A growing city of just over 5,000, Milan, Michigan straddles the Washtenaw and Monroe County line, providing its residents with quick access to Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Monroe, Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. While the town was founded in 1831 as an agricultural community, it has grown into a community of small business owners and professionals. And with nearly 200 acres of parkland in the city, recreational opportunities abound!
Whether you’re new to Milan or you’re just visiting for the day, keep reading to learn more about some of the best local restaurants, the most fun activities, the coolest places to go and the biggest annual events.
JR’s Hometown Grill and Pub originally opened in 2009 in Adrian and has since grown to include five hometown restaurants. At the Milan location, you can get the same amazing menu, including the team’s famous steaks, ribs and delicious burgers. Also at the Milan location, you can eat breakfast seven days a week!
Run by locals Tom and Vicki right here in Milan, Zilke Farm Kitchen branched out from Zilke Vegetable Farm and the team’s summer farmstand. Though this is not a sit-down restaurant, they sell a great selection of healthy, local, tasty ingredients as well as take-home freshly prepared meal kits, ready-to-heat single serving meals, salads and more. And it’s all available in a comfortable store that’s designed to feel like a home kitchen and pantry.
Open seasonally, Milan Dairy Barn has been a tradition for generations of Milan families. Though they’re famous for soft serve and hard serve ice cream treats like sundaes, shakes, flurries and banana splits, they also offer a huge menu of hot dogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, chili cheese fries and more.
A staple in the Milan food scene, Milan Coney Island has been owned and operated by the same family since 1999. The welcoming, family atmosphere comes free with their huge breakfast, lunch and dinner menus of American classics, including steaks, corned beef sandwiches, burgers and more.
A beloved local business, the most frequent review you’ll hear about Roy’s is that they have the best burgers in Michigan. In an all-American diner setting, they also serve up BBQ sandwiches, cheese steak hoagies, baby back ribs, hot dogs and the Bubba Burger, which is two half-pound patties stacked on three pieces of Texas toast.
Open seasonally at DR Trailer, Papa G’s serves some of the best BBQ in the area. Their menu can include things like homemade brisket chili, smoked sausage, ribs and more. To stay up-to-date on their operating hours and menu, follow the team on Facebook here.
Original Gravity is Milan’s original brewery. Though Brad Sancho just opened this microbrewery in 2008, it’s still the town’s only craft brewery and serves as the local destination for beer, community and fun. Focused on creating an outstanding taproom experience, their space has old-school arcade games, board games, televisions and delicious deli sandwiches.
Featured in The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor, Milan Coffee Works has been an area favorite for years. At their headquarters—a charming, bright and welcoming coffee shop in the heart of Milan—they roast coffees in small batches. While you’re hanging out in the cozy, neighborhood cafe, we also recommend tasting the homemade chai! For information on events and pop-ups, follow the team on Facebook here.
Milan Dragway is a quarter-mile, NHRA-sanctioned drag strip that hosts events throughout the spring, summer and fall. Their race schedule includes Test & Tune events where you can test your car, plus spectator events like Bike Night, Aeroquip Heads Up and Kickin’ It Old School. And kids 12-years-old and younger are always admitted for free! To see the race schedule, click here.
The Owl is an all-day hangout that offers exclusively organic, shade grown, carbon-free and fair trade coffee. By night, they also offer Michigan’s finest craft beers and ciders for an atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. As a community hangout, The Owl offers weekly events, like beer yoga, trivia night, live music and more. To stay up-to-date on events, follow the team on Facebook here.
This small, locally owned comic, book and gaming store is the headquarters of fun and gaming in Milan. As a neighborhood shop, they’ve built a community where everyone is welcome to play, teach and learn about role-playing games, board games, card games and more. To stay up-to-date on fun events and workshops, follow the team on Facebook here.
Downtown Milan is one of the best places to shop local in town, and Northern Chicks is a beloved shop located at the heart of Main Street. Their cozy, down-home boutique offers a curated collection of vintage home decor, including old and new, as well as Michigan-made artisan gifts and boutique clothing.
