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

Labor Day weekend 2018 Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

 

Attend an event

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

Saline Community Fair  

August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

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

 

Dexter Summer Concerts

August 31 | The Monument Park Gazebo

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

 

Eastern Football vs. Monmouth

August 31 | Rynearson Stadium

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

 

Summer Games

August 31 | Pointless Brewery & Theatre

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

 

The 2018 Ballet in the City Gala

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

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

 

Michigan vs. Notre Dame

September 1 | South Bend, Indiana

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

 

African Comedy Show

September 1 | Power Center for the Performing Arts

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

 

Willow Run at Purple Rose Theatre

June 14 – September 1 | Purple Rose Theatre

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

 

 

Opt outside

Hiking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

 

Go camping

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

 

 

Dive into a Michigan lake

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

 

Spend time with your kids

things to do with kids in Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

 

Salute patio season

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

 

 

Take a wine tour of Southeast Michigan

Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

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

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

 

 

Visit a local museum

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

 

 

Enjoy your long weekend!  

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18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

things to do with kids in Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

1. Visit Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

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

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

 

2. Explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens

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

 

3. Play in Gallup Park

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

 

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

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

 

5. Climb at Planet Rock

Planet Rock Ann Arbor things to do with kids

Photo courtesy of Beth Gonzales via Planet Rock

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

 

6. Tour Chelsea Milling Company

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

 

7. Shop at Mudpuddles

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

 

8. Peruse the Ann Arbor Farmers Market

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

 

9. Learn at Leslie Science and Nature Center

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

Photo courtesy of Leslie Science and Nature Center

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

 

10. Visit Kidopolis

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

 

11. See a show at Young People’s Theater

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

 

12. Jump at AirTime Trampoline Park

Airtime has locations all over Michigan, including Ann Arbor and Canton. Each park has open jump areas as well as separate dodgeball zones, Olympic-grade foam mosh pits and a basketball “Jam Session” area for the aspiring basketball star in all of us.

 

13. Eat at The Cupcake Station

Cupcake station things to do with kids in Ann Arbor

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

 

14. Scream for ice cream

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

 

15. Go on an outdoor adventure

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

 

16. Visit The Creature Conservancy

The Creature Conservancy Ann Arbor things to do with kids

Photo courtesy of Kim Ellis via The Creature Conservancy

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

 

17. Play at Pinball Pete’s

Pinball Pete’s opened its doors more than 30 years ago and has since become the Ann Arbor destination for arcade fun. Kids and adults can spend their quarters along the entire wall of pinball machines, play video games, and try their hands at pool or air hockey!

 

18. Play laser tag at Zap Zone

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

 

Do you know a local Ann Arbor kid?

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

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The 13 Best Places to Get a Burger in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

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

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

 

Elevation Burger | Ann Arbor

3365 Washtenaw Ave + 529 E Liberty St | Facebook

Elevation Burgers Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Elevation Burger

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

 

Frita Batidos | Ann Arbor

117 W Washington St | Facebook

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

 

Sidetrack Bar & Grill | Ypsilanti

56 E Cross St | Facebook

Sidetrack Bar and Grill Ann Arbor Michigan best burger Ypsilanti

Photo courtesy of Sidetrack Bar & Grill

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

 

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger | Ann Arbor

304 S Ashley St | Facebook

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

 

Rappourt Brew & Chew | Ann Arbor

2721 Plymouth Rd | Facebook

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

 

Hunter House Hamburgers | Ann Arbor

609 E William St | Facebook

Hunter House Hamburgers Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Hunter House Hamburgers

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

 

Got Burger | Ypsilanti

301 W Cross St | Facebook

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

 

Craft Breww City | Ann Arbor

640 Packard St | Facebook

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

 

HopCat | Ann Arbor

311 Maynard St | Facebook

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

 

Sizzles Burgers and Subs | Ypsilanti

10 N Adams St | Facebook

Sizzles Ann Arbor Michigan best burger

Photo courtesy of Sizzles Burgers and Subs

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

 

Dan’s Downtown Tavern | Saline

103 E Michigan Ave | Facebook

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

 

The Wurst Bar | Ypsilanti

705 W Cross St | Facebook

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

 

Zingerman’s Roadhouse | Ann Arbor

2501 Jackson Ave | Facebook

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

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

 

Do you have a favorite local burger?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 13 Best Places to Eat After Midnight in Ann Arbor

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

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

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

 

