws visitors from all over the state and beyond.

The two-day, three-night festival features live music and social tent, indie art market, kids’ entertainment and activities, a classic car show, and much more. Each year features exciting changes and annual favorites that keep people coming back again and again. All performances and activities are held in downtown Chelsea, Michigan.


Milan Summer Fest July 28 – July 29

Milan Summer Fest is an annual community-wide event that celebrates summer with tons of family-oriented fun. Events include live music, a beer garden, food and much more.


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Jump-start Your January with these Events

While the weather might be cold, there are many wonderful activities going on in the Ann Arbor area this January.


Last Work

Last Work Batsheva Dance Company
January 7 & 8

UMS presents the North American premiere of Last Work, a new evening-length piece by Ohad Naharin performed by 18 dancers from one of the world’s preeminent dance companies. With its shifts from sustained, meditative movement to frenzied bursts of energy, this exploration of human motion — and emotion — generates powerful images that will not soon be forgotten.

 


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Kristin Key
January 12 – 14

Audiences can’t help but love the rapid-fire style of comedy coming from the “Preacher’s Kid.” Don’t miss Kristin when she comes into town at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase.


Mozart-Birthday Bash

Mozart Birthday Bash
January 14

Alon Goldstein is the ultimate Mozart pianist: seamless and delicate, yet powerful. “The Piano Concerto #21 (Elvira Madigan), is an opera that comes to life in front of our ears: a variety of emotions that unfold with divine beauty.” Symphony No. 39 is known as Mozart’s “perfect piece” since it was composed simply for the sake of Music. Tchaikovsky’s Suite No.4, “Mozartiana” is a delightful homage to Mozart.


ice festival

Ice Festival 2017
January 14

The Ice Festival in Chelsea is a celebration of the winter. It features a showcase competition by U of M’s Michigan Ice Carving Team. Even those who are familiar with chainsaws and flame throwers will see them like they’ve never seen them used before. Come watch the pros at work, then catch the judges’ panel and awards ceremony at 3 p.m. In addition to the competition, there will be outdoor ice rink & skate rentals, tours, hot drinks & snacks and a Greenhouse Marketplace stocked with locally made products. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP if you plan on attending this delightful event.


a2 restaurant

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
January 15 – 20

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week: A local celebration of dining in our community. January 15-20, 2017 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 early at participating restaurants.


Alash Ensemble

The Alash Ensemble
January 18

The members of The Alash Ensemble are masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Masters of traditional Tuvan instruments as well as the art of throat singing, Alash are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. At the same time, they are fans of Western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, the musicians subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style that is fresh and new, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage.

What does throat singing sound like? “Imagine a human bagpipe—a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie, whistle-like melody. For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally-by the same person, at the same time,” says Newsweek. Tuva sits at the southern edge of Siberia, with Mongolia to its south.


smartlove

Smart Love
January 19 – March 4

Smart Love is the darkly comedic story of a brilliant young man struggling with his father’s sudden death and the revelation that his parents’ marriage wasn’t everything he was led to believe. This world premiere play explores the implications and possible ramifications of artificial intelligence and science in general, with humor, heartache and potentially devastating consequences. It probes the age-old question: just because we can do a thing, should we? Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.


harlem-globetrotters

Harlem Globetrotters
January 20

The Original Harlem Globetrotters are on their action packed 2016-2017 tour! A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages. Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability).


Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Ann Arbor Folk Festival
January 27 – 28

Get ready to Find Your Folk! Presented by Ford Motor Company Fund, the annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, returns to Hill Auditorium for two dynamic and different nights of folk and roots music on Friday, January 27, and Saturday, January 28, 2017, beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night.

The Folk Festival will celebrate its 40th year with a selection of the world’s finest traditional and contemporary performers. Each night includes a blend of well-known and up-and-coming artists, providing you with an opportunity to hear artists you know and love while discovering great new talent.


winterfest_logo

Winterfest
January 28

Winterfest is a ‘different’ kind of winter festival hosted by Saline Main Street and participating restaurants, shops, churches, and community organizations! The activities are scattered throughout a four-block area in the heart of Downtown Saline. There are many crazy indoor activities as well as numerous weather independent outdoor activities. Winterfest is fun for the whole family; kids, teens, adults, and grandparents. There is something for everyone, from mild to wild.


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