With a combined population of about 74,000, Ypsilanti and adjacent Ypsilanti Township represent some of Michigan’s best and most interesting hidden gems, including dining destinations, outdoor recreation, historic attractions, craft breweries and events.
Throughout its history and continued today, this town has played an important role in the development of the automobile and the community has served as a driving force in national aviation technology. Several of our favorite local attractions and events showcase these stories which have been brought to us from the 1920s and World War II.
Further hallmarks of the town’s history include Eastern Michigan University which is located in town, 12 parks in the city and another 30 in the township, and some of the region’s best events encompassing everything from Elvis to motorcycles and orphan cars.
Keep reading to find out what you need to see, where you need to eat and what you need to do in Ypsilanti.
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 of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, and that’s just one of the reasons we recommend stopping by.
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. And these approachable, gourmet eats cater to all kinds of diets, including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores.
Any place that has Fried Chicken Tacos and Churro Biscuit Donuts on the menu is worth a visit. At Ma Lou’s, a small, counter-serve spot, they offer both and serve them alongside some of the best fried chicken in the state. Come for the chicken, stay for the wings, and don’t leave without dessert.
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.
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.
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 soups, whip up fresh, homemade salad dressings, bake hot, fresh bread and prepare everything with a local sensibility and local products from nearby vendors and farmers.
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 it’s made with ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, too!
Both a coffee roaster and a craft brewery, Cultivate is one of our favorite hangouts in town. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” you’ll find some of the area’s best beverages served alongside regular community events, fun series and philanthropic support of worthy causes.
When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. On a trip to Belgium, the couple was further inspired to innovate and they brought the first sour program of its kind to the state of Michigan. Today, they operate the Ann Arbor brewpub and Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, a casual hangout for craft beer, board games, events and food.
In 1927, Carl L. Miller opened this Hudson Sales and Service franchise as an automobile dealership and repair shop. After a merger and the discontinuation of the Hudson line, the fate of the shop was in jeopardy, but Carl’s son Jack continued Miller Motors by selling Hudson parts and cars until the museum was founded. Thus preserving the dealership’s authentic condition, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum was opened in 1995 and now hosts some of the region’s best car shows and events, including the Show & Shine Car Show, the Orphan Car Show and the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Car Show.
Housed inside a restored firehouse, the Michigan Firehouse Museum covers more than 26,000 square feet; this includes the original 1898 firehouse and a modern, multilevel exhibit display area. Here, they display 25 changing exhibits, including antique fire trucks and early fire rigs, multiple displays of historic artifacts and the largest collection of fire truck bells in the country.
Yankee Air Museum is an aviation, aerospace and science museum located at Willow Run Airport just a few minutes outside of Ypsilanti. Exhibits offer hands-on experiences and insights into World War I and World War II, Willow Run and Rosie the Riveter, The Vietnam War, aircraft restoration and so much more.
Dreamland Theater is unlike any other theater in Michigan. This small, non-profit puppet theater and community space is located in downtown Ypsilanti and offers classes and performances in puppetry, theater, music, independent film and other arts. To find out what’s going on right now at Dreamland, check out their Facebook page here.
The Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra story begins after Ypsi Pride Day in 1998 when two friends discussed the idea that our local musicians needed a community to develop their skills and our community needed an avenue to enjoy orchestral music. Soon after, a small group of friends and musicians gathered at Abe’s Coney Island to plan and the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1999. Today, they host several concert events throughout the year at Towsley Auditorium on the Washtenaw Community College campus.
Operating for more than 180 years and open every fall, Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard offers u-pick apples, a u-pick pumpkin patch, delicious cider, a corn maze and haunted thrill park, mini golf, hayrides, and more. Throughout the months of September and October, Ypsi locals, Ann Arbor locals and Michiganders from all over the state flock to the orchard for both spooky haunts and family fun.
Maintained by Washtenaw County, Rolling Hills County Park encompasses 439 acres and represents one of the most recreational diverse destinations in the county. And it’s one of the most popular places to visit during the summer thanks to the Rolling Hills Water Park! Other attractions include walking trails, a fishing pond, a playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, sports fields and horseshoe pits.
Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. When you’re not fishing, dog walking, picnicking or sunbathing, we recommend heading to the park for one of Ypsi’s best annual events, including ElvisFest, Michigan Summer Beer Festival and the Orphan Car Show.