Fleetwood Diner

300 S Ashley St | Facebook | Food served 24 hours  

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

 

Pizza House

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

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

 

BTB Burrito

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

BTB Burrito Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Photo courtesy of BTB Burrito

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

 

Old Town Tavern

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

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

 

Insomnia Cookies

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

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

 

New York Pizza Depot (NYPD) 

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

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

Photo courtesy of New York Pizza Depot

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

 

Good Time Charley’s

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

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

 

Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery

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

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

 

Kosmo’s Bop Shop

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

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

 

Hunter House Hamburgers

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

Hunter House Hamburgers Ann Arbor Restaurant late night after midnight food

Photo courtesy of Hunter House Hamburgers

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

 

Tios Mexican Cafe and Tequila Bar

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

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

 

Cantina

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

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

 

Aut Bar

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

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

 

Do you have a go-to?

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

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend August 2018

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

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

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

 

 

Arts + Culture

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival | Milan

August 1 – 4 | KC Campground

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

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

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

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

 

Ton-Up | Ypsilanti

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

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

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival | Dexter

August 13 – 18 | Monument Park

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

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival | Ann Arbor

August 17 – 18 | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds

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

 

DIYpsi | Ypsilanti

August 18 – 19 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

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

 

 

Community Celebrations

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Pride | Ann Arbor

August 3 – 5 | Kerrytown  

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

 

Dexter Daze | Dexter

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

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

 

Saline’s Summerfest | Saline

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

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

 

Chelsea Community Fair | Chelsea

August 21 – 25 | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

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

 

YpsiFest | Ypsilanti

August 24 – 26 | Riverside Park

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

 

Thunder Over Michigan Air Show | Ypsilanti

August 25 – 26 | Willow Run Airport

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

 

Saline Community Fair | Saline

August 29 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

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

 

 

Sports

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Triathlon | Ann Arbor

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

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

 

Run Manchester | Manchester

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

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

 

 

Happy August!

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The 15 Food Trucks You Have to Try in Ann Arbor This Summer

Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

For seven years, the foodies of Ann Arbor enjoyed Mark’s Carts, the town’s original food cart and mobile eatery courtyard. Though Mark’s Carts closed down for good in 2017, the trucks that called it home are still thriving and can be found at events throughout Southeast Michigan.

To celebrate those local, mobile entrepreneurs alongside the newbies, the foodies and the innovators, we rounded up the must-try food trucks in Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Found frequently at events in Ann Arbor and in our surrounding communities, it won’t be hard to track these down — and you’ll be glad you did!

 

Simply Spanish

Track them down on Facebook

Simply Spanish Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Simply Spanish

This mobile eatery brings the authentic flavors of Spain to the streets of Southeast Michigan. The team’s paellas and tapas are prepared with a mix of locally sourced ingredients and imported Spanish products. They became an Ann Arbor favorite at Mark’s Carts and now can be found at events throughout the region.

 

Ricewood

Follow them on Facebook

Famous amongst all Ann Arbor foodies, this barbecue joint has a permanent parking spot at 1928 Packard St. While enjoying the sun and the outdoor seating, you can taste brisket, pork shoulder and spare rib served with Pacific island style atop rice, scallion, tomato and a splash of finadene.

 

Wood Fired Up

Track them down on Facebook

Pizza is one of our favorite food truck meals and Wood Fired Up takes the classic pie up a notch. Each pizza is topped with hand-pulled mozzarella and cooks in the wood fire pizza oven in less than two minutes! During the summer, you can find this truck and mobile pizza oven at Sundays in the Garden at Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck Rallies and more.

 

Cosa Sabrosa

Track them down on Facebook

Cosa Sabrosa Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cosa Sabrosa

Cosa Sabrosa is an Ann Arbor original serving up some of the best tacos and Mexican food in the area. Using natural and local ingredients, the menu features seven different tacos — including vegetarian options — as well as burritos, homemade salsas, sides and drinks like watermelon limeade and horchata!

 

Crepe Day-Twah

Track them down on Facebook

One of the most recognizable food trucks in Metro Detroit, Crepe Day-Twah serves up delectable crepes filled with ingredients like mini marshmallows, Oreo crumbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and chocolate syrup in the sweet options and thinly sliced prosciutto, mozzarella, baby spinach and pear slices amongst the savory.

