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The Top Residential Architecture and Design Firms in the Ann Arbor Area

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

For decades, Ann Arbor has been defined by its artists, creators and innovators—from the artwork they create to the green practices they put to work and everything in between. Through the work of our residential designers and architects, this passion for aesthetic and creativity can be brought to life inside our most precious spaces: our homes. 

And in this guide, we’re writing about our favorite local designers and artists who are doing just that. Get ready for a healthy dose of home inspiration!

 

Angelini & Associates Architects 

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

Photo courtesy of Jeff Garland of Jeff Garland Photography via Angelini & Associates Architects

Established in 1989 by Bradford and Theresa Angelini, Angelini & Associates Architects has been Ann Arbor’s high-quality, innovative and award-winning architecture firm for three decades. Through those decades, the team has produced designs for more than 500 projects, including additions, renovations and new constructions in the Ann Arbor area and throughout Michigan. To view their online portfolio, click here

 

Architectural Resource 

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

The team behind Architectural Resource knows how important our living spaces are, and they have since they first came together in 1991. From the beginning, they decided to focus exclusively on residential architecture so they would continuously get the opportunity to work closely and intimately with clients and create those essential spaces. This has resulted in some of the region’s most beautiful homes featuring everything from historic Victorian remodels to brand new, sustainable and modern farmhouses. 

 

Damian Farrell Design Group 

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

Photo courtesy of Kate Benjamin Photography via Damian Farrell Design Group

At Damian Farrell Design Group, they have expertise and experience in nearly every field from residential and commercial to niche industries like resorts and healthcare facilities. In the commercial space, they’ve been responsible for bright, modern and innovative Ann Arbor spaces like Baba Dari Mediterranean Grill and Ann Arbor Arms. And this translates to their residential projects, too, which show off their diversity of skills and styles; you can see that portfolio here

 

Hobbs+Black Architects

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook

The team behind Hobbs+Black believes in showcasing the identity of each individual client, not the identity of their designers. As a result, they don’t have a defined style, but rather use more than 50 years of experience to dabble in every style and create truly one-of-a-kind spaces each client is happy to live, work and play in. And that experience has covered nearly every industry, from the Westgate Branch of Ann Arbor District Library to unique residential projects throughout the region.

 

Lewis Greenspoon Architects

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

At LGA, the team specializes in both residential and commercial building types, including single-family and multi-family housing, community and civic buildings as well as professional and medical office spaces. Through these diverse experiences, they’ve created award-winning projects, including their winning design for the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Lansing. The team’s residential portfolio also showcases diverse styles in new construction, full remodels, kitchen and bath remodels, and even stylish outdoor living spaces. To view some of these projects online, click here

 

Meadowlark Design + Build 

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

Photo courtesy of Sean Carter Photography via Meadowlark Design + Build 

Shown in each of their buildings and mentioned in nearly every review, Meadowlark homes are truly one of a kind and easy to spot for their craft, unique character, innovation and warmth. And that makes sense coming from a team dedicated not only to building our most intimate spaces but also to improving their clients’ lives. The best part is Meadowlark is also one of the nation’s leading green builders, and they hold more LEED Platinum custom home certifications than any other builder in the region! 

 

Meier Group Architects

Based in Ann Arbor and Adrian | Houzz

In 2000, William Meier AIA founded Meier Group Architects with the goal of creating a firm where he and his team could provide excellent architectural design service for a variety of project types. Today, they’ve become one of the best in the region thanks to their beautiful structures that are functional, aesthetic, affective, enduring and efficient all at once. To view their residential portfolio, click here.

 

Molly Bachelor Architect

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz

Based in the Water Hill neighborhood of Ann Arbor, Molly Bachelor is an Ann Arbor native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. Her services include full-service architectural design, residential energy consulting and interiors, which has allowed her to create high-performance renovations and additions as well as stunning custom homes throughout the area. To preview some of that work online, click here

 

OX Studio

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook 

When you look through this firm’s online portfolio, you’ll probably recognize some of Ann Arbor’s most beloved spaces, including Black Diesel Coffee and Tomukun Korean BBQ. Rooted in the true integration of architecture, design and game-changing technologies, these spaces—and every other residential and commercial project they touch—are collaborative, innovative, cost-efficient and high-tech. To see that applied to residential projects, view their portfolio here

 

Quinn Evans Architects

Based in Ann Arbor + other locations | Facebook

An authority in preservation and sustainable stewardship, QEA was founded as a two-man studio in 1984. Over the years, it has grown into a thriving, multi-faceted firm with four full-service offices in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Richmond, Virginia, as well as a studio in Madison, Wisconsin. Here in Ann Arbor, their specialty in preservation has made them especially noted for work with historic homes.

 

Rochman Design Build

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz | Facebook 

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

Photo courtesy of Rochman Design Build

This nationally recognized, award-winning design-build firm, has been delivering innovative remodeling solutions since 1989. Through their specialization in mid to large residential remodeling and home additions, they’ve created truly transformative spaces (and amazing before and after photos!) that reflect each individual client’s lifestyle without sacrificing function or aesthetic. And it helps that this team—including founding partner Gary Rochman—is driven by the relationships developed with each and every client, so the journey is as enjoyable as the finished product. 

 

Studio Z Architecture

Based in Plymouth | Houzz | Facebook 

The team at Studio Z is driven by their commitment to designing and building one-of-a-kind homes that match each client’s personality, lifestyle and functional needs. In addition to a huge catalog of happy clients, they also won awards and national recognition for these builds here in Southeast Michigan and beyond. To view some of those online, check out their portfolio here

 

Synecdoche Design Studio 

Based in Ann Arbor | Facebook 

Ann Arbor Architecture and Design Firms

Photo courtesy of Synecdoche Design Studio

Synecdoche is a small, start-up-style design/make architecture studio and the team uses this to their advantage to create quickly, nimbly and efficiently. This has also resulted in a unique style that can be spotted at places around town like Bløm Meadworks, Thrive Juicery, Spencer and Ann Arbor Pharmacy. In the residential space, you’ll find a similar playfulness and a modern aesthetic that includes individual furniture and designs created right in their studio. Click here to see some of those pieces—from pivot doors to rolling counters and everything in between. 

 

Wright Street Design Group Inc.

Based in Ann Arbor | Houzz 

One of the area’s most recognized firms, Wright Street Design does absolutely everything in the residential design space: new, custom homes, full renovations, additions, kitchen and bath remodels, home theaters, outdoor living spaces, custom furniture, and even green architecture. And they’ve been doing it since Stanley Monroe founded Wright Street Design Group in 1986. To view their online portfolio, click here

 

Do you have a favorite?

Whether they’re on this list or not, tell us about your experience in the comments below!  

