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Your Fall Bucket List for the Ann Arbor Area

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Fall in Michigan is one of our favorite things—thanks in large part to you-pick apples, corn mazes, Michigan football, freshly pressed cider, pumpkin donuts, and all the reds and golds of our tree-lined neighborhoods. To help you make the most of the season here in Ann Arbor, we rounded up some of the region’s best autumn activities (donuts included!). 

For more seasonal fun, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor and 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

 

1. Visit Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair.

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Photo courtesy of Wiard’s Orchards & Country Fair

Wiard’s was founded in Michigan by George Wiard in 1837 and has become one of the region’s most beloved fall destinations. Covering nearly 100 acres and located just minutes from Ann Arbor, attractions include the seasonal Wiard’s Country Fair, an agri-entertainment park that offers orchards, a cider mill, you-pick apples, a corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, an apple cannon, giant inflatables, pony rides, hayrides, a petting farm, miniature golf, a haunted barn, children’s play areas and even more. You can also step inside the Country Store and Bakery to taste fresh cider, seasonal donuts, freshly baked pies, jams, jellies, honey and apple salsas.

 

2. Get cider and donuts at Dexter Cider Mill

Open seasonally, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, handpicked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100 years old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand-rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on-site.

 

3. Celebrate every Michigan football game. 

Tailgating University of Michigan Football Ann Arbor Michigan

 

Fall is Wolverine season in Ann Arbor. The full football schedule includes several regularly scheduled home games through November 30th. Check it out here and check out A Complete Guide to Tailgating for U-M Football Games in Ann Arbor for help celebrating on game day.

 

4. Go on a Fall Color Tour with Southern Michigan Railroad

Each year, the Southern Michigan Railroad hosts Fall Color Tours, seasonal events that explore the area’s changing foliage from the comfort of a train car. Because the rides sell out every single year, the railroad offers a variety of seating options, dates and rides. Six dates are available throughout October 2019 and October 12th and 13th are scheduled during Tecumseh’s 26th Annual Appleumpkin Festival. For full details on these Fall Color Tours, click here.

 

5. Catch live music at Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

This hometown spot makes all their wine, hard cider and beer on-site and is open year-round with frequent live music events and a delectable calendar of local food trucks. To see what’s on tap and what events are coming up, check out the website here, and don’t miss Dead at the Winery every Thursday! 

For more Michigan made cider, check out Where to Get the Best Hard Cider in Michigan

 

6. Run The Original A2 Turkey Trot.

Every year, Epic Races celebrates Thanksgiving with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark! This running and walking event features four different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, a quick mile fun run, and the Iron Turkey which is the 10K and 5K all at once. For more details and online registration, click here

 

7. Find your way through Coleman’s Corn Maze.

Coleman’s Corn Maze

A trip to this family-owned and -operated farm includes three professionally designed corn mazes with 5 miles of challenging trails, hayrides, some of the best seasonal donuts in the region, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, you-pick apples, a petting barn and more. Though these mazes aren’t haunted, you do have the opportunity to find your way through after dark, too—just don’t forget your flashlight!

 

8. Pick your own fruit at Wasem Fruit Farm

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! At the farm, you’ll also get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region! For the most accurate hours and information, follow the team on Facebook here

 

9. Grab a beer at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

things to do in Ann Arbor fall 2019

Photo courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Each location—whether full-service pub or casual taproom—offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, artisanally aged Jolly Pumpkin beers. And it’s not only the name that has pumpkin in it. In 2017, they finally released a sour pumpkin ale made with pumpkin, a pumpkin spice blend and cacao nibs. To see what’s pouring right now nearest you, you can see all their locations here

To learn more about the area’s craft breweries, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area [Interactive Map].

 

10. Explore Nichols Arboretum

The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum began in 1907 and has developed into miles of trails and land home to collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. These plants transform during the fall to showcase some of the best colors in Southeast Michigan, including golds, reds and even inky purples.

To find more fall foliage, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor

 

Enjoy your fall! 

For more seasonal fun, check out The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor and 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

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11 Haunted Houses You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor, Mapped

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Fall may bring us apple cider, pumpkin donuts and you-pick pumpkin patches, but it also brings us the scariest holiday on the calendar: Halloween! And our communities certainly know how to celebrate. Located in towns throughout Southeast Michigan, here are the most terrifying haunted attractions, including houses, mazes, forests and even virtual reality haunts. 

Keep reading to learn more about each one and see how many you can visit this October! 

For more autumn fun without the scares, check out 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

 

 

Night Terrors 

Ypsilanti | Get directions | Facebook

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Michigan’s premier haunted attraction comes alive again this October. Open at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October 28th and then again on October 30th and 31st, Night Terrors features 89 acres of terror. The six haunted attractions include The Asylum, Hayrides of the Lost, The Ultimate Haunted Barn, The Mineshaft, Alien Caged Clowns and Splattertown Zombie Paintball; for all the details, click here

For more information on the less haunted fall attractions available at Wiard’s Orchard, check out 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor.

