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15 Fun Things to Do in Ann Arbor When You’re Not Drinking

things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor is both a college town and a great craft beer town, which means you’ll find tons of things to do when you’re looking for craft cocktails, beer gardens, taprooms, late night bars and the like. But if you’re worried you won’t be able to find anything to do outside of bar hopping and brewery crawling, there’s no need—our hometown also offers an impressive lineup of fun things to do, shows to see, classes to take, places to shop, and more. There’s even one spot on this guide serving up incredible mocktails! 

Next time you’re looking for something to do in Ann Arbor without the booze, stop by one of these local favorites for art, music, shopping, movies, food, games, tours, tea, coffee and ice cream.

 

Take a class at Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor Art Center dates in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

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

 

Go to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

things to do in ann arbor michigan

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

 

See a show at The Ark.

The Ark Ann Arbor music venues

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Patselas via The Ark

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

 

Dine and drink at Aventura

Aventura mocktails in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Claire Lindsey, Aventura

Aventura is a charming spot in downtown Ann Arbor 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. Also on the menu, you’ll find an impressive selection of crafted mocktails like Sangria Falsa, which is made with pomegranate, Earl Grey tea, cinnamon and citrus. To see the full menu, click here.

 

Tour with By the Sidewalk Food Tours

Founded right here in Ann Arbor and inspired by our hometown neighborhoods, chefs, businesses and history, By the Sidewalk Food Tours explores all of that and more. The Classic Ann Arbor By The Sidewalk tour is a three hour, guided walking tour through downtown Ann Arbor and Kerrytown that pairs food tastings with history, art, architecture and local stories.

 

Go out for coffee. 

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to explore Ann Arbor’s coffee scene, you’re definitely missing out. In fact, our hometown has been named on The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America and National Geographic’s guide These Unexpected Cities Have the Best Coffee in the U.S. To explore the most up-to-date happenings on the coffee scene, check out Coffee Ann Arbor on Facebook and Instagram.

You can also preview the coffee scene with our guide The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area. And check out The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor to find a few shops that do their own roasting!

 

Escape from Decode

As Michigan’s top escape game, Decode offers some of the most interesting and complex escape rooms in the state—and they have facilities in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit! In Ann Arbor, their facility offers a three-part adventure called Minerva’s Trilogy. The story is about Minerva, an adolescent Artificial Intelligence machine with lofty goals. The Minerva Project and Minerva’s Return are the first and last parts, both one-hour escape rooms. And the second part, Minerva’s Escape, is a free puzzle hunt through downtown Ann Arbor.

 

Get ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery.

ice cream in ann arbor michigan

Photo courtesy of Andrew Jager via Blank Slate Creamery

Locally owned and operated, the ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery is homemade using fresh, all-natural ingredients, which has landed them on numerous rankings as the top ice cream in Ann Arbor and even throughout the 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.

To find even more ice cream in the area, check out The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

Catch a movie at Michigan Theater.

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

 

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. You can spend your quarters along the entire wall of pinball machines, play video games, and challenge your friends to a game of pool or air hockey!

 

Share tea at TeaHaus

Ann Arbor’s favorite tea spot, TeaHaus offers options suited for a quick stop or an entire afternoon. For example, the full English tea is a three-tiered service brought out to each table complete with white china and linens. The experience includes all the tea you can drink, four finger sandwiches, the soup of the day, two scones with jam, jellies, lemon curd and clotted cream, and three desserts. Get all the details here and be sure to make your reservation a few days in advance. 

 

Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Natural History fun things to do in Ann Arbor

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

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

 

Visit University of Michigan Museum of Art

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

 

Head to Waterloo State Recreation Area. 

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula! It offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea, including campgrounds, mountain biking opportunities, more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boating and fishing, horseback riding, and more. To learn more, check out Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

 

Take a class with Zingerman’s Bakehouse

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

 

Do you have a local tip? 

If you have a favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor when you’re not drinking, tell us about it in the comments below!

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

Ann Arbor classes for kids

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

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

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

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Art | Facebook

Ann Arbor Art Center classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

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

 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Art | Facebook

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum specializes in interactive exhibits with the goal of helping both children and adults discover the scientist within them. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics. But, if you sign up for a workshop, your kids can continue their educational explorations even further! These events cover a variety of science concepts—from stop-motion animation to computer programming and engineering—through hands-on activities, interactive demos and experiments in a small group setting. To see the upcoming workshops, check out the event calendar here.

