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Trick or Treating Events For Kids in the Ann Arbor Area

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Halloween is on its way, which means that Ann Arbor’s most prepared ghouls, goblins, princes and princesses are already forming their routes and strategies for a successful night of trick-or-treating.

While we love a night full of traditional trick-or-treating complete with knocking on doors and begging our neighbors for sweets—there may be a more fail-safe way to get a good candy haul this year: dedicated trick-or-treating events! All throughout the month, locals will be hosting family-friendly trick or treating events where your children can get candy in a safe, friendly environment.

We rounded up a few of our most anticipated trick-or-treating events happening in the area this year. From trunk-or-treats to Halloween parades, you’ll find a sweet spot on this list. Happy Halloween!

 

Dixboro Trunk or Treat and Fall Festival | Ann Arbor

October 25, 4:30 p.m. | Dixboro United Methodist Church

The weekend before Halloween, head to Dixboro United Methodist Church for a special, candy-filled event! First be sure to visit the Fall Festival, which will be full of fun fall events such as pumpkin painting, crafts, games and farmers’ market vendors. Then, be sure to stick around for trunk-or-treating, where community members decorate their vehicles and pass out candy to children.

 

Den of Darkness | Ann Arbor

October 25, 6:30-8 p.m. | Pittsfield Township Community Center

Hosted by Pittsfield Charter Township, the Den of Darkness Haunted Hallway is an annual tradition for families with kids of all ages. There will be crafts, donuts and cider, a costume contest, candy bags, the famous haunted hallway, and a Spooktacular Halloween Story provided by the Ann Arbor District Library. Register in advance here for $5–7.

 

Halloween at the Market | Ann Arbor

October 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is partnering with GIVE 365 to bring the Ann Arbor area a spectacular Halloween event you won’t want to miss. So break out your costume and head to the farmers’ market—there, they’ll be hosting face painting, pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating and other fun festivities!

 

Muttster Mash Bash | Ann Arbor

October 26, 6-8 p.m. | Humane Society of Huron Valley

Trick or Treating in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Huron Valley

Hosted by Humane Society of Huron Valley, this Halloween event brings together the community with animals in need. The event will include family-friendly activities throughout the shelter that include games, trick-or-treating, crafts for the animals, meet and greets and more. Adults are admitted for free and entrance for children costs $10. Register in advance here.

 

Treat Parade on Main Street | Ann Arbor

October 31, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Ann Arbor Main Street

For the 19th year, trick-or-treating is coming to Main Street Ann Arbor on Halloween day! Neighborhood merchants welcome costumed kids and their parents for treats. In addition, the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library will be throwing a Halloween Party that includes stories, puppets and more trick-or-treating.

 

Trick or Treat Trail | Northville

October 19, 4-6 p.m. | Northville Community Center

Trick or Treating in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Northville Parks & Recreation

Get ready for a spooky, frightful, family-friendly event at the Northville Community Center this Halloween season! Get dressed up in your favorite costume and enjoy a trick-or-treat trail full of mounds of candy, fun crafts and entertainment along with a Haunted Hallway. Advanced registration is required, so click here to purchase your ticket today.

 

Trick or Treat Along the Trail | Milford

October 19, 5-7 p.m. | Kensington Metropark

On the trails of Kensington Metropark, little ones in costume can trick-or-treat along the trails decorated with a festive theme. Afterward, make sure to stop by the Nature Center for cider and donuts. The cost is $5 and you can find pre-registration information here.

 

Pumpkin Palooza Children’s Halloween Event | Plymouth

October 20, 12-2:30 p.m. | Downtown Plymouth

Trick or Treating in Ann Arbor

Calling all witches and wizards, ghouls and ghosts! You’re invited to a very special Halloween event in downtown Plymouth. Kick-off the holiday week by trick-or-treating in your favorite costume throughout downtown. You and your family will also get to enjoy games, a costume contest, dancing, entertainment, a petting zoo and, of course, plenty of candy!

 

Fun on the Farm: Halloween | Milford

October 24, 10 a.m. | Kensington Metropark

Fun on the Farm is a children’s program series at Kensington Metropark that focuses on different animals and aspects of farming. During this special edition of the educational event, children will get to trick-or-treat all around the farm, play Halloween games and visit a “haunted” barn. Plus, the spooky party will include an animal parade where you and your child are welcome to join in. The whole event only costs $5 to attend and costumes are encouraged.

 

Halloween Downtown | Ypsilanti

October 25, 4:30 p.m. | Ypsilanti District Library

In Library Park Plaza, Ypsilanti District Library is hosting Halloween fun even before the fun of YpsiGLOW. Stop by to trick-or-treat for candy, enter giveaways and visit the Boo! Mobile. Then, stick around downtown Ypsi for the luminary fun!

 

Ypsi Glow | Ypsilanti

October 25, 7 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti

Trick or Treating in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Wonderfool Productions

From the same team that brings us FestiFools and FoolMoon every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through Downtown Ypsi. In the weeks leading up to the event, local artists, businesses and organizations host GLOWorkshops so you can create your own luminary and costume. Then, you can join the community on October 25th for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art! Follow the team on Facebook for updates on workshops and the big event.

 

Halloween Spooktacular | Belleville

October 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Yankee Air Museum

Trick or Treating in Ann Arbor

The Yankee Air Museum Halloween Spooktacular features spooky games, family-friendly activities, a costume contest and trick-or-treating. There will also be a helicopter candy drop at 1 p.m. so make sure to have your buckets ready for hauling candy!

