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The 18 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend July 2019

July 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Quite possibly the most fun-filled month in our region, July is the height of summer and celebration in Ann Arbor. To honor the season, our communities are coming together for outdoor events, concerts, games, parades, races, festivals and so much more. Our guide even includes a few inaugural events, so you may find a few new favorites!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

Arts + Culture

Arts + Culture

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicks off on June 6th and continues through August for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Camaro Superfest | Ypsilanti

July 5 – 7, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Riverside Park

Camaro Superfest is a full weekend of fun in Riverside Park, and it’s the nation’s largest, longest-running all-Camaro car show. This year, the event theme is pioneers, honoring the first year of each of the six generations of Camaro. All Camaro owners are invited to exhibit and spectators are admitted all weekend for free. To get all the details, click here.

 

Booksilanti Readers’ Fair | Ypsilanti

July 6, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Ypsilanti Freighthouse

This inaugural event at Ypsilanti Freighthouse is free to attend and packed with family-friendly fun, including local authors, crafts, book-themed artisans, kids’ story hours and more. To get updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.

 

Nevertheless Film Festival | Ann Arbor

July 11 – 14, various times | Various locations

Taking place right here in Ann Arbor, Nevertheless Film Festival is a fully women-run, brand new film festival. The event serves to amplify the voices of female-identifying filmmakers, inspire audiences of all ages, and engage the community in conversation about the power of equal representation behind the camera. To learn more, check out the website here.

 

Rolling Sculpture Car Show | Ann Arbor

July 12, 2 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

The 25th Annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show is returning to Main, Liberty and Washington Streets in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor this July. The event itself is free and open to the public and all cars are welcome to exhibit for a pre-registration fee of $20. On the day of the show, guests will enjoy 300 exotic, antique, classic and one-of-a-kind cars, live music from Hot Rod DJ and Surfer Joe, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.

 

Saline Celtic Festival | Saline

July 12 – 13, various times | Mill Pond Park

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

 

Art In the Park | Plymouth

July 12 – 14, various times | Downtown Plymouth

Art In The Park is celebrating its 40th year in 2019 by welcoming over 400 artists from around the country. These professionals and hobbyists will be offering paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, woodwork, glass, photography, folk art and so much more. And all the art comes along with live entertainment and food to create Michigan’s second-largest art fair!

 

Ann Arbor Art Fair | Ann Arbor

July 18 – 21, various times | Downtown Ann Arbor

Kicked off by the Townie Street Party on Monday, July 15th and hosted in conjunction with the State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Art Fair has grown into quite the event. All around town, you’ll find stage performances, street performers and street painting, an art activity zone, a youth art fair, and even more.

 

Michigan Elvisfest | Ypsilanti

July 19 – 20, various times | Historic Depot Town

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

 

Sounds & Sights Festival | Chelsea

July 25 – 27, various times | Downtown Chelsea

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

 

Rosie the Riveter Arts & Craft Show | Ypsilanti

July 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | North Bay Park

For the third year, Ypsilanti Township is hosting this hyper-local arts and crafts show at the newly renovated North Bay Park. Guests can shop from local makers, enjoy kid-friendly activities, see live entertainment and more. For updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade | Ypsilanti

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

Memorial Day Parade Dexter Michigan

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

 

Hot Air Jubilee | Jackson

July 18 – 21, various times | Ella Sharp Park

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

 

 

Sports

 

Ann Arbor Sports Commission Firecracker 5K | Ann Arbor

July 4, 6:30 a.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

July 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Epic Races

On the morning of July 4th in Downtown Ann Arbor, racers will take off from the intersection of Fourth and Liberty—the most patriotic intersection in town. The main race is a 3.1-mile course, but this epic event also offers a one-mile, noncompetitive distance, a special kids’ run, a Children’s Bicycle-Decorating Contest and the optional add-on event, Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest! For more details and online registration, click here.

 

Supra Boats Pro Wakeboard Tour | Ypsilanti

July 13, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Ford Lake Park

The Pro Wakeboard Tour is the most dominant professional wakeboard circuit in the world, and this year it’s making a stop right here in Ypsilanti! At Ford Lake Park on July 13th, attendees can watch men’s and women’s competitions in surfing and wakeboarding, and advance tickets cost no more than $5. To see all the additional deals and ticketing specials, click here.

 

Battle of Waterloo | Chelsea

July 21, 7:30 a.m. | Waterloo Recreation Area

One of the coolest triathlon events in the country, Battle of Waterloo features 10 different legs totaling 42 miles throughout the beautiful Waterloo Recreation Area. Participants in the full distance will bike paved roads, run dirt lanes, climb steep trails and swim across three lakes. Or, you can opt for Half the Battle, which includes six legs and 18 miles. For all the details and online registration, click here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Manchester Chicken Broil | Manchester

July 18, 4 – 8 p.m. | Alumni Field

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

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

 

Michigan Summer Beer Festival | Ypsilanti

July 26 – 27, various times | Riverside Park

The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the 22nd Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival will host approximately 150 local breweries sampling more than 1,000 different craft beers. Guests can also enjoy live music from Michigan bands and food available for purchase! To purchase your tickets and learn more, click here.

 

 

Happy July!

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend June 2019

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

June brings us countless wonderful things, including the official first day of summer, the unofficial kick-off to festival season, huge annual events like Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and the sunny weather that makes us fall in love with Ann Arbor year after year.

To help you take advantage of all four, we rounded up a handful of Southeast Michigan’s most exciting events, from outdoor concert series and cultural festivals to epic races through some of the region’s best parks. Keep reading to start planning your summer fun!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division

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 of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicks off on June 6th and continues through August for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Ya’ssoo Greek Festival | Ann Arbor

June 7 – 9, various times | St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Hosted by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, this annual event has become a local favorite thanks to the authentic Greek food, live entertainment, Greek dance performances and more. Admission ranges from free during the day up to $3 for evening admission, but children 12 years and younger are always admitted for free!

 

Chelsea Painters Art Fair | Chelsea

June 8 – 9, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

From humble beginnings in 1973, the Annual Chelsea Painters Art Fair has become one of the area’s best fine arts celebrations. It’s celebrating 46 years in 2019 with more than 20 highly accomplished artists exhibiting works in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, oil, pastels and mixed media. For more details, click here.

 

Gordon Hall Days | Dexter

June 22 – 23, various times | Gordon Hall

The Dexter Area Historical Society serves to preserve our history and inspire our community to connect the past with the future. Gordon Hall Days brings the community together to celebrate that mission through tours, shows, live music, food and fun for an entire weekend! Highlights include the Antique and Classic Car Show on Saturday, the Porsche Car Show on Sunday, Barn Raising Demonstrations, the ticketed Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show at Gordon Hall, and live music with George Bedard and the Kingpins.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

African American Downtown Festival | Ann Arbor

June 1, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

This festival is celebrating its 24th year in 2019 with more fun and entertainment than ever before. The lineup includes street and stage performances, dancing, local vendors and information booths, kid-friendly fun and more. For updates, check out the website here.

