In addition to various hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton, our Ann Arbor community offers countless options for hyper-local and boutique overnight stays in town. Did you know you can rent The Palmer House, an entire home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright?
We rounded up a handful of our favorite locally-owned hotels, inns and B&Bs so your time in Ann Arbor can be as charming as it is convenient. And, if you want to see even more Ann Arbor bed and breakfasts, we invite you to check out the Ann Arbor Area Bed and Breakfast Association.
Click each label to jump ahead and find Ann Arbor’s best:
One of two Ann Arbor hotels owned and operated by Dahlmann Properties, The Ann Arbor Regent is part of a multiple-generation, family-owned business and is one of the highest customer-rated hotels in the area. Their amenities include an indoor pool and hot tub, billiards, a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free WiFi and free parking.
Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor and on the University of Michigan’s main campus, Bell Tower Hotel offers one of the best locations and some of the most glamorous accommodations in town. As another Dahlmann Properties business, the hotel offers incredible amenities like 43″ flat screen TVs in every room, a coffee and tea maker in every room, valet parking, free parking, free WiFi, and a freshly baked cookie at check-in.
Graduate is quite possibly the most talked about hotel in Ann Arbor thanks to its unique decor and outstanding amenities. Located directly across the street from the University of Michigan campus, the decor pays homage to Ann Arbor’s love of coziness, arts, books and, of course, Maize and Blue. Partner businesses on site include Poindexter Coffee and Allen Rumsey Cocktail Lounge which is reminiscent of an old-school club. Check out the website to get an inside look at more luxurious Graduate rooms.
The Kensington Hotel boasts 200 newly revitalized guest rooms and suites surrounded by bonuses like the Union bar open 24/7 in the lobby, in-room dining from the on-site restaurant, a marble bath in every room, pet-friendly options and a complimentary Viennese coffee bar.
Weber’s has been a family-owned Ann Arbor institution since 1937. Over the years, it has become a destination hotel, restaurant and live music venue all rolled into one. The boutique rooms feature modern furnishings and decor, patios, free WiFi and more luxurious amenities. The hotel itself boasts an indoor saltwater pool, a 24-hour gym, an elevated sun deck with a giant chess set, a pinball arcade, charging for electric vehicles and so much more. Don’t miss the live music and cocktails at The Habitat at Weber’s!
Ann Arbor’s unique, boutique motor lodge is The University Inn which offers some of the best accommodations at an affordable price. And they’ve been doing so for more than 50 years! The renovated rooms are available as King and Double Queen Suites as well as Kitchenettes and feature contemporary decor alongside vintage and mid-century details. To see the long list of amenities (which includes free breakfast and bicycles available to rent) check out the website.
If you want a luxurious stay right on the University of Michigan campus, there’s no better choice than the Inn at the League. This inn is located on the fourth floor of the Michigan League and mimics the classic decor of the building with stained glass windows, oak and walnut paneling, and campus views. These glamorous accommodations are available to alumni, conference attendees, wedding guests and parents of students.
Since opening as an inn in 2004, Burnt Toast has been one of Ann Arbor’s best. Just three blocks west of Main Street, the small, family owned and operated bed and breakfast offers eight beautifully appointed rooms between two properties which can be rented individually or as whole houses. The food is mostly organic, locally made and locally sourced, and the breakfast offerings change daily. Don’t miss your chance to say hello to Mr. Gus Gustoferson, the family’s black lab!
Davies House Inn Bed and Breakfast offers boutique overnight stays, extended stays and entire home rentals. Located on the first fairway of Georgetown Golf Club in Ann Arbor’s quiet Georgetown neighborhood, the inn boasts four suites and two rooms, scrumptious breakfasts and amazing tailgates for University of Michigan football fans.
If you’re hoping to explore downtown Ann Arbor or the University of Michigan campus, First Street Garden Inn is a perfect starting point. Located in the Old West Side neighborhood, this cozy, turn-of-the-century home offers a personalized stay that includes customized breakfasts and afternoon tea. They only offer two rooms so the home always stays quiet and comfortable.
Stone Chalet is tucked away in a quiet Ann Arbor neighborhood just southeast from the University of Michigan campus and directly south of Nichols Arboretum. Every morning outside of busy weekends, breakfast is cooked to order and served in the formal dining room. Throughout the home, you’ll find ten charming guest suites, all with their own private bathrooms, four with balconies overlooking the gardens, and six with their own gas fireplaces.
Located right in the Kerrytown district and renovated in 2010, Baxter House blends Craftsman style with modern touches and offers amenities that include natural and whole food meals, bikes available to rent and, of course, a full, satisfying breakfast. They have five different rooms available, including the entire Baxter House Apartment to sleep four guests.
Less than one mile south of the University of Michigan campus and one and a half miles from downtown Ann Arbor, Avalyn Garden is a bed and breakfast located in a beautiful 1920s home that was renovated in 2005. While maintaining its Arts and Crafts style, the renovations added a gourmet kitchen, sunroom and dining room to make your stay even more relaxing.
From Ann Arbor to Dexter and all the way to Northville—Southeast Michigan knows how to welcome Santa Claus! With events and workshops popping up right after Thanksgiving and through Christmas Eve, you and your family will have plenty of opportunities to share your wish lists in person this holiday season.
We rounded up the events, the brunches and the malls that will be hosting Father Christmas himself. Mark your calendars, check for registration or ticket requirements, and get those wish lists and festive sweaters ready!
From mid-November through Christmas Eve, Santa and his shop will be set up in Briarwood Mall every single day. Hours vary each day and there are FastPass options to skip the line. For more information, click here.
The farm fun at Three Cedars doesn’t stop after Halloween. Country Christmas turns the farm into a winter wonderland complete with Christmas trees, wreaths, hot cocoa, roping and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for hours.
Southern Michigan Railroad keeps this event small and inexpensive so the community’s kids can have a spectacular holiday experience. This December, hop on the train and enjoy a ride to meet Santa himself. From there, the train will take you back to your car for a 30 minute round trip. Book online today before tickets sell out and be sure to bring a toy for Toys for Tots!
The City of Saline is hosting three PJ’s & Stories with Santa events on December 6th. For just $8, kids in their coziest pajamas can enjoy sing-a-longs, crafts, photo opportunities, stories, and treats like milk, cookies and hot chocolate. Pre-register online here.
Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. Each December, the farm celebrates the season with Santa Visits. Available two weekends in December, families can come to the Holiday Open House to enjoy delicious treats like hot cocoa and cider, shop in the General Store, see the farm in the snow and meet Santa. There is no admission charge for this event but donations are appreciated.
The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark on December 9th allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.
Each year, Father Christmas himself comes to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one day. A Visit with Father Christmas allows parents, kids, individuals and families to come to the gardens for free and get a great, festive photo with Santa.