 

Trunk-or-Treat at Gene Butman Ford | Ypsilanti

October 26, 2-4 p.m. | Gene Butman Ford

Head out to Gene Butman Ford on October 26th for this not-so-scary Halloween event! Kids of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes and go “trunk-or-treating” for candy. You’ll also be treated to plenty of pumpkins to paint, cider and donuts, prizes for Best Trunk and Best Costume and so much more. This family-oriented event is completely free to attend so grab your bucket or pillowcase and get to it!

 

Happy Halloween!

For more things to do this month with your family, check out this list of essential October 2019 events in the Ann Arbor area!

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Your Fall Bucket List for the Ann Arbor Area

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Fall in Michigan is one of our favorite things—thanks in large part to you-pick apples, corn mazes, Michigan football, freshly pressed cider, pumpkin donuts, and all the reds and golds of our tree-lined neighborhoods. To help you make the most of the season here in Ann Arbor, we rounded up some of the region’s best autumn activities (donuts included!). 

For more seasonal fun, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor and 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

 

1. Visit Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair.

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Photo courtesy of Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair

Wiard’s 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. You can also step inside the Country Store and Bakery to taste fresh cider, seasonal donuts, freshly baked pies, jams, jellies, honey and apple salsas.

 

2. Get cider and donuts at Dexter Cider Mill

Open seasonally, 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, handpicked 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.

 

3. Celebrate every Michigan football game. 

Tailgating University of Michigan Football Ann Arbor Michigan

 

Fall is Wolverine season in Ann Arbor. The full football schedule includes several regularly scheduled home games through November 30th. Check it out here and check out A Complete Guide to Tailgating for U-M Football Games in Ann Arbor for help celebrating on game day.

 

4. Go on a Fall Color Tour with 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 offers a variety of seating options, dates and rides. Six dates are available throughout October 2019 and October 12th and 13th are scheduled during Tecumseh’s 26th Annual Appleumpkin Festival. For full details on these Fall Color Tours, click here.

 

5. Catch live music at Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

This hometown spot makes all their wine, hard cider and beer on-site and is open year-round with frequent live music events and a delectable calendar of local food trucks. To see what’s on tap and what events are coming up, check out the website here, and don’t miss Dead at the Winery every Thursday! 

For more Michigan made cider, check out Where to Get the Best Hard Cider in Michigan

 

6. Run The Original A2 Turkey Trot.

The Original A2 Turkey Trot

Photo Courtesy of Epic Races

Every year, Epic Races celebrates Thanksgiving with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark! This running and walking event features four different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, a quick mile fun run, and the Iron Turkey which is the 10K and 5K all at once. For more details and online registration, click here

 

7. Find your way through Coleman’s Corn Maze.

Coleman’s Corn Maze

A trip to this family-owned and -operated farm includes three professionally designed corn mazes with 5 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, too—just don’t forget your flashlight!

 

8. Pick your own fruit at Wasem Fruit Farm

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! At the farm, you’ll also get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region! For the most accurate hours and information, follow the team on Facebook here

 

9. Grab a beer at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Photo courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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 taproom—offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, artisanally aged Jolly Pumpkin beers. And it’s not only the name that has pumpkin in it. In 2017, they finally released a sour pumpkin ale made with pumpkin, a pumpkin spice blend and cacao nibs. To see what’s pouring right now nearest you, you can see all their locations here

To learn more about the area’s craft breweries, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area [Interactive Map].

 

10. Explore 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.

To find more fall foliage, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor

 

Enjoy your fall! 

For more seasonal fun, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor and 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

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11 Haunted Houses You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor, Mapped

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Fall may bring us apple cider, pumpkin donuts and you-pick pumpkin patches, but it also brings us the scariest holiday on the calendar: Halloween! And our communities certainly know how to celebrate. Located in towns throughout Southeast Michigan, here are the most terrifying haunted attractions, including houses, mazes, forests and even virtual reality haunts. 

Keep reading to learn more about each one and see how many you can visit this October! 

For more autumn fun without the scares, check out 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

 

 

Night Terrors 

Ypsilanti | Get directions | Facebook

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Michigan’s premier haunted attraction comes alive again this October. Open at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October 28th and then again on October 30th and 31st, Night Terrors features 89 acres of terror. The six haunted attractions include The Asylum, Hayrides of the Lost, The Ultimate Haunted Barn, The Mineshaft, Alien Caged Clowns and Splattertown Zombie Paintball; for all the details, click here

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

 

Terrorfied Forest

Pinckney | Get directions | Facebook

The Terrorfied Forest is a real terrifying forest. Make a trip to this haunted attraction and you’ll journey into the woods for a one-mile, one-hour excursion with plenty of terror along the way. You can make your trip on weekends beginning September 27th through November 2nd. To see the complete schedule, click here

 

Erebus Haunted Attraction

Pontiac | Get directions | Facebook

Erebus is a four-story haunted tower of terror located in Downtown Pontiac. A trip here during the Halloween season means you’ll endure a half-mile indoor walk complete with state-of-the-art Hollywood special effects where things will bite you, grab you and even bury you alive! Think you can make it through? Check out the schedule and buy your tickets online here

 