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12 Small-Town Restaurants Worth the Drive from Ann Arbor

best restaurants near Ann Arbor Michigan

Southeast Michigan’s small towns are home to some of our favorite local businesses, eateries, breweries, coffee shops and communities in all of Michigan. In these historic cities and towns, entrepreneurs combine neighborhood sensibilities with some of our favorite things—including real, homemade cooking. And that’s what we’re celebrating in this guide. 

Keep reading to see which local spots made our list, then make the list longer by adding your favorites in the comments below! 

 

Beezy’s | Ypsilanti 

20 N Washington St, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

Beezy's Cafe Ypsilanti restaurants

Photo courtesy of Beezy’s

Both a beloved coffee shop and a delicious cafe, Beezy’s is a hyper-local option in downtown Ypsilanti. Every day, they make two different seasonal soups, whip up fresh homemade salad dressings, bake hot fresh bread, and prepare everything with a local sensibility using local products from nearby vendors and farmers. To view the menu, click here

 

Bomber Restaurant | Ypsilanti 

306 E Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

This old-school diner has been an Ypsi staple since it opened in 1936. Surrounded by aviation-inspired decor, you can get one of the county’s best breakfasts right here in the Bomber dining room, and their huge menu of American classics offers more than 35 options!

 

Casablanca | Ypsilanti 

2333 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

One of Ypsilanti’s highest-rated eateries, Casablanca serves authentic Moroccan and Arabic cuisine for dine in, carry out and delivery. From fresh hummus to chicken shawarma, this is the best way to explore global cuisine in town.

 

The Common Grill | Chelsea 

112 S Main St, Chelsea | Facebook 

The Common Grill Chelsea best restaurants near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Common Grill

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.

 

Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse | Ypsilanti 

307 N River St, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

Cultivate Ypsilanti best restaurants near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Nick Azzaro via Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse

At Cultivate, you can get sandwiches and bagel sandwiches, sweet toasts and simple snacks, but the real attraction is the freshly roasted coffee, the craft beer and the community atmosphere. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” they roast their own coffee beans, brew their own beer and host some of the region’s most beloved community events. You can see those upcoming events here.

 

Dexter Riverview Cafe | Dexter 

8124 Main St, Dexter | Facebook 

One of the community’s beloved breakfast, brunch and lunch spots, Dexter Riverview Cafe is a locally owned and operated eatery. Their menu features fresh, homemade oatmeal, homemade biscuits and gravy, pita sandwiches, coneys and so much more. To see that menu, click here

 

Matty J’s | Saline 

972 E Michigan Ave, Saline | Facebook 

MJ Malone and her sidekick Matty J are the powerhouses behind Matty J’s Bakery and Cafe. Driven by a passion for real food, the cafe menu balances healthy options with tasty flavors using locally produced ingredients to offer seasonal treats you’ll love. Check out the menu here to find out what breads, sandwiches and cookies you can get today.

 

Ollie Food + Spirits | Ypsilanti 

42 E Cross St, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

Ollie Ypsilanti best restaurants near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ollie Food + Spirits

This Ypsi favorite offers a seasonally rotating menu made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and they pair that with a lineup of artisan cocktails, craft beer and wine. These approachable, gourmet eats cater to all kinds of diets—vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike.

 

Red Brick Kitchen & Bar | Dexter 

8093 Main St, Dexter | Facebook 

Red Brick is a small, family-owned restaurant nestled in the middle of Downtown Dexter. Led by Executive Chef Cody Wiseley, the kitchen produces fresh, innovative food, and their team combines that with creative craft cocktails and a warm, inviting atmosphere complete with a full bar. That bar also boasts eight beers on tap, all from Michigan breweries! To see the full menu, click here

 

Salt Springs Brewery | Saline 

117 S Ann Arbor St, Saline | Facebook 

Salt Springs Brewery Saline best restaurants near Ann Arbor Michigan

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.

 

Sidetrack Bar & Grill | Ypsilanti 

56 E Cross St, Ypsilanti | Facebook 

Sidetrack has been a local 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 Ypsi atmospheres. Their burger—Our Famous Burger—was included on GQ’s 2005 round-up The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, and that’s just one of the reasons we recommend stopping by.

 

Smokehouse 52 | Chelsea + Saline 

125 S Main St, Chelsea + 105 W Michigan Ave, Saline | 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 at locations in both Chelsea and Saline.

 

Add to the list! 

The small towns of Southeast Michigan are home to some of the best local food and drink in the state. Make our list longer by giving your favorite a shoutout in the comments below!

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Classes for Kids in the Ann Arbor Area: Dance, art, music, food + more

Ann Arbor classes for kids

When it comes to creativity, motor skills, confidence and social skills, education starts early and often happens both inside and outside the standard classroom. Here in Ann Arbor, it’s easy for your kids to continue the education and the fun with hands-on classes and workshops in yoga, painting, sculpture, stop-motion animation, building, gymnastics, hip-hop dancing, playing in a rock band, cake decorating and more. Seriously, you’ll find all of those things in this guide.

We rounded up a handful of the best places for kid-focused classes in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. These local businesses provide one-time workshops, week-long camps, weekly classes and more, so keep reading to find the perfect fit for you and your family.

For adult classes and workshops, check out our other guide, 13 Ann Arbor Area Classes Where You Can Learn A New Skill.  

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Art | Facebook

Ann Arbor Art Center classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages, and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Kid-focused classes are available for youth and teens as well as for families so parents can join in, too! The center also offers Art Camps during winter, spring and summer breaks to keep the creativity going while school is out. To see all the options, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Art | Facebook

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. But, if you sign up for a workshop, your kids can continue their educational explorations even further! These events cover a variety of science concepts—from stop-motion animation to computer programming and engineering—through hands-on activities, interactive demos and experiments in a small group setting. To see the upcoming workshops, check out the event calendar here.

 

Ann Arbor Saline Music Center

Music | Facebook

With locations in Ann Arbor and Saline, this music center offers excellent education in music and instruments of all kinds. In addition to standard private music lessons, they also offer summer camps and band classes. Unique to the Ann Arbor Saline Music Center, Rock Band School assigns every student to a band and brings that band together for weekly rehearsal so students can get hands-on experience in all the necessary aspects of playing in a band.

 

Arts in Motion

Dance | Facebook

Arts in Motion Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Vera Davis Photography via Arts in Motion

The respectful and energetic environment at Arts in Motion is the perfect environment to grow confidence, have fun and be creative. Their team has created specially designed classes accessible to all ages and ability levels so adults, teens and kids can all learn to love dance while understanding the theory and history, too. Some of their most popular classes include Toddler Toodaloo and Dance Stories for young children, Hip-Hop for school-aged children, and even Ballroom for teens and adults!

 

Bricks 4 Kidz

STEM | Facebook

Much more unique than your typical art classes, the programming at Bricks 4 Kidz combines our love for LEGO® Bricks with hands-on, educational play. Designed specifically for children, these classes also explore an aspect of science, technology, engineering or math to continue STEM education outside of the classroom. To view their current class calendar and register online, click here.