 

Ypsi Pride | Ypsilanti  

June 7, 5 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti

Celebrating its third year in 2019, Ypsi Pride is a block party of epic proportions on Ypsilanti’s South Washington Street. The event will include stages for family-friendly entertainment, beer gardens, local organizations and vendors, a children’s activity area and more! For details and updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival | Ann Arbor

June 14 – July 7, various times | Various locations

As the can’t-miss, arts-centered event of the summer, the 2019 Ann Arbor Summer Festival will include world-class entertainment in comedy, cinema, food, jazz, pop and rock, acoustic, spoken word, public radio, and so much more. To see the full lineup and buy tickets, click here.

 

Green Fair | Ann Arbor

June 14, 6 – 9 p.m. | Main Street

The 19th annual Mayor’s Green Fair is coming to Main Street on June 14th. In celebration of our community’s environmental leadership, the event will close down the street so pedestrians can enjoy environmental displays and green products, live music, and fun in one of the town’s liveliest neighborhoods.

 

Juneteenth Celebration | Ann Arbor

June 15, 12 – 6 p.m. | Wheeler Park

Juneteenth is an annual holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865 in several American states. In Ann Arbor, the celebration is hosted by The Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP and includes public readings, performances of traditional songs, historical re-enactments, cake walks, food, vendors and more.

 

 

Sports

 

Island Lake Triathlon | Brighton

June 1, 7:30 a.m. | Island Lake State Recreation Area

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

Photo courtesy of Greg Sadler Photography via Epic Races

Island Lake State Recreation Area is the home of the Island Lake Triathlon and is an epic training destination. Participants in this multi-sport event will swim the waters of Kent Lake, bike the park’s rolling hills, and run the final leg to the lakeside finish line. After the race, stick around for post-race festivities, which include a recovery meal and beer tent!

 

Tri Goddess Triathlon | Chelsea

June 23, 7:30 a.m. | Waterloo State Recreation Area

The first-ever all-women triathlon in Michigan, the Tri Goddess Tri is an event organized by women to celebrate women of all abilities. The event is held at the Portage Lake Unit of Waterloo State Recreation Area and includes several different distances, post-race snacks, an epic finisher’s medal and more. And when you register, a portion of proceeds benefit The Sparrow Freedom Project.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Taste of Ann Arbor | Ann Arbor

June 2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Main Street

June 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan events things to do

This beloved annual event brings together 40 local restaurants and vendors to show off their goods and their talents on the two blocks of Main Street between William and Washington. Each vendor will offer bite-sized foods to showcase what they do best and ensure you can taste more than one! Tickets for food can be purchased at the event for $1 each and no item will be priced over $4 or four tickets. You can get all the details here.

 

Grillin’ for Food Gatherers | Ann Arbor

June 9, 3 – 8 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Established in 1988, Food Gatherers was Michigan’s first food rescue program and still works today to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Grillin’ for Food Gatherers is their annual fundraiser that includes food and desserts from our area’s best restaurants, live music, a cash bar featuring Michigan microbrews and wines, children’s activities hosted by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, free massages by Body Wisdom Massage, and a photo booth! To buy your tickets and get more information, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week | Ann Arbor

June 9 – 14 | Various locations

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly celebration of local food and business in our hometown. The weeklong event gives you the opportunity to try various Ann Arbor restaurants for one low, fixed price at lunch and dinner. Participating restaurants will offer $18 lunch menus and/or $28 and $38 dinner menus—and some will even be offering two meals for the price of one! To see who is participating and to preview their menus, check out the website here.

 

 

Happy June!

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Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea and is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf, and even ride horses.

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, the two open spaces offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and it’s all connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail!

To learn about all the ways you can explore Waterloo, keep reading.

 

 

Ride horses with Horse ‘N Around Stables.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area offers 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone. If you don’t have your own horse, stop by Horse ‘N Around Stables for guided trail rides, riding lessons and even kid-friendly summer camps! Their trail ride offerings include moonlight rides and special occasion BBQ picnic rides with Hotel Hickman Chuckwagon BBQ; to see all the options, dates and prices, click here.

If you do have your own horse, the park also offers equestrian camping at the Waterloo Equestrian-Rustic Campground where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

 

Bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail.

The DTE Energy Foundation Trail is a multi-use trail that loops through Waterloo Recreation Area. Though it’s still being developed and grown—with plenty of help from international mountain biking associations—the trail already offers multiple different loops and more than 10 miles to explore. The planning vision includes five loops with one loop built per year over five years for a total of 25 miles. For more information and updates, click here.

 

Visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center.

A great way to introduce yourself to our natural surroundings inside Waterloo, The Discovery Center explores the glacial geology of the region, the diverse natural habitats and the many recreation opportunities available in the park and the Chelsea area. Established in 1981, the facility offers educational exhibits, special programs and even year-round events.

 

Play disc golf.

Located near Portage Lake—along with a boat launch, the public beach, a concession stand and a campground—you’ll find an 18-hole disc golf course open to the public. Be sure to bring your own frisbees!

 

Camp overnight.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

As the largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area is one of the most popular places for camping. In total, the park offers nine different campgrounds, which include equestrian camping, modern camping, rustic camping with limited amenities, a group campsite, an accessible and reservable yurt, multiple rustic cabins and a modern cabin. The Sugarloaf Campground even has an ADA accessible playground! To see a full list of campgrounds, click here.

 

Go fishing.

With a whopping 11 fishing lakes inside the park, this is a popular activity in Waterloo. While doing so, you may catch bass, panfish and pike, but be sure to get your fishing license first! For more information on that, click here.

 

Take a hike.

A variety of trails are available for hiking, including nature trails at the Discovery Center and the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail that traverses from Big Portage Lake to Green Lake and further into Pinckney Recreation Area. Additionally, the new DTE Energy Foundation Trail offers more than 10 miles of loops and will soon consist of 25 miles to explore.

 

Watch wildlife.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Waterloo is viewing sandhill cranes which nest and migrate throughout the region. Directly adjacent to the park on the west side, you’ll find the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary, a bird sanctuary that consists of more than 1,000 acres and is famous for its sandhill cranes. Also in the park, you may encounter deer, wild turkeys, ducks, coyotes and more.

 

Visit Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary.

As we mentioned, the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary is an Audubon sanctuary located on the west end of Waterloo. Though outside the park, the sanctuary offers more than 1,000 acres of trails and wildlife observation opportunities. Renowned for its sandhill cranes, a record 8,177 cranes were counted on one fall afternoon as they landed in Mud Lake Marsh. To learn more about visiting the sanctuary, click here.