During the fall season, Wasem Fruit Farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples you can pick yourself, you-pick raspberries available in September and early October, you-pick pumpkins in October, and pears! And during a fall visit, guests get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region.
Just next door, you can also venture to Talladay Farms for a trip through one of the Midwest’s largest corn mazes. It covers 27 acres!
The headquarters of outdoor recreation, community events and family-friendly fun in Milan, Wilson Park cover 35 acres in Downtown Milan. Here, you’ll find charcoal grills, playground equipment, basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, walking and biking paths, as well as softball and baseball fields.
This 9-acre park is home to an adult softball league as well as a variety of local youth baseball teams. Located just south of Main Street, the park features two baseball/softball diamonds and is connected to Wilson Park by a paved multi-use path that runs along the scenic Saline River.
Located just west of Milan, this preserve protects 113 acres and more than one-half mile of Saline River shoreline. Explorers can enjoy 2.25 miles of trail and high-quality floodplain forest habitat with oak, walnut, butternut, and sycamore trees.
Organized by Milan Main Street, Bloom is an annual celebration of spring complete with free activities for the entire family, like field day games, scavenger hunts, a flower mart, an artisan market, a bike parade, live music and more.
The annual Milan Fair is a favorite regional event for good reason! Each year, highlights include a carnival, a parade, an artisan market, fireworks, kids’ activities, and an entertainment tent with things like karaoke and live music. For information on this year’s event, click here.
On the third Thursday of each month from June through October in downtown Milan, 3rd Thursdays turns the neighborhood into a free, family-friendly festival. Attractions include local food and beer, live music, activities for both kids and adults, and shopping with vendors offering handmade, handcrafted and homegrown goods.
An annual event hosted by Milan Main Street, Route 23 Arts & Music Festival is a three-day celebration complete with live music, street performers, plays, a street art fair, food trucks, a craft beer festival and a beer garden. For information on this year’s event, click here.
In celebration of Small Business Saturday, Pop On Main Street brings together the Milan small business community for a full day of special deals and promotions, pop-up markets, food trucks, artisans and vendors. For information on this year’s event, click here.
Centered around Milan’s downtown shopping area, Wilson Park and Edgetown, this annual event is one of our favorite winter happenings in Southeast Michigan. Activities include a chili cook-off, the Let’s Chill Winter Fest Wine Walk, indoor and outdoor winter games, ice carving, an artisan tent, local food, The Big Freeze and more. For full details on the next event, check out the website here.
What do you love about Milan?
If we missed your favorite local business, attraction or event, tell us about it in the comments below!
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!
June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
June 1, 7:30 a.m. | Island Lake State Recreation Area
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Once the headquarters and hometown of Borders, an Ann Arbor bookstore that grew to have locations nationwide, Ann Arbor is a famous book-loving city. And despite Borders closing in 2011, our indie bookstores and reading community are still thriving. In Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped, we got to share information and stories from 10 local stores all located within Ann Arbor.
And here, we’re sharing even more about book clubs, libraries, nonprofit organizations, book-centered events and more. So if you love books as much as you love Ann Arbor, keep reading!
As a mark to Ann Arbor’s history, entrepreneurial character and book-loving nature, our town has become a haven for indie bookstores—both longstanding institutions and shops that opened to replace the Borders headquarters. We rounded up Ann Arbor’s bookstores in Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped. And below, you’ll find features on several of the largest.
Hilary and Mike Gustafson opened Literati Bookstore in 2013 as a book lover’s 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. Using compiled notes, essays and photos collected over the years, the team published “Notes From A Public Typewriter” in 2018, and in 2019, Literati Bookstore was named the Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year! And in addition to their public typewriter, their huge inventory of books and their friendly staff, they offer a full-service coffee shop upstairs.
Nicola’s is a bookstore for everyone with everything and every title you could dream of. That’s because this premier independent bookstore specializes in book searches — especially if your dream book is out of print or hard to find. In addition to this unique skill, they also offer an inventory of bestsellers, new releases, classics, children’s book and more.