 

Terrorfied Forest

Pinckney | Get directions | Facebook

The Terrorfied Forest is a real terrifying forest. Make a trip to this haunted attraction and you’ll journey into the woods for a one-mile, one-hour excursion with plenty of terror along the way. You can make your trip on weekends beginning September 27th through November 2nd. To see the complete schedule, click here

 

Erebus Haunted Attraction

Pontiac | Get directions | Facebook

Erebus is a four-story haunted tower of terror located in Downtown Pontiac. A trip here during the Halloween season means you’ll endure a half-mile indoor walk complete with state-of-the-art Hollywood special effects where things will bite you, grab you and even bury you alive! Think you can make it through? Check out the schedule and buy your tickets online here

 

Hush Haunted Attraction 

Westland | Get directions | Facebook

Video courtesy of Hush Haunted Attraction

Brimming with fearful atmosphere and spine-tingling scares, Hush strikes at your deepest and darkest fears. The haunted attraction includes three haunted houses. Descent invites you to take a trip under Hush into long stretches of abandoned mines and caverns complete with terrifying darkness and humanoid miners. The Coven will enter you into a crypt which houses the infamous Casper Coven, and Rosecliff Hall is a terrifyingly haunted manor. To read the stories behind each attraction, click here

 

Jackson’s Underworld 

Jackson | Get directions | Facebook

Enter Jackson’s Underworld and you’ll experience some of the most impressive animatronics and props in Michigan. This 115,000-square-foot and four-story haunt changes every single year and is always terrifying! To see the schedule and purchase tickets, click here

 

Awaken Haunted Attraction

Leslie | Get directions | Facebook

Not for the faint of heart, Awaken is a serious haunt with serious scares. Through their progression of professional sets, you’ll enter amazing scenes, get unexpected scares, encounter movie-set quality props and more, and that’s why parental guidance is recommended for anyone under 18. So, if you can handle the fright, check out their schedule here and get ready for a terrifying, one-of-a-kind horror experience. 

 

Plymouth Escape 

Plymouth | Get directions | Facebook

Unlike any other experience on this list, Plymouth Escape is offering a terrifying, haunted virtual reality game through the month of October. Enter the Insanitarium and you’ll experience Michigan’s first free-roaming VR in complete, immersive terror. To book now, click here

 

Rotten Manor 

Holly | Get directions | Facebook

Haunted houses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Rotten Manor

Boasting the largest, most realistic custom structures in Michigan, Rotten Manor is a highly-detailed, theatrical and immersive haunted experience. This team puts together two 45-minute, haunted attractions every year—Rotten Manor and Rotten Asylum/Forest—and each one will put you face to face with your worst fears. They’re operating September 13th through November 2nd so you can get a full Halloween season of haunts! 

 

Azra Chamber of Horrors

Madison Heights | Get directions | Facebook

Located right next door to Escape Room-Zone (which is offering a few bone-chilling experiences, too!), Azra Chamber of Horrors is a crazy, multi-level maze of terror. And each chamber is more menacing than the last! To see the schedule and purchase tickets in advance, click here

 

The Scream Machine

Taylor | Get directions | Facebook 

When you step inside The Scream Machine, you’ll cross the threshold of insanity into the Asylum. The journey of approximately 20 to 30 minutes will bring you face to face with psychotic Dr. Scratch and other terrifying beings roaming the halls. After you make it through, you can enter two, optional five-minute escape rooms for added fun! 

 

Deranged Haunt 

Romulus | Get directions | Facebook 

About 20 minutes from Downtown Ypsi, Deranged Haunt offers five acres and two attractions—the haunted trail and the haunted house—for one low price. Can you survive what lurks in the woods? You can find out every Friday and Saturday from September 20th through Halloween! To get tickets online, check out the website here

 

Do you have a favorite haunt? 

Let us know in the comments below! 

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend October 2019

October 2019 events ann arbor michigan

Now that October has arrived, we’ve completely embraced the fall festivities—and so have our Ann Arbor area communities. This month’s lineup includes craft shows where you can shop fall treats and find the perfect holiday gifts, live concerts, fall festivals, and some of our most highly anticipated annual events.

Join the fun this October and attend an event in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter and more! 

For more fall fun, check out 19 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

 

Jump ahead:

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

Arts + Culture

Arts + Culture 

 

Westside Art Hop | Ann Arbor

October 6, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Old West Side

October 2019 events ann arbor michigan

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 neighborhood, you can peruse artworks, meet the artists, find decor for your home, and shop holiday gifts!

 

Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra | Ypsilanti 

October 6, 3:30 p.m. | Towsley Auditorium 

The Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra was started by a small group of friends and musicians who gathered at Abe’s Coney Island and 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. You can catch the season premiere on October 6th! For more details, follow the team on Facebook here

 

Fiber Expo | Ann Arbor 

October 12 – 13 | 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 the 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.

 

Edgefest | Ann Arbor 

October 16 – 19 | Kerrytown Concert House

Edgefest began in 1997 as a single-day event and has grown into a four-day festival that includes collaborations and educational outreach, the Edgefest Parade and so much more. Hosted annually 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. For ticket information, click here

 

Ann Arbor Annual Arts & Crafts Show | Ann Arbor

October 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | New Grace Apostolic Temple

Ann Arbor Annual Arts & Crafts Show

Photo Courtesy of the Ann Arbor Annual Arts & Crafts Show

This juried arts and crafts show costs just $2 for guests over 12 years old and includes shopping from more than 60 artists and crafters, kid-friendly attractions, access to food concessions and baked goods, door prizes and more. The show is celebrating its 11th anniversary in 2019 so don’t miss out on the fun!