 

Ann Arbor Saline Music Center

Music | Facebook

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

 

Arts in Motion

Dance | Facebook

Arts in Motion Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Vera Davis Photography via Arts in Motion

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

 

Bricks 4 Kidz

STEM | Facebook

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

 

Clay Work Studio

Art | Facebook

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

 

Flipside Art Studio

Art | Facebook

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

 

Gym America

Fitness | Facebook

Gym America Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Gym America

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

 

Michigan Academy of Dance & Music

Dance | Facebook

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

 

Peachy Fitness

Fitness | Facebook

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

 

Talking Colors Art School

Art

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

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Food | Facebook

Zingerman's Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

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

 

Do you have a favorite kids class in the area?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

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

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

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Retail location at 117 W Liberty St in Ann Arbor

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

 

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Retail location at 315 Detroit St in Ann Arbor

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

 

Artistica Gallery

Retail location at 3203 Broad St in Dexter

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

 

Bløm Meadworks

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

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried. In addition to hosting pop-ups and weekly yoga classes, they also sell their naturally gluten-free mead in cans both in the taproom and online. To view their online store, click here.

 

Bo

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

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

 

Bookend Candle Co.

Online store

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

 

Caravan Gift Shop

Retail location at 1 Nickels Arcade in Ann Arbor

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

 

Cherry Republic

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

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

 

FOUND Gallery

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

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

 

Le Bon Macaron

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

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Le Bon Macaron

Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in Downtown Ann Arbor. If you stop in the store, you can get French press coffee and espresso, fresh scones, ice cream sundaes, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous. But, you can also shop online for Le Bon merchandise and customizable macaron boxes! Check out the online shop here.

 

Literati Bookstore

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

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

 

The M Den

Six retail locations | Online store

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

 

Rock Paper Scissors

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

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Rock Paper Scissors

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

 

RoosRoast

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

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Laura Garbarz via RoosRoast

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

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

 

Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Three retail locations

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

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

 

True North Jerky and Foods

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

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

 

Ypsilicious

Online store

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

 

Zingerman’s Creamery

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

Where to Shop to Build the Perfect Ann Arbor Gift Basket

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Creamery

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

 

Do you have a gift basket idea?

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

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

Kerrytown fun things to do in Ann Arbor

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

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

 

1. Go shopping in Kerrytown.

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

 

2. Get ice cream at Washtenaw Dairy.

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

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

 

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

Museum of Natural History fun things to do in Ann Arbor

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

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

 

4. See a show at The Ark.

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

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

 

5. Catch a movie at The Michigan Theater.

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

 

6. Eat at Fleetwood Diner.

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

 

7. Sip beer at Bill’s Beer Garden.

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

Photo courtesy of Bill’s Beer Garden

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

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

 

8. Type on the typewriter at Literati Bookstore.

Literati Bookstore fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

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

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

 

9. Order sangria at Dominick’s.

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

 

10. Get a sandwich at Zingerman’s Deli.

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

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

 

11. Go kayaking on the Huron River.

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

12. Explore the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

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

 

13. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

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

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

 

14. Go to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market.

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

 

15. Spend a day in Ypsilanti.

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

 

Want to add something to the itinerary?

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

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

Cocktail mixology classes Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Art Center dates in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

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

 

Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

 

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre acting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

 

Flipside Art Studio

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

 

Hyperion Coffee Co.

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

Hyperion Coffee Labs classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Hyperion Coffee Co.

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

 

Maker Works

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Maker Works art classes in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Maker Works

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

 

Pointless School of Improv

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

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

 

Schultz Outfitters

Ypsilanti | Facebook | Class information

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

 

Spun

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Spun knitting classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Spun

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

 

Tammy’s Tastings

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

 

White Lotus Farms

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

Zingerman's Bakehouse cooking classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

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

 

Zingerman’s Coffee Company

Ann Arbor | Facebook | Class information

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

 

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The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor

Music venues, events record stores in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor is a book town, a college town, a quirky town, an artsy town and a music town all rolled into one. And that collection of cultures and characters makes our hometown one of the best places to explore the arts.

Music lovers can do that through live shows at local venues, visiting indie record stores, and attending annual, music-centered events. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, keep reading to find the best places and occasions for all three!

 

Jump ahead to find the best:

Venues | Record stores | Annual events

 

Venues

 

Kerrytown Concert House

Kerrytown Concert House music venues in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kerrytown Concert House

An intimate 110 seat venue, Kerrytown Concert House is a nonprofit organization focused on community engagement and providing audiences with fine art, from live music to gallery exhibitions. Inside their historic home-turned-venue, you can attend affordable events in various genres; check out the event calendar here.