 

Clay Work Studio

Art | Facebook

Clay Work Studio is an outstanding teaching studio where both kids and adults can get hands on with clay and practice their creativity. Their team hosts classes and workshops for all ages and skill sets, including Youth Class suitable for children ages 5 to 12. These weekly classes introduce basic building techniques through playful projects like whistles, cups and plates, vases and more. To learn more about available classes, click here.

 

Flipside Art Studio

Art | Facebook

The team at Flipside Art Studio takes a casual and fun approach to art instruction based on the belief that art should be transformative and freeing, rather than strict and formal. Through their programs with Dexter Public Schools and Ann Arbor Rec and Ed, they offer classes, events, camps and workshops for kids. To stay up-to-date on the most recent offerings, check out the website here.

 

Gym America

Fitness | Facebook

Gym America Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Gym America

Gym America is the Ann Arbor area’s premier Olympic-style gymnastics school. Founded in 1979, the school provides quality instruction for every age and level—from preschoolers to recreational gymnasts to USAG national and international competitors. Education includes gymnastics for boys and girls, fun preschool classes, dance classes, and even the unique Minds in Balance option, which combines Montessori and gymnastics instruction for healthy minds and healthy bodies.

 

Michigan Academy of Dance & Music

Dance | Facebook

At Michigan Academy of Dance & Music, the team understands the creative and educational aspects of dance as well as the possibility for their classes to teach confidence, respect and social skills. To make things easy for parents, they even offer open enrollment throughout the entire year, and classes are available for kids 1 year old through youth and teen years. They even offer adult classes if you want to learn some moves. To peruse all the options, click here.

 

Peachy Fitness

Fitness | Facebook

This locally owned and operated yoga, dance and fitness studio offers specialized classes for kids. Their huge lineup of options includes Kids Zumba, Toddler Yoga, Tween Yoga and even Family Yoga so you can all workout and unwind together. To explore all the options and find out when you can sign up, check out their website here.

 

Talking Colors Art School

Art

Talking Colors Art School was founded in 1993 right here in Ann Arbor to provide art education to all ages and all experience levels. The team’s informal, multi-day classes are kept small so they can provide individual help and instruction, and you can choose topics in painting, drawing and even mosaic sculpture! To see their full calendar of classes, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Food | Facebook

Zingerman's Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you can learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in topics like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. Their specially designed Kids Camp Classes are drop-off classes providing hands-on instruction in valuable kitchen skills from baking to dinner making to cake decorating! Click here to see what’s coming up.

 

Do you have a favorite kids class in the area?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea and is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf, and even ride horses.

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, the two open spaces offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and it’s all connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail!

To learn about all the ways you can explore Waterloo, keep reading.

 

 

Ride horses with Horse ‘N Around Stables.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone. If you don’t have your own horse, stop by Horse ‘N Around Stables for guided trail rides, riding lessons and even kid-friendly summer camps! Their trail ride offerings include moonlight rides and special occasion BBQ picnic rides with Hotel Hickman Chuckwagon BBQ; to see all the options, dates and prices, click here.

If you do have your own horse, the park also offers equestrian camping at the Waterloo Equestrian-Rustic Campground where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail.

The DTE Energy Foundation Trail is a multi-use trail that loops through Waterloo Recreation Area. Though it’s still being developed and grown—with plenty of help from international mountain biking associations—the trail already offers multiple different loops and more than 10 miles to explore. The planning vision includes five loops with one loop built per year over five years for a total of 25 miles. For more information and updates, click here.

 

Visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center.

A great way to introduce yourself to our natural surroundings inside Waterloo, The Discovery Center explores the glacial geology of the region, the diverse natural habitats and the many recreation opportunities available in the park and the Chelsea area. Established in 1981, the facility offers educational exhibits, special programs and even year-round events.

 

Play disc golf.

Located near Portage Lake—along with a boat launch, the public beach, a concession stand and a campground—you’ll find an 18-hole disc golf course open to the public. Be sure to bring your own frisbees!

 

Camp overnight.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

As the largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area is one of the most popular places for camping. In total, the park offers nine different campgrounds, which include equestrian camping, modern camping, rustic camping with limited amenities, a group campsite, an accessible and reservable yurt, multiple rustic cabins and a modern cabin. The Sugarloaf Campground even has an ADA accessible playground! To see a full list of campgrounds, click here.

 

Go fishing.

With a whopping 11 fishing lakes inside the park, this is a popular activity in Waterloo. While doing so, you may catch bass, panfish and pike, but be sure to get your fishing license first! For more information on that, click here.

 

Take a hike.

A variety of trails are available for hiking, including nature trails at the Discovery Center and the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail that traverses from Big Portage Lake to Green Lake and further into Pinckney Recreation Area. Additionally, the new DTE Energy Foundation Trail offers more than 10 miles of loops and will soon consist of 25 miles to explore.

 

Watch wildlife.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Waterloo is viewing sandhill cranes which nest and migrate throughout the region. Directly adjacent to the park on the west side, you’ll find the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary, a bird sanctuary that consists of more than 1,000 acres and is famous for its sandhill cranes. Also in the park, you may encounter deer, wild turkeys, ducks, coyotes and more.

 

Visit Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary.

As we mentioned, the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary is an Audubon sanctuary located on the west end of Waterloo. Though outside the park, the sanctuary offers more than 1,000 acres of trails and wildlife observation opportunities. Renowned for its sandhill cranes, a record 8,177 cranes were counted on one fall afternoon as they landed in Mud Lake Marsh. To learn more about visiting the sanctuary, click here.

 

Kayak on a lake.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Southeast Michigan, Waterloo offers spectacular settings for still water kayaking. The park’s 11 inland lakes are all available for paddle sports and you can even rent rowboats at the Portage Campground near Portage Lake. Campers can also rent kayaks, canoes and rowboats at Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Swim at the public beach.

With 11 inland lakes and the recreation gem that is Portage Lake, Waterloo offers tons of water recreation opportunities. 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.

 

Hunt for deer, turkey and small game.

Waterloo Recreation Area is open to hunting for all species following regular state regulations. Opportunities include deer, wild turkey and small game throughout the mix of open brush, open meadows, wetland habitat and mature hardwood forest. Hunters should be aware of private lands, hikers and equestrian trails throughout the open hunting areas; to learn more about the open areas, check out the Mi-HUNT map here. And to learn about the proper licenses, click here.

 

Hit the trails for cross-country skiing.

During our snowy months, all the trails within Waterloo are open for cross-country skiers, offering more than 40 miles of ungroomed exploration. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources put together a map of recommended cross-country ski trails, which you can see here.