 

Kayak on a lake.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

One of the most popular activities in Southeast Michigan, Waterloo offers spectacular settings for still water kayaking. The park’s 11 inland lakes are all available for paddle sports and you can even rent rowboats at the Portage Campground near Portage Lake. Campers can also rent kayaks, canoes and rowboats at Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Swim at the public beach.

With 11 inland lakes and the recreation gem that is Portage Lake, Waterloo offers tons of water recreation opportunities. Day-use swimmers should head to the public beach at the Portage Lake Unit, and registered campers can also take a dip at the beach accessible from the Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Hunt for deer, turkey and small game.

Waterloo Recreation Area is open to hunting for all species following regular state regulations. Opportunities include deer, wild turkey and small game throughout the mix of open brush, open meadows, wetland habitat and mature hardwood forest. Hunters should be aware of private lands, hikers and equestrian trails throughout the open hunting areas; to learn more about the open areas, check out the Mi-HUNT map here. And to learn about the proper licenses, click here.

 

Hit the trails for cross-country skiing.

During our snowy months, all the trails within Waterloo are open for cross-country skiers, offering more than 40 miles of ungroomed exploration. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources put together a map of recommended cross-country ski trails, which you can see here.

 

Hike on snowshoes.

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

All the trails within Waterloo are open to snowshoeing throughout the winter. Though they’re not groomed, this offers more than 40 miles of snowy trekking. To see a list of all the park’s trails, click here.

 

Go snowmobiling.

When snow falls, the majority of the park is open to snowmobiling. Check out the snowmobile map here to see these specific areas.

 

 

What do you love about Waterloo Recreation Area?

Are you a camper, a horseback rider or a cross-country skier? In the comments below, let us know what you love to do in our region’s largest park!

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The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the entirety of Southeast Michigan are famous destinations for paddle and water sports. This is thanks in large part to the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and easily accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan.

So, if you want to try your hand at kayaking or canoeing, this is a great place to start. Keep reading to find out where you can rent or buy the necessities, where you can sign up for programs, classes and guided trips, and where you can go to paddle both on the river and off.

 

 

Where to Go

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for kayakers is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for kayaking, it’s not the only place where you can practice your paddling!

 

Huron River Water Trail

As we mentioned, the Huron River is a huge kayaking attraction through Southeast Michigan. It winds through some of our favorite communities and is one of only 18 designated National Water Trails. The river trail sees more than 100,000 visitors every year who paddle, float and fish along the water. The 104-mile river offers 32 access sites, an all-abilities access point in Gallup Park and more accessible access points planned.

 

Waterloo State Recreation Area

The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area encompasses 20,000 acres. Home to 11 inland lakes, visitors can paddle in several different surroundings. Overnight campers can rent paddle boats at Sugarloaf Campground and all visitors can rent at the Portage Campground. For more information regarding park activities, click here.

 

Independence Lake County Park

Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your own kayak across the water, or rent paddle boats and rowboats on site.

 

Kensington Metropark

Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout the 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas, and the 1,200-acre Kent Lake. Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available at the boat rental building near Maple Beach; you can get more information here.

 

Seven Lakes State Park

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

 

 

What You Need

There’s more to kayaking than just the kayak. Especially if you’re a beginner, there are a few safety items you may want to look into and maybe even a fun accessory or two! If you’re wondering where to start, we suggest stopping by any one of these local facilities or businesses. There, you’ll find local experts, rentals and more.

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Argo Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Ann Arbor operates two rental facilities: Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. Here, they maintain and offer hundreds of boats available on a first come, first served basis. They also offer guided river trips, still water paddle excursions, river programs, festivals, camps for kids, and an annual canoe and kayak auction. Whether you need a boat, need to ask a question, or want expert guidance on the water, start here.

 

Adventure Leadership Rental Center

Adventure Leadership Rental Center is a University of Michigan facility that rents outdoor and recreational equipment to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. To see their operating hours, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI is a great place to ask questions about local recreation and buy your own equipment. They also offer regular classes and trainings in recreation topics, from the How to Pack a Backpack Workshop to Kayaking Basics and everything in between.

 

Dunham’s Sports

Dunham’s Sports is the Midwest’s largest sporting goods chain. When they opened in 1937, they were just a small bait and tackle shop in West Bloomfield. Today, they have 230 stores, including one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti. Their available equipment includes kayaks, canoes, boats, life vests and more.

 

Play It Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is the go-to sporting goods store for gently used, lower-priced sports and recreation equipment. The Ann Arbor store is located at Westgate Shopping Center.

 

 

How to Learn

Paddle sports can be dangerous in some cases, and learning the ropes through classes, workshops or guided trips is always a good idea before you take off alone. If you want to practice with an expert or take a class on the basics, keep reading!

 

Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

In addition to boat rentals, Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery offer great places to learn through guided river trips. In addition to these seasonally available daily trips, their calendar includes special classes and camps in kayaking, fishing and stand up paddleboarding. To see their programs, click here.

 

REI

Our Ann Arbor REI hosts regular classes in several outdoor and recreation topics. That calendar often includes workshops like free Kayaking Basics, free Women’s Kayaking Basics, and even SUP Basics. To see the calendar, click here.

 

Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery

Located at Delhi Metropark, Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery is open seasonally and offers some of the best, guided river trips on one of the most scenic stretches of the Huron River. Their lineup includes tubing and kayaking trips between one and four hours and new Guided Glow Paddle trips, which take place at night in kayaks equipped with color-changing LED lights. To learn more, click here.

 

Tecumseh Paddling Company

Located right on the water in Tecumseh, this family-run paddling company offers guided river trips on River Raisin—one of the world’s most crooked rivers—and paddle practice and excursions on Globe Mill and Standish Ponds. Paddle the Ponds is an especially good option for beginners and kids! For more information, check out the website here.

 

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental

Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental have four locations to make traveling the Huron River easy and convenient. Their main location is at Proud Lake State Recreation Area with others at Island Lake State Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark and Newburgh Lake in Livonia. Their team offers a variety of trips ranging from one-hour, self-return trips to multi-day journeys with transportation back to the canoe rental. To learn more, click here.

 

 

Do you have any tips?

If you love paddling in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!

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16 Easter Events and Egg Hunts in the Ann Arbor Area 2019

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

This year, Easter falls on April 21st, but our Ann Arbor area communities are celebrating long before. Beginning April 13th, you’ll find plenty more opportunities to meet the bunny and hunt for eggs.

Keep reading to start planning your family-friendly fun in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and Plymouth. And we mean the whole family as some of these events are open to your dogs, too!