Co-founder Peter Blackshear worked at Ann Arbor’s Borders for nearly two decades. When it closed for good, he and his wife decided to pursue their dream of opening their own community bookstore, and since our book-loving community offered the perfect setting, they opened Bookbound right here in 2013. Today, they’re a favorite in town offering new releases and bestsellers alongside classics and nonfiction, children’s books, bargain books, gifts, special orders and more.
Our community libraries are great places to find books and do research, of course, but they’ve also grown into fun institutions for community events and gathering, education and classes, and even gardening. For more information on a couple of our area library districts, keep reading!
The Ann Arbor District Library provides services at no charge to all residents living within the library service area, and residents outside the service area can still access available services for a fee. In five different locations, these guests can access millions of items, print and digital research materials, computer and Internet training, free WiFi, library exhibits, special events and more. Their long history also features Friends Books Shop which is an independent bookstore in the Downtown Library and a publishing imprint focused on local authors called Fifth Avenue Press.
In addition to providing classic library services, research materials and education opportunities in the City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and a portion of Superior Township, Ypsilanti District Library locations are home to The Learning Garden, a pollinator garden, the Seed Library and Beezy’s Café, a hometown cafe located inside the Whittaker Road library.
In a book-loving community like Ann Arbor, you’ll find plenty of other book lovers, and many of Ann Arbor’s indie bookstores offer discounts to book clubs! In addition to the formal clubs and discussions listed below, you can find even more organized gatherings through Meetup here.
Washtenaw Reads is an annual initiative organized by our area libraries to promote reading and civic dialogue. Launched in 2003 by the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, the project has grown to include participating libraries in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti so you can read and discuss with our entire community! After everyone reads, events include author discussions, film screenings, book discussions, community discussions and more. For more information on this year’s selection, click here.
One of four book clubs hosted by Literati Bookstore, this option is free and open to the public. Each meeting is about 90 minutes long and if you buy the chosen book from Literati, you get 15% off. You can see the current book and upcoming meeting here.
One of four book clubs hosted by Literati Bookstore, the Feminist Book Club fosters a fun, thoughtful and safe environment where participants can discuss current issues and topics regarding feminism and equality. To see past books, the current book and upcoming meeting dates, click here.
One of four book clubs hosted by Literati Bookstore, the Eco Book Club meets once every few months. At meetings, guests talk about the featured book and discuss matters concerning sustainability, climate change and the environment. To get more information on upcoming books and dates, click here.
One of four book clubs hosted by Literati Bookstore, the Poetry Book Club meets once a month at Literati Coffee. Guests can sit back and relax while reading poems aloud, discussing, and sharing reflections. For information on upcoming books and dates, click here.
Scheduled on one Friday per month, the Crazy Wisdom Monthly Book Discussions explore selected books from the bookstore’s diverse inventory. Each selected book is available in the store for 30% off and attending the discussion is always free. For information on the next event and book, click here.
A nationwide program, The Barnes & Noble Book Club brings readers together in their local stores to discuss some of the most compelling books being published today. For more information, click here.
Organizations + programs
Our communities are home to countless nonprofit organizations assisting every family, child and person living here. Below, you’ll find a handful that are focused on small book businesses, literacy and youth education. You can find even more local charities in our guide, 23 Local Charities in the Ann Arbor Area and How You Can Help.
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation began in 1996 as the Borders Group Foundation. In the beginning, employees and executives of Borders Group, Inc. worked to help bookstore employees and booksellers in need. Today, the foundation is alive and well as The Book Industry Foundation and they still serve struggling bookstores around the country affected by natural disasters, medical expenses, violence, the threat of eviction, essential utility shut-off, or the unexpected loss of household income.
Striving to completely eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County, this nonprofit organization provides literacy support at no cost to adults through a network of trained tutors, and they’ve been doing so for more than 40 years. Since 1971, they have served over 20,000 learners and trained and fully supported over 10,000 volunteer tutors. You can find information on joining that team here. Or you can donate directly here.
826michigan inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities. They do this through tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing opportunities, field trips, in-school projects and even publishing opportunities.