Developed in partnership with Huron River Greenway, the Border-to-Border Trail is a non-motorized pathway that connects cities, parks, neighborhoods and trails throughout Washtenaw County. Eventually, the trail will span 70 total miles. And a section of those miles already connects Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor and even on to Dexter and Chelsea.
First Friday in Ypsilanti is a self-guided monthly art walk hosted at multiple venues throughout downtown Ypsi. When you participate, you can explore our community’s local businesses and enjoy free art activities, presentations and tastings.
This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Ypsilanti organization Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 5K/10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. Registration includes a celebratory lunch and all the proceeds benefit Dawn Farm. For more information on this year’s event, click here.
Ypsilanti Proud began as a class project by the 1995 graduating class of Leadership Ypsilanti. Now a community celebration for more than 20 years, the event fosters community pride and encourages local business growth through simple beautification projects. Join more than 500 volunteers for this year’s event and you can help clean up litter, paint and plant flowers. For more information, click here.
Each year, Depot Town honors Independence Day with Michigan’s oldest parade. This tradition has been going strong and growing for nearly a century and fills our streets with patriotism, red, white and blue every July.
The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the Summer Beer Festival hosts more than 100 local breweries sampling more than 1,000 different craft beers. Guests can also enjoy live music from Michigan bands and food available for purchase. This event takes place every summer in July or August.
Ton-Up Motorcycle and Music Festival has been an Ypsi tradition for a decade now. Serving to promote and educate the public about the art, science and history of the motorcycle, motorcycle safety, and awesome music, this one-day event brings vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to Arbor Brewing Company’s Corner Brewery and also adds plenty of local music and tons of fun.
An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, the event features unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists.
Each year, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival gets bigger and better than ever before. In past years, they’ve had two stages in the music, entertainment and beer tent, local arts and crafts vendors, a juried competition, a Magical History Tour, a children’s entertainment area, and so much more! To stay up-to-date on everything coming this year, follow the team on Facebook.
Presented by Wayne County Airport Authority at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event brings the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show features presentations from Team Oracle and Quicksilver P-51D as well and is a celebration of our region’s important aircraft history.
From the same team that brings FestiFools and FoolMoon to Ann Arbor 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 in October for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art.
Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens.
This history has cultivated some of the most important organizations serving our communities, too! For example, Food Gatherers runs a Plant-A-Row program which invites gardeners anywhere to grow extra food for community food pantries. A few community gardens even have designated areas for Plant-A-Row and Food Gatherers.
We the People Growers Association is another force behind urban farming in Washtenaw County. This local farm business was founded by Melvin Parson, the man behind several community gardens in the area, and is working to build the We the People Opportunity Center, a world-class, nonprofit, urban farm in Ypsilanti. To find out how you can help, follow the team on Facebook here.
If you want to grow your own food, build community and help our local organizations, gardening is one of the best ways to do it. And while community gardens are great settings, these plots aren’t always easy to find. To help you find your new gardening home, we rounded up more than 35 community gardens operated by volunteers and organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.
Keep reading to learn more about each garden or organization, and keep in mind some sections have information on more than one garden site. Happy planting!
Project Grow is one of the driving forces behind urban farming and community gardens in the Ann Arbor area. This organization operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park. On the list, you’ll also find three different Discovery Gardens which offer raised beds for limited mobility gardeners. To see the full list, click here.
The Pittsfield Township Master Plan includes initiatives to increase local food availability and their first community garden is working to do just that. Open Spring 2019, the Community Garden at Prairie Park will feature more than 15 different beds, six of which are located on an ADA Accessible surface. Other on-site materials include compost bins, an equipment shed, a pollinator garden and rain barrels. For more information on reserving your plot, click here.
The community garden at Frog Island Park is maintained by the adjacent neighborhoods at the north end, and plots are available to rent on a sliding scale. Open to all residents of the City of Ypsilanti and all skill levels, gardeners are welcome to grow both vegetable and flowers. For more information, check out the group, Frog Island Community Garden (FICG)on Facebook.
Parkridge Community Garden | Ypsilanti
Developed and maintained on city-owned land next to Parkridge Community Center, the Parkridge Community Garden is a hidden gem in Ypsilanti operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and community members. To find out how you can help cultivate the garden and when you can attend special events, join the group on Facebook here.