 

 

Easter Bunny Photo Time | Ann Arbor

March 22 – April 20 | Briarwood Mall

Briarwood Mall is hosting the Easter Bunny for nearly an entire month before Easter. Kids are welcome to meet him and snap commemorative photos. For the full schedule, click here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at West Side UMC | Ann Arbor

April 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Ann Arbor West Side United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Free and open to everyone, West Side UMC is hosting an Easter egg hunt on the grounds of their church on April 13th. Children through 5th grade are welcome to hunt for eggs and stick around for games, crafts and storytime.

 

Easter Bunny Photos at The Pet Emporium | Ann Arbor

April 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | The Pet Emporium

The Pet Emporium is hosting a kid and pet-friendly event where all ages and all types of pets can meet the Easter Bunny and get photos taken. Photo sheets cost $15 and all profits support Greyhound Expressions. For more information, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Fur Ball Egg Hunt | Ypsilanti

April 14, 2 – 4 p.m. | Fur Ball Society

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Local dog daycare and pet sitting service, Fur Ball Society is hosting the Fur Ball Egg Hunt for dogs on April 14th. The event will feature a large fenced area where dogs can find plastic eggs filled with prizes. Make sure to stick around to snap a photo with the Easter Bunny! To get your tickets, click here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza at Woodside | Plymouth

April 14, 5 – 7 p.m. | Woodside Bible Church

Woodside Bible Church in Plymouth is hosting a free evening of Easter fun complete with an egg hunt, crafts, food, games and more. The event is open to the entire community so bring the whole family along!

 

Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny | Ann Arbor

April 14, 6 – 7:30 p.m. | Briarwood Mall

Your human kids can meet the Easter Bunny at Briarwood Mall through April 20th, but your dog only has one more chance on April 14th! Bring your pet between 6 and 7:30 p.m. to get your festive photos.

 

Passover and Easter Storytime Tasting | Ann Arbor

April 19, 10:30 – 11 a.m. | Zingerman’s Upstairs Next Door

The Zingerman’s Just for Younger Kids tasting series invites kids between the ages of 2 and 5 to hear a story and learn to taste like an expert. And this special event will have a festive twist—kids’ admission costs $10 and parents attend for free! You can reserve your spot here.

 

Easter Eggstravaganza | Dexter

April 20, 10 a.m. | Community Park

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

The City of Dexter is hosting their beloved Easter Eggstravaganza for the 9th year in a row on April 20th. Attractions include live bunnies, egg scrambles, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting and more. You can purchase tickets in advance at a discount, or on-site for $3 per child and $5 for two or more children. For more details, click here.

 

SpringFest | Saline

April 20, 11:30 a.m. – 1:40 p.m. | Saline Recreation Center

Saline Recreation’s SpringFest is a family-friendly event packed with spring and Easter-themed fun. During the event, you can join in the egg hunt with your own basket, have lunch with Mr. Bunny, meander the Hippity Hop Trail, and dive in the leisure pool for the Egg Dive. For full event details, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Vineyard Church | Ann Arbor

April 20, 10 – 11:30 a.m. | Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor

The annual egg hunt at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor is a favorite local Easter event. Free and open to all, this year’s event will begin with breakfast at 10 a.m. followed by an egg hunt, inflatables, pony rides, face painting and a petting zoo. For event updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Spring Bunny Tea | Ann Arbor

April 20, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. | Eat More Tea

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring Bunny Tea is an event hosted by Eat More Tea and designed specifically for kids. For $12 per person, you can enjoy an afternoon tea complete with light refreshments. Reservations are required and you can make yours by leaving a message at (734) 882-2787. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Dragon Egg Workshop at Unicorn Feed & Supply | Ypsilanti

April 20, 2 – 4 p.m. | Unicorn Feed & Supply

Unicorn Feed & Supply is celebrating Easter weekend with dragon eggs instead of chicken eggs. At this drop-in workshop, you’re invited to create your very own magical dragon egg guided by local artist Amy Balzer-Pemberton. Open to all ages, this event costs $12 and you can get more information on the Facebook event page here.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Stony Creek United Methodist Church | Ypsilanti

April 21, 11: 30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Stony Creek United Methodist Church

Easter 2019 events Ann Arbor Michigan

On Easter Sunday, Stony Creek United Methodist Church is hosting an egg hunt immediately after church service. For updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

The Village Conference Center Easter Brunch | Chelsea

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Village Conference Center

The Village Conference Center at Comfort Inn is hosting an Easter brunch on Sunday morning complete with a chef-attended omelet and waffle station, gourmet macaroni and cheese, applewood smoked ham, and more. Reservations cost $25 per adult, $21 per senior, $13 for kids aged 6 to 12 years, and children 5 years and younger are admitted for free. Make your reservations by calling (734) 433-8000.

 

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club Easter Sunday Brunch | Ann Arbor

April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club

The Polo Fields Golf & Country Club is hosting an Easter brunch open to members and non-members. A few of the breakfast attractions include an omelet station, a crepe station, a seafood bar and a carving station. You can see the full menu and get price details here.

 

Paesano Easter Brunch Buffet | Ann Arbor

April 21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Paesano

Paesano is an award-winning Ann Arbor restaurant famous for its Italian-inspired meals and their impressive wine list. On Easter Sunday, you can join them for a special Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but reservations are required. Call (734) 971-0484 to make yours.

 

 

Happy Easter!

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What to Do in Ann Arbor in the Spring

what to do in spring in Ann Arbor Michigan

Spring sees the last of our bitter cold days and welcomes the warm, summer sun back to Ann Arbor. Through the transition, our community celebrates with huge annual events, blooming gardens, bountiful harvests, and plenty of outdoor adventure.

To help you make the most of the season, we created a guide to spring activities in Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities. From the hyper-local community gardens and farmers market events of Ann Arbor to the wilds of Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea, here’s everything you need to do this spring. Enjoy!

 

1. Attend a seasonal event.

Zingerman's Camp Bacon 2019

Photo courtesy of Emma Boonstra via Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Though community events don’t ever stop here in the Ann Arbor area, they certainly increase during the warmer months. Spring brings us some of our most beloved happenings, like FOOLmoon and FestiFools, Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival, Cinetopia Film Festival, Camp Bacon, Ypsilanti Proud, and so many more.

On the Reinhart blog, we post monthly event guides so you can stay up-to-date on our community’s most exciting events. First, check out The 11 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend April 2019. Follow us on the blog here or on our Facebook page here for our upcoming May and June guides, too!

 

2. Visit a community garden.

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Spring is planting season, and here in the Ann Arbor area, you don’t have to have an at-home garden to celebrate. In fact, Project Grow operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park! To learn more about community gardens in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter, check out our list of Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area. Our guide includes garden plots you can rent and grow yourself, as well as community gardens maintained for charitable and educational purposes.