This year, Brunch with Santa is happening at Kensington Hotel on December 15th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Past events have included omelet stations, vegetarian options like the Michigan Apple Cherry Salad, potatoes, a dessert bar, and the always popular waffle and pancake topping bar.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 16th, guests to Polo Fields Country Club can eat, drink, visit and take photos with Santa! Prices are $36 for adults, $16 for children between 3 and 12, and free for children two years and younger. To see the menu, click here, and call (734) 998-1555 to make reservations.
If you know of a place in the Ann Arbor area where we can see Santa, let us know in the comments below.
Our Ann Arbor area communities are famously skilled at coming together in times of need and in times of celebration: thanks in large part to the people who call these neighborhoods home. Over the years, our peers have built outstanding organizations and nonprofits which serve our community in countless ways—from providing shelter to providing laughter.
We rounded up a handful of those organizations you can help now and all year long. Whether you want to donate your money, volunteer your time or hop on stage to put on a show, this list has an organization for you to love and an opportunity for you to help. Thanks for making our communities even better!
Click each category to jump ahead and find out how you can help:
Mission: Founded by teens for teens, The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas. They provide an after-school drop-in space, weekend concerts and special events, and host more than 20 after-school programs.
How you can help: The Neutral Zone accepts volunteers and donations. Volunteers can participate in many different projects and programs, including special events and the community dinner program. Get information on both donations and volunteering here.
Mission: Mentor2Youth works to ensure youth have a promising future by preparing them to excel in life, academics and work. The organization puts together school-to-career intervention programs grounded in the principles of personal, academic and professional development. These include the Future Leaders Program, Youth L.E.A.D. and B.O.S.S.
How you can help: With assistance from more than 30 volunteers, Mentor2Youth serves over 150 youth annually throughout the school year and summer. You can join in by volunteering in tutor, mentor and leadership roles. Get more information on volunteering here. To donate, click here. And to learn about partnering with Mentor2Youth as a group, click here.
Mission: Through year-round programming and mentoring, Girls Group empowers young women in middle school and high school to achieve emotional and economic self-sufficiency by graduating from high school and becoming first-generation college graduates. As of 2018, they serve 500 young women in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
How you can help: As an organization, you have the opportunity to support Girls Group through grant funding. For more information, click here. They also welcome monetary donations which you can do online here.
Mission: As a major human services provider in our region, The Women’s Center provides direct services to more than 500 women and girls as well as a handful of men. They also assist an estimated 1,032 people who call for help in accessing community resources. Their programs assist women with counseling, divorce assistance, job and financial coaching, community resources and they also host a mom and infant group.
How you can help: The Women’s Center is run by only 4.75 full-time staff and an amazing team of more than 100 volunteers. To join in, you can volunteer in skilled positions, apply for an internship or provide in-kind contributions so the team can purchase things like paper products, gift cards, tea, breakfast bars and more. For more information on all of these, click here.
Mission: In 1973, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels began with a gift of $8,000 and 16 hungry neighbors. To this day, this local Meals on Wheels organization provides meals for homebound individuals which include a friendly visit, a bit of conversation, assurance that the client was safe and well and additional services like pet food delivery, minor home repairs, a personal care pantry, weekly produce deliveries and case management.
How you can help: Volunteers are the driving force of Meals on Wheels. Opportunities include meal prep, home deliveries, special holiday meals, special events and more. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts monetary donations online as well as donations through Amazon Smile and Kroger Rewards. For more options and links to donate, click here.
Mission: Since 1984, Arbor Hospice has been providing expert end-of-life care through Arbor Hospice in Ann Arbor and The Residence of Arbor Hospice in Saline.
How you can help: This organization has 50 different ways to volunteer, including pet visits, patient companionship, administrative support and more. For more information, click here. They also accept monetary donations which you can give online here.
Mission: As a no-kill shelter and the only animal shelter in Washtenaw County, HSHV has the highest save rate among all similar animal shelters in Michigan. They’ve been serving the community since 1896 and now help over 14,000 animals and their people every year. In addition to the shelter, they provide a full-service, nonprofit vet clinic that is open to the public and they operate Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center.
How you can help: HSHV provides volunteer opportunities that include services in the shelter, foster programs and animal advocacy. For more information, click here. You can also donate, sponsor and fundraise in various ways. Learn more here.
Mission: The Creature Conservancy began 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. Today, the nonprofit organization hosts camps, classes, private events and programs that inspire compassionate connections to wildlife and allow the public to learn about ecology, biology, conservation and more through real animal encounters.
How you can help: The easiest way to help The Creature Conservancy is to attend events and learn about wildlife conservation yourself! They also offer memberships, internships and jobs, and volunteer opportunities. For more information on volunteering, click here. To make a monetary donation or get information on fundraising, click here.
Mission: The Jim Toy Community Center is a resource center that exists to provide information, education, social events and advocacy by and for the queer and ally community in our county. Their mission is to foster an inclusive community where people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity are visible and live together in equality, respect and happiness.
How you can help: To apply as a volunteer, click here, and to provide an online monetary donation, click here. The center also hosts Ann Arbor Pride every summer which is a free festival and parade open to the public. You can directly donate to the event here.
Mission: A Fisher House is a home away from home, a no-cost shelter provided for the families of active military and veterans while those men and women are receiving medical care. Their goal is to keep families together and to reduce stress during an incredibly difficult time. As of 2018, there are is not a single Fisher House in Michigan, but Fisher House Michigan is working to change that. In 2019, the groundbreaking for our state’s first facility will happen right here in Ann Arbor.
How you can help: Fisher House Michigan is primarily a volunteer-run organization and would not be able to complete their Ann Arbor home without continued help from our community. The easiest way to help the cause is to attend one of the organization’s annual events which you can see here. You can also donate directly through their website which you can see here.
Mission: Serving as a sort of savings account for our community, the Ann Arbor Community Foundation was established more than 50 years ago to distribute funds and grants to local nonprofits and scholarships. Their overall mission is to enrich the quality of life in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: Giving online through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation includes opportunities to give to Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, Community Foundation of Plymouth General Fund and Youth Council Fund. For more information, click here.
Mission: Community Action Network partners with children, youth and families from under-resourced Washtenaw County neighborhoods to create better futures for themselves and improve the communities in which they live. In addition to helping students with their education, they ensure the families are supported and the community is enriched so the positive results last for future generations.
How you can help: CAN could not be successful without the help of countless volunteers like you who help with after-school programs, arts classes, summer camps, food markets and more. For more information on those opportunities, click here. And to make a monetary or material donation, click here.
Mission: The mission of Peace Neighborhood Center is to provide programs for children, families and individuals who are affected by social and economic problems so that they can find options, improve skills and make choices that lead to self-sufficiency and community involvement. Since opening in 1971, their team has helped more than 16,000 people in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County through programs that cover education, health, well-being and fiscal independence.
How you can help: Peace Neighborhood Center accepts monetary donations online here and offers a variety of volunteer opportunities which you can see here. In addition, they host an annual Thanks for Giving Benefit Dinner, can be benefited through grocery rewards programs, and have a wish list of material items they need which you can view here.