Hush Haunted Attraction 

Westland | Get directions | Facebook

Video courtesy of Hush Haunted Attraction

Brimming with fearful atmosphere and spine-tingling scares, Hush strikes at your deepest and darkest fears. The haunted attraction includes three haunted houses. Descent invites you to take a trip under Hush into long stretches of abandoned mines and caverns complete with terrifying darkness and humanoid miners. The Coven will enter you into a crypt which houses the infamous Casper Coven, and Rosecliff Hall is a terrifyingly haunted manor. To read the stories behind each attraction, click here

 

Jackson’s Underworld 

Jackson | Get directions | Facebook

Enter Jackson’s Underworld and you’ll experience some of the most impressive animatronics and props in Michigan. This 115,000-square-foot and four-story haunt changes every single year and is always terrifying! To see the schedule and purchase tickets, click here

 

Awaken Haunted Attraction

Leslie | Get directions | Facebook

Not for the faint of heart, Awaken is a serious haunt with serious scares. Through their progression of professional sets, you’ll enter amazing scenes, get unexpected scares, encounter movie-set quality props and more, and that’s why parental guidance is recommended for anyone under 18. So, if you can handle the fright, check out their schedule here and get ready for a terrifying, one-of-a-kind horror experience. 

 

Plymouth Escape 

Plymouth | Get directions | Facebook

Unlike any other experience on this list, Plymouth Escape is offering a terrifying, haunted virtual reality game through the month of October. Enter the Insanitarium and you’ll experience Michigan’s first free-roaming VR in complete, immersive terror. To book now, click here

 

Rotten Manor 

Holly | Get directions | Facebook

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Rotten Manor

Boasting the largest, most realistic custom structures in Michigan, Rotten Manor is a highly-detailed, theatrical and immersive haunted experience. This team puts together two 45-minute, haunted attractions every year—Rotten Manor and Rotten Asylum/Forest—and each one will put you face to face with your worst fears. They’re operating September 13th through November 2nd so you can get a full Halloween season of haunts! 

 

Azra Chamber of Horrors

Madison Heights | Get directions | Facebook

Located right next door to Escape Room-Zone (which is offering a few bone-chilling experiences, too!), Azra Chamber of Horrors is a crazy, multi-level maze of terror. And each chamber is more menacing than the last! To see the schedule and purchase tickets in advance, click here

 

The Scream Machine

Taylor | Get directions | Facebook 

When you step inside The Scream Machine, you’ll cross the threshold of insanity into the Asylum. The journey of approximately 20 to 30 minutes will bring you face to face with psychotic Dr. Scratch and other terrifying beings roaming the halls. After you make it through, you can enter two, optional five-minute escape rooms for added fun! 

 

Deranged Haunt 

Romulus | Get directions | Facebook 

About 20 minutes from Downtown Ypsi, Deranged Haunt offers five acres and two attractions—the haunted trail and the haunted house—for one low price. Can you survive what lurks in the woods? You can find out every Friday and Saturday from September 20th through Halloween! To get tickets online, check out the website here

 

Do you have a favorite haunt? 

Let us know in the comments below! 

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Where to Get the Best Hard Cider in Michigan

Hard cider in Michigan

Though you can always enjoy a crisp, hard cider around here, Michigan’s apple season is August through October, which makes fall the ideal season for it. After all, it is a lovely combination of our passion for craft beer and our favorite autumn crop.

In this guide, we rounded up some of the state’s best hard cider makers, located near our home in Ann Arbor and farther out. Where available, we added links so you can find these beverages on tap, bottled or canned closer to home, wherever that may be. Happy sipping!

 

B. Nektar

Based in Ferndale

Founded by a fun-loving team in 2006, B. Nektar brings a modern, sub-pop culture-inspired twist to everything they create, from the mead that has made them famous to every cider and craft beer on their tap list. And we’re proud to say this little Michigan operation was the first meadery named to the top 100 best breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com! To find out where you can get bottles closer to home, click here.

 

Blake’s Hard Cider Co.

Based in Armada

The team behind Blake’s Hard Cider has been growing apple trees for more than 70 years. Today, they have 45,600 apple trees on their property in 42 different varieties and they use those backyard harvests to create more than 60 varieties of hard cider. Their tasting room has been named one of the best bars in America, but if you can’t make it to Armada, click here to locate Blake’s sold near you.

 

Bløm Meadworks

Based in Ann Arbor

Hard cider in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. 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. On the tap list, you’ll also find straight-up ciders, all carefully crafted with subtle, delicious tasting notes. To shop cans online, click here.

 

Cherry Creek

Based in Brooklyn

Nestled in the Irish Hills, this family-owned winery honors over 100 years of winemaking knowledge passed down through four generations. Inside their historic 1870 schoolhouse tasting room and seasonal café, you can sip award-winning grape wines, fruit wines and ciders, sample freshly made butter fudge, taste their Michigan Cherry Preserves, and more! To see their wine and cider list, which has included things like Cinnamon Ginger Cider and Root Beer Cider, click here.

 

Farmhaus Cider Co.

Based in Hudsonville

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Farmhaus Cider Co.

In 1866, Claus Behrens, an immigrant from Germany, purchased 200 acres in Hudsonville, built a farmhouse and planted an apple orchard. Decades later, two generations of the Behrens family, with the business owners’ family and friends, worked nights and weekends to restore the property and, in March 2015, Farmhaus Cider Co. celebrated their first canning run. Today, they operate the Farmhaus Cidergarten on site at the 150-year-old family farm and distribute throughout the state. Click here to find out where you can get it.