 

Hike on snowshoes.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

All the trails within Waterloo are open to snowshoeing throughout the winter. Though they’re not groomed, this offers more than 40 miles of snowy trekking. To see a list of all the park’s trails, click here.

 

Go snowmobiling.

When snow falls, the majority of the park is open to snowmobiling. Check out the snowmobile map here to see these specific areas.

 

 

What do you love about Waterloo Recreation Area?

Are you a camper, a horseback rider or a cross-country skier? In the comments below, let us know what you love to do in our region’s largest park!

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Kid-Approved Dining in the Ann Arbor Area

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

We know, kids can be the pickiest eaters in the world. And apparently, so do our local eateries, because many of them offer menus and environments that can make even the pickiest kids want to eat dinner.

We rounded up 15 of the best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter and Saline that offer specially designed kids menus, a comfortable and fun atmosphere, and weekly specials — and some on this guide even offer all three!

 

 

The Blue Nile | Ann Arbor

221 E Washington St | Facebook

The Blue Nile is a casual Ethiopian restaurant in Downtown Ann Arbor offering both delectable plates and all-you-can-eat platters. Both options offer meat and vegetarian foods. On the lunch menu, the all-you-can-eat feasts are available for half the price for children under 12 and children under 5 years old eat for free! You can see the lunch menu online here.

 

Conor O’Neill’s | Ann Arbor

318 S Main St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Conor O’Neill’s

Taking inspiration from real, historic pubs in Ireland, Conor O’Neill’s is the place to go for community fun, social gathering, Irish hospitality, hearty food and great drinks. The pub was even designed and built in Ireland! And their menu amps up the Irish culture even more with meals like fish and chips, Mighty Murray’s Corned Beef & Cabbage, Kate’s Shepherd’s Pie and more. They made this list for the fun atmosphere and their Tuesday special when kids under the age of 12 eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal.

 

Fresh Forage | Ann Arbor

5060 Jackson Rd | Facebook

Fresh Forage fills Ann Arbor’s need for both convenience and health as well as quick and locally sourced. The team’s ingredients are sourced from their own family farms and other local farms, and several are even sustainably foraged from Michigan’s deep woods. Using 100 percent compostable materials, they prepare these meals rapidly so the busy people of Ann Arbor can fuel up on the go. Their Kids Menu offers all these healthy ingredients at a low price and prepared in approachable, kid-friendly meals. You can see it here.

 

Frita Batidos | Ann Arbor

117 W Washington St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Steve Julin via Frita Batidos

At Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction because a frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. And a batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). The team’s Kid’s Menu offers all of that fun in mini sizes plus shoestring fries and fresh fruit. You can see the full menu here.

 

Harvest Moon Café | Ypsilanti

5484 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

Harvest Moon Café has been a staple of the Ypsi community for more than 30 years, and their home-style menu offers something everyone can love, including the kids! That’s because their Kids Menu is one of the largest on this guide and offers smaller portions of some of their best creations: fish and chips, a slow-roasted turkey dinner, linguine with marinara sauce and more. To see the menu, click here, and don’t forget to order your free kiddie drink!

 

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen | Dexter

2319 Bishop Cir E | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales + Kitchen

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. In the Dexter tasting room and kitchen, you can enjoy their signature sour beers while your kids enjoy kid-sized portions of fried drumsticks, burgers and cheese pizza. On Family Night every Wednesday, kids can eat free with the purchase of any full price sandwich or pizza.

 

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery | Ann Arbor

311 S Main St | Facebook

This famous brewery was born in Dexter in 2004 and operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In Downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll find Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, a full-service brewpub serving lunch, dinner, brunch, late-night eats and a large kids menu that offers simple selections alongside adventurous choices (plus three delectable desserts!).

 

Maíz Mexican Cantina | Ypsilanti

36 E Cross St | Facebook

The Maíz team has brought a fresh approach to traditional, Mexican favorites and Tex-Mex specialties. Everything on their menu is made from scratch daily and is made with ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, too! Every Sunday from 12 to 10 p.m., kids ages 10 years and under can enjoy up to two free kids meals with the purchase of any adult entree, and they’ll be enjoying some Mexican classics like quesadillas, tacos and arroz con pollo.  

 

The Original Cottage Inn | Ann Arbor

512 E William St | Facebook

Back in 1948 when it opened, The Original Cottage Inn was Ann Arbor’s first restaurant to serve pizza. Today, they still serve some of the best pies in town as well as classic American, Italian and Greek cuisine. On that extensive menu, you’ll also find several smaller, lower priced, kid-friendly selections, including Pita Pizza, Grilled Cheese and Spaghetti with Meatballs.

 

The Pretzel Bell | Ann Arbor

226 S Main St | Facebook

the best restaurants for kids in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell

The Pretzel Bell was the place to be for students, townies and visitors for more than 50 years. When the doors reopened after a brief closing, it became one of the Tree City’s warmest and coziest spots while still functioning as a popular student hangout. The menu offers a modern take on traditional American comfort food with hearty items like fried chicken and signature burgers. That gourmet style extends to the kids menu where you’ll find items like the Lil’ Bell Burger and Mini Mac topped with a Goldfish cracker topping. From Sunday through Wednesday, kids eat free!

 

Red Brick Kitchen & Bar | Dexter

8093 Main St | Facebook

Red Brick is a small, family-owned restaurant in the heart of Downtown Dexter where their team offers fresh, innovative food alongside craft cocktails and a warm community atmosphere. Adults can enjoy some of the region’s best, most creative comfort foods, and the kid’s menu doesn’t skimp on quality, either. Approachable selections like homemade mac and cheese and chicken tenders come with a side of fries, sweet potato fries, chips, fruit, sauteed vegetables or celery and peanut butter, and on Mondays, kids eat for free with the purchase of an adult entree!

 

Revel & Roll | Ann Arbor

1950 S Industrial Hwy | Facebook

With more than 2,400 square feet of video screens, 100 different arcade games and 27 lanes of bowling, Revel & Roll might be the most kid-approved option on this list. Because, in addition to offering tons of entertainment, they also offer a gourmet menu that covers all the pub favorites—from buffalo chicken nachos and loaded tater tots to a PB&J burger and mouth-watering pizzas.

 

Salt Springs Brewery | Saline

117 S Ann Arbor St | Facebook

Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery and restaurant is housed in a beautiful, 118-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. On Tuesdays, kids eat for free from a menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, pizza and poutine.