Mission: 826michigan inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities. They do this through tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing opportunities, field trips, in-school projects and even publishing opportunities.
How you can help: Volunteers with 826michigan provide one-on-one homework help and tutoring, teach creative writing, work the counter at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair here in Ann Arbor, and serve our community in various other ways. For more information, click here. To make a monetary donation or view the organization’s wish list, click here.
Mission: Striving to completely eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County, this nonprofit organization provides literacy support at no cost to adults through a network of trained tutors, and they’ve been doing so for more than 40 years.
How you can help: Since 1971, they have served over 20,000 learners and trained and fully supported over 10,000 volunteer tutors. You can find information on joining that team here. Or you can donate directly here. For just $100 you can help 50 adults improve their English in a group tutoring session!
Mission: Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition, and they strive to engage minds, expand perspectives and inspire growth in students of all ages, teachers, artists and the community. Now, they engage more than 49,500 people every year through programming, exhibitions, classes and the 117 Gallery Shop.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Art Center welcomes volunteers who get to assist in the office, with special events, and with setting up the 117 Gallery. For more information, click here. Other opportunities to become involved include purchasing a membership, applying for an internship and working at the center.
Mission: This community theatre group provides opportunities for members of our community to participate in theatre. In addition to putting together shows that are open to the public, they support artists and creatives by giving them a place to practice and enhance their skills.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is supported by members who purchase memberships and then get to participate in productions, attend one free workshop per year, and vote at the annual meeting. To help monetarily, you can get information on sponsorship opportunities here. Or you can get information on volunteering as an usher here.
Mission: As a completely volunteer-run organization, Young People’s Theater helps young people build their self-confidence, sensitivity, creativity and leadership through professional theater experiences, training and educational opportunities.
How you can help: The easiest way to help the theater is to buy tickets to a show, and you can see current and upcoming shows on the website. Other ways include making a monetary donation, promoting the team’s shows in your community, and volunteering. Get information on all those opportunities here.
Mission: Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Their team of workers and volunteers distributes 6.4 million pounds of food annually through 150 partners and programs in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: You can join their efforts by donating online here. For every $5 you donate to Food Gatherers, you can help provide 15 meals to adults, seniors and children in need. They also accept food donations, material donations and host annual events so you can help simply by having fun! If you’d like to see individual and group volunteer opportunities, click here.
Mission: Ozone House is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy and productive lives through high-quality housing and support programs as well as services that provide support, intervention, training and assistance to runaway, homeless and high-risk youth and their families.
How you can help: To help Ozone House, you can donate money and items directly or through shopping programs, school supply drives and more. For more information on donations, click here. You can also get information on joining the more than 170 volunteers here.
Mission: SafeHouse Center serves to provide safety, support, advocacy and resources for any survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence and the children involved, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. They also work relentlessly to change the systems and attitudes that allow this abuse to continue.
How you can help: SafeHouse Center accepts volunteers in both Direct Services and Non-Direct Services. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts various types of donations, including shopping through Amazon Smile and buying directly from their Amazon Wishlist. For links to all donation opportunities, click here.
Mission: Packard Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and meets all federal requirements to offer health care services to people who are uninsured, isolated and/or medically vulnerable. By serving everyone who comes through their doors, they strive to build a healthy community in which every individual has dependable, quality health care.
How you can help: Volunteers with Packard Health can work in the food pantry, help with mailing services or serve on the organization’s boards and committees. For more information on volunteering, click here. To give a monetary donation online, click here.
Mission: Operating on the belief that any addict or alcoholic can get better, Dawn Farm works to assist addicts and alcoholics in achieving long-term recovery. Their team identifies and removes the barriers which prevent these individuals from joining the recovering community.
How you can help: Volunteers with Dawn Farm get the opportunity to help in the Dawn Farm garden, assist with cooking and housekeeping at Spera, help host special events like the Jamboree and Ride for Recovery, and more. For all those opportunities, click here. Material donations are also accepted and you can view the wish list here.
Tell us about your organization
Make the list bigger and better by telling us about your favorite local organization in the comments below.
The holidays in Ann Arbor kick off with lighting ceremonies, parades and shopping events, then continue throughout the season with themed classes, concerts, plays, screenings and more. To help you join the fun this year, we rounded up more than 25 events where you can shop local holiday gifts, meet Santa, enjoy carriage rides, and even get your blood pumping with a festive 5k!
The Ann Arbor Art Center’s annual Holiday Art Shop gives you the opportunity to support a local organization and local artists when you’re shopping for gifts this season. Located in the gallery shop and open every day of the week, you’ll find one-of-a-kind creations and amazing art pieces.
The most popular event from Zingerman’s Bakehouse is back for the 2018 holiday season! Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies teaches participants how to make the best cookie creations using whole grains, local ingredients and freshly milled flours. There are 70 classes through Christmas Eve and all the spots are currently sold out, but if you sign up for the waitlist, you may be able to snag an opening in the event of a cancellation.
In Chelsea, the holiday kick-off lasts an entire weekend! The activities start with Santa lighting the Christmas tree at Pierce Park on Friday night and end with a holiday carol concert featuring singing groups from the churches of Chelsea on Sunday evening. Highlights throughout the weekend include Santa’s Workshop, gingerbread house decorating, the annual Light Parade, and more. To see the full activity schedule, click here.
November 30, 4 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Coinciding with Midnight Madness, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. You can shop Kerrytown retail businesses which will be open late then grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!
November 30, 6 p.m. – close | State Street District
During Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness and Kerrytown Kindlefest, be sure to head over to State Street District, too! Businesses in the area will be offering amazing deals as they gear up for the holidays, including Bivouac, The M Den, The Original Cottage Inn and more.
Just in time for holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County as well as performances by various outdoor entertainers.
An amazing hometown celebration every year, Manchester’s Christmas in the Village includes a Christmas parade, business decorating and tree decorating contests, carriage rides, a scavenger hunt, cookie sale, home tour, pop-up market, pajama movie party and more! Follow the team on Facebook for updates.
One of Ann Arbor’s favorite Christmas celebrations kicks off on November 30th this year. A Manor Christmas is another local Christkindlmarkt, featuring tours of the historic Earhart mansion decorated for Christmas by professional designers, a unique Festival of Trees, premium artificial pre-lit trees for sale and, of course, the European-style Christmas market. Tickets are between $5 and $7 and you can buy them online here.
Christmas at the Mansion | Dexter
November 30 – December 2 | Gordon Hall
Hosted by Dexter Area Historical Society, the 2018 Christmas at the Mansion events last all weekend and include a special event on Friday, tours of Gordon Hall on Saturday, and a special tea on Sunday. Whether you’re volunteering or just enjoying the attractions, you’re welcome at the Mansion this season!