With assistance from Growing Hope and nearby neighborhoods, Normal Park Neighborhood Association developed three community gardens around Ypsi, including Recreation Park Community Garden, West Middle School Community Garden and Midtown Community Garden, which was developed with the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Plots in these gardens are available through registration and are open to all skill levels for planting organic fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The Chelsea Community Garden at Timber Town Park has plots available by reservation so residents can grow their own organic vegetables and flowers. And as a gardener in this tight-knit community, your household is expected to contribute at least six hours per plot in the gardening season to help with composting, mowing, weeding, administrative duties and more. For full details, click here.
Dexter’s community garden is located at 7651 Dan Hoey Road and plots are assigned to residents on a first come, first served basis. They offer three different sizes and types of plots, which you can reserve here.
Gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes
The University of Michigan has several gardens on campus, including the Campus Farm available to students and interns. Many of these gardens aren’t open to community members, but the Help Yourself Garden at the School of Dentistry is open to everyone! Begun in 2014 as a community resource, the garden is maintained by staff, students and faculty from the School of Dentistry. Anyone walking by is welcome to plant, water and weed, take photos, and even harvest your own veggies to take home. For more information, click here.
This community garden began at the Washtenaw County Youth Center in 2008 by local celebrity Lisa Gottlieb. Today, the garden is directed and guided by a group of Washtenaw County Master Gardeners and community volunteers, but students do all the planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. Together, they grow more than 40 types of vegetables and 10 herbs.
Ypsilanti District Library maintains gardens at YDL-Whittaker, YDL-Michigan and YDL-Superior. These include a community vegetable garden, The Learning Garden and a pollinator garden developed specially for bees. Through these gardens, you can learn about growing and cultivating your own garden. The Learning Garden welcomes any aspiring gardeners to lend a hand and learn. Additionally, fresh produce is given away to library visitors during the growing season!
The Seed Library is another great resource for local gardeners at Ypsilanti District Library. Available to anyone at YDL-Whittaker and YDL-Michigan with or without a library card, this library is a collection of seeds that anyone can take from and contribute to.
The land that is now home to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was once a family farm, and in 2010, they honored that history by breaking ground on one of the first hospital-based farms in the United States. Today, The Farm serves both as a staff community garden and as a tool for hospital patients and the community to learn, heal and eat locally grown food. If you want to taste the food for yourself, stop by the farmers market that pops up in the main lobby every Wednesday. To learn more about the educational opportunities and facilities on-site, click here.
Growing Hope is a local organization that serves to improve our lives and our communities through gardening and through increased access to healthy food. The Growing Hope Urban Farm began with just 1.5 acres in 2008 and has grown into a community gathering space, educational facility and setting where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish. To get hands-on at the farm, check out Growing Hops events here which include Farm & Garden Volunteer Days, cleanup days, special celebrations and more.
This farm is located on 64 acres of the Dawn Farm property in Ypsi. When it began, the program served to put the land to better use and that mission has grown into a beautiful cooperative of varied growers, farmers and stewards who have built the perfect setting for flower growing, beekeeping, vegetable harvesting and even sheep raising. Currently, the land is home to an eight-acre food forest, bees, personal gardens, a market garden and Project Mow which is a sheep lawn mowing service. And the member program is driven by a gift and service system rather than a monetary one. Each member is encouraged to give back to Dawn Farm in an appropriate way of their own choosing, whether it’s through homegrown food, education, system design, community outreach or something else. To stay up-to-date on Cooperative events, follow the team on Facebook here.
If we missed your favorite community garden, tell us about it in the comments below.
Good news, Ann Arbor. Spring is officially here! To welcome the new season, our community is hosting Earth Day celebrations, seasonal expositions and some of our favorite annual events (looking at you, FoolMoon!).
We rounded up the essential events happening throughout the Ann Arbor area this month, so you can celebrate Easter, Earth Day and more. Enjoy!
Michigan State University is hosting a science festival during the month of April with events on campus in East Lansing and all around the state. Here in the Ann Arbor area, you can join in the educational fun at events at Sherzer Observatory on the Eastern Michigan University campus, at Yankee Air Museum, and even in Detroit. To see the full schedule of events, click here.
April 13, 6:30 p.m. | North Campus Research Complex, Building 18
On Saturday, April 13th, the UMS Ambassadors, UMS Board Chair and UMS Cabaret founder Sarah Nicoli are celebrating with an evening of food, fun and show tunes provided by University of Michigan musical theater students and alumni. The best part is all proceeds support UMS K-12 Education programming! For tickets, click here.