 

Ann Arbor Antiques Market | Ann Arbor

October 19 – 20, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (Saturday) + 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (Sunday) | Washtenaw Farm Council  

Established in 1968, this historic antique market has been fueling our love of home decor and vintage finds for more than 50 years. Admission is $6 with free parking and kids are admitted for free! Come by in October to shop antiques, jewelry, paintings, mid-century and industrial design, folk art, repurposed furniture and more. It’s the perfect place to get some holiday shopping done!

 

Celebrations

Community Celebrations 

 

Apple Daze Festival | Dexter

October 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Monument Park

October 2019 events ann arbor michigan

Hosted by the Dexter Lions Club in Downtown Dexter, Apple Daze invites the community to enjoy local apples and apple products, participate in apple pie-eating contests, take the family on festive hayrides, and shop craft booths from local vendors and artists. For event updates, check out the Facebook event here.

 

Monster Mash | Ypsilanti

October 12, 12 – 3 p.m. | Rolling Hills County Park

One of four festive events this month, the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission is hosting Monster Mash on October 12th in Rolling Hills Park. Wear your costumes, feel free to bring your friendly, leashed dogs, and get ready for kid-friendly activities for all ages, including a candy hunt, a costume contest, face painting, hayrides, a pumpkin patch and more. 

For more Halloween fun, check out Halloween Hootenanny on October 6th, Halloween Bash on October 26th and Pumpkin Smash on the Saturday after Halloween. 

 

ypsiGLOW | Ypsilanti

October 25, 7 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti  

From the same team that brings us FestiFools and FoolMoon every April, ypsiGLOW is a light-filled celebration through Downtown Ypsi. In the weeks leading up to the event, local artists, businesses and organizations host GLOWorkshops so you can create your own luminary and costume. Then, you can join the community on October 25th for a celebration of Ypsilanti and art! Follow the team on Facebook here to get updates on workshops.

 

Sports

Sports

 

University of Michigan Homecoming | Ann Arbor

October 5, 12 p.m. | Michigan Stadium 

 

Tailgating University of Michigan Football Ann Arbor Michigan

The University of Michigan faces off against the University of Iowa on October 5th for this year’s homecoming game. The Wolverines also play Notre Dame at home on October 26th! You can see the full football schedule here.

 

Glow Disc Golf Tournament | Whitmore Lake

October 25, 6 – 11 p.m. | Independence Lake County Park

For the fourth year, this after-hours disc golf tournament is returning to Independence Lake County Park! The 18 holes will be lit by glow sticks and $30 registration includes park entry and a player pack. For all the details, click here

 

Food + Drink

Food + Drink 

 

Art & Brew | Ann Arbor 

October 10, 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor 

October 2019 events ann arbor michigan

Photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor Art Center

Hosted by Ann Arbor Art Center and various downtown businesses, Art & Brew is a celebration of local food and drink and a competition for the best food and beer pairing. When you buy your $60 ticket, you’ll be invited to join the bar crawl traveling to each participating restaurant to taste their beer and snack pairings, to create your own art at each one, and then to vote for your favorite pairing. See the participating venues, buy tickets, and get more information here.  

 

West Cross Hard Cider Festival | Ypsilanti 

October 12, 1 – 5 p.m. | College Place 

This 21+ event brings together 15 Michigan hard cider makers and eight West Cross businesses for a fall tradition of epic proportions. You can see the participating businesses here and purchase tickets online here

 

Chefs in the Garden | Ypsilanti  

October 13, 5 – 8 p.m. | Growing Hope Urban Farm 

Hosted by and benefitting Growing Hope, the Chefs in the Garden series brings together local charity, local food and urban farm education. The three-part dinner series features well-known, local culinary talent at each event occurring on September 15th, September 29th and October 13th. The last event of the series is scheduled for October 13th with Chef Brandon Johns of Grange Kitchen & Bar with dessert from Sweet Heather Anne. For details and tickets, click here.

 

 

Happy October! 

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A Complete Guide to Tailgating for U-M Football Games in Ann Arbor

Tailgating Football Ann Arbor Michigan

Michigan game day is one of your favorite days and one of the most important in Ann Arbor. Complemented by tons of pre-game tailgates, game-day specials at our favorite hangouts, and the best fight song in college football history, after just one game day in Ann Arbor, this will become your favorite holiday, too. 

To make sure you can navigate all the excitement, we created this tailgating guide—complete with information on where to park and find tailgates, where to watch the game outside The Big House, where to buy your U-M merch, and where to keep celebrating afterward. And remember, Go Blue forever! 

For details on tailgating policies and procedures, click here, and for the Michigan Football schedule, click here

Jump ahead:

The Most Popular Tailgating Areas | The Best Places to Watch on Screen | What to Wear on Game Day | Where to Go After the Game

Tailgating

The Most Popular Tailgating Areas

Whether you’re parking or just looking for a pre-game party, you’ll find plenty of areas to do it, but be aware ahead of time that parking can cost $30 to $60 to $180 and more. To read tailgating policies and procedures and make sure you’re following the rules, click here. When you follow that link, you can also find a detailed map of parking areas. 

 

University of Michigan Golf Course

Located south of The Big House, the U-M Golf Course is one of the most popular places for tailgating on game day. Although RVs, trailers, pets and glass containers aren’t allowed, you can park regular vehicles and set up all your tailgating accessories within the designated areas. 

 

Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club 

Located directly across Stadium Boulevard from the south end of the stadium, AAGOC offers convenient public parking for U-M football and basketball games. On football game days, public parking is first come, first served, but a limited number of reserved spots are also available through Park n Party here. For full AAGOC parking info, click here

 

Blue Lot 

This lot is available for RVs and vehicles with permits only, but open to foot traffic. That means many season ticket holders and Michigan fans who have been attending games for decades set up shop here, but everyone is welcome to peruse the tailgates and join the fun. 