Each year, Theatre Nova puts on a new holiday-themed play for the holidays. Created by the same team behind The Year Without a Panto Claus and Sugar Plum Panto, this year’s production is a mash-up of musical comedy, slapstick, vaudeville and fun. See all the showtimes and buy your tickets here.
Hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, the annual Holiday Home Tour explores some of the most historic homes in our community and is the unofficial kick-off to the holidays in Ypsi. The 2018 event includes an inside look at five homes in our community and is followed by the Afterglow Reception, complete with local drinks, appetizers and desserts, live music and a silent auction. Get more information and purchase your tickets here.
Holiday Bazaar at the Museum | Dexter
December 1 | Dexter Area Museum
Hosted by Dexter Area Historical Society during the same weekend as Christmas at the Mansion, you’re invited to the annual Holiday Bazaar at the Museum. There, you can shop handcrafted holiday decorations, wreaths, unique gifts, hand-knit apparel, toys, gifts for pets, and the Guild’s signature scrubbies. And be sure to grab something from the bake sale!
Saline’s holiday fun continues after the tree lighting on November 27th with the 43rd Annual Christmas Parade. The parade itself includes more than 100 floats, animals, dancers, musicians and even a hot air balloon. Guests can also see Santa himself in Downtown Saline!
This holiday show has been an Ann Arbor tradition since it began in 2007. Now, each year in December, The Ragbirds present a collaborative musical production suitable for the whole family. In 2018, Erin Zindle—known by her stage name, EBird—is joining the fun for four shows of vocals, fiddles, horns, bagpipes, guitars and instruments from all over the world.
December 7, 5:30 – 11:30 p.m. | Marriott Ann Arbor Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest
This concert and holiday party invites you to an elegant setting complete with a gourmet dinner buffet, open bar and live entertainment from Your Generation in Concert. Different price packages include dinner and the concert, the concert only, band meet and greets, and more. Get all the info here.
This one-mile fun run and 5k in Dexter has become one of our favorite family traditions in the area. The hilly dash through the community allows participants to take in the neighborhood light displays and run in festive costume and lights, too! Five dollars from each registration will be donated to local charities and race day participants can bring non-perishable food items to receive free raffle tickets.
December 8, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Busch’s Shopping Center
Treasure Trail to Santa invites kids and their families to visit Santa and take photos, explore the Busch’s Shopping Center, enjoy treats and free carriage rides, and more. Admission is free, but be sure to dress for the weather!
December 9, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center
The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.
DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and once each winter. Their holiday market this year will feature 90 vendors at Riverside Arts Center. Come to shop local and enjoy the community’s favorite indie art fair!
This Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra tradition returns to Hill Auditorium on December 14th. The community’s favorite choruses will come together with orchestral instruments to present all our favorite classical and pop melodies of the season. And Santa may even make an appearance!
Presented by the Academy of Russian Classical Ballet and the Michigan Classical Ballet, The Nutcracker is coming to Michigan Theater this holiday season. The live show will feature some of Michigan’s best ballet students alongside international professional ballet dancers as guest artists.
Part of the world-renowned National Theatre Live series, The Bolshoi Theater’s production of The Nutcracker will be screened at the Michigan Theater right before Christmas this year. Join the fun for two full hours or professional performance and festive fun on screen.
As the headquarters of handmade and vintage goods, Etsy is a great place to start your search for one-of-a-kind art whether you’re shopping for home goods, gifts or even apparel. Their marketplace provides a place for artists, collectors and creatives to offer their best work, and our home state provides some spectacular inspiration.
We rounded up the Etsy shops that are helping us show off our mitten pride, our #GoBlue pride, our Ann Arbor pride, our Ypsilanti pride and, of course, our love for the #PureMichiganLakeEffect. Next time you need a handmade piece of art, start your search here.
Emily Frushour has been pursuing her passion for art and creativity since she was a child coloring in Care Bear coloring books. After studying graphic design at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, she started her own small business, taught children’s art classes out of her home, and worked as a graphic designer for schools and other small businesses. Now, you can shop her watercolor and mixed media prints on Etsy! Her inventory includes art inspired by the Wolverines, paintings of the Great Lakes, and customizable options.
The map art at Beneath the Sail is unlike any other map art you’ll find on Etsy. Each topographic creation is locally designed by their team then laser-cut and framed in a Baltic Birch wood frame. Maps in the shop include travel destinations like the Grand Canyon and San Francisco, as well as Michigan-inspired pieces that represent the Great Lakes, interior lakes and even Mackinac Island. Check out this Great Lakes Topographic Cribbage Board!
Ahmed and his team craft wooden, 3D and 2D maps on wood blocks and even live edge wood pieces. Their inventory includes everything from minimalist coasters and serving trays to detailed city maps you can hang on your wall. We love this Ann Arbor map etched on a locally harvested and milled round of Ash tree! Click here to see even more on their website.
What began as a tiny booth at Changing Thymes in Grandville has transformed into a brilliant, family-run Etsy shop offering handcrafted wood signs that can add warmth to any home. The designs begin with Karen Kemme’s daughter, then Karen paints them by hand, and her husband frames. Heavily inspired by their home state, you’ll find signs that represent the Michigan country, lake life and more. We love this Michigan Wood Sign that defines what it means to be a Michigander.
Owner, designer and maker Susi Cruz is a graphic designer and painter who also likes to dabble in drawing, screen printing, letterpress art and block printing. In her shop, you’ll find colorful and quirky designs that show off pride for the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Detroit and specific local landmarks.
Right out of Ann Arbor, Caili Dalian crafts hand illustrated paper and fabric goods that show off her love for the mitten. From greeting cards and save the date announcements to art prints and gifts, her designs are as colorful as our beautiful state. If you don’t believe us, check out this fun Ann Arbor Map Art Print.
Artist Jeff Joseph creates original works of art using oil paints then offers high-quality prints in his Etsy shop. Heavily inspired by his Michigan home, prints include representations of Yost Ice Arena, Tiger Stadium, University of Michigan landmarks and Wolverine celebrities. And, though we hate to mention Michigan State, Jeff’s Spartan art is impressive, too.
If you want a bit of Michigan art that isn’t as obvious as a map, we recommend shopping jenQ. Her nature-inspired abstract art is pieced together from collected wood bark found on the ground right here in Michigan. Beautiful either alone or hung as multiples, these framed works of art will add warmth and a statement piece to any room.
Artist Jodi Lynn Burton has been doodling her whole life, but she only realized she could sell her doodles as one-of-a-kind artistic creations a few years ago. Now, thankfully, we can all shop her cartoonish pins, illustrations, prints and cards. With more than 100 illustrations to choose from, you can celebrate your love for camping, your love for Ypsilanti, and even your love for David Bowie.
Owners, creators and married couple Kristen and Chase create prints, paintings and wood art available in their Etsy shop. The inventory includes uniquely designed and hand-pulled screen printed tees, tanks, towels, posters, koozies, wood cutting boards, coasters and screen printed wooden wall decor. Check out this colorful Hand-Pulled Ann Arbor Screen Print Poster.