Ann Arbor and our neighboring community, Chelsea, host some of the region’s biggest events in book arts and literature. And together, these happenings offer nearly a full month of books, authors, arts and fun!
Now more than ten years old, the Midwest Literary Walk is an event presented by Chelsea District Library that invites community members, authors, readers and eaters to celebrate literature. Each author presentation is within walking distance of the next in downtown Chelsea, so you don’t have to miss a minute of the action.
The Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair takes place annually in the Michigan Union. When the fair returns in 2020, guests can shop and learn about first editions, old and collectible books, literature, children’s books, Americana and prints. For just a $5 admission fee, you can access all of this and more, and the money benefits the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.
This multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds but is heavily anchored by authors, and it has been for the past three decades. Including both free and ticketed events, the schedule always offers interactions with authors, performers, artists, topics and projects that are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections.
In our Ann Arbor area communities, April showers bring May festivals. Though summer doesn’t officially start until June, our cities and towns are already celebrating the warmer weather with outdoor events, including car shows, art walks, fairs, fundraisers, 5Ks and river days.
We rounded up the can’t-miss events happening this May so you can take part in all the fun—from indoor film screenings to outdoor community cleanup days. Read more about them below, find links to tickets and registration where necessary, and get ready for a fun-filled month!
Specially curated for the community of Southeast Michigan, Cinetopia features the best feature-length dramas, comedies and documentaries shown at the world’s best film festivals, including SXSW, Sundance and more. Outside of screenings, special pre- and post-film events include presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers and stars. The Ann Arbor venues are the Michigan Theater, State Theater and The U-M Hatcher Library with various other events happening in Detroit and the surrounding area. You can see all the ticket and pass info here.
An Ann Arbor tradition for nearly two decades, the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival is teaming up with Cinetopia Film Festival in 2019. The special program explores the global Jewish experience through the art of filmmaking and you can see all the featured films here.
Now in its 32nd year, this car show celebrates all variations of Volkswagens. If you have a vehicle to display, you can pay $15 at the gate, but spectators can enter for just $5 on the day of the festival. Don’t miss the Slow Speed Slalom on Saturday!
Westside Art Hop is presented as Michigan’s quirkiest Art Walk. The twice-yearly event showcases high-quality arts and crafts for sale to the public in a festive atmosphere. While exploring the Old West Side, you can peruse artwork, meet the artists and perhaps even find a new piece for your home!
Hosted by Main Street Area Association in Downtown Ann Arbor, Bloom Fest is a celebration of spring with our local businesses. Nearly all day on Saturday, you can enjoy special sales, events, deals, treats and more. To see all the offerings, click here.
May 16, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace
Meals on Heels is a fundraising event hosted by Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels. On Thursday evening in Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace, guests can enjoy a glamorous, Gatsby-themed evening celebrating the style of the 1920s while showcasing the flavors and colors of spring in Ypsilanti. Enjoy plenty of local food, drinks and music as accompaniment, plus live demonstrations like cocktail mixing, cooking and floral arranging. You can learn more and get tickets here.
Previously called Ypsilanti Proud, this annual event began as a class project by the 1995 graduating class of Leadership Ypsilanti. Now celebrating its 24th year, the event fosters community pride and encourages local business growth through simple beautification projects. Join more than 500 volunteers on May 18th and help clean up litter, paint and plant flowers. For more information on locations and projects, click here.
This family-friendly event in Milan invites guests to enjoy tasty food trucks, live music and the beautiful sight of hundreds of floating, illuminated lanterns floating on the water at Milan Beach. Your ticket comes with a floating lantern and a marker so you can write your own inspiring message before placing it on the water. For tickets and more information, click here.
Huron River Day is an afternoon full of free, family-friendly river activities at Gallup Park. Attractions will include live music, a butterfly house from the Michigan Native Butterfly Farm, an antique and classic boat show, water activities with the University of Michigan Natural History Museum, live animals from the Leslie Science & Nature Center, and so much more!