 

Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

Based in Northville

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

This hometown spot makes all their wine, hard cider and beer on-site and is open year-round with frequent live music events and a delectable calendar of local food trucks stopping by. To see what’s on tap and what events are coming up, check out the website here, and be sure to make a visit during the fall so you can visit Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill, too!

 

Sierra Rose

Based in Grand Rapids

Sierra Rose is a program of Grand Rapids’ Cascade Winery. Making everything in small batches, they start with 100% apples and ferment the cider at cold temperatures to maintain distinct, crisp flavors. Then, they use their history of innovation, skill and creativity to create flavors like Peach, Strawberry and Blueberry Hard Ciders.

 

St. Ambrose Cellars

Based in Beulah

The St. Ambrose story starts with 40 years of beekeeping and a passion for mead. Later, they dabbled in cider, then added beer and pizza, and now they’re one of the best craft beverage makers in the state. On-site, you’ll find a nine-hole disc golf course, a bocce ball court, yard games and a bee garden, but you can also find their beverages in stores across the country and shop their online store here. To track down St. Ambrose near you, click here.

 

St. Julian

Based in Paw Paw

St. Julian has been owned and operated by the same family for four generations, and through those generations, they’ve become Michigan’s most awarded and longest-running winery. They also use only Michigan fruit to create each distilled spirit, cider and wine in their lineup. To locate these award-winning products, click here.

 

Starcut Ciders

Based in Bellaire

Starcut Ciders comes from the famous, award-winning team behind Short’s Brewing Company. Founded in 2014, this project was born out of a desire to make unique ciders using Michigan’s abundant apple harvests, including apples from local farmers whose orchards are close to their home in Antrim county. To purchase nearby, click here.

 

Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Based in St. Johns

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Historically, Uncle John’s was a wholesale fruit and vegetable farm but has been transformed since the 1970s into a destination for family fun—especially during the fall when the cider mill is running and fresh donuts are being made! From May through December, you can also stop in the Uncle John’s Fruit House Cidery and Winery Tasting Room to taste wines, spirits, premium ciders, and hard cider in cans and on draft. Throughout the year, you can also shop cans in stores throughout the Great Lakes region.

 

Unity Vibration

Based in Ypsilanti

Dedicated to health, unity and community, this Ypsi favorite serves up kombucha tea, kombucha beer and a few kombucha cider hybrids. 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. To find their creations near you, click here.

 

Vander Mill

Based in Grand Rapids

A founding member of the Michigan Cider Association, Vander Mill started from humble beginnings in 2006 inside a small, 5,000-square-foot building. Today, they’ve grown to distribute their hard cider varieties throughout the Great Lakes region, but they still press only Michigan apples and even work with the Dietrich family apple farm located nearby in West Michigan. To locate their hard ciders closer to your home, click here.

 

Virtue Cider

Based in Fennville

Practicing traditional craftsmanship and sustainable methods, using the finest apples grown in orchards with just the right climate, and handpicking their apples and their barrels, the team behind Virtue Cider crafts proper farmhouse cider. Like the art of winemaking, they press local fruit, ferment the juice on site, age it in barrels, and continually taste to develop the perfect blends. You can get more information on finding their beverages locally here.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Whether it’s on our list or not, tell us about your favorite Michigan hard cider in the comments below!

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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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What to Do With Your Kids in Ann Arbor Before School Starts

things to do with the kids Ann Arbor summer

We can’t believe it either, but summer vacation is already winding down. Before we start buying supplies, prepping first day of school outfits, and planning carpools, there are a few more essential, kid-friendly things to do in Ann Arbor. In this guide, we rounded up the 10 things you and your kids need to do before school starts. 

For year-round, kid-friendly activities in the area, check out our other guide, 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

 

1. Don’t miss Sonic Lunch

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicked off in June and continues through August 29th for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here. August headliners include Michael Franti and Spearhead!

 

2. Attend YpsiFest

YpsiFest is a heritage, arts and entertainment festival in Ypsilanti that has been a beloved tradition for more than 35 years. This year’s event includes a kids’ area with bounce houses, pony rides, crafts and games, daily helicopter rides, a classic car show, a BBQ competition, the famous Rubber Ducky Race and more. For all the details, click here, and mark your calendars for August 23rd through the 25th. 

To find more events happening this August, including Ann Arbor Blues Festival, Dexter Daze and Saline’s Summerfest, click here. 

 

3. Attend a food truck rally at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is a favorite thing to do in town, and it continues all year long! During the summer and fall, you can add to the fun on the first Wednesday of every month when the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market hosts food truck rallies from 5 to 8 p.m. The last three rallies are coming up on August 7th, September 4th and October 2nd. For more information, click here

 

4. Spend the day at Rolling Hills Water Park

Rolling Hills County Park covers 439 acres and offers outdoor activities all year long. During the summer, one of our favorite attractions is Rolling Hills Water Park, a huge outdoor water park located on site. Attractions include a lazy river, a wave pool, a zero-depth entry activity pool and multiple water slides! 