Janna Coumoundouros is an artist and photographer based out of Detroit. Popular for taking photos of places and moments that other people might overlook, her renditions of Ann Arbor landmarks like Nickels Arcade, Graffiti Alley and Michigan Stadium would add character and color to any home.
The team behind Michigan Imagery, creates Michigan-inspired metal artwork for the home, the car and even the man cave. Their Michigan lake maps come in various inland lake and Great Lake shapes, and can even be customized to represent your favorite lake. To show off your Wolverine pride, check out this section in their Etsy shop.
At Midwest Coast Studios, the team hand makes historic map prints directly on wood. Images are transferred to the handmade pine base stained with the stain of your choice then sealed with a polyacrylic sealer to preserve. The map design and the wood base are both hand-distressed so no two maps will be the same. In addition to custom creations and international maps, the inventory includes historic Michigan maps and an Ann Arbor map.
Artist Sandi Oliverio was inspired to paint scenes of her favorite state upon returning to Michigan after living in various other states throughout the country. Now, she cements her love for the mitten in original, realistic paintings available as prints and as original pieces in her Etsy shop. See which landmarks and scenes she’s recreated here.
Lydia Pinkham is a Coast Guard veteran and student by day and a crafter at all other hours. Her Etsy shop displays that passion for art and craft through paper, fabric and knit goods she hand makes in Ypsilanti. Check out her layered paper art to see work inspired by Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Derek Bleyenberg’s massive Etsy shop is where he comes to combine his love for photography and graphic design, canvas art and travel. In the shop, you’ll find detailed maps, minimalist state outline pieces, travel illustrations, wood art prints, game boards, vintage-inspired travel posters and so much more. The inventory includes just about every state and major city you could imagine, including Michigan and Ann Arbor.
Kate originally opened her Etsy shop as a hobby where she sold a few needle felted pieces, but in 2013, she created a cut-canvas map of Michigan and people were clamoring for their own. Now, Wish You Were Here sells handmade maps cut from canvas with a hand-painted heart in your favorite place.
Ann Arbor’s downtown area is one of the city’s best places to explore local business, local eats, local drinks, and other locals-only attractions. Listed in our guide, The Top Five Ann Arbor Neighborhoods with the Best Walk Scores, it’s also the city’s most walkable neighborhood! So today, we’re combining all of these characteristics for a full day spent in one of our favorite places in Ann Arbor. Along the way, you’ll taste local food, local brews and local coffee, you’ll shop books and see art, and you’ll even get some bonus tips throughout the day.
For full details on the businesses in Downtown Ann Arbor as well as transportation options and events, check out Main Street Area Association.
Locals line up for this Ann Arbor staple—and it’s easy to see (and taste!) why. Serving brunch for over 30 years, the Afternoon Delight breakfast menu includes pan-grilled pancakes, homemade bran muffins, customized three-egg omelets, fresh poached salmon on the weekends and more. The eggs are always cage-free, the bread comes gluten-free and most of the ingredients and meats are organic!
Deeply local Roos Roast is the coffee headquarters for freshly roasted beans in Ann Arbor—and it’s just steps from Afternoon Delight on the way to Literati Bookstore. At their charming locale in Rosewood, they roast all their coffees in-house and offer a lively and cozy vibe. And the downtown location is everything we want in a local coffee shop. They’ve been voted the best in Washtenaw County and the best in Southeast Michigan, so it’s the perfect place to swing by for a taste of local Ann Arbor!
When Ann Arbor’s original, local bookstore, Borders, closed its doors all over the country, Hilary and Mike Gustafson moved back to their home state and opened Literati Bookstore as a book-lovers haven in downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, they set out an old typewriter and invited anyone and everyone to type a note on it. Over the years, they accumulated thousands of love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, “Notes From A Public Typewriter” compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more. Stop by to shop local for books and make sure you type your own note on the Literati public typewriter!
Bonus tip: If you need even more coffee, head upstairs to Literati Coffee where you’ll find even more books and a full coffee and espresso bar.
After our typing and reading excursion to Literati, we’re headed back to Liberty Street to get a feel for local art. Acting as Ann Arbor’s art headquarters since opening in 1909, this center in Downtown A2 serves both artists and our community by hosting art exhibitions in the gallery, events and classes for all ages, and they even sell jewelry, paintings, ceramics and prints in the 117 Gallery Shop. So, spend time perusing the gallery and you can even take home a bit of Ann Arbor culture for your friends, family or home!
Bonus tip: On the way to the Ann Arbor Art Center from Literati, stop in Le Bon Macaron for a morning treat.
Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Each location—whether full-service pub or casual hangout—offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, aged Jolly Pumpkin beers. In Downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll find Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, a full-service brewpub serving lunch, dinner, brunch and late-night eats. Choose the JP Burger and you’ll be in for one of Ann Arbor’s best lunches!
Locally and independently owned since 1982, Crazy Wisdom is another great place to get a sense of Ann Arbor’s strong literary history and character. Inside the downtown shop, you’ll find books, art, crystals, jewelry and, of course, the Crazy Wisdom Tea Room! Here, they serve more than 100 varieties of tea, coffee from local roaster, Mighty Good Coffee, as well as appetizers, entrees, desserts and other treats.
Bonus tip: If you’re looking for something stronger than tea, head to Grizzly Peak Brewing Company just around the corner on W Washington Street.
The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball—and we’re so glad it was. Today, this historic theater and its neighbor, the State Theater, offer regular showings of indie movies, limited releases, special screenings and more. Matinee movies typically start between 3 and 4 o’clock.
Between the Michigan Theater and our evening activities, we’ll travel right past Downtown Ann Arbor’s MANI Osteria and its sister restaurant, Isalita. MANI is a local restaurant modeled after the classic Italian osteria, but Isalita takes the team’s focus on local ingredients, small production and hospitality to the streets of Mexico. Isalita is our little city’s very own cantina. The menu is inspired by the street stall food found in open-air markets throughout Mexico and the hospitality is designed in true mi casa es su casa spirit.
After dinner, keep heading down Liberty Street for dessert. The ice cream at locally-owned and operated Blank Slate Creamery is homemade using fresh, all-natural ingredients which has resulted in numerous rankings as the top ice cream in Ann Arbor and even throughout the entire state of Michigan! You can see a list of several of their locally-sourced ingredients on their website which includes milk and cream from Guernsey Farms Dairy in Northville.
Just a few steps north on 1st Street from Blank Slate, 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 and you can buy your tickets in advance if needed.
Bonus tip: The doors typically open between 7 and 9 p.m. so if you have some time to kill, head to Bill’s Beer Garden which is open seasonally or Ann Arbor Beer Grotto. They’re both just steps from Blank Slate Creamery and The Blind Pig!