April 13 – 14, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Once during the spring and again during the fall, the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds are filled with fiber products of all kinds. Come by to shop, learn and meet makers of wool, linen and cotton crafts, see real alpacas and more! Children 12 years and under are admitted for free, while adults pay just $4 cash for one day or $6 for two.
Considered one of the community’s favorite annual events, FoolMoon is the nighttime kick-off event to a very foolish weekend hosted by Wonderfool Productions. This year, the celebration is taking place in Kerrytown at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but it will still have all the dancing, laughing and luminaries we’ve come to love. Other attractions include interactive installations, laser shows, live performances, DJs and a beer tent. You can even make your own luminary at several workshops in advance. For details, follow the Wonderfool Productions team on Facebook here.
FestiFools is Wonderfool Productions’ daytime event of foolishness and art. The enormous public art spectacular showcases creations made by members of the community and U-M students. You can make your own puppet or come down to Main Street to watch the procession of colorful, bizarre, human-powered paper-mâché creations for an entire hour of fun!
April 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:40 p.m. | Saline Recreation Center
Saline Recreation’s SpringFest is a family-friendly event packed with spring and Easter-themed fun. During the event, you can join in the egg hunt with your own basket, have lunch with Mr. Bunny, meander the Hippity Hop Trail, and dive in the leisure pool for the Egg Dive. For full event details, check out the event on Facebook here.
April 28, 12 – 4 p.m. | Leslie Science & Nature Center
The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is an annual celebration hosted by the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival Planning Committee, a coalition of local environmental nonprofits and agencies, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. At this free, family-friendly event, guests can enjoy displays from 40 local organizations, live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, live entertainment and much more.
This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. There will also be a Farm Fun 5K Run/Walk, and a celebratory lunch will be provided after the races. Family members not participating are asked to register for the $5 lunch only option so there is enough food for everyone. You can register for all the options online here.
HopCat Ann Arbor is teaming up with California’s Lagunitas Brewing Co. for an epic beer pairing dinner this April. The event will feature five beers and four courses made with locally sourced ingredients in the HopCat kitchen.
The local restaurant inside The Kensington Hotel, rel-ish, is celebrating on April 26th with a specially paired, five-course dinner. Two James Spirits is the first licensed distillery in the city of Detroit since Prohibition, and their contributions to the event include artisanal gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and absinthe. For full menu details and tickets, click here.
Want to submit your next event for our monthly guide? Send us an email at ReinhartPR@booj.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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 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!
Q. Can you describe the architectural style of the home?
Executive ranch style home with attached 14 x16 sunroom on a beautiful 1.33 acre parcel.
Q. What distinctive features set this home apart?
Beautiful custom-built by Kelly Construction with over 3100 sq. ft. of finished living space. 3 car attached garage with epoxy flooring & built-in work bench, added cabinetry, service sink with hot and cold water.
Q. Have there been any recent renovations or upgrades?
Just 3 ½ years old this home has numerous upgrades. Fabulous kitchen with upgraded cabinetry, soft close cabinets and drawers, walk-in pantry, ceramic tiled flooring, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops. Formal dining room with French doors could also be used as a study.
Q. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood?
Country subdivision just minutes to downtown Saline, expressways and shopping. Enjoy the best of both worlds having the country in your backyard and all the serenity that brings, all while still on paved roads and close to town!
Q. Does the community have any amenities we should know about?
Amazing country subdivision offers one plus acre lots. Private Lake Ella Lee is perfect for the kids to enjoy skating and fishing.
Q. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy?
The new owners will love watching the stunning sunsets while sitting in the sunroom overlooking spacious 1.33 acres. The yard has a manicured lawn and professional landscaping with a private tree line.
Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about the home?
Great open floor plan, perfect for entertaining. Finished lower level includes a wonderful mancave. Sellers are willing to leave the pool table.
Q. What makes the price of this home so great?
Loads of custom features in this energy efficient home. Numerous upgrades: Andersen windows, granite throughout entire home, finished basement with kitchenette, full bath, family room. Also, additional room with egress window to create a 4th bedroom. Energy efficient furnace and hot water heater. Set-up for a whole house generator system.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home?
This home offers community water and sewer. Kids attend award winning Saline Schools. Low York Township taxes. It has an extra wide extended driveway.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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!