In 2019, Milan Fair highlights include a carnival, a parade, an artisan market, fireworks, kids’ activities, and an entertainment tent that features live music, dancing, food and adult beverages. In total, the three-day festival includes 18 spectacular events in Wilson Park with something fun for everyone in the family.
The Color Run is coming to Riverside Park on May 11th. This wildly happy and fun event includes an untimed 5K run. At each kilometer mark, runners are doused from head to toe in a different colored powder so you can cross the finish line completely tie-dyed. To register, click here.
This Mother’s Day event includes fun pre-race warmups, a 5K course, a one-mile fun run and a 200-meter dash for kids. As a celebration of all the women in our community, you can run individually or run as a couple in the Mother-Daughter category, or invite your grandma to run in the Three Generations of Women category! Get all the details and registration info here.
Hosted by Humane Society of Huron Valley, this fundraising event assists in the rescue and care of the most vulnerable animals in our community. Bring your family and your pup on race day to enjoy a 5K run or a one-mile walk, as well as games and fun for everyone!
May 18, 5 – 8 p.m. | Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace
A fundraiser to benefit Growing Hope, Ypsi Food Fight brings together six local restaurants, five judges and hundreds of guests (that’s you!). The restaurants will battle it out in a friendly, foodie, high-energy competition and all guests get to sample the dishes and vote for their favorite. To get your tickets, click here.
As one of Southeast Michigan’s favorite annual events, Camp Bacon brings together food lovers, historians and community members for an entire week of fun and bacon. The main event, Camp Bacon, is scheduled for May 31st from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. However, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is hosting several other events throughout the week at various venues, including the Camp Bacon Film Festival on May 29th, the 10th Annual Bacon Ball on May 30th, and the Camp Bacon Street Fair on June 2nd. For more information and the full schedule, click here.
When considering your future, the economic and social data of any given area can tell you a lot about your prospects. Ann Arbor’s estimated unemployment rate for 2018 was 3.3, which is significantly lower than Michigan’s at 4.1. According to data from the American Community Survey, our city’s mean household income is $89,295. Since household income includes all people who occupy a housing unit regardless of relationship, that number includes families with multiple breadwinners, roommates and individuals. Looking only at non-family households, the mean non-family income is $56,115, and per capita income is $39,253. That’s about $8,000 more than the United States per capita income and about $10,000 more than the state of Michigan’s.
3. Entrepreneurs are welcome.
If your career sights are set on starting your own business, Ann Arbor is a great place to do it. For local, real-world examples, look to Domino’s Pizza or hyper-local Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.
And research supports our entrepreneurs, too. On America’s Most Innovative Cities, research conducted by 24/7 Wall St., Ann Arbor lands the sixth spot out of 25 cities. In their write-up, they mention Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic engine that works to incubate and accelerate start-ups and assist entrepreneurs. In another study conducted in 2019 by the Center for American Entrepreneurship, Ann Arbor ranked among the top cities for female founders! You can learn more about that research here.
4. There are a variety of industries.
The list of Ann Arbor’s top employers is heavy with education and health, but that list also includes automotive research and development, software development and technology, government, analytics, manufacturing, food, energy, and even book printing. At the top, you’ll find the University of Michigan, and Ann Arbor Public Schools is high on the list, too. Together, they employ more than 33,000 people.
According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Ann Arbor is $61,247, which is higher than both Michigan and the United States. Widening the range to the entirety of Washtenaw County, the median household income jumps to $65,618. Interestingly, Ann Arbor’s per capita income is $39,253 and Washtenaw County’s is lower at $37,455 which could be due to Ann Arbor’s higher population of working age individuals; that percentage makes up 71.2% of Ann Arbor’s population.
Looking to housing, the median value of owned homes is $271,600 and median gross rent is $1,166. Measured with the median household and per capita income numbers we discussed, Ann Arbor is one of the country’s more affordable places to live—especially when compared to major urban areas across the country.
If starting a family is on your post-college to-do list, you’ve chosen a great place to call home. Thanks to our beautiful parks system, year-round family-friendly events, strong school districts and educational attractions, Ann Arbor is one of the most kid-friendly and family-friendly cities in the state and in the country. Livability even ranked Ann Arbor on their list, 5 Best Cities for Families in Michigan, and WalletHub ranked us in Best Places to Raise a Family in Michigan.