 

Zingerman’s Delicatessen | Ann Arbor

422 Detroit St | Facebook

The first business that opened in the Zingerman’s Company was this historic deli; it opened in 1982 with a staff of two. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but you can now choose from an enormous menu of both classic and creative sandwiches, breakfasts, salads, housemade Jewish specialty foods, handmade pot pies and more. In addition to offering a great Kids Menu (which you can see here), they host regular events, including storytime tastings and classes! You can check out that schedule here

 

Zingerman’s Roadhouse | Ann Arbor

2501 Jackson Ave | Facebook

At this all-day restaurant, the Zingerman’s team showcases their favorite things about American food—both locally and nationally. The regular menu includes grits inspired by South Carolina, Maryland-inspired crab cakes, Carolina barbeque, local meat from Washtenaw County, produce from local farms, artisan cheeses, micro-brewed beers, and fine wines sourced from all over the country. The Just for Kids menu offers more approachable, smaller portions of some of our favorite Roadhouse flavors, from Mac n’ Cheese and the BBQ Slider to Roadhouse Corn Dogs and a Fish Plate with the fresh catch of the day. You can see the menu here.

 

Do you have a kid-friendly favorite?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan offer some of the best and largest parks in the state as well as lakes, river access, hiking trails, biking opportunities and more. But when you’re looking for off-leash opportunities for your dog, it can be tough to navigate the rules, permit requirements and available areas.

To help, we rounded up the Ann Arbor area’s best dog parks available to both residents and non-residents. We also included links to important rules and permit information where necessary.

Keep reading to find your dog’s new favorite play area and be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Doggy Dip at Rolling Hills Water Park! It happens every year around Labor Day and you can get more information here.

 

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Get directions | On-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Though not an off-leash area, Brighton Recreation Area offers one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches. Available on a section of shoreline at Chilson Pond, dogs are welcome to play in the water but must be on leash and under control at all times. For more information on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources pet policy, click here.

 

Broadway Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Located in one of Ann Arbor’s best community parks, the off-leash dog play area at Broadway Park is nestled along the Huron River with a designed area for small and large dogs. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Cady Street Dog Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The Northville park system currently includes two dog parks. The Cady Street Dog Park offers 0.7 acre of fenced-in play area behind the Northville Art House and has open hours every day of the week. A dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required before you and your dog can be admitted. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Canton Dog Park | Canton

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Available year-round to dog park members, Canton Dog Park offers six acres of fenced-in, outdoor space for dogs to run and play off-leash. The park’s separated sections are reserved for dogs under 20 pounds and dogs over 20 pounds so large and small pups can play safely, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. For membership information, click here.

 

Lyon Oaks Dog Park | Wixom

Get directions | Off-leash

Available year-round from sunrise to sunset, the Lyon Oaks Dog Park offers 13 acres of fenced play area, a separated small dog area, benches, shelter and picnic tables. All licensed dogs are welcome, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. To learn more about all the dog parks managed by Oakland County, click here.

 

Marv Gans Community Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The second of Northville’s dog parks, the off-leash play area at Marv Gans Community Park offers four acres of room to roam. The park also has its own parking lot for easy access. Before you and your dog can be admitted, a dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Mill Pond Dog Park | Saline

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Boasting a whopping 54 acres total, Mill Pond Park is the largest community park in Saline. In addition to boat launches, sports fields and walking trails, visitors are welcome to enjoy the Mill Pond Dog Park. Covering one acre, it’s the only local park that offers off-leash water access, so water-loving dogs will definitely have fun!

 

Novi Dog Park | Novi

Get directions | Off-leash

Located behind the Novi Ice Arena, Novi Dog Park offers three acres of off-leash fun with a separate area for small and timid dogs which covers 3/4 of an acre. The remaining one and a half acres are available to all other dogs. To enter the park, you’ll need to take the dog park quiz and be approved for a membership; for more information, click here.

 

Olson Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

One of three dog parks managed by the City of Ann Arbor, the dog run at Olson Park is conveniently located next to the parking lot. The fenced area is just one of the attractions in the 54-acre park. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Paw Run Recreation Area | Dexter

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Paw Run Recreation Area is a private, 18-acre dog park in Dexter. Located on quiet, private property, the park boasts nearly one mile of mowed trails, a play area with a pond, an agility yard, a secure double-gated entry system, seating for humans and water for both humans and dogs. For information on the required temperament test and the various types of memberships and passes available, click here.

 

Swift Run Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Swift Run Dog Park is jointly managed by The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. Located at the northeast corner of the Swift Run landfill, the off-leash area covers ten acres making it the largest in the city. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Where do you take your dog?

If you have a favorite place to take your dog in the Ann Arbor area, tell us about it in the comments below!

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13 Ann Arbor Area Classes Where You Can Learn A New Skill

Cocktail mixology classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities have been built by local business, hands-on creation and artistic expression, and our local organizations and businesses are continuing that tradition every week with classes covering every imaginable topic.

From casual, drop-in events to intense, week-long workshops, these organizations, roasters, bakers, actors, studios, fly fishers and farmers are spreading the wealth through education. And we rounded up the best and most fun options in the area. Keep reading to find out where you can learn how to properly brew a coffee, bake a soft pretzel, knit a scarf, tie a fly, paint a picture, meditate, improvise, develop software, mix a cocktail and so much more.   

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Art Center dates in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Depending on how deep you want to delve, you can choose a class that lasts just a few hours, a full day or four weeks. To see upcoming topics and classes, click here.  

 

Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

The Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness works to create workshops, retreats and events that cultivate awareness and mindfulness through meditation. Through their programs, you can dive into a full-scale retreat or simply drop-in for a sample. These weekly drop-in meditation sessions are open to anyone interested in practicing mindfulness meditation and they’re available in several different area communities, including Ann Arbor, Saline and Ypsilanti. For more information on drop-in classes, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre acting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Lisa Gavan | Gavan Photo via Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

This nonprofit, community theatre program provides opportunities for people in our community to participate in theatre and learn new acting skills. In addition to putting together shows for the public, they support artists and creatives by giving them a place to practice and enhance their talents. Classes and workshops through the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre are available in topics like improv, choreography, stage management, sound design and more, and they cover several different age groups.

 

Flipside Art Studio

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

The team at Flipside Art Studio takes a casual and fun approach to art instruction based on the belief that art should be transformative and freeing, rather than strict and formal. Through their programs and programs with Dexter Public Schools and Ann Arbor Rec and Ed, they offer classes, events, camps and workshops for kids. But their team also hosts weekly adult art classes both during the day and in the evening. To stay up-to-date on the most recent offerings, check out the website here.

 

Hyperion Coffee Co.

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

Hyperion Coffee Labs classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Hyperion Coffee Co.

Undoubtedly one of the region’s best coffee roasters, Hyperion Coffee Co. shares experiences and knowledge of coffee through Hyperion Labs. These fun and informative classes explore different aspects of coffee whether that’s developing your palate, the fundamentals of cupping or the science of water chemistry. With plenty of tastes along the way, you’ll also get to take home coffee at the end of the lab!