Repeatedly named as Ann Arbor’s best cocktail bar, The Last Word is a hidden gem, literally. It’s located underground just up the street from The Blind Pig. With no exterior signage, dim lighting and an outstanding bar program, it’s a bar designed in true speakeasy fashion. The drink menu includes high-quality wines and craft beers alongside cocktails prepared with fresh ingredients as well as house-made syrups and bitters.
November is fast approaching, and with it, some of the most festive holidays of the year. This month’s event lineup includes the culture festivals we’ve all come to love, as well as craft fairs, a Veterans Day event, a Thanksgiving race, and plenty of holiday preparation events like local markets and cookie classes. Enjoy!
October 18 – November 8, various times | Various locations
Continuing into November, this multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds but is still heavily anchored by authors as it has been for the past three decades. Most of this year’s events are free to attend and the authors, performers, artists, topics and projects are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections. Check out the schedule here.
November 5, 11 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Hill Auditorium
In honor of veterans, Fisher House Michigan is hosting Stories of Service on November 5th. This year, the free event at Hill Auditorium will include a silent auction to raise funds for Fisher House construction, and this auction will include a bi-plane donated right out of Yankee Air Museum! Last year, more than 2,000 people attended this free event in support of our local veterans and Fisher House Michigan.
November 10, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Saline Middle School
Featuring an impressive lineup of products and crafts from local makers, bakers and entrepreneurs, Saline Craft Show is the perfect place to shop local before the holidays. Organized through Saline Middle School, the youth groups involved get the opportunity to practice life skills and leadership, as well as earn money for their activities. So swing by the school on November 10th to shop and support!
November 11, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds
Since beginning just a few years ago, Saline Antiques & Vintage Market has become one the area’s favorite places to shop real antiques. Every show features collectibles, jewelry, home goods and more. It’s the perfect place to find holiday gifts for friends, family and yourself!
This annual event in downtown Chelsea invites the community into local shops and restaurants for discounts, deals, free samples and services, and more. To see the list of the more than 30 participating local spots, click here—and get ready to celebrate local!
Giving Tuesday is an annual day of giving that is honored all across the globe. Here in the Ann Arbor area, specific local events encourage philanthropy right here in our communities, and because the day is driven by social media and online donations, you can help from anywhere!
Just in time for holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County and performances by various outdoor entertainers.
November 30, 4 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market
Coinciding with Midnight Madness, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. Then, you can shop Kerrytown retail businesses who will be open late and grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!
November 30 – December 2nd, various times | Concordia University
One of Ann Arbor’s favorite Christmas celebrations kicks off on November 30th this year. A Manor Christmas is another local Christkindlmarkt, featuring tours of the historic Earhart mansion decorated for Christmas by professional designers, a unique Festival of Trees, premium artificial pre-lit trees for sale and, of course, the European-style Christmas market. Tickets are between $5 and $7 and you can buy them online here.
Epic Races is celebrating Thanksgiving the only way they know how—with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark! This running and walking event features three different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, and a quick mile fun run. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can run both the 5K and 10K races for a total of 9.3 miles in the Iron Turkey challenge!
November 28 – December 24, various times | Zingerman’s Bakehouse
The most popular event from Zingerman’s Bakehouse is back for the 2018 holiday season! Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies will teach participants how to make the best cookie creations using even more whole grains, local ingredients and freshly milled flours. There are 70 classes through Christmas Eve and all the spots are currently sold out, but if you sign up for the waitlist, you may be able to snag an opening in the event of a cancellation.
It’s not every day you get a craving for freshly baked bread, a warm jelly donut, a fluffy soft pretzel, a scratch-made scone or a decadent macaron. If that list made your craving hit right now, then we have just the round-up for you, because our Ann Arbor area communities are home to some of the best makers and bakers around and they’re providing fresh baked goods that satisfy all those cravings and more.
Keep reading to learn where you can track down the best in local baked goods, including everything from downtown storefronts to online shops and businesses that can only be found at area farmers’ markets. Enjoy!
Avalon International Breads originally opened their humble Detroit storefront in 1997 striving to offer artisan baked goods made with 100% organic flour. Today, they’ve developed the building blocks of the region’s agri-urban economy and operate five storefronts and restaurants total. Their first and only location outside of Detroit is located right here in Ann Arbor where they serve outstanding menus for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner alongside their breads, seasonal pies, cakes, cookies, scones, granola bars and more.
If you’ve ever felt a craving for seasonal donuts, fresh soft pretzels, warm cookies or chocolate éclairs filled with homemade vanilla custard, head to Benny’s. This Saline original churns out some of the best baked goods in Southeast Michigan and it’s all made fresh.
Whether you’re in search of a custom cake, a holiday pie, a morning cinnamon roll, or just a sweet treat for yourself, Big City Small World should be at the top of your list. This hometown bakery makes everything in-house, from scratch and fresh every day; they even candy their own ginger for their orange-ginger scone and the apples in their apple pies come from local orchards!
Regularly available at the Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market and Milan Third Thursdays, Czechbox Bakery is the only bakery of its kind in the Ann Arbor area. As a Michigan Cottage Food business providing heritage eastern European baked goods, founder and baker Gretchen Kopmanis creates authentic treats and breads seasonally based on Michigan produce. Check out the website to see what she bakes or to place an order and follow Czechbox on Facebook to track it all down.
The Cupcake Station has five locations in the Ann Arbor area, including one downtown. Made in-house and from scratch every day, you’ll find 24 unique flavors available each time you visit. Stop in to try creations like Cotton Candy Sweet Treat, Hot Fudge Sundae and Strawberry Sunshine.
The home of mouth-watering jelly donuts, Instagram-worthy cupcakes, towering cakes, fluffy soft pretzels and freshly baked breads, The Dexter Bakery is a must-visit near Ann Arbor. In 2018, they were even named the Sweetest Bakery in Michigan through the Sweetest Bakery in America Contest! And they’ve been serving their treats in Downtown Dexter for more than 100 years.
A local, family run and oriented business, Ed’s Bread is a staple of the Saline community and also happens to produce some of the tastiest baked goods in the area. Baked fresh from scratch, their lineup frequently includes muffins, huge cookies, fresh bread, bagels, and some of the best homemade granola in town.
Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in Downtown Ann Arbor. On the menu, you’ll find French press coffee and espresso from Rowster Coffee, fresh scones made daily, ice cream sundaes with Cone Appetit craft ice cream, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous.
The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe is the second location of the beloved, plant-based eatery The Lunch Room. As the headquarters of The Lunch Room Bakery, it’s where they make all their breads in-house from scratch. On any given day, the lineup of baked goods available to purchase includes breads, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cakes, donuts and more. And they’re all vegan!
As lovers and crafters of impeccable cheesecakes, this local business produces some of the best cakes in the region. Though you won’t find them in a brick-and-mortar store yet, you can find their cheesecakes at Cream & Crumb in Ypsi and follow the team on Facebook.