8. You never have to miss a Michigan game.
We know, this should probably be reason number one. As a college town (and one of the best in the country), our city takes pride in its college sports. When you stay here in Ann Arbor, you can keep attending every tailgate, every basketball game, and every other University of Michigan Athletics event.
We said it before and we’ll say it again: Ann Arbor offers the fun of a college town, the amenities of a city, and the open space of a charming, rural town. It’s the urban center of Washtenaw County, but also offers proximity to the huge Waterloo State Recreation Area and Pinckney Recreation Area near Chelsea and Dexter. These quieter and historic communities—along with others like Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti—are home to some of Michigan’s best hidden gems, from entertainment at The Purple Rose Theatre Company to coffee and beer at Cultivate.
For more ideas on things to do in Ann Arbor, follow along on the Reinhart blog where we get to talk about our favorite local hangouts and restaurants, the region’s most exciting events and more.
Looking for a career?
If you’re interested in a career in real estate, you can learn more about working with Reinhart here. On our career page, we provide resources covering your first steps to starting a real estate career to the specific advantages of joining our team and everything in between.
April 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Ann Arbor West Side United Methodist Church
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
With a combined population of about 74,000, Ypsilanti and adjacent Ypsilanti Township represent some of Michigan’s best and most interesting hidden gems, including dining destinations, outdoor recreation, historic attractions, craft breweries and events.
Throughout its history and continued today, this town has played an important role in the development of the automobile and the community has served as a driving force in national aviation technology. Several of our favorite local attractions and events showcase these stories which have been brought to us from the 1920s and World War II.
Further hallmarks of the town’s history include Eastern Michigan University which is located in town, 12 parks in the city and another 30 in the township, and some of the region’s best events encompassing everything from Elvis to motorcycles and orphan cars.
Keep reading to find out what you need to see, where you need to eat and what you need to do in Ypsilanti.
Sidetrack has been a local destination since it opened its doors in 1850 and it’s easy to explain why. They serve some of the best pub food, pour some of the best beer, and offer it all in one of the best Ypsi atmospheres. Their burger—Our Famous Burger—was included on GQ’s 2005 round-up of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, and that’s just one of the reasons we recommend stopping by.
This Ypsi favorite offers a seasonally rotating menu made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and they pair that with a lineup of artisan cocktails, craft beer and wine. And these approachable, gourmet eats cater to all kinds of diets, including vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores.
Any place that has Fried Chicken Tacos and Churro Biscuit Donuts on the menu is worth a visit. At Ma Lou’s, a small, counter-serve spot, they offer both and serve them alongside some of the best fried chicken in the state. Come for the chicken, stay for the wings, and don’t leave without dessert.
This old-school diner has been an Ypsi staple since it opened in 1936. Surrounded by aviation inspired decor, you can get one of the county’s best breakfasts right here in the Bomber dining room, and their huge menu of American classics offers more than 35 options.
One of Ypsilanti’s highest-rated eateries, Casablanca serves authentic Moroccan and Arabic cuisine for dine in, carry out and delivery. From fresh hummus to chicken shawarma, this is the best way to explore global cuisine in town.
Both a beloved coffee shop and a delicious cafe, Beezy’s is a hyper-local option in downtown Ypsilanti. Every day, they make two different soups, whip up fresh, homemade salad dressings, bake hot, fresh bread and prepare everything with a local sensibility and local products from nearby vendors and farmers.
The Maíz team has brought a fresh approach to traditional, Mexican favorites and Tex-Mex specialties. Everything on their menu is made from scratch daily and it’s made with ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, too!
Both a coffee roaster and a craft brewery, Cultivate is one of our favorite hangouts in town. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” you’ll find some of the area’s best beverages served alongside regular community events, fun series and philanthropic support of worthy causes.