 

Maker Works

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Maker Works art classes in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Maker Works

Founded in 2011, Maker Works is a huge, 14,000-square-foot workshop that is entirely focused on making things. When you purchase a membership or a day pass, the workshop is wide open for hands-on learning, practice and creation, but their team also offers one-time classes for specialized instruction in several topics. Covering craft, wood, metal, electronics, jewelry, software and more, Maker Works can provide you the skills and the tools needed to both learn and excel at nearly anything. Safety checkout classes are required before using some tools; check tool pages online to see which ones. And you can stop by for a free tour whenever Maker Works is open! 

 

Pointless School of Improv

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Run through Ann Arbor’s delicious and entertaining Pointless Brewery & Theatre, Pointless School of Improv makes learning and practicing improv even more fun than it already sounds. Their intense curriculum isn’t made up of casual, drop-in classes. Available in two terms per year, the classes take place over the course of eight weeks and are designed to be taken in order, with the skills from one class forming the foundation for the next.

But in addition to these courses, they also offer single-session workshops that focus on specific aspects and they host showcases where you can come, see and support the students work before you dive in head first. For more information and dates, check out the website here.

 

Schultz Outfitters

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

Ypsilanti’s headquarters for all things fishing and outdoors, this locally owned and operated fly shop sells equipment, organizes guided trips, hosts destination travel excursions and offers classes in fly fishing, skills and tying. Their basic classes are available on a weekly basis and take place inside Schultz Outfitters or at Sidetrack Bar & Grill depending on your experience level. Each week, they host three classes; they do require pre-registration and both classes at Sidetrack include pre-packaged material kits. For more information, click here. And follow the team on Facebook to learn more about upcoming classes.

 

Spun

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Spun knitting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Spun

Spun is a local, family-owned yarn shop in Kerrytown where you can shop yarn and tools, learn at scheduled classes and ask questions at free, drop-in sessions. Their free social knitting and crochet sessions occur four different times per week and they host Ask-a-Knitter throughout the week, too. Regularly scheduled classes are more hands-on and intensive, covering topics like beginning crochet, crochet for knitters, introduction to lace and more. To see the full calendar, click here.

 

Tammy’s Tastings

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Tammy’s Tastings is a local, Ann Arbor business dedicated to building unique food and drink experiences. In addition to custom workshops, corporate events and private classes, Tammy and her team host regularly scheduled events that cover everything from chocolate tasting to mixology and cocktail history. To see the upcoming event schedule, click here.

 

White Lotus Farms

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution, specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses, and soothing botanicals. Their varied experience and knowledge on the farm, in the bakery, in the creamery and with botanicals makes their classes some of the most fun in the region. Topics include cheese making, croissant baking, food pairing and more. To see the schedule and register for your favorite topic, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Zingerman's Bakehouse cooking classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you will be able to learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in categories like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. To see the full schedule and reserve your spot online, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Zingerman’s Coffee Company is a wholesale roaster supplying cafes, restaurants and businesses all over the region, but they also offer their own coffees at the Zingerman’s Coffee Bar at Zingerman’s Southside Producers row. Here, you can enjoy the coffee shop, taste craft coffee and learn the ins and outs of tasting, preparing and roasting coffee beans. The team’s special events cover topics like cupping, brewing methods and even Yerba Mate tea.

 

Already learned something?

If you have a favorite class in Ann Arbor, tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 15 Best Gyms in the Ann Arbor Area

CrossFit Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or the middle of the year, beginning a new fitness practice is always a good idea. Doing so can energize your current program, help you reach your health goals, introduce you to a new community and so much more.

We rounded up a selection of the Ann Arbor area’s best facilities that have programs, equipment, trainers, classes and education opportunities suitable for newbies and old pros alike. Keep reading to find your perfect fit!

 

Jump ahead to find Ann Arbor’s best:

Fitness center | CrossFit box | Group training + coaching

 

 

Fitness centers

Fitness centers Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

 

Ann Arbor YMCA

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

The Ann Arbor YMCA offers a six-lane, 25-yard pool for lap swim, a zero-depth entry family pool, an indoor track, locker rooms, and an 8,200-square-foot fitness floor complete with cardio equipment, a fully-equipped free weight area, lifting machines, stretching areas and more. Your membership can grant you daily access as well as fitness classes, introductory programs, childcare, volunteer opportunities and more.

 

Crunch Fitness 

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

Crunch gyms can be found in locations throughout the country offering fun group fitness classes, weight lifting equipment, cardio machines, professional personal trainers and so much more. And their defining characteristic is their focus on judgment-free encouragement and inclusivity. Ann Arbor’s Crunch facility was once Arbor Fit Club and, as the gym makes its transition, Crunch will keep the smiling faces, experienced trainers, and hometown atmosphere we love while adding extra bonuses like new equipment and improved facilities.

 

Chelsea Wellness Center 

Located in Chelsea | Facebook

Chelsea Wellness Center is a community facility perfectly suited to help meet every fitness and health goal. Their services include medical fitness programs, group exercise classes, personal training, massage therapy, Pilates and aquatics programs, nutrition counseling, childcare, wellness coaching and a café where you can get healthy snacks and beverages.

 

The Health & Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

In addition to offering a state-of-the-art fitness facility, The Health & Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College offers services like personal training, fitness assessments, childcare, nutrition counseling, group fitness classes and more. And access isn’t limited to college students!

 

Powerhouse Gym

Locations in Ypsilanti, Saline, South Lyon, Novi and more | Facebook

Powerhouse Gym originally opened in Highland Park, Michigan in 1974. Today, the health club chain has locations all over the world, including several in the Ann Arbor area. Here, you can find facilities in Ypsilanti, Saline, South Lyon and Novi, and each one offers the motivating Powerhouse atmosphere and premier exercise equipment.

 

 

CrossFit boxes

CrossFit Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

 

734 Strength & Performance

Located in Ypsilanti | Facebook

734 Strength and Fitness Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

Photo courtesy of 734 Strength & Performance

734 is Ypsilanti’s original CrossFit gym. Their 4,000-square-foot facility is dedicated to functional fitness which means their equipment focuses on pushing, pulling, jumping, lifting, climbing, throwing and every other exercise the human body is innately capable of performing. To learn more about their state-of-the-art facility and their coaches, check out the website here.

 

CrossFit TreeTown

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

CrossFit TreeTown is the only CrossFit affiliate on the north side of Ann Arbor and is dedicated to making CrossFit an approachable and successful practice for everyone regardless of experience or fitness level. And their programs aren’t limited to traditional CrossFit! They also offer Goal Oriented Aerobic Training, a weightlifting club and yoga classes.

 

CrossFit Ypsilanti

Located in Ypsilanti | Facebook

CrossFit Ypsilanti is a tight-knit community of fitness lovers, health nuts and trainers. To foster their atmosphere of community and strength, each fitness class is limited to 15 people to ensure you can get individual attention and support. Programs in CrossFit, kettlebell, Olympic lifting and nutrition are all available.

