City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains a whopping 159 parks and 15 park facilities. Their list includes neighborhood pocket parks, larger community parks, golf courses and huge, undeveloped nature areas that are open to explore.
In this guide, we rounded up the 14 parks that should be on every Ann Arbor summer bucket list, thanks to things like pickleball, disc golf, swimming pools, skateparks and more. These outdoor playgrounds and recreation havens are home to some of the best attractions, amenities and trails in the region, including Cobblestone Farm, Gallup Canoe Livery and Fuller Park Pool—just to name a few.
To see a full list of all City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas, click here. Or find the one nearest you using our interactive map to start exploring!
Argo is one of Ann Arbor’s most popular parks thanks in large part to the boat launch along the Huron River and the Argo Canoe Livery, which is open for rentals from April through October. Its 22 acres includes a fairly wide, unpaved trail that runs the length of the park along the river and offers spectacular views of the water.
Bandemer Park covers nearly 37 acres of natural area along the Huron River. Amenities throughout the park include accessible trails, restrooms, an accessible canoe dock, a fishing deck, a shelter and picnic areas, and grills, but the largest recreation draws are the disc golf and dirt bike courses!
At just over 161 acres, Bird Hills Nature Area is Ann Arbor’s largest park. Though undeveloped, the area offers five different trailheads and is a haven for hikers right in town! For more information and history, click here.
A recreation destination throughout the year, Buhr Park’s 39 acres offer softball diamonds, two tennis courts, playground equipment, a basketball court, open fields, a sledding hill, picnic facilities with a grill, an outdoor pool with a special family activity pool, and a seasonal ice rink. The park is also connected to John Allen Elementary School and Cobblestone Farm, a historic educational facility. You can get more information on the Buhr Outdoor Ice Arena and Pool here.
Burns Park covers 15 acres adjacent to Burns Park School. It was once the site of the County fairgrounds but today offers a small shelter with restrooms and a drinking fountain, five tennis courts and a practice court, a basketball court, a sledding hill, a small parking lot and playground equipment. This park is also the only one in Ann Arbor with a pétanque court, a sport similar to bocce!
The most popular summer attraction at Fuller Park is the Fuller Park Pool, an outdoor, 50-meter pool with an adjacent waterslide. The park’s 60 acres are also home to one of the city’s largest playgrounds, a pedestrian bridge that connects to Island Park, and premium athletic fields available for use with a permit. For more information on Fuller Park Pool, click here.
Encompassing a whopping 69 acres, Gallup Park is Ann Arbor’s most popular recreation area. As one of the most accessible parks along the Huron River, this makes sense. Gallup offers two playgrounds, the Gallup Canoe Livery, picnic areas and grills, two picnic shelters, an open field for play, and more than 3 miles of asphalt trails that are available for biking, rollerblading, walking and running. And, for even more exploration, Gallup Park connects to Furstenberg Nature Area to the west.
Leslie Park is adjacent to some of the biggest and best attractions in Ann Arbor, including Leslie Park Golf Course, Leslie Woods Nature Area, and the Leslie Science and Nature Center. Throughout the 38 acres of parkland in Leslie Park, you’ll find two play areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, softball fields, a sledding hill with a great view over the golf course, picnic tables, benches, and open fields with ample parking and a portable restroom in the summer.
One of the largest parks on this list, Mary Beth Doyle Park covers more than 81 acres and is home to one of two disc golf courses in Ann Arbor. Other attractions include a playground with a famously long slide, a basketball court, open fields, a neighborhood ballfield, picnic tables and benches, and an unpaved trail that travels along Malletts Creek and through the woods and wetlands.
Olson Park offers 54 acres of fun for the entire family, including the dog, because this park is home to one of two off-leash dog parks in the city! Visitors will also find a wonderful fishing pond, paved pedestrian trails, a mountain bike trail, premium athletic fields available for use by permit, a basketball court and a rock climbing playground.
A popular destination for fly fishing, Riverside Park covers 15 acres bordering the Huron River. Along the river, fishers will find several easily accessible spots, and other visitors can enjoy the picnic tables and grills, a newly renovated playground, a football field and a softball diamond.
Nestled in West Ann Arbor, South Maple Park encompasses nearly eight acres and is home to one of two pickleball courts in town. The park also offers tennis courts, a play area, a neighborhood softball field, open fields, a drinking fountain and a scenic wooded area.
A bustling setting during the summer months, Southeast Area Park is most notable for featuring recycled products. The play area, picnic tables and benches were constructed from recycled plastics, the basketball surface was made from old athletic shoes, and the bleachers were created from recycled aluminum. Throughout the 26.5 acres, visitors can enjoy two playgrounds, lighted softball fields and basketball courts, athletic fields, a picnic shelter, grills and more.
Veterans Memorial Park is one of Ann Arbor’s most well-equipped parks for year-round fun both indoors and out. The most notable attraction is the Veterans Memorial Pool and Ice Arena, which offers a seasonal outdoor pool and an indoor ice rink. But the grounds are also home to three tennis courts, five softball fields, and Ann Arbor’s only outdoor skatepark!
Do you have a favorite Ann Arbor park?
Whether it’s on our list or not, tell us about it in the comments below!
After a sunny spring and summer, September is the beginning for fall, football and a new school year. September in the Ann Arbor area means it is time for apple picking, Oktoberfest and many other spectacular events.