To find more nearby swimming holes, check out The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer

 

5. Meet the animals at The Creature Conservancy

This local nonprofit is home to Al the Alligator, Quinn the Bald Eagle, Suzi the Macaw, Dumpie the Ball Python, Jerome the Argentine Tegu, Harper the Mountain Lion, and several other rescued animals. Their conservation through education mission allows our community to meet these animals, learn about wildlife and nature, attend educational programs and camps, and more. To visit, you can stop by Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. or from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays for limited outdoor viewing.

 

6. Kayak on the Huron River. 

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Some of the region’s most popular activities, kayaking and canoeing on the Huron River are accessible for all ages thanks to Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. These City of Ann Arbor facilities offer boat rentals, guided river trips and even river programs designed for children as young as 2 years old! For information on all of the above, click here

And for even more details on kayaking in the area, check out The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor

 

7. Explore Waterloo Recreation Area.

Did you know the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula is located right in our backyard? Waterloo Recreation Area covers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise in Chelsea and offers everything from fishing and swimming to mountain biking and disc golf. To get the details on all the available activities, check out Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

 

8. Visit Ann Arbor’s best city parks. 

Argo Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains a whopping 159 parks and 15 park facilities. Their list includes neighborhood pocket parks, larger community parks, golf courses and huge, undeveloped nature areas that are open to explore. In our blog post, Your Summer Guide to Ann Arbor’s City Parks, Mapped, we rounded up the largest and the best—offering kayaking, picnicking, disc golf and dirt bike courses, playgrounds, hiking trails, tennis and basketball courts, softball fields and even dog parks! 

 

9. Visit Leslie Science & Nature Center

Leslie Science & Nature Center is an independent, nonprofit organization serving to connect our community with wildlife, nature and science. Their grounds, trails and raptor enclosures are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk and they also open the Critter House on select days and offer public programs, rentals, birthday parties, field trips and more. To see upcoming programs scheduled on-site, at local parks and at other venues, click here

 

10. Scream for ice cream. 

Ice cream is an all-season treat, but summer makes it taste even better. In our guide, The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, we rounded up the area’s best, including local favorites like Michigan Creamery and Blank Slate Creamery and even Go! Ice Cream in Ypsilanti. 

 

We hope you enjoyed your summer vacation!  

For more activities you can enjoy throughout the year, check out 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

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Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

The Ann Arbor area is defined by its food, its art, its stories and its hyper-local character. And our regional creators and entrepreneurs know exactly how to show off our state produce, our quirky creativity, our iconic water towers and, of course, our University of Michigan pride.

In this guide, we rounded up some of those local businesses, artists and creators so you can build the perfect gift basket for a new resident, a far off family member, or anyone who needs a little sampling of Southeast Michigan. We also provided the retail locations and links to online stores where they’re available so you can shop in person or virtually!

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Retail location at 117 W Liberty St in Ann Arbor

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our go-to for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and even learning new art skills. The 117 Gallery Shop—located in their Downtown headquarters—is the retail shop where you can find original, handmade works of art for sale by both emerging and established artists from Michigan and beyond. These include original paintings and prints, ceramics, jewelry and more.

 

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Retail location at 315 Detroit St in Ann Arbor

A beloved weekly tradition in Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is a 100-year-old, year-round market where you can shop from more than 100 local businesses. As a producer-only market, you’ll find only local products from Michigan, Ohio or Indiana, and the vendors include fourth-generation farmers, bakers, coffee roasters, artisans and more. It’s the perfect place to find Michigan nuts, local maple syrup, fermented sauerkraut or handmade goods for your gift basket!

 

Artistica Gallery

Retail location at 3203 Broad St in Dexter

Located right on Main Street in the charming town of Dexter, Artistica Gallery showcases more than 35 Michigan artisans inside their cozy shop. These products range from hand-carved, wooden bowls and fabric arts to personal products like soaps and balms. To preview their artists, artisans and products, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

Bløm Meadworks

Retail location at 100 S 4th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. 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. In addition to hosting pop-ups and weekly yoga classes, they also sell their naturally gluten-free mead in cans both in the taproom and online. To view their online store, click here.

 

Bo

Retail location at 333 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Inspired by and named after Bo Schembechler—the University of Michigan head football coach from 1969 to 1989—Bo is a store built by and for Wolverines. In the Main Street shop, you can purchase clothing and hats, mugs and glasses, posters and vinyl decals, and basically everything you need to show your Michigan pride. To shop online, click here.

 

Bookend Candle Co.

Online store

This Etsy shop is run by an Ypsilanti local hand-pouring soy candles to create some of our favorite scents. These include Coffee House which is infused with the scent of freshly ground coffee beans, sweet cream and hazelnut, Rare Book Room which gives off the scent of cedarwood, leather and vanilla, and Campfire which smells just like a summer campfire. The stylish candles even say, “Hand-poured in Ypsilanti, MI” right on the front! To learn more about Bookend Candle Co., you can follow them on Instagram here.

 

Caravan Gift Shop

Retail location at 1 Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor

A landmark of the historic Nickels Arcade, Caravan Gift Shop has been an Ann Arbor shopping destination for more than 90 years! Their charming and eclectic shop is the perfect place to find globally inspired and globally sourced goods, including handcrafted jewelry, unique cards and paper goods, handcrafted wallets, watches, home decor and more.