 

Jamerican Grill

Track them down on Facebook

Based out of Ypsilanti, Jamerican Grill specializes in Jamaican Jerk, Jamaican street food and American bison burgers served with hand-cut french fries. Their colorful truck can be spotted at events throughout Metro Detroit and the rest of Southeast Michigan.

 

Matt & Mo’s

Track them down on Facebook

All handmade by an Italian from Chicago, Matt and Mo’s serves up authentic, homemade, Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and sausages. Savory toppings like sautéed sweet green bell peppers and hot giardiniera ensure every sandwich is flavor packed!

 

MI Burger Burger

Track them down on Facebook

MI Burger Burger Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of MI Burger Burger

One of Southeast Michigan’s favorite mobile eateries, MI Burger Burger offers hand-pattied burgers made with a locally sourced, custom ground beef blend. Heaps of creative toppings and options like the donut slider make this one of our favorite burgers in the region!

 

Delectabowl

Track them down on Facebook

Whether your diet is gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or strictly bread, cheese and meat, this food truck has a custom or signature bowl for you. Using local, Michigan products, the team crafts fresh, home-cooked comfort food in easy to manage bowls so you can enjoy it on the go.

 

MI POPS

Track them down on Facebook

All natural, gluten and nut free, locally made and featuring 100% Michigan fruit, MI Pops’ ice pops are the sustainable, cold treat you need this summer. Each seasonal flavor is handcrafted without artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or colors.

 

Hero or Villain

Track them down on Facebook

This Detroit-based food truck is the go-to for gourmet sandwiches with character (literally). Their creations are named after heroes like Thor, Hawkeye and Megatron, and they’re filled with fresh ingredients, sourced as locally as possible. You can catch them at events around Metro Detroit and at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck Rallies!

 

Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream

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Naughty Boy's Rolled Ice Cream Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream

Using the freshest ingredients sourced from local farms and Michigan communities, Ypsi-based Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream crafts trendy, Thai-style ice cream right in front of you. Made without artificial sweeteners or preservatives, you can rest assured your dessert is always fresh and always delicious.

 

Petey’s Donuts

Track them down on Facebook

Petey’s Donuts takes homemade apple cider donuts, coffee and fresh apple cider on the go. Found at events throughout Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan, this little red trailer is one of our favorite summer sightings!

 

Shimmy Shack

Track them down on Facebook

Always vegan and always gluten-free, the food at Shimmy Shack turns vegetarian and vegan food stereotypes on their heads. Featuring American classics like burgers, coneys, chili, fries and milkshakes, the menu includes mouthwatering descriptions like homemade sweet potato-black bean chili and a grilled lentil patty topped with vegan cheese.

 

TruckShuka

Track them down on Facebook

TruckShuka serves up flavors not often found on the Metro Detroit food truck scene: authentic Israeli street food! Filled with bowls, platters and artisan Jerusalem pita sandwiches, the menu is influenced by Michigan ingredients but stays true to the scratch made, healthy, tasty cuisine of Jerusalem.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Let us know in the comments below!

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

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

And in the communities around Ann Arbor, we get to take advantage of countless swim beaches, state parks and pristine waters. To help you on your water-themed summer adventures, we rounded up a handful of the best options around Ann Arbor. From just a few minutes away to about two hours away on the shores of Lake Michigan, these should all be on your summer bucket list!

 

Independence Lake Park | Whitmore Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 12 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission

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

 

Rolling Hills Park | Ypsilanti

Distance from Ann Arbor: 14 miles | Get directions

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

 

Van Buren Park | Belleville

Distance from Ann Arbor: 16 miles | Get directions

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

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Distance from Ann Arbor: 20 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Distance from Ann Arbor: 19 miles | Get directions

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

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

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

Island Lake Recreation Area | Brighton

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

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

 

Kensington Metropark | Milford

Distance from Ann Arbor: 25 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

Highland Recreation Area | White Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 37 miles | Get directions

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

 

Seven Lakes State Park | Holly

Distance from Ann Arbor: 43 miles | Get directions

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

 

South Beach Park | South Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 140 miles | Get directions

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

 

Grand Haven State Park | Grand Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 165 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Just keep swimming!  

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

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

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Home to 159 parks and located at the heart of an impressive lineup of state recreation areas and open spaces, Ann Arbor offers countless opportunities to opt outside. From hiking and fishing in town to boating through the Chain of Lakes and even kayaking down the Huron River, there are a variety of new hobbies available to every A2 local and visitor.