 

Joust Strength + Fitness

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

Joust fitness Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

Photo courtesy of A Girl in Love Photography via Joust Strength + Fitness

Ann Arbor’s Joust Strength + Fitness exists to help you achieve all of your strength-training goals, find the perfect fitness program, learn proper nutrition, and create a diverse community of fitness enthusiasts. In their CrossFit training facility, they also offer kettlebells, yoga, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting and nutrition services with the on-site RD.

 

Wolverine Strength and Conditioning

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

Wolverine is one of the largest and cleanest CrossFit gyms in Ann Arbor. Their huge, open facility covers 6,000 square feet of air-conditioned and heated indoor space as well as programs for newbies, old pros, competitors, weightlifters and more. Because they’re so community focused, they also host events and potlucks for members!

 

 

Group training + coaching

Group fitness classes Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

 

Applied Fitness Solutions

Locations in Ann Arbor, Plymouth and Rochester Hills | Facebook

Applied Fitness Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

Photo courtesy of Applied Fitness Solutions

Applied Fitness Solutions offers a unique program of fitness training and amenities that combines personal fitness coaching with fun group workouts. Their service includes check-ins with your coach outside of the gym, online tools, fitness assessments and more. To learn more about how their team is different, check out the website here.

 

Blue Lion Fitness

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

Blue Lion Fitness is a team of experts and a community of people all striving to reach and support their health and fitness goals. Their program is centered around unique, one-hour classes which include elements of high-intensity interval training, division I strength and conditioning, core strength training, suspension training and plyometric training. To see the class calendar which offers options every day of the week, check out the website here.

 

Imagine Fitness & Yoga

Located in Ann Arbor | Facebook

Imagine Fitness Yoga Ann Arbor Michigan gyms

Photo courtesy of Imagine Fitness & Yoga

Imagine is a unique fitness center, gym and yoga studio all rolled into one. Their tailored health and wellness programs offer personalized support and treatment for group training in cycling, weightlifting, circuit training, various styles and levels of yoga, Pilates and more. As an added bonus, they also have heated floors in their studio rooms! 

 

Wildly Fit

Locations in Ann Arbor and Brighton | Facebook

Wildly Fit Ann Arbor Michigan best gyms

Photo courtesy of Jon Crays at ICON Interactive via Wildly Fit

Founded in 2012, Wildly Fit has grown into a center for growth, learning and recovery through their fitness center and two Movement Lab locations. Together, these facilities offer physical therapy, recovery programs, corrective fitness, massage therapy, personal training, group fitness, private classes and more. These services can help members manage chronic illness, improve athletic performance and reduce everyday discomforts.

 

Ypsi Studio

Located in Ypsilanti | Facebook

Located in the heart of downtown Ypsilanti, this boutique studio offers group exercise classes, personal training, indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, nutrition coaching, Zumba and more. And classes are always limited to 15 people to ensure personalized attention and support. Each week, Ypsi Studio offers more than 25 group exercise classes and you can see the schedule here.

 

 

Do you have a favorite?  

If you want to recommend a local gym, let us know in the comments below!

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Where to See Santa in the Ann Arbor Area this Holiday Season

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

From Ann Arbor to Dexter and all the way to Northville—Southeast Michigan knows how to welcome Santa Claus! With events and workshops popping up right after Thanksgiving and through Christmas Eve, you and your family will have plenty of opportunities to share your wish lists in person this holiday season.  

We rounded up the events, the brunches and the malls that will be hosting Father Christmas himself. Mark your calendars, check for registration or ticket requirements, and get those wish lists and festive sweaters ready!

 

Briarwood Mall | Ann Arbor

100 Briarwood Cir | November 16 – December 24 | Event info

From mid-November through Christmas Eve, Santa and his shop will be set up in Briarwood Mall every single day. Hours vary each day and there are FastPass options to skip the line. For more information, click here.

 

Three Cedars Farm | Northville

7897 Six Mile Rd | November 23 – December 16 | Event info

The farm fun at Three Cedars doesn’t stop after Halloween. Country Christmas turns the farm into a winter wonderland complete with Christmas trees, wreaths, hot cocoa, roping and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for hours.

 

Southern Michigan Railroad | Clinton  

301 W Bartlett St | December 3 – 4 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

Southern Michigan Railroad keeps this event small and inexpensive so the community’s kids can have a spectacular holiday experience. This December, hop on the train and enjoy a ride to meet Santa himself. From there, the train will take you back to your car for a 30 minute round trip. Book online today before tickets sell out and be sure to bring a toy for Toys for Tots!

 

Saline Rec Center | Saline

1866 Woodland Dr E | December 6 | Event info

The City of Saline is hosting three PJ’s & Stories with Santa events on December 6th. For just $8, kids in their coziest pajamas can enjoy sing-a-longs, crafts, photo opportunities, stories, and treats like milk, cookies and hot chocolate. Pre-register online here.

 

Maybury Farm | Northville  

50165 Eight Mile Rd | December 8 – 9 and 15 – 16 | Event info

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. Each December, the farm celebrates the season with Santa Visits. Available two weekends in December, families can come to the Holiday Open House to enjoy delicious treats like hot cocoa and cider, shop in the General Store, see the farm in the snow and meet Santa. There is no admission charge for this event but donations are appreciated.

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

8801 N Territorial Rd | December 9 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark on December 9th allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.

 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens | Ann Arbor

1800 N Dixboro Rd | December 15 | Event info

Each year, Father Christmas himself comes to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one day. A Visit with Father Christmas allows parents, kids, individuals and families to come to the gardens for free and get a great, festive photo with Santa.

 

Kensington Hotel | Ann Arbor

3500 S State St | December 15 | Event info

This year, Brunch with Santa is happening at Kensington Hotel on December 15th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Past events have included omelet stations, vegetarian options like the Michigan Apple Cherry Salad, potatoes, a dessert bar, and the always popular waffle and pancake topping bar.

 

Polo Fields Country Club | Ann Arbor

5200 Polo Fields Dr | December 16 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 16th, guests to Polo Fields Country Club can eat, drink, visit and take photos with Santa! Prices are $36 for adults, $16 for children between 3 and 12, and free for children two years and younger. To see the menu, click here, and call (734) 998-1555 to make reservations.

 

Kerrytown Market & Shops | Ann Arbor

407 N 5th Ave | December 22 | Event info

In Kerrytown, you can visit Santa for free from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 22nd! They’re also hosting a Food Gatherers Can Drive so bring a can of food to donate, too.

 

Happy holidays!  

If you know of a place in the Ann Arbor area where we can see Santa, let us know in the comments below.

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The 17 Best Bakeries in the Ann Arbor Area

best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

It’s not every day you get a craving for freshly baked bread, a warm jelly donut, a fluffy soft pretzel, a scratch-made scone or a decadent macaron. If that list made your craving hit right now, then we have just the round-up for you, because our Ann Arbor area communities are home to some of the best makers and bakers around and they’re providing fresh baked goods that satisfy all those cravings and more.