 

Cherry Republic

Retail location at 223 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Cherry Republic is a Michigan business dedicated to Michigan’s Montmorency Tart Cherry and all the delectable products it can help to create. Their inventory boasts more than 200 cherry-based products like chocolate-covered cherries, BBQ sauces, jams, jellies, salsas, nut mixes, ice cream toppings, baked goods, condiments, soda pop, cherry wine and cherry beer. To shop online, click here, or stop by the retail shops in Glen Arbor, Traverse City, Holland, Frankenmuth, Charlevoix and right here in Ann Arbor.

 

FOUND Gallery

Retail location at 415 N 5th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Perfectly merging vintage and modern, FOUND offers a mix of home decor, pillows, rugs, textiles, candles, jewelry and gifts. And many of those goods are made right here in Michigan by local artisans! Their brick and mortar location is in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district, but you can also shop much of their inventory online here.

 

Le Bon Macaron

Retail location at 209 S 4th Ave in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

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. If you stop in the store, you can get French press coffee and espresso, fresh scones, ice cream sundaes, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous. But, you can also shop online for Le Bon merchandise and customizable macaron boxes! Check out the online shop here.

 

Literati Bookstore

Retail location at 124 E Washington St in Ann Arbor | Online store

The perfect place to experience our hometown’s book culture, Literati is a locally owned and operated book-lovers’ haven in Downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, you’ll find the bookstore, and upstairs, they operate a full-service coffee shop called Literati Coffee. In the bookstore, you’ll find the team’s famous public typewriter open to the public for typing messages. Over the years, they’ve accumulated thousands of these love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, “Notes From A Public Typewriter” compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more, and this book is the perfect addition to any Ann Arbor gift basket! You can learn more about it and purchase it online here.

 

The M Den

Six retail locations | Online store

The M Den is the official retailer of Michigan Athletics, which means you can find branded clothing for women, men and kids, Michigan Nike products, hats, furniture and home decor, autographed memorabilia, toys, jewelry, pet accessories and more. You can shop online here or stop by one of five Ann Arbor locations to shop in person.

 

Rock Paper Scissors

Retail location at 216 S Main St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Rock Paper Scissors

Located on Main Street in Ann Arbor, Rock Paper Scissors is a paper goods and gift store. In addition to their huge selection of personalized stationery and cards, they carry a variety of fun and funny gifts: mugs, glasses, books, candles, balms, cocktail mixers, keychains, decor and more. To shop online, click here.

 

RoosRoast

Retail locations at 1155 Rosewood St and 117 E Liberty St in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Laura Garbarz via RoosRoast

RoosRoast is hands down one of the best coffee roasters in Michigan and word of this has reached as far as Portland, San Francisco and Manhattan. With their Loring Smart Roaster, they use 80 percent less energy than similar roasters and still create outstanding coffees (have you tasted Lobster Butter Love?). RoosRoast has received several accolades, including the best coffee shop in Washtenaw County, the number one coffee shop in Southeast Michigan and more. If you can’t stop by their two Ann Arbor locations, you can shop coffee, tea and merchandise online here.

To find more local roasters, check out The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor.

 

Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Three retail locations

One of the region’s best wineries, Sandhill Crane operates a year-round tasting room in Jackson and the Cider Mill Tasting Room in Dexter during apple season. Made in small batches right on the premises, the tasting lineup includes well-balanced acidic white wines, rich reds, flavorful fruit wines and delicious dessert wines. Upon visiting, you can enjoy tastings, schedule a winery tour and purchase bottles for yourself and your gift basket.

To find even more regional wineries, check out The 14 Essential Wineries to Visit Near Ann Arbor.

 

True North Jerky and Foods

Retail location at 12855 E Old US Hwy 12 in Chelsea | Online store

If you need a little snack in your gift basket, check out True North, a locally owned and operated specialty meat shop in Chelsea. In store, you can shop smoked meats and fish, handmade sausages, bratwurst, burger patties, hand cut steaks and more. And their jerky, award-winning snack sticks, hot sauces and specialty cheeses are perfect additions to show off true Michigan flavor. To shop more than 25 different jerky flavors online, click here.

 

Ypsilicious

Online store

This Ypsi-inspired Etsy shop is the online destination for all things Ypsilanti. These mugs, tops, towels, tags, posters and cards feature tons of local character and plenty of Ypsilanti Water Tower jokes. You can even buy a customizable, handmade Ypsi Water Tower piñata! But if that won’t fit in your basket, maybe think about a “Greetings from Ypsi” whiskey tumbler; check it out here.

 

Zingerman’s Creamery

Retail location at 3723 Plaza Dr in Ann Arbor | Online store

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Creamery

Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is an icon of Ann Arbor. Their story started with a small deli opened in 1982 and has grown into a community of more than 10 different local businesses all located right here in the Ann Arbor area. At the creamery, they create handmade, full-flavored cheeses and gelati using traditional methods and the highest quality milk sourced from small-scale, regional farmers. At the Cream Top Shop, you can taste cheeses, gelato and sorbet and take home the perfect, cheesy addition to any gift basket. To order online, check out Zingerman’s Mail Order here. And to learn more about all the businesses, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.

 

Do you have a gift basket idea?

Tell us where you’re shopping in the comments below!

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The List to Send Your Friends When They Ask What to Do in Ann Arbor

Kerrytown fun things to do in Ann Arbor

So, you have friends or family coming into town and you’ve suddenly forgotten everything there is to do in Ann Arbor. We’ve all been there. But luckily, there’s plenty to do in our charming little town. And with this guide, you now have a curated list to send that covers student culture, local food, townie favorites, educational experiences, music, film and books, outdoor exploration, craft beer and more.