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

 

 

Hiking

Hiking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Bird Hills Trail

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

 

Bog Trail

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

 

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail

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

 

 

Biking

Mountain biking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Huron River Drive

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

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

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

 

DTE Energy Foundation Trail

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

 

 

Kayaking

Kayaking near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Argo Park

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

 

Gallup Park  

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

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

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

 

 

Boating

Boating lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

The Portage Lake Chain of Lakes

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

 

Seven Lakes State Park  

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

 

 

Swimming

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Independence Lake Park

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

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

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

 

Rolling Hills Park  

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

 

 

Fishing

Fishing lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Argo Park  

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

 

Lillie Park

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

 

Lake Erie

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

 

 

Disc Golf

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Rolling Hills Park

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

 

Bandemer Park

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

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

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

 

 

Horseback Riding

Equestrain horse back riding trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Pinckney Recreation Area

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

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

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

 

Brighton Recreation Area

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

 

 

How do you #OptOutside?  

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

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The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

When the weather heats up in Ann Arbor, our usual craving for local food, Michigan beer and artisan cocktails combines with our need for summer sunshine. The ideal places to satisfy that desire include garden patios, beer gardens, and patios bathed in cozy string lights or shaded by trees along Main Street.

If you feel the same way, then you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up a few of the best outdoor patios in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti which happen to come with some of the region’s best local food, craft beer and artisan cocktails, too!

 

Bill’s Beer Garden

218 S Ashley St | Facebook

Bill's Beer Garden Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

Photo courtesy of Bill’s Beer Garden

Open seasonally March through October, Bill’s Beer Garden is a community gathering place offering an impressive lineup of Michigan craft beers and wines. Located right next door to Downtown Home & Garden, the outdoor beer garden has long, communal tables, shaded areas, and frequent live music performances. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on weather closures and events.

 

Ann Arbor Beer Grotto

303 S Ashley St | Facebook

Ann Arbor Beer Grotto is famous amongst locals for its friendly atmosphere and destination patio. Attractions include frequent live music, covered spaces, charming string lights at night, 36 beers on tap, and a specialty cocktail list which features a rotating Frozen Sour Beer Slushy. Stop by on Monday night for Free Pizza Monday to enjoy free Domino’s Pizza with your beer!

 

Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse

307 N River St, Ypsilanti | Facebook

Cultivate Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

Photo courtesy of Nick Azzaro via Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse

This coffee bar and tap house is a Ypsi favorite. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” you’ll find the best craft coffee and beer, regular community events, and support of worthy causes. Their sunny, dog-friendly beer garden is one of the largest in the area and offers the perfect place to gather with friends, family and neighbors.

 

Dominick’s

812 Monroe St 

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.

 

Detroit Street Filling Station

300 Detroit St | Facebook

Detroit Street Filling Station Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

Photo courtesy of Detroit Street Filling Station

From the team behind The Lunch Room, Detroit Street Filling Station is another delicious food and drink establishment in Kerrytown. Tucked inside one of Ann Arbor’s most recognizable historic buildings, the interior space merges filling station history with modern updates — and it includes a covered outdoor patio surrounded by beautiful planters!

 

The Session Room

3685 Jackson Rd | Facebook

In addition to a welcoming indoor space and 70 beers on tap, The Session Room is also home to one of Ann Arbor’s best beer gardens. Shaded by umbrellas during the day and illuminated by string lights at night, you can enjoy your craft beer and upscale eats outdoors all summer long. And don’t miss the Summer Beer Garden Music Series with 19 free shows through September! Get details on the weekly concert on The Session Room Facebook page.

 

Palio Del Sole

347 S Main St | Facebook

The culture of Italy comes alive at Palio. The authentic, country-style cuisine pairs with warm, rustic Italian decor inside. And during the summer, you can grab a seat on Ann Arbor’s largest and most popular outdoor gathering spot: the rooftop patio! It offers the best view of downtown and its own kitchen with a unique dining experience.

 

Sidetrack Bar and Grill

56 E Cross St, Ypsilanti | Facebook

On the exterior of Sidetrack’s historic building, a gilded quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin reads “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And directly beneath that, you’ll find one of three great patios. With space for 150 guests, the outdoor spaces are complete with ivy-covered walls and plenty of sun while the enclosed patio offers shade and fresh air.