When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. On a trip to Belgium, the couple was further inspired to innovate and they brought the first sour program of its kind to the state of Michigan. Today, they operate the Ann Arbor brewpub and Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, a casual hangout for craft beer, board games, events and food.
In 1927, Carl L. Miller opened this Hudson Sales and Service franchise as an automobile dealership and repair shop. After a merger and the discontinuation of the Hudson line, the fate of the shop was in jeopardy, but Carl’s son Jack continued Miller Motors by selling Hudson parts and cars until the museum was founded. Thus preserving the dealership’s authentic condition, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum was opened in 1995 and now hosts some of the region’s best car shows and events, including the Show & Shine Car Show, the Orphan Car Show and the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Car Show.
Housed inside a restored firehouse, the Michigan Firehouse Museum covers more than 26,000 square feet; this includes the original 1898 firehouse and a modern, multilevel exhibit display area. Here, they display 25 changing exhibits, including antique fire trucks and early fire rigs, multiple displays of historic artifacts and the largest collection of fire truck bells in the country.
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.
Dreamland Theater is unlike any other theater in Michigan. This small, non-profit puppet theater and community space is located in downtown Ypsilanti and offers classes and performances in puppetry, theater, music, independent film and other arts. To find out what’s going on right now at Dreamland, check out their Facebook page here.
The Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra story begins after Ypsi Pride Day in 1998 when two friends discussed the idea that our local musicians needed a community to develop their skills and our community needed an avenue to enjoy orchestral music. Soon after, a small group of friends and musicians gathered at Abe’s Coney Island to plan and the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1999. Today, they host several concert events throughout the year at Towsley Auditorium on the Washtenaw Community College campus.
Operating for more than 180 years and open every fall, Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard offers u-pick apples, a u-pick pumpkin patch, delicious cider, a corn maze and haunted thrill park, mini golf, hayrides, and more. Throughout the months of September and October, Ypsi locals, Ann Arbor locals and Michiganders from all over the state flock to the orchard for both spooky haunts and family fun.
Maintained by Washtenaw County, Rolling Hills County Park encompasses 439 acres and represents one of the most recreational diverse destinations in the county. And it’s one of the most popular places to visit during the summer thanks to the Rolling Hills Water Park! Other attractions include walking trails, a fishing pond, a playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, sports fields and horseshoe pits.
Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. When you’re not fishing, dog walking, picnicking or sunbathing, we recommend heading to the park for one of Ypsi’s best annual events, including ElvisFest, Michigan Summer Beer Festival and the Orphan Car Show.
Developed in partnership with Huron River Greenway, the Border-to-Border Trail is a non-motorized pathway that connects cities, parks, neighborhoods and trails throughout Washtenaw County. Eventually, the trail will span 70 total miles. And a section of those miles already connects Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor and even on to Dexter and Chelsea.
First Friday in Ypsilanti is a self-guided monthly art walk hosted at multiple venues throughout downtown Ypsi. When you participate, you can explore our community’s local businesses and enjoy free art activities, presentations and tastings.
This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Ypsilanti organization Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 5K/10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. Registration includes a celebratory lunch and all the proceeds benefit Dawn Farm. For more information on this year’s event, click here.
Ypsilanti Proud began as a class project by the 1995 graduating class of Leadership Ypsilanti. Now a community celebration for more than 20 years, the event fosters community pride and encourages local business growth through simple beautification projects. Join more than 500 volunteers for this year’s event and you can help clean up litter, paint and plant flowers. For more information, click here.
Each year, Depot Town honors Independence Day with Michigan’s oldest parade. This tradition has been going strong and growing for nearly a century and fills our streets with patriotism, red, white and blue every July.
The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the Summer Beer Festival hosts more than 100 local breweries sampling more than 1,000 different craft beers. Guests can also enjoy live music from Michigan bands and food available for purchase. This event takes place every summer in July or August.
Ton-Up Motorcycle and Music Festival has been an Ypsi tradition for a decade now. Serving to promote and educate the public about the art, science and history of the motorcycle, motorcycle safety, and awesome music, this one-day event brings vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to Arbor Brewing Company’s Corner Brewery and also adds plenty of local music and tons of fun.