 

Pioneer High School

One of three lots open to RVs, Pioneer High School opens on Game Day Fridays for RVs with permits and other vehicles on a first come, first served basis. These daily passes and reservations are available through Michigan Event Parking, and we recommend checking out their website here before game day. 

 

Brown Lot

Located south of the golf course at the Varsity Tennis Center, this lot offers cash-only permits on the day of the game and is open to RVs which can stay until noon on Sunday. 

 

Sports Bars

The Best Places to Watch on Screen 

If you didn’t get a ticket in time, you can still catch all the action on screen at a local hangout. For the full list of favorite sports bars which includes options in surrounding towns, too, check out The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area

 

The Pretzel Bell

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell

After P Bell opened in 1934, it became the campus watering hole for more than 50 years, feeding and hydrating students, townies and visitors alike. After a brief closing, the doors reopened to become one of A2’s most beloved spots—complete with gourmet pub food, craft beer and cocktails, and more than 30 TVs tuned into every Michigan football, baseball, hockey and basketball game available! Game day attractions include drink specials, a game room with pong, Jenga and darts, late-night live DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, and more. 

 

Fraser’s Pub

Jimmy and Red Fraser first opened this neighborhood bar in 1962 and it’s been the A2 go-to ever since. The taps feature multiple Michigan beers, the menu includes all the bar favorites cooked up with style, and the TVs fill the whole place so you’ll never miss the action. Be sure to wear your blue and maize or you may feel left out. Go Blue! 

 

Scorekeepers

Especially popular amongst the younger crowd, Scorekeepers boasts more than 30 beers on tap, 17 flat screens, and a food lineup that includes bratwursts, nachos, sliders, burgers and waffle fries. They’ve been around for decades and have always been a go-to game day spot, for obvious reasons.

 

Good Time Charley’s

Good Time Charley’s opened its doors in 1979, the first U-M student walked in, and the rest was history. It’s located right across the street from the university and offers a parking structure, making it one of the easiest places to get to before the game starts. We recommend ordering a plate of Pepperoni Styx, hand-twisted breadsticks stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni and topped with garlic and parmesan. Then, get ready to cheer!

 

Gear

What to Wear on Game Day 

When in doubt, put on your maize and blue. Some games may encourage maize-outs inside the stadium, but you can’t go wrong with any Wolverine merch. To find out where to buy yours, keep reading. 

 

The M Den 

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

 

Bo 

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

 

After

Where to Go After the Game

If you want to keep celebrating after the game is over, you’ll have plenty of options, especially along Main Street and State Street in downtown Ann Arbor. For super late nights, check out our guide The 13 Best Places to Eat After Midnight in Ann Arbor

 

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

A landmark in downtown Ann Arbor, Grizzly Peak began serving craft beer in August of 1995 from their century-old building. The kitchen produces scratch-made pub eats and the brewhouse produces classic beers in a wide range of styles. To see what’s on tap right now, click here, and be sure to celebrate with a pint of Victors’ Gold after the game! You can also order Party Platters which feed 8 to 10 people and your dogs are welcome to party on the patio with their own menu of snacks! Check it out here.

 

Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Wolverine State Brewing’s flagship beer, Wolverine Premium Lager, was born out of a desire for an outstanding, approachable beer that was true to Michigan character. Today, this Ann Arbor craft brewery is still operating as the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do—from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations. They’re open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays!

 

Dominick’s 

When you think Dominick’s, you think great patio and even better sangria. Since opening in 1960, this locally owned spot has been the go-to for locals, students, families, you name it! Grab a seat on game day and keep the fun going with potent sangria and Italian-inspired eats. 

 

Ashley’s 

A Downtown Ann Arbor tradition since 1983, Ashley’s is a must-visit on game day—especially if you love craft microbrews! Throughout the year, their rotating taps offer more than 1,000 different beers made right here in Michigan, all around the country and all around the globe. Pair that with a meal of pesto fries and fish and chips, and you’ll have a new favorite in town. 

 

 

Do you have a game day tip?

Share it in the comments below!

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The 17 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend September 2019

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Though September brings the end of summer, it also brings us a long weekend to celebrate Labor Day, the beginning of football season, and beloved fall harvest celebrations. In the Ann Arbor area, our communities are saluting the summer and welcoming the fall with cultural celebrations, beloved annual festivals, fundraisers and more.

This year, join the fun at our region’s biggest September events. Will you attend a concert, a festival or Oktoberfest? Let us know in the comments below!

 

JUMP AHEAD:

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

 

 

Arts + Culture 

 

A Cappella Around Main | Ann Arbor 

September 3, 7 – 8:30 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Main Street Area Ann Arbor

Did you know Ann Arbor has more a cappella groups than any other city in the country? Throughout the summer, Main Street Area Association celebrates with an a cappella celebration every first Tuesday. For the last event on September 3rd, you can shop, eat and explore downtown while four different singing groups stroll the sidewalks to serenade the community. 

 

Ann Arbor Russian Festival | Dexter 

September 14 – 15, various times | St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church 

The 7th Annual Ann Arbor Russian Festival will include Russian dance, music and song ensembles, an infused vodka tasting for guests over 21, authentic foods, and so much more. Bring the whole family down to Dexter to celebrate Russian culture! 