 

Aventura

216 E Washington St | Facebook

Aventura Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

Photo courtesy of Aventura

Aventura is a charming spot that offers authentic Spanish cuisine and culture, including tapas, paella, vino and artisan cocktails. Inspired by the old-world atmosphere and the historical nature of the building itself, the eatery merges Ann Arbor history with modern Spanish influence. Facing Washington Street, their small collection of patio tables are ideal for sharing tapas and sipping cocktails under the sun.

 

Black Pearl

302 S Main St | Facebook

This sleek seafood restaurant offers a unique lounge atmosphere with cocktails, music and mouth-watering cuisine. And with its prime location in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, you can grab a seat on one of the neighborhood’s largest outdoor patios. Complete with charming trees, string lights and artisan cocktails, the seating area is nestled between Main Street and the sidewalk in front of the restaurants so you can people watch, too!

 

The Pretzel Bell

226 S Main St | Facebook

Located on the corner of Liberty and Main Street, The Pretzel Bell patios are located on the sidewalks along each street. Complete with shady lounges and couch seating, large tables and charming garden beds, it’s one of our favorite places to enjoy the restaurant’s mouth-watering foods, craft beer and artisan cocktails.

 

Paesano Restaurant and Wine Bar

3411 Washtenaw Ave | Facebook

Inspired by the culture and cuisine of Italy, Paesano is one of Ann Arbor’s best local restaurants and they’re home to one of the most romantic garden patios, too. Tucked in a humble location along Washtenaw Avenue, the patio is hidden by shady trees, mature shrubs and beautiful garden beds. While you relax and savor your authentic Italian fare, you can also enjoy the sights and sounds of the patio fountain.

 

Felix

204 S Main St | Facebook

Located at the corner of Main and Washington in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, Felix has been a staple of fine dining in our community for more than 20 years. Their bistro-style patio is tucked beneath the shade trees of Main Street between two garden beds. There, you can sip craft cocktails, share small plates, enjoy brunch and relax.

 

Sava’s

300 Detroit St | Facebook

Sava's Ann Arbor best places for outdoor patio dining

Photo courtesy of Sava’s

Sava’s began as a quaint, 23-seat cafe, a passion project of owner Sava Lelcaj. Today, it has become one of Ann Arbor’s best restaurants boasting upwards of 300 seats, a seasonal menu and impressive, artisan cocktails. And a few of our favorite seats are located on the patio. The outdoor dining area is perpendicular to State Street running along the side of the building and facing garden beds and the ivy-covered walls of U-M’s Lane Hall.

 

Gratzi

326 S Main St | Facebook

Fenced off from the sidewalk and shaded by beautiful trees and garden beds, the Main Street patio at Gratzi is a must-visit. The building itself was once Ann Arbor’s Orpheum Theater which lends itself perfectly to the charm and character of a hometown, Italian restaurant. Whether you’re stopping by for dinner, drinks or weekend brunch, we definitely recommend grabbing a seat outside.

 

Conor O’Neill’s

318 S Main St | Facebook

Taking inspiration from real, historic pubs in Ireland, Conor O’Neill’s is the place to go for community fun, social gathering, Irish hospitality, hearty food and great drinks. Their seasonal patio is separated from sidewalk traffic along Main Street by flower beds painted in the same blue as the iconic storefront. With trees for shade and string lights during the night, you can sit and savor any time of day or night!

 

Do you have a favorite?  

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

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend July 2018

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

July is the height of summer heat, fun and celebration in Ann Arbor. To celebrate, our communities are coming together for outdoor events, concerts, games, festivals and so much more.

To help you make this a month to remember, we rounded up our top 15 local happenings — from the recurring concerts that will get you on your feet, to the annual festivals you don’t want to miss, and everything in between!

For even more summer fun, check out 21 Summer Fairs and Festivals in the Ann Arbor Area You Don’t Want to Miss which includes events happening through August.

 

 

Arts + Culture

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

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

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2018 concert series kicked off on June 7th and continues through July with shows on July 5th, 12th and 26th. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Michigan Elvisfest | Ypsilanti

July 6 – 7, various times | Historic Depot Town

Showcasing some of the best professional Elvis tribute artists in North America, Elvisfest offers fun for fans and music lovers of all ages. With the purchase of your ticket (ranging in price from $20 to $60) you can enjoy kids activities, a classic car show, local food vendors, an adult beer tent, raffles and more.