 

3. Go to the dog park.

As snow melts and we get sneak peeks of summer weather, there might be no one else who is as excited as your dog. Your pups are free to play and explore outdoors without snow or cold and in some regional dog parks, they can even play in the water! To help you and your four-legged family members explore the area, we rounded up The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped. It includes details on local spots like Brighton Recreation Area where your dog can play on one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches, Mill Pond Dog Park which is the only local park that offers off-leash water access, and Swift Run Dog Park right here in Ann Arbor — at ten acres, it’s the largest dog park in the city!

 

4. Shop the farmers market.

Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Here in Ann Arbor, you can shop the Ann Arbor Farmers Market year-round on Saturdays. But beginning in May, market hours get longer and you can shop two days a week—Wednesday and Saturday. Monthly Food Truck Rallies return in May, too! These community events bring together some of Michigan’s best food trucks once a month from May through October for a full evening of fun in Kerrytown. For complete details, hours and dates on this year’s market, click here.

 

5. Sign up for a CSA program.

In addition to local farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture—or CSA programs—are an excellent way to get local meat, veggies, fruit and/or eggs directly from a local farmer. These programs invite people of the community (like you!) to invest in a local farm for the season and those paying members get to enjoy the annual harvest however abundant it may be. Typically, you pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the season. Then, you get to be a part of the farm community and enjoy a portion of the harvest every week.

Since Southeast Michigan has been built largely upon our agricultural history, our community boasts several thriving, local and family-run farms, and many of these farms offer CSA programs! A few of our favorites include Tantré Farm, Community Farm of Ann Arbor, Raindance Organic Farm and Sunseed Farm.

 

6. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include eleven outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Together, they provide trails, lawns and stunning gardens—especially stunning during full bloom in the spring.

 

7. Kayak the Huron River.

Huron River Kayak Ann Arbor Michigan

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

Some of the best places to get on the river can be found in Argo Park and Gallup Park, which are connected by the Huron River and home to the Argo Canoe Livery and the Gallup Park Canoe Livery, respectively. Through these facilities, you can embark on guided adventures, rent equipment and even attend river-themed events like the Huron River Day Festival, which happens every May!

 

8. Explore our city parks.

The City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains 159 parks and 15 park facilities offering everything from hands-on experiences at Cobblestone Farm to swim lessons at Fuller Park Outdoor Pool. On the long list of activities available throughout these outdoor areas, you’ll find disc golf courses at Bandemer and Mary Beth Doyle, a dirt bike course at Bandemer, more than ten acres of off-leash dog area, an outdoor skate park at Veterans Memorial Park, soccer and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, and so much more.

To see the full list of parks and activities, click here.

 

9. Head to Waterloo Recreation Area.

Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Directly adjacent to Pinckney Recreation Area, Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,500 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor near Chelsea. Especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities, guests in the park can walk or ride more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf on an 18-hole course, and even ride horses. There are 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone, and Horse ‘N Around Stables offers guided trail rides and riding lessons.

Together, Pinckney Recreation Area and Waterloo Recreation Area offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore and they’re connected by the 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail.

 

10. Grab a spot on the patio.

Our Ann Arbor community certainly loves being outdoors—whether we’re lounging in a park, exploring a nearby trail or simply enjoying a meal under the sun. And there are plenty of places to do all three. When you’re looking for a meal and a patio, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor. Our guide includes local businesses like Bill’s Beer Garden, a beer garden and community gathering space that’s open seasonally from March through October, and Dominick’s, a local legend famous for potent sangria, Italian-inspired eats and outdoor seating.

 

Happy Spring!

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Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens.

This history has cultivated some of the most important organizations serving our communities, too! For example, Food Gatherers runs a Plant-A-Row program which invites gardeners anywhere to grow extra food for community food pantries. A few community gardens even have designated areas for Plant-A-Row and Food Gatherers.

We the People Growers Association is another force behind urban farming in Washtenaw County. This local farm business was founded by Melvin Parson, the man behind several community gardens in the area, and is working to build the We the People Opportunity Center, a world-class, nonprofit, urban farm in Ypsilanti. To find out how you can help, follow the team on Facebook here.

If you want to grow your own food, build community and help our local organizations, gardening is one of the best ways to do it. And while community gardens are great settings, these plots aren’t always easy to find. To help you find your new gardening home, we rounded up more than 35 community gardens operated by volunteers and organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.

Keep reading to learn more about each garden or organization, and keep in mind some sections have information on more than one garden site. Happy planting!

 

Click to jump ahead and find:

Gardens where you can grow your own food or gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

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Gardens where you can grow your own food

 

Project Grow | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Photo courtesy of Project Grow

Project Grow is one of the driving forces behind urban farming and community gardens in the Ann Arbor area. This organization operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park. On the list, you’ll also find three different Discovery Gardens which offer raised beds for limited mobility gardeners. To see the full list, click here.

 

Pittsfield Township Community Garden | Ann Arbor

The Pittsfield Township Master Plan includes initiatives to increase local food availability and their first community garden is working to do just that. Open Spring 2019, the Community Garden at Prairie Park will feature more than 15 different beds, six of which are located on an ADA Accessible surface. Other on-site materials include compost bins, an equipment shed, a pollinator garden and rain barrels. For more information on reserving your plot, click here.

 

Frog Island Park Community Garden | Ypsilanti  

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The community garden at Frog Island Park is maintained by the adjacent neighborhoods at the north end, and plots are available to rent on a sliding scale. Open to all residents of the City of Ypsilanti and all skill levels, gardeners are welcome to grow both vegetable and flowers. For more information, check out the group, Frog Island Community Garden (FICG) on Facebook.

 

Parkridge Community Garden | Ypsilanti

Developed and maintained on city-owned land next to Parkridge Community Center, the Parkridge Community Garden is a hidden gem in Ypsilanti operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and community members. To find out how you can help cultivate the garden and when you can attend special events, join the group on Facebook here.  

 

Normal Park Neighborhood Association | Ypsilanti

With assistance from Growing Hope and nearby neighborhoods, Normal Park Neighborhood Association developed three community gardens around Ypsi, including Recreation Park Community Garden, West Middle School Community Garden and Midtown Community Garden, which was developed with the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Plots in these gardens are available through registration and are open to all skill levels for planting organic fruits, vegetables and flowers.

 

Chelsea Community Garden | Chelsea

The Chelsea Community Garden at Timber Town Park has plots available by reservation so residents can grow their own organic vegetables and flowers. And as a gardener in this tight-knit community, your household is expected to contribute at least six hours per plot in the gardening season to help with composting, mowing, weeding, administrative duties and more. For full details, click here.

 

City of Dexter Community Garden | Dexter

Dexter’s community garden is located at 7651 Dan Hoey Road and plots are assigned to residents on a first come, first served basis. They offer three different sizes and types of plots, which you can reserve here.