This Ann Arbor shop is a small, locally-owned bakery that offers fresh baked goods with a focus on breakfast pastries. That means they’re the place to go to satisfy every croissant, danish, pillow puff, sticky bun or pasty craving.
Found at local farmers’ markets + Earthen Jar |Facebook
The Simple Pleasures story began when Jasmine wanted her brother to enjoy the same pastries and sweet treats everyone else loved without straying from his strict vegetarian and eggless diet. Today, the venture has turned into a full-fledged baked goods business that caters to special diets, including gluten-free, vegan, eggless and sugar-free. You can find these sweets and breads sold at Earthen Jar in Ann Arbor and several farmers’ markets throughout the area.
Sweet Heather Anne is perhaps the most photographed bakery in Ann Arbor thanks to the team’s jaw-dropping special occasion cakes, macarons and other special order treats. Though they ran their public dessert counter for six years, they recently had to reduce the hours to holidays and events. You can still shop their famous macarons and sea salt chocolate chip cookies online, order for your own special occasion treats, and swing by the dessert counter during holiday hours.
A must-visit no matter what your diet, Tasty Bakery offers high-quality, gluten-free artisan baked goods that are indiscernible from any glutinous treat. Additionally, many of their cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, scones and breads are also soy free, organic, vegan and naturally sweetened. Swing by their bakery or find them at the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market to taste the difference for yourself!
White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses and soothing botanicals. Showcasing the same passion for local, sustainable and handcrafted in every facet of the farm, the bakery produces some of the best breads in Michigan. While the bread is not certified organic, it is made with 100% organic grains and can be found at markets throughout the area, including Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, Argus Farm Stop, and Eastern Market in Detroit.
Housed in a charming storefront no Plymouth Road, Yoon’s Bakery is a Korean bakery based on the French style of baking. The team serves a unique selection of fresh baked goods that includes sweetbreads, savory breads, cakes and fluffy buns stuffed with things like homemade strawberry cream cheese. Yum!
After running Zingerman’s Delicatessen for ten years, owners Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig wanted to improve the flavors by baking their own breads. So, in September of 1992, they teamed up with Frank Carollo and just five other staff members to open the beloved Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Today, 130 staff members and partners make pastries, breads and other treats from scratch daily.
We could go on and on listing awards, accolades and honors our little city has won (like 5 Great College Towns to Settle In Post-Graduation), but now, we’re going to let the community speak for itself. Keep reading to find out exactly what makes Ann Arbor the best college town in America.
1. The school
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but we can’t talk about our perfect college town without bragging about the university that makes it what it is. The University of Michigan is continually ranked amongst the best universities in the nation, and in the US News & World Report 2019 ranking of the best national universities, it makes the top 30. Boasting a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 30,000, UM offers students more than 1,500 organizations, more than 60 Greek chapters, and an impressive lineup of athletics for both athletes and fans.
Is there any activity more stereotypically college than disc golf? We don’t think so, and Ann Arbor is home to two public courses maintained by the city, as well as a FootGolf course! In fact, our city boasts nearly 2,100 acres of parkland and 14 recreation facilities where visitors can hike, bike, picnic, swim, cross-country ski—you name it.
Every college town needs a hub for local food, local events and local character. Not only is this the place you’ll spend most of your free time, it’s also the place you’ll take your parents, your friends and your family every time they visit. Here in Ann Arbor, that place is Main Street, the heart of downtown, located less than half a mile from the UM campus.
You’re going to spend a lot of time in The Big House. But UM athletic events will also make you well acquainted with the Crisler Center and Yost Ice Arena because our university is home to one of the best football programs, one of the best basketball programs, and one of the best ice hockey programs in the country. Needless to say, you’ll have a way to show off your Michigan pride all year long! #GoBlue
Ann Arbor’s local and public art provides a way for you to practice your own creativity, a way to admire the work of your peers and your community, and an opportunity to get some iconic Instagram photos. Yes, we’re talking about The Michigan Wings, the perfect spot for your first day of school photo and your graduation photo. You can find this blue and maize mural at the corner of East William and Maynard streets at Tower Plaza.
Other landmark murals include The Bookstore Mural which depicts the colorful heads of Woody Allen, Edgar Allan Poe, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka and Anaïs Nin. And you have to snap a photo at the Singing in the Rain mural located on the 5th Ave. entrance to the Library Lane Parking Structure!
To start your official exploration of Ann Arbor art, visit Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit arts center that hosts rotating exhibits, classes, events and a supply shop.
10. The craft beer
Craft beer culture seems to especially boom around major colleges and universities — and we don’t think that’s a coincidence. Here in Ann Arbor, we’ve experienced the craft beer boom as much as any other college town (and maybe even more than most). To get the lowdown on the city’s best, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area. It even has an interactive map so you can track down the one closest to you right now!
Are you a University of Michigan alumnus?
Let us know why you think Ann Arbor is the best college town in the comments below!
Each year, Halloween brings the ghouls, goblins and monsters out to play in Ann Arbor. But thankfully for our families and kids, the fun isn’t all scary. Starting with the most frightening option up first, we rounded up the region’s best family-friendly events where you can celebrate Halloween 2018.
Using our event guide, you can keep the festive fun going even past Halloween!
September 22 – October 31, various times | Wiard’s Orchard |Event info
Michigan’s premier haunted attraction comes alive once again this October. Open at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October 28th and then again on Halloween night, Night Terrors features 89 acres of terror. The six haunted attractions include The Asylum, Hayride of the Lost, The Ultimate Haunted Barn and less frightening options like Scaryoke Live Music and Wiard’s Bakery where you can enjoy the homemade cider and caramel apples of Wiard’s Orchard.
October 13, 12 – 3 p.m. | Rolling Hills Park |Event info
The 4th Annual Monster Smash will include a candy hunt, a costume contest, face painting, a scavenger hunt, festive hayrides, cider and donuts, carnival games, the Trek-or-Treat Trail, and a pumpkin patch! For information on registration, click here.
Trick or Treat on the Trail | Dexter
October 13, 4 – 6 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center |Event info
On the trails of Hudson Mills Metropark, little ones in costume can trick-or-treat along the trails decorated with a festive theme. The cost is $5 and you can find pre-registration information here.
Spend this haunting afternoon on the waters of the Huron River for Trick or Treat on the River! While paddling up and down Gallup Pond, participants will encounter creatures handing out treats and candy. There is no pre-registration required and the fee is $20 per boat. For more information, check out the Argo Canoe Livery website.
Pumpkin Carving Party | Dexter
October 14, 1 – 3 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center |Event info
At Hudson Mills Metropark on October 14th, you and your kids can pick out a pumpkin and a design then have fun carving it together! Participants can also enjoy cider and donuts, included in the $6 fee.