 

Orphan Car Show | Ypsilanti 

September 15 | Riverside Park 

The term “orphan car” describes a vehicle built by a manufacturer that has discontinued business entirely, and because Ypsi has such an important history in cars and orphan cars, it’s the perfect place for this unique car event. The 2019 show celebrates the 21st year of the Orphan Car Show! Spectator admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are admitted for free.

 

Old West Side Homes Tour | Ann Arbor  

September 22, 12 – 5 p.m. | Community of Christ Church 

The 46th Annual Old West Side Homes Tour celebrates Ann Arbor’s historic Old West Side whose architecture, streetscape, history and environment are especially characteristic of 19th-century, midwestern America. You can purchase tickets on the day of the event at its headquarters: Community of Christ Church at 520 West Jefferson. 

 

Heritage Market | Milan 

September 29, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Hack House 

Hosted by Milan Area Historical Society for the second year, the Heritage Market brings local vendors, creative makers and community members to shop and support local in the historic Hack House. For details and updates, check out the Facebook event here

 

 

Community Celebrations 

 

Dancing in the Streets | Ann Arbor  

September 1, 1:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

An annual tradition hosted by the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance, Dancing in the Streets is a free, family-friendly dance-themed event. The schedule includes demonstrations, interactive activities, tons of lessons, kid-friendly activities and more. To see that schedule, click here.   

 

Festival of the Honey Bee | Ypsilanti  

September 6, 5 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti  

Held in partnership with First Fridays Ypsilanti, the Festival of the Honey Bee aims to raise awareness and celebrate the honey bee’s impact on our local and global food supply through art and education. Nearly a decade old, this annual tradition includes art, music, educational activities for all ages, vendors, demonstrations and more. 

 

An Evening with Ozone House | Ann Arbor

September 14, 6 p.m.Domino’s World Resource Center, Lobby F

Ozone House’s 11th annual fall fundraiser, this charitable event includes a silent and a live auction, cocktails and dinner, youth performers, entertainment, a paddle raise and a wine pull. To attend the event, make a donation, and support the work of Ozone House, click here.

 

Oktoberfest | Saline 

September 20 – 21 | Downtown Saline 

This fall celebration brings the spirit of Germany to Downtown Saline. In celebration of the community’s sister city relationship with Lindenberg, Germany, Oktoberfest features traditional and modern music, a festive biergarten, a corn hole tournament, wiener dog races and so much more over the course of two full days.

 

Harvest Festival | Ann Arbor  

September 22, 2 – 5 p.m. | Sutherland-Wilson Farm 

Hosted by Pittsfield Charter Township, the 11th Annual Harvest Festival is welcoming the fall season with a performance by the Saline Fiddlers, face painting, carriage photos, lawn games, a pumpkin patch, docent-led tours, artisan demonstrations, a petting farm and so much more. All of this is included in general admission, which ranges from free for children 2 years and under to $5 for adults over 16. For more details, click here

 

Webster Fall Festival | Dexter  

September 28 | Corner of Webster Church & Farrell Roads 

Co-hosted by the Webster United Church of Christ and the Webster Township Historical Society, this fall festival has something for everyone: hayrides, live music, an auction, a petting zoo, a children’s carnival, historical buildings, baked goods, demonstrations like rope making and blacksmithing, baseball games played following the rules of 1860, and even more! For the full schedule, click here

 

 

Sports 

 

University of Michigan Football vs. Army | Ann Arbor 

September 7, 12 p.m. | Michigan Stadium 

Things to do in Ann Arbor this September 2018

Michigan football is back! They’re playing in the Big House against Army West Point on September 7th. To see the full 2019 schedule, click here, and don’t miss their other home game this month on September 28th against Rutgers. 

 

RunTough for ChadTough | Saline 

September 28, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. | Saline High School 

Benefitting The ChadTough Foundation—a local nonprofit in Saline—this running event is celebrating its sixth year with a family-friendly 5K and a one-mile fun run. Whether you want to virtually run or you want to run the route yourself, you can register online here.

 

Glow-in-the-Park 5K | Ypsilanti  

September 20, 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. | Rolling Hills County Park 

Hosted by Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission, this nighttime run invites racers to Rolling Hills County Park after the sun sets. Then, racers can enjoy a lighted, glow-in-the-dark run through the park! To register, click here

 

 

Food + Drink 

 

Route 23 Craft Beer Walk | Milan  

September 13, 4 – 10 p.m. | Main Street 

September 2019 events in Ann Arbor Michigan

An annual event with Milan Main Street, this craft beer celebration brings live music, food truck fare, community fun and eight Michigan breweries to Downtown Milan. When you purchase tickets here, adults can enjoy flights of three craft beers at each venue, and each flight includes a small appetizer, too! 

 

Bike Ypsi’s Taco Tour | Ypsilanti 

September 15, 12 – 5 p.m. | Frog Island Park 

Bike Ypsi is returning for the 12th year of the Taco Tour! Featuring only locally owned businesses and only traditional tacos, this event invites bicyclists for a 5-mile, 15-mile or 25-mile route through town for tacos and taco-themed treats. Each route includes a different number of tacos, but all include a choco taco at Go! Ice Cream and finish at Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse for liquid refreshment. For mail-in registration details, click here

 

Chefs in the Garden | Ypsilanti  

September 15, 5 – 8 p.m. | Growing Hope Urban Farm 

Hosted by and benefitting Growing Hope, the Chefs in the Garden series brings together local charity, local food and urban farm education. The three-part dinner series features well-known, local culinary talent at each event occurring on September 15th, September 29th and October 13th. The first event on September 15th will bring together Chef Ji Hye Kim of Miss Kim with dessert from Milk + Honey. For tickets, click here. And for details on the September 29th event, click here

 

 

Happy September!