 

 

Gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

 

Help Yourself Garden at University of Michigan School of Dentistry | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The University of Michigan has several gardens on campus, including the Campus Farm available to students and interns. Many of these gardens aren’t open to community members, but the Help Yourself Garden at the School of Dentistry is open to everyone! Begun in 2014 as a community resource, the garden is maintained by staff, students and faculty from the School of Dentistry. Anyone walking by is welcome to plant, water and weed, take photos, and even harvest your own veggies to take home. For more information, click here.

 

Children’s Services Community Garden | Ann Arbor

This community garden began at the Washtenaw County Youth Center in 2008 by local celebrity Lisa Gottlieb. Today, the garden is directed and guided by a group of Washtenaw County Master Gardeners and community volunteers, but students do all the planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. Together, they grow more than 40 types of vegetables and 10 herbs.

 

Ypsilanti District Library | Ypsilanti

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Ypsilanti District Library maintains gardens at YDL-Whittaker, YDL-Michigan and YDL-Superior. These include a community vegetable garden, The Learning Garden and a pollinator garden developed specially for bees. Through these gardens, you can learn about growing and cultivating your own garden. The Learning Garden welcomes any aspiring gardeners to lend a hand and learn. Additionally, fresh produce is given away to library visitors during the growing season!

The Seed Library is another great resource for local gardeners at Ypsilanti District Library. Available to anyone at YDL-Whittaker and YDL-Michigan with or without a library card, this library is a collection of seeds that anyone can take from and contribute to.

 

The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | Ypsilanti  

The land that is now home to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was once a family farm, and in 2010, they honored that history by breaking ground on one of the first hospital-based farms in the United States. Today, The Farm serves both as a staff community garden and as a tool for hospital patients and the community to learn, heal and eat locally grown food. If you want to taste the food for yourself, stop by the farmers market that pops up in the main lobby every Wednesday. To learn more about the educational opportunities and facilities on-site, click here.

 

Growing Hope | Ypsilanti

Growing Hope is a local organization that serves to improve our lives and our communities through gardening and through increased access to healthy food. The Growing Hope Urban Farm began with just 1.5 acres in 2008 and has grown into a community gathering space, educational facility and setting where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish. To get hands-on at the farm, check out Growing Hops events here which include Farm & Garden Volunteer Days, cleanup days, special celebrations and more.

 

The Cooperative at Dawn Farm | Ypsilanti

This farm is located on 64 acres of the Dawn Farm property in Ypsi. When it began, the program served to put the land to better use and that mission has grown into a beautiful cooperative of varied growers, farmers and stewards who have built the perfect setting for flower growing, beekeeping, vegetable harvesting and even sheep raising. Currently, the land is home to an eight-acre food forest, bees, personal gardens, a market garden and Project Mow which is a sheep lawn mowing service. And the member program is driven by a gift and service system rather than a monetary one. Each member is encouraged to give back to Dawn Farm in an appropriate way of their own choosing, whether it’s through homegrown food, education, system design, community outreach or something else. To stay up-to-date on Cooperative events, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

 

Happy growing!

If we missed your favorite community garden, tell us about it in the comments below.

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The 12 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend March 2019

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

March brings us our first signs of spring, school breaks and St. Patrick’s Day, so naturally, the month’s events offer kid-friendly happenings, festive races and spring-inspired festivities. That’s all in addition to some of our favorite annual events, like the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show and Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Keep reading to find out what events are happening in our communities this month. Register where necessary, and get ready for a fun and festive March!

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

Arts + Culture

 

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2019 | Ann Arbor

March 1, 7 p.m. | Michigan Theater

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

The Fly Fishing Film Tour travels the country each year in an effort to promote the sport and support local fly shops. You can purchase $18 tickets online, but if you get yours at Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti, you get a $3 discount and a portion of that purchase helps support the conservation work that keeps fisheries intact, healthy and available for us all to enjoy. In past years, the tour has raised over $500,000!

 

Youth Art Month | Ann Arbor

March 1 – 30 | Downtown Ann Arbor

Youth Art Month is an annual celebration designed to emphasize the value of art education for our youth. It allows us all—locals, business owners, galleries—an opportunity to connect our community with our youth’s creativity and to illustrate the importance of fostering artistry and innovation. Organized by the Main Street Area Association, the celebration includes several food and drink deals, educational workshops and special events in topics including the art of pizza, coloring, painting and even sailboat making. For all the details on specials and events, click here.

 

2019 Michigan Playwrights Festival | Ann Arbor  

March 6 – 10, 8 – 11 p.m. | Theatre NOVA

Theatre NOVA in downtown Ann Arbor has over 75 years of experience selecting new plays, and the Michigan Playwrights Festival celebrates that history and awards local writers. After selecting the winning submissions, you can enjoy staged readings of the winning plays, and some of those go on to become full-length plays for future seasons. For updates on the stage events, follow the team on Facebook.

 

Saline Craft Show | Saline

March 16, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Saline Middle School

One of the top shows in Michigan, the Saline Craft Show is hosting two events in 2019. Don’t miss the first one this March! Benefitting both the craft show customers and the school community, students get the chance to take on leadership roles and show off their talents.

 

The Music of Harry Potter | Ann Arbor

March 16 – 17, various times | Michigan Theater

Michigan Theatre and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra are once again hosting a Harry Potter musical event this March! On Saturday evening, the show begins at 8 p.m. with a photo scavenger hunt, encounters with a live owl and cocktails from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Or, buy your tickets for Sunday’s family matinee to enjoy a 4 p.m. show and pre-concert activities beginning at 2:30 p.m. featuring an instrument petting zoo, a photo scavenger hunt, live Hedwig, an owl post writing station and more. You can get more details here.

 

Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show | Ann Arbor

March 16 – 17, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

For the 29th year, this home and garden show is connecting guests with builders, suppliers, designers and tradespeople while inspiring all home improvement endeavors. This year’s event features 150 exhibitors in both interior and exterior work, so there’s plenty to learn over two days! Adult admission of $5 can be paid in cash at the door and children under 12 are admitted for free.

 

Ann Arbor Film Festival | Ann Arbor

March 26 – 31, various times | Michigan Theater

One of Ann Arbor’s most important annual events, the Ann Arbor Film Festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries highlighting all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction and performance-based works. Founded by George Manupelli in 1963, the festival is the oldest avant-garde and experimental film festival in North America. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on tickets and special events.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Old Time Maple Sugar Festival | Chelsea

March 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Hosted by the Waterloo Natural History Association, the Old Time Maple Sugar Festival celebrates the coming of spring and the tapping of maple trees. The event begins with a short film on the process of making maple syrup, continues with a guided walk, and antique syrup making equipment will be on display from the Waterloo Farm Museum.