 

The Blind Pig

The Blind Pig is the locals’ choice for live music almost every night of the week. This quirky bar and music venue hosts everything from punk and folk to comedy and karaoke. Check out the calendar online here and you can buy your tickets in advance if needed.  

 

The Ark

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

 

Michigan Theater

The historic Michigan Theater was founded in 1928, then the Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball. Today, the theater is home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. Check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here.

 

The B-Side

The B-Side began back in 1999 in the original location of local Ann Arbor organization Neutral Zone. As the program grew, they moved up the street to 310 E. Washington and increased their audience capacity to over 400. Today, the all-ages concert venue hosts everything from touring hip-hop acts to teen hardcore bands to local folk singers, and every show is booked and promoted by teens through Neutral Zone. You can learn more about Neutral Zone in 23 Local Charities in the Ann Arbor Area and How You Can Help.

 

Johnny’s Speakeasy

Johnny’s Speakeasy calls itself one of the worst kept secrets in Ann Arbor. The small, intimate venue hosts a range of genres and just a limited number of house concerts each year. To stay up-to-date on this year’s shows, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

University Musical Society  

A program of the University of Michigan, UMS has been around since 1879 and offers more than 60 performances each year. Today, they host events throughout the year in six different theaters and venues: Hill Auditorium, Rackham Auditorium, Power Center, Michigan Theater, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. To get information on their current season, click here.

 

Ziggy’s

Located just minutes from Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti, Ziggy’s is a downtown music venue, bar, coffeehouse and arcade. Hosting a range of local acts alongside small, touring artists, you can attend fundraisers, music shows, parties and so much more. Follow the team on Facebook here to stay up-to-date on upcoming events.

 

 

Record stores

 

Wazoo Records

Record stores in Ann Arbor Michigan

Wazoo is Ann Arbor’s headquarters for both new releases and old collections. Their inventory of new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, VHS and cassette tapes are displayed in an organized and tidy way that makes shopping fun for record diggers and casual music lovers alike.

 

Encore Records

Encore Records buys and sells various types of records, tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, sheet music, books on music and musicians, and memorabilia. If you’re selling, you can come in without an appointment during buying hours which are available every day of the week. To shop, you can come in and enjoy the curated collection of both new and used merchandise. To preview their inventory and shop online, click here.

 

Underground Sounds

Underground Sounds began as That Total Age in 1993 in Ypsilanti. Then, they became Vinyl Joe’s Coffee & Records in 1995 before moving to Downtown Ann Arbor and becoming Underground Sounds in 2001. They specialize in new release vinyl and compact discs and sell them below list price. You can preview their inventory and shop online here.

 

 

Annual events

 

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Ann Arbor Folk Fest music events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Andrew Rogers via The Ark

Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, began in 1977 and is now one of Ann Arbor’s most anticipated events. Over the course of two days, Hill Auditorium hosts the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov, Rufus Wainwright, Haley Heynderickx, Brandi Carlile and more. Tickets are available for single nights and both nights, and you can get more information here.  

 

Edgefest

Edgefest began in 1997 as a single day event and has grown into a four-day festival that includes collaborations and educational outreach. Hosted by Kerrytown Concert House, the event is focused on avant-garde jazz and creative new music performed by artists from the United States and around the globe.

 

Sonic Lunch

Sonic Lunch Ann Arbor Michigan music events

Photo courtesy of Leisa Thompson Photography via Sonic Lunch

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets Ann Arbor every summer. The free, outdoor concerts take place at the corner of Liberty and Division in Downtown Ann Arbor every Thursday during the season from 12 to 1:30 p.m. For more information on this year’s series, click here.  

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival

In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. Continuing the tradition, the festival takes place every August at the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds. Today, the festival is celebrated as North America’s first electric blues festival and the team is celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019. To get information on this year’s event, click here.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival

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

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival

Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The event features multiple different bands each day, including special guests! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground. And you can learn more here.

 

 

Do you love local music?  

Tell us all about your favorite venues, events, music memories and local bands in the comments below.

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11 Family Portrait Photographers in Ann Arbor You’ll Love

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

It’s not every day you have a newborn baby or a pair of laughing toddlers, and these moments certainly don’t last forever. But when your family comes together to capture those moments, those laughs and those hugs, the memories can last forever, and they can even hang on your walls for generations. The right photographer can make that process easy and comfortable for you, for your baby and even for the shyest kids.  