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The Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Ann Arbor

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Whether we’re in the freezing temperatures of winter or under the beautiful summer sun, Ann Arbor certainly knows how to celebrate. Our beloved hometown hosts some of Michigan’s biggest and best annual events—from nationally acclaimed music and film festivals to Main Street fairs and everything in between.

To make sure you don’t miss a thing, we rounded up Ann Arbor’s major events happening every single year—and some have been going strong for more than half a century!

 

 

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

January

Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, began in 1977 and is now one of Ann Arbor’s most anticipated annual 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 sell out every year, so follow The Ark on Facebook to get updates.

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

January and June

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly event hosted by the Main Street Area Association. The event brings together upwards of 50 restaurants all over town, which offer special lunch and/or dinner menus for a fixed price. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to some of our town’s best local eats!

 

Ann Arbor Film Festival

March

free spring events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Film Festival

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.

 

Ann Arbor Marathon  

March

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. To learn more about the marathon and see all of the events hosted by Epic Races throughout the year, click here.

 

FOOLmoon

April

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. The celebration takes place in downtown Ann Arbor with tons of dancing, laughing and handmade luminaries. 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

April

free spring events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman Photography via Wonderfool Productions

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!

 

Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival

April

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.

 

Cinetopia Film Festival

May

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 typically the Michigan Theater, State Theater and The U-M Hatcher Library with various other events happening in Detroit and the surrounding area. You can find all the ticket and pass info here.

 

Ann Arbor Bloom Fest

May

Hosted by the Main Street Area Association in downtown Ann Arbor, Bloom Fest is a celebration of spring with our local businesses. Nearly all day on a beautiful spring day in May, you can enjoy special sales, events, deals, treats and more. To see all the offerings, click here.

 

Huron River Day

May

In celebration of our beautiful river, Huron River Day is an afternoon full of free, family-friendly river activities at Gallup Park. Attractions in the past have included 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!

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

June and January

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly event hosted by the Main Street Area Association. The event brings together upwards of 50 restaurants all over town, which offer special lunch and/or dinner menus for a fixed price. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to some of our town’s best local eats!

 

Sonic Lunch

June – August

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

 

Treeverb Music Festival

June

As the newest event on this guide, Treeverb held its inaugural music festival on June 1, 2019. Free and open to the public, the festival brings both national and local artists to the stage in downtown Ann Arbor for a full day of live music entertainment. Other attractions include food trucks, a beer tent and, of course, all the attractions of downtown Ann Arbor! For event updates, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

African American Downtown Festival

June

This festival has been a tradition in downtown Ann Arbor for more than two decades and today offers even more fun and entertainment. That lineup includes street and stage performances, dancing, local vendors and information booths, kid-friendly fun and more. For updates, check out the website here.

 

Ya’ssoo Greek Festival

June

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!

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

June

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Myra Klarman Photography via Ann Arbor Summer Festival

As the can’t-miss, arts-centered event of the summer, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival offers world-class entertainment in comedy, cinema, food, jazz, pop and rock, acoustic, spoken word and public radio every year. Though some events are ticketed, the great majority of festival happenings are admission-free concerts, workshops and classes! You can see those listed on the website here.

 

Green Fair

June

A tradition for nearly two decades, the Mayor’s Green Fair comes to Main Street every June. In celebration of our community’s environmental leadership, the event closes 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

June

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.

 

Taste of Ann Arbor

June

This beloved annual event hosted by Main Street Area Association brings together dozens of 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 offers bite-sized foods to showcase what they do best and to ensure you can taste more than one! Tickets for food can be purchased at the event for $1 each and no item is priced over $4 or four tickets.

 

Rolling Sculpture Car Show

July

Hosted by Main Street Area Association, the annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show returns to Main, Liberty and Washington Streets in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor every 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 can enjoy 300 exotic, antique, classic and one-of-a-kind cars, live music from local artists, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.

 

Ann Arbor Art Fair

July

free summer events in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Fair

Kicked off by the Townie Street Party 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 Street Art Fair has grown into one of our hometown’s largest and most beloved annual events. All around town, you’ll find stage performances, street performers and street painting, an art activity zone, a youth art fair, and even more.

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival

August

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. Every August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. For information and tickets to this year’s event, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Pride

August

Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout the Kerrytown District, guests can enjoy a parade, face painting, family-friendly activities, presentations, a silent auction and more. And proceeds from the event benefit the local organization Jim Toy Community Center!

 

Ann Arbor Antiques Market

October

Established in 1968, this historic antique market has been fueling our love of home decor and vintage finds for more than 50 years. Admission is below $10 with free parking and kids are admitted for free! Come by every October to peruse antiques, jewelry, paintings, mid-century and industrial design, folk art, repurposed furniture and more. It’s the perfect place to get some holiday shopping done!

 

Jewish Book & Arts Festival

October

This huge, multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds but is heavily anchored by authors as it has been for the past three decades. Most of the events are free to attend and the authors, performers, artists, topics and projects are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections. Check out the schedule for this year’s event here.