 

 

Sports

 

Shamrocks & Shenanigans | Ann Arbor  

March 10, 9:45 a.m. | Conor O’Neill’s

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Robert Bowden Photography via RF Events – Shamrocks & Shenanigans

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K and Kids’ K winds through downtown Ann Arbor and benefits Save A Heart, an organization that raises funds to benefit patients and their families at the Michigan Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. You can get registration info here.

 

Waterloo G & G | Chelsea

March 16, 10 a.m. | Waterloo State Recreation Area

This epic bike race offers three options: a rugged, two-loop 100K course, a powerful 50K course and a 10-mile, non-competitive ride. Registration benefits the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and includes a post-race party presented by Short’s Brewing Company. For more information, click here.

 

Probility Ann Arbor Marathon | Ann Arbor  

March 24, 7:30 a.m. | Michigan Stadium

Whether you’re walking your first 5K or running your tenth marathon, this Epic Races event offers something for everyone. Beginning just outside of The Big House, each course winds through downtown Ann Arbor and through the University of Michigan campus. The longer races also traverse stretches of the Huron River, Gallup Park and Nichols Arboretum before returning to downtown. Get all the details and choose your distance here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Pie & Mash Pop-Up Shop | Dexter

March 3 – April 7, 4:30 – 7 p.m. | Cornman Farms

things to do in March 2019 in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Sarah Fennel via Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Owner of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, Kieron Hales hails from England, and he’s bringing the culture and food of his homeland to the farm throughout March. Every Sunday from March 3rd through April 7th, join the team for a traditional English Pie & Mash shop pop-up. Food will include savory handmade pies with mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies and Chef Kieron’s creamy and indulgent Devon Fudge, a recipe from his hometown. To see all the menus and learn more, click here.

 

 

Happy March!

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend February 2019

things to do in February 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

February may be one of our chilliest months, but that doesn’t mean the events are slowing down in Ann Arbor and our surrounding communities. In fact, with things like a curling festival, ice carving exhibitions and ice hockey, it seems our communities are just fine with the cold.

Keep reading to find out what’s happening in the Ann Arbor area this February. Our guide includes both free and ticketed events for all ages.

 

Jump ahead:

Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink

 

Arts + Culture

 

Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra | Ypsilanti

February 17, 3:30 p.m. | Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College

things to do in February 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

In celebration of their 20th year, Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra is hosting five concert events continuing through May 2019. Their third is scheduled for Sunday, February 17th inside Towsley Auditorium and it’s free to attend.

 

The Vintage Market presents: Flannel Fling! | Ann Arbor

February 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

The Vintage Market is an upscale, vintage-inspired flea market-based in Monroe, Michigan. But in February, they’re coming to Ann Arbor for Flannel Fling! Held inside at Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, this market will feature more than 100 vendors selling antiques, home decor, kitchenware, candles, handmade items, clothing, jewelry and more. For more information, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

TEDxUofM 2019: Absolute Zero | Ann Arbor

February 22, 6 – 10 p.m. | Power Center for Performing Arts

The TEDx program allows independent organizations and communities to bring the spirit of the annual TED conference to their homes around the globe. And in February, the annual TEDxUofM conference returns to showcase the most fascinating thinkers, doers and leaders in Michigan. For ticket information, click here.

 

The Ark’s 32nd Annual Storytelling Festival | Ann Arbor

February 23, 7:30 p.m. | The Ark

Laura Simms, Edgar Oliver and Michigan’s Ivory D. Williams are taking the stage for The Ark’s 32nd Annual Storytelling Festival. The spoken word event costs just $25 to attend and will be an evening of stories, adventures, laughter and creativity. For updates, RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

 

Washtenaw Community Concert Band: Celebration of the Community | Ann Arbor

February 28, 7:30 p.m. | Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College

This free Washtenaw Community Concert Band program is dedicated to the community. As such, it will celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and it will even highlight student players from local high schools.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Let’s Chill Winterfest | Milan

February 1 – 2 | Downtown Milan

things to do in February 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Centered around Milan’s downtown shopping area, Wilson Park and Edgetown, this annual event is one of our favorite winter happenings. Activities include a chili cook-off, Let’s Chill Winter Fest Wine Walk, indoor and outdoor winter games, ice carving, an Artisan tent, food, The Big Freeze, and more. For full details, check out the website here.

 

Ice Carving Festival | Ann Arbor

February 9, 12 – 4 p.m. | County Farm Park

Chainsaws and flamethrowers will wow the crowds at Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission’s Fourth Annual Ice Carving Festival. Students and teams from colleges and universities across Southeast Michigan will compete for the winning sculpture while you and your family enjoy hot chocolate and crafts at this free event.

 

Rally in the Alley | Ann Arbor

February 9, 1 p.m. | Revel & Roll

February 2019 marks the first ever Rally in the Alley event benefiting the University of Michigan Department of Radiation Oncology. This event will raise funds for patients in the department who are struggling with transportation, food, hotels and other things while under treatment. The event will include two hours of bowling, pizza for everyone and soft drinks, and the attractions of Revel & Roll will be available as well as a silent auction and other mini-games. Individual tickets are $25 and more information can be found here.

 

2019 University of Michigan Polar Plunge | Ann Arbor

February 22, 6:30 p.m. | The Big House

The Polar Plunge is a Law Enforcement Torch Run event that benefits Special Olympics chapters throughout the country. This unique event in Ann Arbor will benefit Special Olympics Michigan and will invite participants into The Big House to take the plunge on the field. After putting on your Wolverine costume in the locker room, you can join the parade of costumes through the tunnel then plunge into an icy pool. For more information on fundraising and registration, click here.

 

 

Sports

 

U-M Ice Hockey vs. Michigan State | Ann Arbor

February 8, 7:30 p.m. | Yost Ice Arena

The U-M Ice Hockey team is facing off against Michigan State inside Yost Ice Arena on February 8th. To get more details and see the full schedule, click here.

 

Curling Fest | Chelsea

February 8 – 10 | Chelsea Lanes Parking Lot

Sponsored by our very own Rick Taylor, Curling Fest 2019 is an entire weekend of curling fun for beginners and experienced competitors alike! Team tournaments are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday morning to compete for the Chelsea Curling Cup. And if you’re not playing, spectating is free. You can enjoy music, beer, food, hot cocoa and more—all in a heated tent!

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Gluten Free WinterFest | Ann Arbor

February 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

things to do in February 2019 Ann Arbor Michigan

Gluten Free WinterFest is a one-day food festival that celebrates local makers in a completely celiac safe environment. Attractions include food from eight restaurants, caterers and food trucks, exhibits from local businesses, a shopping bazaar, live music, entertainment for kids, prizes and more. For more information, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

Victorian Valentine Tea | Ann Arbor

February 9 – 10 | Kempf House Museum

Inside the Kempf House Museum, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with an elegant, traditional tea complete with both sweet and savory offerings. This year, Victorian Valentine Tea will have two seatings: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Period attire is welcome, tickets are between $25 and $30, and you can make your reservations through February 4th by calling (734) 994-4898.