An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, the event features unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists.
Each year, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival gets bigger and better than ever before. In past years, they’ve had two stages in the music, entertainment and beer tent, local arts and crafts vendors, a juried competition, a Magical History Tour, a children’s entertainment area, and so much more! To stay up-to-date on everything coming this year, follow the team on Facebook.
Presented by Wayne County Airport Authority at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event brings the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show features presentations from Team Oracle and Quicksilver P-51D as well and is a celebration of our region’s important aircraft history.
From the same team that brings FestiFools and FoolMoon to Ann Arbor every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through Downtown Ypsi. In the weeks leading up to the event, local artists, businesses and organizations host GLOWorkshops so you can create your own luminary and costume. Then, you can join the community in October for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art.
Good news, Ann Arbor. Spring is officially here! To welcome the new season, our community is hosting Earth Day celebrations, seasonal expositions and some of our favorite annual events (looking at you, FoolMoon!).
We rounded up the essential events happening throughout the Ann Arbor area this month, so you can celebrate Easter, Earth Day and more. Enjoy!
Michigan State University is hosting a science festival during the month of April with events on campus in East Lansing and all around the state. Here in the Ann Arbor area, you can join in the educational fun at events at Sherzer Observatory on the Eastern Michigan University campus, at Yankee Air Museum, and even in Detroit. To see the full schedule of events, click here.
April 13, 6:30 p.m. | North Campus Research Complex, Building 18
On Saturday, April 13th, the UMS Ambassadors, UMS Board Chair and UMS Cabaret founder Sarah Nicoli are celebrating with an evening of food, fun and show tunes provided by University of Michigan musical theater students and alumni. The best part is all proceeds support UMS K-12 Education programming! For tickets, click here.
April 13 – 14, various times | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Once during the spring and again during the fall, the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds are filled with fiber products of all kinds. Come by to shop, learn and meet makers of wool, linen and cotton crafts, see real alpacas and more! Children 12 years and under are admitted for free, while adults pay just $4 cash for one day or $6 for two.
Considered one of the community’s favorite annual events, FoolMoon is the nighttime kick-off event to a very foolish weekend hosted by Wonderfool Productions. This year, the celebration is taking place in Kerrytown at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but it will still have all the dancing, laughing and luminaries we’ve come to love. Other attractions include interactive installations, laser shows, live performances, DJs and a beer tent. You can even make your own luminary at several workshops in advance. For details, follow the Wonderfool Productions team on Facebook here.
FestiFools is Wonderfool Productions’ daytime event of foolishness and art. The enormous public art spectacular showcases creations made by members of the community and U-M students. You can make your own puppet or come down to Main Street to watch the procession of colorful, bizarre, human-powered paper-mâché creations for an entire hour of fun!
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.
April 28, 12 – 4 p.m. | Leslie Science & Nature Center
The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is an annual celebration hosted by the Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival Planning Committee, a coalition of local environmental nonprofits and agencies, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. At this free, family-friendly event, guests can enjoy displays from 40 local organizations, live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, live entertainment and much more.
This family-oriented fitness event is an annual fundraiser for Dawn Farm. Community members at any fitness level are invited to register for one of four bike rides: a 10K, a 25-mile, a 40-mile and a 58-mile. There will also be a Farm Fun 5K Run/Walk, and a celebratory lunch will be provided after the races. Family members not participating are asked to register for the $5 lunch only option so there is enough food for everyone. You can register for all the options online here.
HopCat Ann Arbor is teaming up with California’s Lagunitas Brewing Co. for an epic beer pairing dinner this April. The event will feature five beers and four courses made with locally sourced ingredients in the HopCat kitchen.
The local restaurant inside The Kensington Hotel, rel-ish, is celebrating on April 26th with a specially paired, five-course dinner. Two James Spirits is the first licensed distillery in the city of Detroit since Prohibition, and their contributions to the event include artisanal gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and absinthe. For full menu details and tickets, click here.
Want to submit your next event for our monthly guide? Send us an email at ReinhartPR@booj.com.
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!
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.