 

Midnight Madness

November

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Area Association’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County and performances by various outdoor entertainers.

 

Kerrytown KindleFest

November

Coinciding with Midnight Madness on Main Street, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares, plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. Then, you can shop Kerrytown retail businesses that will be open late and grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!

 

Is your favorite event missing?

Please tell us about it in the comments below!

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Your Guide to Fishing in the Ann Arbor Area

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The state of Michigan is made up of more than 40 percent water. Here in Southeast Michigan, much of that acreage is 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 most accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan. And where there’s water, there’s fishing!

In this guide, we’re focusing our attention on the basics of fishing in the Ann Arbor area: what to know before you go, where to cast your reel, how to learn, and where to find communities of like-minded fishers. Enjoy!

 

BEFORE YOU GO

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

The most important things to have before you embark on your fishing adventures are a fishing license and the right equipment—and both are easy to get if you know where to go!

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers fishing licenses to both residents and nonresidents. Options include an annual license, a discounted pass for seniors, a 72-hour license and a 24-hour license for different prices. Anyone under 17 years of age can fish without a license, and licenses are available to residents online. For all the information and online purchases, click here.

The Michigan DNR also publishes a Weekly Fishing Report covering conditions around the state and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services publishes Eat Safe Fish Guides so you know what to catch and eat safely.

To get the right equipment, we recommend heading to a local shop where you’ll meet fishing guides and experts who have been fishing here for years. Schultz Outfitters is one of the most popular options, and they’re located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town. In their brick and mortar shop, you’ll find fly fishing gear and fly tying supplies, but they’re also the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter!

The Painted Trout is another great, locally owned option in Dexter. They are a fully stocked outfitter shop with a focus on field sports, sporting dogs and fly fishing so you can get everything you need, from clothing to fishing rods and everything in between.

 

 

WHERE TO GO

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for water sports like kayaking and fishing 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 fishing, it’s not the only place where you can practice your casting!

 

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

A haven for all kinds of outdoor recreation throughout the year, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system is made up of 13 parks which cover more than 25,000 acres in five different counties of Southeast Michigan. Of those parks, 11 offer fishing and/or ice fishing, including Delhi Metropark in Ann Arbor, Dexter-Huron Metropark and Hudson Mills Metropark is Dexter, Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton and more. For more information on all the fishing opportunities in these parks, click here.

 

Spring Valley Trout Farm

Spring Valley sits on 20 acres of carefully maintained grounds in a private, park setting. Their facility offers nine spring-fed ponds at least one-half acre or larger, two covered picnic pavilions, a children’s play area, and an authentic American log cabin. Especially ideal for kids and beginners, Spring Valley Trout Farm offers wheelchair accessibility and a family atmosphere, and their pollution-free ponds are stocked weekly with fish grown right on the farm.

 

Argo Nature Area

Argo Park, home to Argo Park Canoe and Kayak Livery, is a great place for water sports of all kinds on the Huron River, and it’s located right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Fly fishers can catch carp along the eastern embankment that forms part of the Argo Dam and it’s the closest fishing site to Downtown Ann Arbor! For more fishing tips, we recommend heading to the livery where you can also rent paddle boats. To get more info on the facility and fishing programs, click here.

 

Gallup Park

Gallup Park also offers boat rentals, expert tips and special programs through their Gallup Park Canoe and Kayak Livery. With a total of 69 acres along the Huron River and Geddes Pond, fishers have plenty of opportunities to cast, whether on the shore, from the pier or in a boat.

 

Olson Park

Olson Park is a popular choice in Ann Arbor for pond fishing. The 54-acre parcel is centered around a creek and pond with its own fishing dock, and the area is maintained by the City of Ann Arbor and the County Drain Commissioner.

 

Lillie Park

Lillie Park in Pittsfield Township boasts 148 acres of outdoor recreation opportunities, including a pond with two fishing docks and the picturesque Haven Lake.  

 

 

HOW TO LEARN

where to fish in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you’re a beginner when it comes to casting, tying your own flies or just fishing in general, a local shop or club is a great place to start your education. Many even offer dedicated classes for beginners and advanced students!

 

Schultz Outfitters

In addition to selling all the necessary gear, Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti is the area’s only full-time, four-season guide service and destination outfitter. Their offerings include guide trips and destination travel as well as classes and events which include beginner and advanced fly tying workshops and the full spectrum of casting instruction.

 

The Painted Trout

The Painted Trout in Dexter is a fully stocked outfitter shop and their team also offers classes and lessons for various levels of experience. Their fishing courses include group fly fishing classes for beginners both in the classroom and on the water, private lessons in beginner and advanced casting, and more. To see the full lineup, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited

The mission of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect and restore Michigan’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds, including our own Huron River. As a chapter of Trout Unlimited, they offer education and community focused around fishing and coldwater fisheries. For more information of meetings, programs and membership, click here.

 

Huron River Fishing Association

Based in Flat Rock along the Huron River and near Lake Erie, the Huron River Fishing Association is an affiliate of Michigan United Conservation Club and organizes tournaments, holds meetings and hosts members-only events throughout the year. Dedicated to both fishing and conservation, HRFA hosts two monthly meetings and monthly fly tying groups at Flat Rock Community Center. For more information, click here.

 

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS?