Preschool Pumpkin Hunt | Saline
October 16, 10 – 11 a.m. | Saline Recreation Center |Event info
In Miller Field behind the Saline Rec Center, preschoolers are invited to play and track down their perfect pumpkin to decorate and take home. The fun also includes snack time and story time! Register online here.
Boo Bash | Saline
October 19, 6 – 8 p.m. | Saline Recreation Center |Event info
The 27th Halloween event at the Saline Rec Center will include tasty treats, a Trick or Treat trail, costumes, games, dancing, a balloon drop and more! Register in advance here.
Pumpkins, Lanterns & Leaves | Ann Arbor
October 19 + 20, 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Matthaei Botanical Gardens |Event info
Happening on two days this year, the annual Halloween celebration at Matthaei Botanical Gardens includes the famous pumpkin trail, lantern crafts, magic tricks, stories, cider and donuts!
Haunted House: The Show | Ann Arbor
October 19 + 20, 8 – 10 p.m. | Ring of Steel |Event info
This haunted house experience brings the scares to you! Presented as a spooky show instead of a journey through a set, Ring of Steel has put together a performance full of fire dancing, circus acts, stunt work and general silliness. Though the show is family-friendly, the second half will feature slightly darker material, so parents of younger children should plan accordingly.
Girls on the Run Superhero 5k | Dexter
October 21, 2 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark |Event info
This costumed race benefits Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan‘s financial assistance program. Suitable for kids and adults, race day includes three events: a 5k run/walk, a one-mile fun run and a kids dash for participants five years and younger. For registration information and pricing, check out the website.
Halloween Hootenanny | Ann Arbor
October 25, 4 – 7 p.m. | Zingerman’s Deli |Event info
The Hootenanny at Zingerman’s Deli includes pumpkin drawing, cookie decorating, face painting and more Halloween-themed fun. Come dressed in costume and enjoy music and snacks as you and your kids participate at your own pace.
Spooky Species | Ann Arbor
October 26 – 31, various times | The Creature Conservancy |Event info
Spooky Species in The Creature Conservancy’s annual Halloween event that invites families to check out creepy crawlies you may not normally get to see on a typical visit. Sessions include interactions and viewings of spiders, snakes, bats and more as well as cider and donuts! For more information on registration and specific dates and times, click here.
Halloween Downtown | Ypsilanti
October 26, 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Ypsilanti District Library |Event info
In Library Park Plaza, Ypsilanti District Library is hosting Halloween fun even before the fun of YpsiGLOW. Stop by to trick-or-treat for candy, enter giveaways and visit the Boo! Mobile. Then, stick around downtown Ypsi for the luminary fun!
YpsiGLOW | Ypsilanti
October 26, sunset | Downtown Ypsilanti |Event info
From the same team that brings us FestiFools and FoolMoon every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through Downtown Ypsi. In the weeks leading up to the event, local artists, businesses and organizations host GLOWorkshops so you can create your own luminary and costume. Then, you can join the community on October 26th for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art! Follow the team on Facebook for updates on workshops and the big event.
Den of Darkness Haunted Hallway | Pittsfield Township
October 26, 6:30 – 8 p.m. | Ann Arbor Community Center |Event info
Hosted by Pittsfield Charter Township, the Den of Darkness Haunted Hallway is an annual tradition for families with kids of all ages. There will be crafts, donuts and cider, a costume contest, candy bags, the famous haunted hallway, and a Spooktacular Halloween Story provided by the Ann Arbor District Library. Register in advance here for $5–7.
Celebration of Halloween: 1978 | Ann Arbor
October 26, 7:30 p.m. | Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College |Event info
In honor of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band’s 40th year, they’re going back in time to 1978. Dress like it’s 1978 or come in a traditional Halloween costume, and join in the fun of this free Halloween celebration!
Tag And Treat Costume Party | Ann Arbor
October 27, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Zap Zone |Event info
Zap Zone Ann Arbor is turning into a festive destination on October 27th complete with candy stations, a kid-friendly haunted house, a costume contest with prizes, and admission to one free Zap Zone attraction to be used that day!
Halloween Spooktacular | Belleville
October 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Yankee Air Museum |Event info
The Yankee Air Museum Halloween Spooktacular features spooky games, family-friendly activities, a costume contest and trick-or-treating.
Halloween Skate | Ann Arbor
October 27, 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Veterans Memorial Ice Arena |Event info
For the cost of general admission to Veterans Memorial Ice Arena, you and your family can enjoy ice skating to the spooky sounds of Halloween as well as a costume contest!
Zombie Apocalypse Survival | Dexter
October 27, 1 – 3 p.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark Activity Center |Event info
Hudson Mills Metropark is celebrating Halloween by preparing you and your family for the zombie apocalypse. For a $5 registration, you can learn shelter building, fire making and other zombie-proofing techniques.
Animal Haunts | Ann Arbor
October 27, 6 – 8 p.m. | Leslie Science & Nature Center |Event info
For $10 person or $35 per family, Leslie Science & Nature Center is offering Animal Haunts on October 27th. The non-scary event will include a guided hike through Black Pond Woods, harvest crafts, a hay jump, live animals and more.
If you’re looking for the adult-only version, check out Animal Haunts: Adults Only on October 26th here.
Muttster Mash Bash | Ann Arbor
October 27, 6 – 8 p.m. | Humane Society of Huron Valley |Event info
Hosted by Humane Society of Huron Valley, this Halloween event brings together the community with animals in need. The event will include family-friendly activities throughout the shelter that include games, trick-or-treating, crafts for the animals, meet and greets and more. Adults are admitted for free and children cost $10. Register in advance here.
Halloween Concert | Ann Arbor
October 28, 4:30 p.m. | Hill Auditorium |Event info
The University of Michigan orchestras are joining forces for this Halloween tradition. Featuring spooky sounds, musical classics and Halloween favorites, the show celebrates the holiday with tricks, treats and great music. Come in costume or come as you are!
Halloween Treat Parade | Ann Arbor
October 31, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Main Street | Event info TBD
For the 18th year, trick-or-treating is coming to Main Street Ann Arbor on Halloween day! Neighborhood merchants welcome costumed kids and their parents for treats. In addition, the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library will be throwing a Halloween Party that includes stories, puppets and more trick-or-treating.
The Great Pumpkin Roll | Saline
November 3, 9 – 10 a.m. | Mill Pond Park |Event info
After Halloween, bring your old Jack-O-Lanterns to Mill Pond Park for The Great Pumpkin Roll! At this free event, you’ll race your pumpkin against others. Winners will get a fun mystery prize and everyone can enjoy hot cider, donuts, a pumpkin launcher and plenty of laughs. For updates, RSVP to the event on Facebook.
Pumpkin Smash | Ypsilanti
November 3, 12 – 5 p.m. | Rolling Hills Park |Event info
Bring your carved pumpkins to Rollings Hills Park on the Saturday after Halloween to literally roll your Jack-O-Lantern down the park’s rolling hills. The event is free to participate in and includes themed targets to hit on the way down.