Ann Arbor is a book town, a college town, a quirky town, an artsy town and a music town all rolled into one. And that collection of cultures and characters makes our hometown one of the best places to explore the arts.
Music lovers can do that through live shows at local venues, visiting indie record stores, and attending annual, music-centered events. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, keep reading to find the best places and occasions for all three!
An intimate 110 seat venue, Kerrytown Concert House is a nonprofit organization focused on community engagement and providing audiences with fine art, from live music to gallery exhibitions. Inside their historic home-turned-venue, you can attend affordable events in various genres; check out the event calendar here.
The Blind Pig is the locals’ choice for live music almost every night of the week. This quirky bar and music venue hosts everything from punk and folk to comedy and karaoke. Check out the calendar online here and you can buy your tickets in advance if needed.
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 over 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.
The historic Michigan Theater was founded in 1928, then the Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball. Today, the theater is home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. Check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here.
The B-Side began back in 1999 in the original location of local Ann Arbor organization Neutral Zone. As the program grew, they moved up the street to 310 E. Washington and increased their audience capacity to over 400. Today, the all-ages concert venue hosts everything from touring hip-hop acts to teen hardcore bands to local folk singers, and every show is booked and promoted by teens through Neutral Zone. You can learn more about Neutral Zone in 23 Local Charities in the Ann Arbor Area and How You Can Help.
Johnny’s Speakeasy calls itself one of the worst kept secrets in Ann Arbor. The small, intimate venue hosts a range of genres and just a limited number of house concerts each year. To stay up-to-date on this year’s shows, follow the team on Facebook here.
A program of the University of Michigan, UMS has been around since 1879 and offers more than 60 performances each year. Today, they host events throughout the year in six different theaters and venues: Hill Auditorium, Rackham Auditorium, Power Center, Michigan Theater, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. To get information on their current season, click here.
Located just minutes from Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti, Ziggy’s is a downtown music venue, bar, coffeehouse and arcade. Hosting a range of local acts alongside small, touring artists, you can attend fundraisers, music shows, parties and so much more. Follow the team on Facebook here to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.
Wazoo is Ann Arbor’s headquarters for both new releases and old collections. Their inventory of new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, VHS and cassette tapes are displayed in an organized and tidy way that makes shopping fun for record diggers and casual music lovers alike.
Encore Records buys and sells various types of records, tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, sheet music, books on music and musicians, and memorabilia. If you’re selling, you can come in without an appointment during buying hours which are available every day of the week. To shop, you can come in and enjoy the curated collection of both new and used merchandise. To preview their inventory and shop online, click here.
Underground Sounds began as That Total Age in 1993 in Ypsilanti. Then, they became Vinyl Joe’s Coffee & Records in 1995 before moving to Downtown Ann Arbor and becoming Underground Sounds in 2001. They specialize in new release vinyl and compact discs and sell them below list price. You can preview their inventory and shop online here.
Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, began in 1977 and is now one of Ann Arbor’s most anticipated events. Over the course of two days, Hill Auditorium hosts the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov, Rufus Wainwright, Haley Heynderickx, Brandi Carlile and more. Tickets are available for single nights and both nights, and you can get more information here.
Edgefest began in 1997 as a single day event and has grown into a four-day festival that includes collaborations and educational outreach. Hosted by Kerrytown Concert House, the event is focused on avant-garde jazz and creative new music performed by artists from the United States and around the globe.
Photo courtesy of Leisa Thompson Photography via Sonic Lunch
Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets Ann Arbor every summer. The free, outdoor concerts take place at the corner of Liberty and Division in Downtown Ann Arbor every Thursday during the season from 12 to 1:30 p.m. For more information on this year’s series, click here.
In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. Continuing the tradition, the festival takes place every August at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds. Today, the festival is celebrated as North America’s first electric blues festival and the team is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019. To get information on this year’s event, click here.
This weekend festival began over three decades ago in Chelsea and has grown to be one of the best summer events in the region. Over two days and three nights, you can experience live music, an indie art market, kids’ entertainment, a classic car show and more in historic Downtown Chelsea.
Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The event features multiple different bands each day, including special guests! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground. And you can learn more here.
Do you love local music?
Tell us all about your favorite venues, events, music memories and local bands in the comments below.
Q. Can you describe the architectural style of the home? A simple ranch on a crawl space, easy living all on one level.
Q. What distinctive features set this home apart? A three-car detached garage is a rare find in this neighborhood. It also has a whole-house generator and a fold-up dock system that’s easy to put in and out seasonally.