Other helpful guides include Where to Take Out of Town Guests in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Spending a Day in Downtown Ann Arbor, Mapped. Enjoy!

 

1. Go shopping in Kerrytown.

Kerrytown is a charming market district located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. Here, you’ll find the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, other annual events like Kerrytown KindleFest, beloved restaurants like Miss Kim and The Lunch Room, as well as local shops 16 Hands, Ann Arbor Spice Merchants, Spun and more.

 

2. Get ice cream at Washtenaw Dairy.

This landmark shop has the biggest cones in town at the lowest prices, and they also serve up homemade donuts and donut minis! With more than 30 ice cream flavors, hand-dipped shakes and malts, everyone can find a cold, refreshing treat to enjoy. Follow the team on Instagram and get ready to drool.

To track down more local ice cream, check out The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

3. Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Natural History fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian via University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The U-M Museum of Natural History story begins all the way back in 1837 when the university was created, but the first museum building wasn’t constructed until 1881. In April 2019, the museum celebrated its most recent grand reopening after a move into the brand new Biological Sciences Building, part of the U-M School of Literature, Sciences and the Arts. Today, the constantly expanding exhibits include interactive displays about mastodons and prehistoric whales, multimedia artwork, the evolution of life on Earth, space exploration and more. You can even see the museum staff at work in the Fossil Prep Lab! For more information on your visit, click here. And remember, admission to the museum is free, but donations are always accepted.

 

4. See a show at The Ark.

The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music and has been since it was founded in 1965 by four area churches. Today, the venue offers more than 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought huge acts like Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.

And for even more music-centric activities, check out The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor.

 

5. Catch a movie at The Michigan Theater.

The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball—and we’re so glad it was. Originally founded in 1928, the theater is now home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. You can check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here. Or, head over to the historic State Theatre for even more movies and shows!

 

6. Eat at Fleetwood Diner.

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

 

7. Sip beer at Bill’s Beer Garden.

Bill's Beer Garden fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Bill’s Beer Garden

Open seasonally March through October, Bill’s Beer Garden is a community gathering place that offers an impressive lineup of Michigan, domestic and imported craft beers and wines. Located right next door to Downtown Home & Garden, the outdoor beer garden has long, communal tables and shaded areas for gathering with friends. Follow the team on Instagram here to get updates on weather closures and special events.

And if you’re visiting outside of the Bill’s Beer Garden season, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area to learn more about our town’s best craft breweries.

 

8. Type on the typewriter at Literati Bookstore.

Literati Bookstore fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

Literati Bookstore is a locally owned and operated book-lovers’ haven in downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, you’ll find the bookstore and the team’s famous public typewriter which invites anyone and everyone to type a message. Over the years, they’ve accumulated thousands of love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, “Notes From A Public Typewriter” compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more. Stop by to shop local for books, type your own notes on the Literati public typewriter, then head upstairs to visit Literati Coffee, a full-service coffee shop.  

If you need more books during your visit, check out Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped.

 

9. Order sangria at Dominick’s.

Dominick’s is famous for their potent sangria, their Italian-inspired eats and, of course, their patio! Since opening in 1960, this locally owned spot has been the go-to for locals, students, families, you name it! Swing by the patio on a sunny summer day and you’ll quickly find out why.

 

10. Get a sandwich at Zingerman’s Deli.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen was the first business to open in what is now the famous Zingerman’s Company of Businesses, and it opened all the way back in 1982 with a staff of just two people. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but the menu and the staff have grown astronomically. That menu features some of the best sandwiches you can get in the state of Michigan alongside other creations—some of which are made at the other Zingerman’s businesses around town. Right next door to the deli, you’ll find Next Door Dessert & Coffee House where you can order cakes, pies, cupcakes, gelato, cookies, brownies, chocolates, candies and more.

To track down all the Zingerman’s businesses in the area (including bakeries, coffee roasters, creameries and restaurants), check Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.

 

11. Go kayaking on the Huron River.

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you visited Ann Arbor and you didn’t see the Huron River, did you even visit Ann Arbor? Well, maybe, because this picturesque river is pretty hard to miss. One of the area’s favorite outdoor activities is kayaking and canoeing on the water and resources like the Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery make it easy to do. For full details on where to go and what you need, you can read The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor.

 

12. Explore the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

One of the most obvious attractions in Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan campus, but you can do a lot more on campus than just people watch in The Diag. For example, the University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the country! Their collections represent 150 years of art collecting and include everything from 1000 BCE Middle Eastern artifacts to 21st-century paintings. Admission to the museum is always free, but a $10 donation is also appreciated. Get full details and plan your visit here.

 

13. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental gardens located on the U-M campus. The botanical gardens include 11 outdoor spaces full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more which bloom seasonally from spring to the first frost. During the colder months, you can head inside to the year-round conservatory which is filled with plants from around the world.

The second area, Nichols Arboretum, is one of the richest landscapes in the region. It spans miles of trails and land with collections of native and exotic trees and shrubs crafted into a landscape that was originally started by O. C. Simonds in 1907. To see visiting information on both the gardens and the arboretum, click here.

 

14. Go to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market.

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is open year-round on Saturdays, and during the summer, you can enjoy it twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays! From May through October, they also host six food truck rallies scheduled on the first Wednesday of the month. It’s a great place to get a sense for our Ann Arbor community and to get a little local shopping done.