Dexter Cider Mill August – November
The Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating Cider Mill in Michigan. Cited by “Hour Detroit” magazine as one of the 101 places to visit in the greater Metropolitan area. Today cider is made the same way it was made 120 years ago by using an oak rack press. The Dexter Cider Mill is open Wednesday – Sunday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. There are no admissions or parking fees.
University of Michigan Football September – November
Every fall with the return of the school year brings the return of football season. Whether you are a die hard fan or just happen to be in town visiting, the football games make an impression. During the weekends when a game is played at home expect large crowds and allow extra time for your commute throughout the city. To see the full schedule click here.
Eastern Michigan University Football September – November
Eastern Michigan University has had a college football team since 1891. They compete in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference. The Eastern Michigan University football team kicks off its 126th season on the gridiron Friday, September 1, 2017. Click here for a full schedule.
Wiard’s Orchards and Country Fair September – November
Wiard’s Orchards and Country Fair offers entertainment for people of all ages. Activities include fresh cider, apple picking, pumpkin picking, donut shop, bakery, wagon rides, petting farm, and more. The orchard opens in September. Click here to see the full schedule and list of activities.
Thunder Over Michigan September 2 – September 4
Thunder over Michigan, one of the largest air shows in the nation, is presented by Wayne County Airport Authority. It takes place each summer at Willow Run Airport, which is located just outside Ypsilanti. Enjoy the flying performances in the air or under a massive airplane wing. See endless displays and interactive exhibits along the ramp.
Dancing in the Streets September 3
Dancing in the Streets is an annual free festival in downtown Ann Arbor. It offers a chance to sample lots of different music and dance traditions, enjoy the downtown, and see some friends in the process. Multiple stages offer visitors a chance to try many different styles of dancing, as well as enjoy mini-concerts and entertain their children with special activities.
12th Annual Dog Swim September 9 – September 10
Rolling Hills County Park is proud to host the 12th Annual Dog Swim, September 9 and 10, 2017. Get ready for a pup-tacular time as dogs frolic, swim and make new friends at the water park!
There are different time frames for dogs of various sizes. Click here to verify swim times for your dog’s weight.
15th Annual Kerrytown Bookfest September 10
The Kerrytown BookFest is held each September and is a celebration of books, those who create them and those who read them. Our primary goal is to highlight our area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts and showcase local individuals, businesses, and organizations. The day will be filled with entertainment, education, and hands-on experiences.
Ann Arbor Russian Festival September 16 – September 17
The Ann Arbor Russian Festival returns for September 16 and 17 with their fun community and family event. You’ll find a plethora of activities including Russian food, a tea room with authentic sweets, Russian and Ukrainian dancing and entertainment, a kids corner, beautiful and unique gifts for sale, and much more.
29th Annual Apples & Honey September 17
Apples & Honey is an annual community event celebrating the fall Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, & Simchat Torah. This is the largest Jewish gathering in Ann Arbor with hundreds of participants each year. Local Jewish organizations join together to educate the community about their missions and providing opportunities to participate in celebratory activities and holiday themed projects. What started in 1988 as a small event has since grown to a much-anticipated community wide celebration. In addition to hands-on activities and projects, there will, of course, be apples & honey to taste, and food for sale such as pizza, Israeli foods, and kosher baked goods.
Orphan Car Show September 17
The 20th Annual Orphan Car Show makes its return to Ypsilanti’s beautiful Riverside Park on September 17. Come check out hundreds of now defunct cars and trucks from all over the state. These orphan cars are now rare and some are very difficult to find! Don’t miss out on your chance to view some awesome and historic vehicles.
Saline Oktoberfest September 22 – September 23
You don’t have to be German to enjoy Saline’s Oktoberfest. An all-American festival with a fun German flavor, Oktoberfest features live German rock and folk music, a Kinderplatz activity area for the little ones, and plenty of scrumptious German and American food. There’s also a Corn Hole Tournament proving that Oktoberfest has something for everyone.
Your Generation in Concert is returning on Friday night and Fifty Amp Fuse The Phoenix Theory on Saturday night. Hear authentic German music by the New Horizon German Band and more on Saturday afternoon!
36th Annual Webster Fall Festival September 23
The 36th Annual Webster Fall Festival offers old-fashioned country fun for all ages. Activities and attractions feature something for everyone: hay rides, a petting zoo, dog agility demonstrations, historic buildings and displays, vintage cars and farm machinery, a rummage sale, crafts, artisans, and a vintage baseball game. Baked goods, preserves, snacks and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the day. The Church luncheon, featuring a pig roast, is served from 11 am to 2 pm.
Turtle Trot September 24
Run, walk, or jog on the scenic walkways along the Huron River and Geddes Pond with the Michigan Nature Association. This 5K will promote efforts to preserve habitat for turtles throughout Michigan, such as the eastern box turtle, the spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle, and the wood turtle.
Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween September 30
For years, this group of hand selected artists have gathered together in the spirit of Halloween. On this day of magic, the veil is lifted and you are invited into an enchanting world, celebrating the very best in Halloween art. This event takes place at the Chelsea Fairgrounds and features arts, crafts, fun, and more. Those wishing to line up early can gain early access at 8 am – 10 am. Doors to the show open for general admission from 10 am – 3 pm.