Q. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood? Frontage on an all-sports lake and there is also a public lakefront park located just down the shore with play structures, fields, and a swimming beach.
Q. Have there been any recent renovations or upgrades? The home’s furnace and air conditioning are new.
Q. Does the community have any amenities we should know about? The home is one block down from a local business district, so despite being on a lakefront it’s easy to get to the local restaurants and grocery stores as well as the nearby medical center.
Q. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy? Vandercook Lake is beautiful. The home sits on the northeast corner of the lake so sunsets over the water are particularly lovely.
Q. What makes the price of this home so great? The combination of frontage, features and easy one-level living are hard to find at this price most places.
Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about the home? The power-extending awning on the large porch has a built-in wind sensor so it retracts itself when wind damage might occur.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home? It’s easy to show and is well suited as a year round home or a summer cottage.
If you’re not from Ann Arbor, you may be wondering how our hometown consistently lands on coffee rankings with famous coffee cities like Portland, San Francisco and Berkeley. In Apartment Guide’s 2019 ranking, The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America, they measured the number of coffee businesses per resident, from the coffee shops to the roasteries themselves. And Ann Arbor ranks on the list with much larger cities all over the country.
If you’ve spent any time in Ann Arbor, you’ve probably sampled some of those roasteries and shops yourself. So we’re guessing you get it. Our city loves coffee.
Today, we’re rounding up the roasters that have put our region on the map. They’re roasting in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Milan, and many are selling online, too, so you can get your favorite coffees delivered right to your door.
Coffee Express was one of the first businesses outside of New York and San Francisco to focus on craft coffee. In 1982, founder Tom Isaia and his team started what is now an impressive roast-to-order system. They select the most distinctive Arabica coffees from around the world, then roast them fresh and distribute to food markets, specialty shops and coffee houses throughout the region. You can’t order online, but keep an eye out for Coffee Express while you’re shopping at your favorite grocery stores!
In early 2017, Ypsilanti’s Ugly Mug Coffee changed its name to Cross Street Coffee and upgraded their building, but they’re still roasting and serving the coffee we’ve come to love. Inside the full-service shop and roastery, you can get those coffees brewed fresh and you can purchase bags of beans to take home. Each one is filled with freshly roasted coffee made in small batches.
This coffee bar and tap house is a favorite in Ypsilanti for coffee, craft beer and community events. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” their motto matches their atmosphere. And their team is committed to investment in causes they believe in! Since 2015, they’ve volunteered thousands of hours, donated hundreds of pounds of produce and given more than $100,000 to local organizations. Stop in at Cultivate to meet the team and taste coffees roasted by their thoughtful and creative roaster, Jess Harmon.
Hyperion Coffee can be found freshly brewed in many of our favorite coffee shops in Ann Arbor and around the state, but they’re headquartered right here in Ypsi. When you visit the shop and roastery, you can taste this craft coffee right where it was roasted, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn everything from espresso extraction to cupping. Check out the educational Hyperion Labs here.
Every Mighty Good coffee starts with beans from select farms, mills and co-ops. Then, the beans are roasted in small batches and packaged to preserve freshness. Whether you’re picking up a bag from the grocery store or stopping in at the coffee shops downtown, near campus, in Arbor Hills or inside The Jefferson Market, you’re guaranteed a fresh cup of coffee that is both sustainable and empowering (for you and for the community!). Check out the team’s philosophy, mission and story here.
Milan Coffee Works has been an area favorite for years and is still considered one of the best local roasters in the region. At their headquarters—a charming, bright and welcoming coffee shop in Milan—they roast coffees in small batches from light roast to dark roast and everything in between. While you’re there, we also recommend tasting their homemade chai!
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% less energy than similar roasters and still create outstanding coffees (have you tasted Lobster Butter Love?) that have led to titles including the best coffee shop in Washtenaw County, the number one coffee shop in Southeast Michigan and more.
From the charming doodles that adorn both their bags and their shops to their award-winning (and locally famous) baristas, you can always tell just how much love goes into the coffee and the atmosphere at Stovetop Roasters. Theirs is a team of friendly locals who don’t take themselves too seriously. And that results in some outstanding coffee. You can taste it for yourself in the Stovetop Coffee Roasters Lab & Roastery in Ann Arbor, or swing by Stovetop Coffee Roasters Cafe in Grand Rapids.