 

15. Spend a day in Ypsilanti.

Located directly southeast of Ann Arbor along the Huron River, Ypsilanti represents some of Michigan’s best and most interesting hidden gems, including dining destinations, outdoor recreation, historic attractions, craft breweries and events. To begin your exploration of this charming community, check out Your Ultimate Guide to Ypsilanti, Michigan.

 

Want to add something to the itinerary?

Tell us about your essential Ann Arbor activities in the comments below!

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Your Guide to Fishing in the Ann Arbor Area

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The state of Michigan is made up of more than 40 percent water. Here in Southeast Michigan, much of that acreage is the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and most accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan. And where there’s water, there’s fishing!

In this guide, we’re focusing our attention on the basics of fishing in the Ann Arbor area: what to know before you go, where to cast your reel, how to learn, and where to find communities of like-minded fishers. Enjoy!

 

BEFORE YOU GO

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The most important things to have before you embark on your fishing adventures are a fishing license and the right equipment—and both are easy to get if you know where to go!

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers fishing licenses to both residents and nonresidents. Options include an annual license, a discounted pass for seniors, a 72-hour license and a 24-hour license for different prices. Anyone under 17 years of age can fish without a license, and licenses are available to residents online. For all the information and online purchases, click here.

The Michigan DNR also publishes a Weekly Fishing Report covering conditions around the state and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services publishes Eat Safe Fish Guides so you know what to catch and eat safely.

To get the right equipment, we recommend heading to a local shop where you’ll meet fishing guides and experts who have been fishing here for years. Schultz Outfitters is one of the most popular options, and they’re located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town. In their brick and mortar shop, you’ll find fly fishing gear and fly tying supplies, but they’re also the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter!

The Painted Trout is another great, locally owned option in Dexter. They are a fully stocked outfitter shop with a focus on field sports, sporting dogs and fly fishing so you can get everything you need, from clothing to fishing rods and everything in between.

 

 

WHERE TO GO

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for water sports like kayaking and fishing is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for fishing, it’s not the only place where you can practice your casting!

 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

A haven for all kinds of outdoor recreation throughout the year, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system is made up of 13 parks which cover more than 25,000 acres in five different counties of Southeast Michigan. Of those parks, 11 offer fishing and/or ice fishing, including Delhi Metropark in Ann Arbor, Dexter-Huron Metropark and Hudson Mills Metropark is Dexter, Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton and more. For more information on all the fishing opportunities in these parks, click here.

 

Spring Valley Trout Farm

Spring Valley sits on 20 acres of carefully maintained grounds in a private, park setting. Their facility offers nine spring-fed ponds at least one-half acre or larger, two covered picnic pavilions, a children’s play area, and an authentic American log cabin. Especially ideal for kids and beginners, Spring Valley Trout Farm offers wheelchair accessibility and a family atmosphere, and their pollution-free ponds are stocked weekly with fish grown right on the farm.

 

Argo Nature Area

Argo Park, home to Argo Park Canoe and Kayak Livery, is a great place for water sports of all kinds on the Huron River, and it’s located right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Fly fishers can catch carp along the eastern embankment that forms part of the Argo Dam and it’s the closest fishing site to Downtown Ann Arbor! For more fishing tips, we recommend heading to the livery where you can also rent paddle boats. To get more info on the facility and fishing programs, click here.

 

Gallup Park

Gallup Park also offers boat rentals, expert tips and special programs through their Gallup Park Canoe and Kayak Livery. With a total of 69 acres along the Huron River and Geddes Pond, fishers have plenty of opportunities to cast, whether on the shore, from the pier or in a boat.

 

Olson Park

Olson Park is a popular choice in Ann Arbor for pond fishing. The 54-acre parcel is centered around a creek and pond with its own fishing dock, and the area is maintained by the City of Ann Arbor and the County Drain Commissioner.

 

Lillie Park

Lillie Park in Pittsfield Township boasts 148 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities, including a pond with two fishing docks and the picturesque Haven Lake.  

 

 

HOW TO LEARN

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you’re a beginner when it comes to casting, tying your own flies or just fishing in general, a local shop or club is a great place to start your education. Many even offer dedicated classes for beginners and advanced students!

 

Schultz Outfitters

In addition to selling all the necessary gear, Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti is the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter. Their offerings include guide trips and destination travel as well as classes and events which include beginner and advanced fly tying workshops and the full spectrum of casting instruction.

 

The Painted Trout

The Painted Trout in Dexter is a fully stocked outfitter shop and their team also offers classes and lessons for various levels of experience. Their fishing courses include group fly fishing classes for beginners both in the classroom and on the water, private lessons in beginner and advanced casting, and more. To see the full lineup, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited

The mission of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect and restore Michigan’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds, including our own Huron River. As a chapter of Trout Unlimited, they offer education and community focused around fishing and coldwater fisheries. For more information of meetings, programs and membership, click here.

 

Huron River Fishing Association

Based in Flat Rock along the Huron River and near Lake Erie, the Huron River Fishing Association is an affiliate of Michigan United Conservation Club and organizes tournaments, holds meetings and hosts members-only events throughout the year. Dedicated to both fishing and conservation, HRFA hosts two monthly meetings and monthly fly tying groups at Flat Rock Community Center. For more information, click here.

 

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS?

If you love fishing in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!

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