To help you hunt down the best in and around Ann Arbor, we put together a round up we think you’ll love. Each photographer has a unique style and a distinct personality, so flip through a few galleries before you decide on the artist that’s right for you. Enjoy!

 

Amanda Dumouchelle

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Amanda Dumouchelle

Amanda Dumouchelle has been a professional photographer since 2008 when she was living in Japan. Now, she’s home right here in Ann Arbor and specializes in maternity, newborn, family and lifestyle photography. Her modern approach highlights the real-life moments more than the stiff poses so you can remember your family and your relationships exactly as they are: filled with laughter, surprises and plenty of hugs.

 

Amanda Eskridge Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Amanda Eskridge Photography

Amanda Eskridge was born and raised in Ann Arbor and is now raising her own family here—a teenager and two toddlers—with her husband. She specializes in natural light lifestyle photography of families, children, newborns and expectant mothers. We love her intimate lifestyle approach to photography because it shows your real family in your real surroundings and can even take place inside your own home. Because she doesn’t photograph inside a studio, her images are honest and naturally beautiful.

 

Amy Kimball Photography

Facebook | Instagram

Amy Kimball Photography Ann Arbor family portraits

Photo courtesy of Amy Kimball Photography

Amy Kimball has four kids of her own and quickly learned just how important it is for families and children to have room to roam. Bringing that insight into her professional photography, she offers a unique studio experience on 70 acres of farmland in Chelsea. After backbreaking work, she and her family have turned the land into a dreamy destination for family photos and exploration. The lands include wildflower meadows, a 25-acre wood, a spring-fed pond and buildings in various states of repair. And after your family is done playing and exploring, you’ll get stunning professional photos to remember the day and the honest relationships you all share.

 

Bak Photography

Facebook

BAK Photography Saline Michigan family photographers newborn

Photo courtesy of Bak Photography

Bak Photography was founded in 1980 by Mark Bak right here in Saline. Today, the award-winning studio offers a staff of ten photographers and six DJs available for events and entertainment. Mark himself has been known as one of the state’s most notable photographers for several years and has more than 35 years of experience. He has also studied with 37 master photographers and now teaches other professional photographers. To meet the team and see their impressive lineup of services, check out the Bak Photography website here.

 

Christina Maria Photo and Design

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Christina Maria Photo and Design

Based in Brighton, Christina Maria Photo and Design is run by professional photographer, mother and wife Christina Kafkakis. Through her business, she gets to explore her passion for photography and focuses in maternity, newborn, baby, children and family portraits. As a mother herself to three boys and a girl, she definitely knows how to make kids laugh. And since 2011, she has photographed more than 350 newborns, including several sets of twins, triplets and even a set of quintuplets.

 

Lori Page Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Lori Page Photography

Lori Page is an Ann Arbor-based photographer but travels to Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Plymouth, Northville and our surrounding communities. Throughout her life, she has gained experience as both a mother and a teacher; she is a member of the Professional Photographer’s of America; she was accepted through application into the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, and she was accepted as a ClickPro. In summary, she’s one of the best people to make your family comfortable and to capture those comfortable smiles, big laughs and huge hugs.

 

Melissa Cozart Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Melissa Cozart Photography

Melissa Cozart is a mother, wife and professional photographer specializing in newborns, maternity, family, children and senior portraits. Her flexible style and personality offer a combination of posed and lifestyle portraits in the location of your choice or even in the comfort of your home. Because her passion for portrait photography is heavily influenced by her own children and her desire to freeze her favorite moments, she strives to provide the same for you and yours.

 

Meredith Allyn Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Meredith Allyn Photography

Through global travels, big moves, career changes, marriage and motherhood, Meredith Allyn has always had a camera in hand, and she has always had a desire to capture every moment: both the laughter-filled and the tear-filled. Through her powerful conviction that images matter, she has developed a stunning, honest style of family and newborn photography we love. One session, the day in the life documentary, chronicles the simple interactions and everyday happenings we all wish we could capture every day. 

 

MJR Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of MJR Photography

Mary, the artist, owner and wizard behind MJR Photography, travels all over Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio to prove real photos matter and that they can and should last for generations. Experiences with her three children and husband have given her plenty of experience in making families and kids comfortable in front of the camera so she can capture the candid moments, the authentic smiles and the playful instants in between standard shots.

 

Photography by Trae

Facebook | Instagram

Photography by Trae Belleville Michigan family photographers newborn

Photo courtesy of Photography by Trae

Trae is a mother, an artist, a knitter, an entrepreneur and one of Southeast Michigan’s best photographers. Based in Ypsilanti, she uses both studio light and natural light to photograph newborns, new mothers, children and families. Her passion is in capturing the moments you can’t capture yourself, the memories you’re wrapped up in but still want to remember forever. If you want to see her work for yourself, here is a direct link to her online galleries.