Zingerman’s Coffee Co. 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. Located alongside Zingerman’s Creamery, Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Candy Factory, you can get all the best in one convenient spot. And if you’re not in town, you can still shop Zingerman’s Coffee Company online through Zingerman’s Mail Order.
March brings us our first signs of spring, school breaks and St. Patrick’s Day, so naturally, the month’s events offer kid-friendly happenings, festive races and spring-inspired festivities. That’s all in addition to some of our favorite annual events, like the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show and Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Keep reading to find out what events are happening in our communities this month. Register where necessary, and get ready for a fun and festive March!
The Fly Fishing Film Tour travels the country each year in an effort to promote the sport and support local fly shops. You can purchase $18 tickets online, but if you get yours at Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti, you get a $3 discount and a portion of that purchase helps support the conservation work that keeps fisheries intact, healthy and available for us all to enjoy. In past years, the tour has raised over $500,000!
Youth Art Month is an annual celebration designed to emphasize the value of art education for our youth. It allows us all—locals, business owners, galleries—an opportunity to connect our community with our youth’s creativity and to illustrate the importance of fostering artistry and innovation. Organized by the Main Street Area Association, the celebration includes several food and drink deals, educational workshops and special events in topics including the art of pizza, coloring, painting and even sailboat making. For all the details on specials and events, click here.
Theatre NOVA in downtown Ann Arbor has over 75 years of experience selecting new plays, and the Michigan Playwrights Festival celebrates that history and awards local writers. After selecting the winning submissions, you can enjoy staged readings of the winning plays, and some of those go on to become full-length plays for future seasons. For updates on the stage events, follow the team on Facebook.
March 16, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Saline Middle School
One of the top shows in Michigan, the Saline Craft Show is hosting two events in 2019. Don’t miss the first one this March! Benefitting both the craft show customers and the school community, students get the chance to take on leadership roles and show off their talents.
Michigan Theatre and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra are once again hosting a Harry Potter musical event this March! On Saturday evening, the show begins at 8 p.m. with a photo scavenger hunt, encounters with a live owl and cocktails from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Or, buy your tickets for Sunday’s family matinee to enjoy a 4 p.m. show and pre-concert activities beginning at 2:30 p.m. featuring an instrument petting zoo, a photo scavenger hunt, live Hedwig, an owl post writing station and more. You can get more details here.
March 16 – 17, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
For the 29th year, this home and garden show is connecting guests with builders, suppliers, designers and tradespeople while inspiring all home improvement endeavors. This year’s event features 150 exhibitors in both interior and exterior work, so there’s plenty to learn over two days! Adult admission of $5 can be paid in cash at the door and children under 12 are admitted for free.
One of Ann Arbor’s most important annual events, the Ann Arbor Film Festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries highlighting all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction and performance-based works. Founded by George Manupelli in 1963, the festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on tickets and special events.
March 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center
Hosted by the Waterloo Natural History Association, the Old Time Maple Sugar Festival celebrates the coming of spring and the tapping of maple trees. The event begins with a short film on the process of making maple syrup, continues with a guided walk, and antique syrup making equipment will be on display from the Waterloo Farm Museum.
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K and Kids’ K winds through downtown Ann Arbor and benefits Save A Heart, an organization that raises funds to benefit patients and their families at the Michigan Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. You can get registration info here.
March 16, 10 a.m. | Waterloo State Recreation Area
This epic bike race offers three options: a rugged, two-loop 100K course, a powerful 50K course and a 10-mile, non-competitive ride. Registration benefits the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and includes a post-race party presented by Short’s Brewing Company. For more information, click here.
Whether you’re walking your first 5K or running your tenth marathon, this Epic Races event offers something for everyone. Beginning just outside of The Big House, each course winds through downtown Ann Arbor and through the University of Michigan campus. The longer races also traverse stretches of the Huron River, Gallup Park and Nichols Arboretum before returning to downtown. Get all the details and choose your distance here.
Owner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, Kieron Hales hails from England, and he’s bringing the culture and food of his homeland to the farm throughout March. Every Sunday from March 3rd through April 7th, join the team for a traditional English Pie & Mash shop pop-up. Food will include savory handmade pies with mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies and Chef Kieron’s creamy and indulgent Devon Fudge, a recipe from his hometown. To see all the menus and learn more, click here.