 

Rolling Sculpture Car Show | Ann Arbor

July 13, 2 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

The 24th Annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show is returning to Main, Liberty and Washington Streets in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor this July. The event itself is free and open to the public and all cars are welcome to exhibit for a pre-registration fee of $20. On the day of the show, guests will enjoy 300 exotic, antique, classic and one of a kind cars, live music from Hot Rod DJ, Surfer Joe, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.

 

Saline Celtic Festival | Saline

July 13 – 14, various times | Mill Pond Park

The Saline Celtic Festival originally began as a one-day festival but has grown in popularity and fun to include a full weekend of entertainment. Today, the event includes Highland dance competitions, ancient Celtic athletic competitions, kids activities at Wee Folks Island, living history, jousting, sheep herding dog demonstrations, and so much more!

 

Art In The Park | Plymouth

July 13 – 15, various times | Downtown Plymouth

Art In The Park is celebrating its 39th year in 2018 by welcoming over 400 artists from around the country. These professionals and hobbyists will be offering paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, woodwork, glass, photography, folk art and so much more. And all the art comes along with live entertainment and food to create Michigan’s second largest art fair!

 

Ann Arbor Art Fair | Ann Arbor

July 19 – 22, various times | Downtown Ann Arbor

Kicked off by the Townie Street Party on Monday, July 16th and hosted in conjunction with the State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair has grown into quite the event. All around town, you’ll find stage performances, street performers and street painting, an art activity zone, a youth art fair, and even more.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival | Chelsea

July 26 – 28, various times | Downtown Chelsea

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

 

 

Community Celebrations

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade | Ypsilanti

July 4, 11 a.m. | Historic Depot Town

Honor and celebrate the July 4th holiday with one of the area’s favorite, patriotic traditions: Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade. This 90-year tradition is Michigan’s oldest parade and will fill the streets of Depot Town with community fun and plenty of red, white and blue!

 

Hot Air Jubilee | Jackson

July 20 – 22, various times | Ella Sharp Park

Offering free admission and just $5 parking on-site, Jackson’s Hot Air Jubilee is a full weekend of hot air balloons, entertainment, carnival rides and food. Along with several balloon launches scheduled throughout the festival, you can explore the Ella Sharp Museum, dance to the live DJ, play in Kids Kingdom and so much more! Check out the full schedule here.

 

 

Sports

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run | Ann Arbor

July 4, 7:55 – 9:45 a.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

On the morning of July 4th in downtown Ann Arbor, racers will take off from the intersection of Fourth and Liberty — the most patriotic intersection in town. The main race is a 3.1 mile course through downtown, but the event also offers a Mile Fun Run and a Kids’ 100-Meter Dash for children 8 years and under. Get all the details and register online here.

 

Jackson Highland Games | Jackson

July 28, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Ella Sharp Park

The second annual Jackson Highland Games is returning to Ella Sharp Park on July 28th. This full day of fun and games will include traditional athletic events like tug-o-war, the caber toss, track and field events, and Highland dance competitions.

 

International Champions Cup | Ann Arbor

July 28, 3 p.m. | Michigan Stadium  

This month the International Champions Cup is coming right here to Ann Arbor. Set in The Big House, Manchester United out of Manchester, United Kingdom and Liverpool FC out of Liverpool, United Kingdom will face off for a global championship opportunity. Get tickets before they sell out and you’ll even have the chance to enjoy the Champions Lounge or the Premium Suite.

 

 

Food + Drink

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Manchester Chicken Broil | Manchester

July 19, 4 – 8 p.m. | Alumni Field

Each year on the third Thursday of July in Manchester, the largest chicken broil of its kind comes to town! Benefiting local public schools, community parks, libraries and civic causes, your $9 – 10 ticket includes a dinner of chicken, locally famous coleslaw, a roll with butter, potato chips, radishes and a beverage, as well as live music entertainment and a classic car show.

 

Michigan Summer Beer Festival | Ypsilanti

July 27 – 28, various times | Riverside Park

The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the 21st Annual Summer Beer Festival will host 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!

 

Picnic at German Park | Ann Arbor

July 28, 4 – 11 p.m. | German Park

The German Park Recreation Club hosts three picnics every summer and this month’s event is set for July 28th from 4 – 11 p.m. For an admission price of just $5 per person, you can enjoy German culture, food, beer and more! Feel free to bring the whole family but no one under 21 years of age will be admitted without a parent or guardian.

 

 

Happy July!  

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