Keep reading to learn where you can track down the best in local baked goods, including everything from downtown storefronts to online shops and businesses that can only be found at area farmers’ markets. Enjoy!

 

Avalon Cafe and Kitchen | Ann Arbor

120 E Liberty St | Facebook

Avalon International Breads originally opened their humble Detroit storefront in 1997 striving to offer artisan baked goods made with 100% organic flour. Today, they’ve developed the building blocks of the region’s agri-urban economy and operate five storefronts and restaurants total. Their first and only location outside of Detroit is located right here in Ann Arbor where they serve outstanding menus for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner alongside their breads, seasonal pies, cakes, cookies, scones, granola bars and more.

 

Benny’s Bakery | Saline

111 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

If you’ve ever felt a craving for seasonal donuts, fresh soft pretzels, warm cookies or chocolate éclairs filled with homemade vanilla custard, head to Benny’s. This Saline original churns out some of the best baked goods in Southeast Michigan and it’s all made fresh.

 

Big City Small World Bakery | Ann Arbor

500 Miller Ave | Facebook

Whether you’re in search of a custom cake, a holiday pie, a morning cinnamon roll, or just a sweet treat for yourself, Big City Small World should be at the top of your list. This hometown bakery makes everything in-house, from scratch and fresh every day; they even candy their own ginger for their orange-ginger scone and the apples in their apple pies come from local orchards!

 

Czechbox Bakery | Ypsilanti

Found at local farmers’ markets | Facebook

Regularly available at the Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market and Milan Third Thursdays, Czechbox Bakery is the only bakery of its kind in the Ann Arbor area. As a Michigan Cottage Food business providing heritage eastern European baked goods, founder and baker Gretchen Kopmanis creates authentic treats and breads seasonally based on Michigan produce. Check out the website to see what she bakes or to place an order and follow Czechbox on Facebook to track it all down.

 

Cupcake Station | Ann Arbor

116 E Liberty St | Facebook

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.

 

The Dexter Bakery | Dexter

8101 Main St | Facebook

The Dexter Bakery best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Dexter Bakery

The home of mouth-watering jelly donuts, Instagram-worthy cupcakes, towering cakes, fluffy soft pretzels and freshly baked breads, The Dexter Bakery is a must-visit near Ann Arbor. In 2018, they were even named the Sweetest Bakery in Michigan through the Sweetest Bakery in America Contest! And they’ve been serving their treats in Downtown Dexter for more than 100 years.

 

Ed’s Bread | Saline

201 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

A local, family run and oriented business, Ed’s Bread is a staple of the Saline community and also happens to produce some of the tastiest baked goods in the area. Baked fresh from scratch, their lineup frequently includes muffins, huge cookies, fresh bread, bagels, and some of the best homemade granola in town.

 

Le Bon Macaron | Ann Arbor

209 S 4th Ave | Facebook

Le Bon Macaron best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Le Bon Macaron

Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in Downtown Ann Arbor. On the menu, you’ll find French press coffee and espresso from Rowster Coffee, fresh scones made daily, ice cream sundaes with Cone Appetit craft ice cream, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous.

 

The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe | Ann Arbor

2200 Fuller Ct #8B | Facebook

The Lunch Room best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Lunch Room

The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe is the second location of the beloved, plant-based eatery The Lunch Room. As the headquarters of The Lunch Room Bakery, it’s where they make all their breads in-house from scratch. On any given day, the lineup of baked goods available to purchase includes breads, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cakes, donuts and more. And they’re all vegan!

 

Mitten Made Cheesecakes | Ypsilanti

Found at Cream & Crumb | Facebook

As lovers and crafters of impeccable cheesecakes, this local business produces some of the best cakes in the region. Though you won’t find them in a brick-and-mortar store yet, you can find their cheesecakes at Cream & Crumb in Ypsi and follow the team on Facebook.

 

Pastry Peddler | Ann Arbor

619 Packard St | Facebook

This Ann Arbor shop is a small, locally-owned bakery that offers fresh baked goods with a focus on breakfast pastries. That means they’re the place to go to satisfy every croissant, danish, pillow puff, sticky bun or pasty craving.

 

Simple Pleasures | Ann Arbor

Found at local farmers’ markets + Earthen Jar | Facebook

The Simple Pleasures story began when Jasmine wanted her brother to enjoy the same pastries and sweet treats everyone else loved without straying from his strict vegetarian and eggless diet. Today, the venture has turned into a full-fledged baked goods business that caters to special diets, including gluten-free, vegan, eggless and sugar-free. You can find these sweets and breads sold at Earthen Jar in Ann Arbor and several farmers’ markets throughout the area.

 

Sweet Heather Anne | Ann Arbor

Online shop | Facebook

Sweet Heather Anne best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cat Carty Buswell via Sweet Heather Anne

Sweet Heather Anne is perhaps the most photographed bakery in Ann Arbor thanks to the team’s jaw-dropping special occasion cakes, macarons and other special order treats. Though they ran their public dessert counter for six years, they recently had to reduce the hours to holidays and events. You can still shop their famous macarons and sea salt chocolate chip cookies online, order for your own special occasion treats, and swing by the dessert counter during holiday hours.

 

Tasty Bakery | Ann Arbor

416 W Huron St #24 | Facebook

A must-visit no matter what your diet, Tasty Bakery offers high-quality, gluten-free artisan baked goods that are indiscernible from any glutinous treat. Additionally, many of their cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, scones and breads are also soy free, organic, vegan and naturally sweetened. Swing by their bakery or find them at the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market to taste the difference for yourself!

 

White Lotus Farms | Ann Arbor

Found at local farmers’ markets | Facebook

White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses and soothing botanicals. Showcasing the same passion for local, sustainable and handcrafted in every facet of the farm, the bakery produces some of the best breads in Michigan. While the bread is not certified organic, it is made with 100% organic grains and can be found at markets throughout the area, including Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, Argus Farm Stop, and Eastern Market in Detroit.

 

Yoon’s Bakery | Ann Arbor

2775 Plymouth Rd | Facebook

Housed in a charming storefront no Plymouth Road, Yoon’s Bakery is a Korean bakery based on the French style of baking. The team serves a unique selection of fresh baked goods that includes sweetbreads, savory breads, cakes and fluffy buns stuffed with things like homemade strawberry cream cheese. Yum!

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse | Ann Arbor

3711 Plaza Dr | Facebook

Zingerman's Bakehouse best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

After running Zingerman’s Delicatessen for ten years, owners Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig wanted to improve the flavors by baking their own breads. So, in September of 1992, they teamed up with Frank Carollo and just five other staff members to open the beloved Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Today, 130 staff members and partners make pastries, breads and other treats from scratch daily.

 

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