 

Tara Droz Photography

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Tara Droz Photography

Located in Howell, Tara Droz specializes in newborn, baby and family photography in the Brighton area, Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Her studio is located in Howell, and some of her best photos have been taken during outdoor sessions all over Southeast Michigan during all seasons. Completely self-taught, we especially love her style because it offers a balanced combination of posed photos and candid moments so you have the perfect image for your holiday card and the perfect capture of genuine moments.

 

Do you have a favorite local photographer?

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Michigan-Inspired Art You Can Buy from Michigan Etsy Shops

Michigan art Etsy shops

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.

 

37prime

DeWitt | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of 37prime

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.

 

Beneath the Sail

Charlevoix | Etsy shop

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!

 

Blue Dot Maps

Ann Arbor | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Blue Dot Maps

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. 

 

Brush and Timber Co.  

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

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.

 

Cruz Creative Co.

Detroit | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Cruz Creative Co.

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.

 

Dilly Dalian

Ann Arbor | Etsy shop

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.

 

For the Love of Maps

Rochester | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of For the Love of Maps

For the Love of Maps is a huge shop on Etsy with an inventory of more than 200 items that includes local, national and international maps, state and city-inspired artwork, quirky prints and more. We had a hard time choosing a favorite example, so we rounded up a few Ann Arbor-based pieces: I Left My Heart In Ann Arbor, The History of Michigan Football, Ann Arbor Is Where The Heart Is and Live Every Day Like It’s An Autumn Saturday in Ann Arbor.

 

Jeff Joseph Art Prints

Brighton | Etsy shop

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.

 

jenQ

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

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.

 

Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles

Detroit | Etsy shop

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.

 

KUHL Art 

Milan | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of KUHL Art

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.

 

Lilac Pop Studio

Detroit | Etsy shop

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.

 

Michigan Imagery

DeWitt | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Michigan Imagery

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.

 

Midwest Coast Studios

East Lansing | 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.

 

My Michigan Memories

Livonia | Etsy shop

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.

 

Paper, Yarn, Love

Ypsilanti | Etsy shop  

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Paper, Yarn, Love

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.

 

Printed Marketplace

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

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.

 

Wish You Were Here

Traverse City | Etsy shop

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.

 

Happy shopping!

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Spending a Day in Downtown Ann Arbor, Mapped

What to do in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan

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.

 

 

8 a.m. | Breakfast at Afternoon Delight Café

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!

 

9:30 a.m. | Coffee at RoosRoast

RoosRoast coffee What to do in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kaden Brouwer via RoosRoast

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!

 

10 a.m. | Shopping at Literati Bookstore

Literati Bookstore What to do in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

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.

 

11 a.m. | Head to Ann Arbor Art Center

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.

 

12 p.m. | Lunch at Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

Jolly Pumpkin What to do in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

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!

 

1:30 p.m. | Tea at Crazy Wisdom

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.

 

3 p.m. | Movie at the Michigan Theater

The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball—and we’re so glad it was. 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.

Bonus tip: Traveling from Jolly Pumpkin to the theater, you can slip into Kilwin’s Chocolates or Cupcake Station.

 

5 p.m | Dinner at Isalita

Isalita What to do in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Isalita

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.

 

7 p.m. | Dessert at Blank Slate Creamery  

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.

 

7:30 p.m. | Live music at The Blind Pig  

The Blind Pig live music date Ann Arbor, Michigan

Photo courtesy of TSLC Productions via The Blind Pig

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!

 

11 p.m. | Cocktails at The Last Word

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.

Bonus tip: If you need post-cocktail, late-night eats, check out The 13 Best Places to Eat After Midnight in Ann Arbor.

 

Do you have a local tip?

In the comments below, let us know which downtown business is on your one-day itinerary.

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TechTwilight : Connects You with All Things Tech

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is hosting its sixth annual TechTwilight event, Friday, May 16th, from 6:30pm – 9pm. TechTwilight gives companies and student groups the opportunity to share their innovations and inspires young people to embrace science, technology, engineering, art and math.

TechTwilight

This event gives the public a glimpse of innovations occurring at local businesses. Along with hands on demonstrations food and musical entertainment are included with the price of admission.

Click here to buy tickets for the event.

Source: TechTwilight
Photo Credit: TechTwilight

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