 

Artini | Ann Arbor

February 22, 6:30 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Art Center and other locations

This fundraising event brings together the town’s best bars, restaurants and local martini connoisseurs for an evening of mixology fun. Benefitting the Ann Arbor Art Center, Artini guests will visit with about 10 local businesses, including The Pretzel Bell, Ann Arbor Distilling Company, The Grotto and Bløm Meadworks, at various locations. Then, text in to vote for the People’s Choice Award. The Juror’s Choice Award will be decided by a panel of hand-selected jurors that are unaffiliated with the participating venues. Ticket prices are $65 each and attendees must be 21 years or older. For more info, check out the event on Facebook here.

 

 

Enjoy!

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15 Winter Date Ideas in the Ann Arbor Area

Winter date ideas in Ann Arbor Michigan

Winter in Michigan brings us our coldest, snowiest and coziest months of the year. Sure, that means date night needs to head indoors, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find something fun to do in town.

We rounded up some of our favorite things to do indoors in the Ann Arbor area, including comedy shows, live music, art classes, museums, theater productions, food, cocktails and so much more.

For even more local date ideas, check out 16 Ann Arbor Date Ideas That Don’t Involve Going to a Restaurant and 10 Ann Arbor Date Ideas Perfect for Any Time of Year.

 

Click these links to jump ahead and see the best date ideas in each category:

Adventures | Classes | Food + Drink | Museums | Shows

 

Adventures

 

Escape Decode.

Decode Ann Arbor escape room

Photo courtesy of Peter Doyle via 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.

 

Skate at Yost Ice Arena.

The University of Michigan ice arena, Yost Ice Arena, offers programs like Public Skate, Noon Skate and Sticks-n-Pucks. All three allow you to skate at one of the most recognized and iconic rinks in college hockey! Public Skate admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students, kids and U-M faculty. For $3 more dollars, you can rent skates, too. And Noon Skate prices are even lower. Get all the pricing details here and be sure to check the arena schedule before you go.

For more ice skating options in town, check out Buhr Outdoor Ice Arena and Pool and Ann Arbor Ice Cube!

 

Climb at Planet Rock.

Both beginner and experienced climbers can find fun challenges and learning opportunities at Planet Rock. Ann Arbor’s premier, indoor rock climbing gym, Planet Rock offers more than 25,000 square feet of climbing surface, a full training area and a giant bouldering mushroom. Their second location in Madison Heights offers a 15-meter official competition speed climbing wall and an ice climbing training area as well!

 

 

Classes

 

Learn at the Ann Arbor Art Center.

Ann Arbor Art Center things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition. They do this through rotating exhibitions in the 117 Gallery, special events, and an impressive lineup of classes and workshops. Topics on the class calendar include everything from drawing and painting to metalsmithing and wheel throwing in the Ceramics Studio. To see the class schedule, click here.

 

Bake at Zingerman’s Bakehouse.

When you sign up for a baking or cooking class at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, you’ll get an insight into their delicious breads, pastries, cookies, cakes and more! The class schedule includes pizza, doughnuts, French baguettes, soups, brownies and so much more. The best part is Zingerman’s takes care of all the cleanup and you get to take home your leftovers. Check out the class schedule here.

 

 

Food + Drink  

 

Sip coffee at Hyperion Coffee Co.

Hyperion Coffee Labs classes Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Erica Perry via Hyperion Coffee Co.

The coffee source for many of our favorite coffee shops in Ann Arbor and around the state, Hyperion is an outstanding roaster located right in Ypsi. In addition to brewing their own coffees and serving them in their café, they host Labs where you can learn, sip coffee and take some home, too! Topics cover every process of roasting and go all the way to home brewing methods. To learn more about Hyperion Labs, click here.

And to find more Ann Arbor area coffee shops, check out The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area.

 

Sip cocktails at The Last Word.

Repeatedly named as Ann Arbor’s best cocktail bar, The Last Word is a hidden gem, literally. Located underground with no exterior signage, and offering 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 and house-made syrups and bitters. The food menu includes crafted dishes like Pork Belly Tostada, Duck Confit Hash and Fried Chicken Buns—and it’s available until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday!

 

Get dinner at Aventura.

Aventura is a charming spot in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor. And tapas are the perfect date night dish! Their culinary team offers authentic Spanish cuisine and culture including tapas, paella, vino and delicious, artisan cocktails. Inspired by the old-world atmosphere and the historical nature of the building itself, restaurateur Sava Lelcaj designed the restaurant from the bones of the original, 1872 space by utilizing classic Spanish design elements paired with works by local artists.

To learn more and check out other romantic restaurants in town, check out The 15 Best Date Night Restaurants in Ann Arbor.

 

 

Museums

 

Visit University of Michigan Museum of Art.

University of Michigan Museum of Art Ann Arbor Michigan date night ideas

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Museum of Art

The University of Michigan’s art collection is among the oldest in the nation. Years before the great art museums of Detroit, Toledo or Chicago were founded, UM students and the general public had free access to the on-campus gallery. Today, you can explore more than 20,000 artworks, special exhibits and educational experiences, and admission is still free!

 

Visit Yankee Air Museum.

Yankee Air Museum is an aviation, aerospace and science museum located at Willow Run Airport just a few minutes outside of Ypsilanti. Exhibits offer hands-on experiences and insights into World War I and World War II, Willow Run and Rosie the Riveter, The Vietnam War, aircraft restoration and so much more.

 

 

Shows

 

See a movie at Michigan Theater.

Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of 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!

 

Listen to music at The Ark.

The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music. Founded in 1965 by four area churches, the venue now 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.

 

Laugh at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase.

Originally opened in 1984, this comedy headquarters offers a lineup of up-and-coming stand-up stars, as well as nationally touring acts. The 18+ venue has hosted Tim Allen, Drew Carey and Ellen DeGeneres in the past, and has a calendar full of events every single weekend! You can see that calendar here.

 

See a show at Purple Rose Theatre Company.

Located in Chelsea, The Purple Rose was founded in 1991 by Chelsea native and critically-acclaimed actor, Jeff Daniels. The building that houses the company’s Garage Theatre was once a used car and bus garage owned by Daniels’ grandfather. Now, the facility has developed into one of the best places for theatre production in the state. Click here to see the schedule of current and upcoming shows.

 

Laugh at Pointless Brewery & Theatre.

Pointless Brewery & Theatre combines two things that make for the perfect date night: craft beer and laughter. In the taproom, you can taste beers brewed on-site and enjoy frequent events like league shows, improv games, showcases and more. To see the theatre and improv show schedule, click here.

 

 

Do you have a go-to?

If you already have the perfect winter date idea in the Ann Arbor area, tell us about it in the comments below!

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