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

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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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10 Ann Arbor Area Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day 2018

Ann Arbor Michigan Thanksgiving Day 2018 restaurants open

Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a time for our families to come together to share a meal inside our homes. But we don’t all have traditional families and that’s okay! If you’re on the hunt for places to dine out where you can get a turkey dinner minus the clean-up, or where you can enjoy some of Ann Arbor’s best Chinese food, then you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re looking in advance, check out Zingerman’s Roadhouse Thanksgiving To-Go where you can take home a full family feast November 20th, 21st and 23rd. Their Coffee Spiced Smoked Turkey was named “the greatest turkey recipe in the history of Thanksgiving” by Esquire.

And if you’re looking for food on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd, keep reading! All of these restaurants have been confirmed, but we provided their phone numbers so you can double check and make your reservations. 

 

Carlyle Grill | Ann Arbor

3660 Jackson Rd | Facebook | (734) 213-9800

Carlyle Ann Arbor Michigan Thanksgiving Day 2018 restaurants open

Photo courtesy of Carlyle Grill

Ann Arbor’s Carlyle Grill is driven by comfort—from the atmosphere to the menu filled with homestyle dishes made with regional ingredients. Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the team is serving up hand-carved turkey, Sparrow’s Market prime rib, acorn squash stuffed with kale risotto, Faroe Island salmon, family-style sides, and a dessert of pumpkin or pecan pie. For all the details and to make your reservations, click here.

 

Gandy Dancer | Ann Arbor

401 Depot St | Facebook | (734) 769-0592

Famous for seafood, steaks and pasta dishes, Gandy Dancer is located in the beautifully restored 1886 Michigan Central Depot, making it the ideal setting for elegance, food and celebration. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect combination for Thanksgiving?

 

Haab’s | Ypsilanti

18 W Michigan Ave | Facebook | (734) 483-8200

Haab’s has been serving the Ypsilanti community since they opened their doors in 1934. When it opened way back then, The Haab Brothers’ Café was the first establishment in Washtenaw County where food was the primary draw. And today, everyone is still understandably crazy about the food. In addition to being open on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Haab’s serves a killer Grilled Turkey Reuben throughout the year!

 

Holiday’s Restaurant | Ann Arbor

2080 W Stadium Blvd | Facebook | (734) 668-1292

In keeping with their name, Holiday’s is open 365 days a year and they’re open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on holidays. Their menus cover everything from breakfast to lunch and pancakes to ribeye, so if you’re dining out this Thanksgiving, you can come for breakfast and lunch! When you do, be sure to order something from the dessert menu (like Gourmet Carrot Cake or pumpkin pie).

 

Lucky Kitchen | Ann Arbor

1753 Plymouth Rd + 2370 S Wayne Rd | Facebook | (734) 357-8823

Consistently named as Ann Arbor’s best place for Chinese food, Lucky Kitchen has been serving our community since 1993. They also offer catering and are a University of Michigan Strategic Supplier for catering needs, and they make food for the Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels Asian Menu. You can dine in with them at both locations during the holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

 

Mediterrano | Ann Arbor

2900 S State St | Facebook | (734) 332-9700

Mediterrano Ann Arbor Michigan Thanksgiving Day 2018 restaurants open

Photo courtesy of Mediterrano

Mediterrano is the Carlyle Grill’s sister restaurant serving up flavors inspired by 14 different countries. Driven by the belief that the Mediterranean diet is inherently nutritious, they source their meats and produce from local farmers and purveyors as much as possible.

On Thanksgiving Day, they’re turning that local sensibility and Mediterranean inspiration into a festive family dinner. Open from 12 to 7 p.m., they’re serving Sliced Turkey Breast, Turkey Leg Confit, Scottish Salmon, Prime Rib, Vegetarian Paella and an impressive lineup of family-style sides. To see them all and get more details, click here.

 

The Original Cottage Inn | Ann Arbor

512 E William St | Facebook | (734) 663-3379

Back in 1948 when it opened, The Original Cottage Inn was Ann Arbor’s first restaurant to serve pizza. Today, they still serve some of the best pies in town as well as classic American, Italian and Greek cuisine. On Thanksgiving, you won’t find their regular menu, but you will find a restaurant filled with volunteers to continue an Ann Arbor tradition that has been going strong for more than 30 years. Each year on Thanksgiving Day, Cottage Inn opens its doors to the impoverished people and families in our community to enjoy a free meal that includes roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, veggies and seasonal fall favorites for dessert. If you’d like to volunteer, call the restaurant at (734) 663-3379.

 

The Quarter Bistro & Tavern | Ann Arbor

300 S Maple Rd | Facebook | (734) 929-9200

The Quarter is the only place in Ann Arbor where you can get European-inspired, bistro-style dining with a Creole twist. Driven by the rich heritage of New Orleans cooking, their menu of homemade dishes includes things like Bronzed Stuffed Chicken with Gumbo Sauce, Catfish and Shrimp, Cajun Crawfish Flat Bread and different specials every week.

On Thanksgiving Day, The Quarter celebrates the holiday with their special event, Thanksgiving Supper. Follow the team on Facebook for event updates.

 

Weber’s Restaurant | Ann Arbor

3050 Jackson Ave | Facebook | (734) 665-3636

Weber’s has been serving the people and families of Ann Arbor since 1937 and the restaurant has become a go-to for prime rib, live Maine lobster and house-made desserts. For Thanksgiving 2018, they’re offering four different dining options. Dinner in the dining room features a special holiday menu of individual turkey dinners, prime rib, fresh seafood, roast duck and more. You can also take complete Thanksgiving dinners to go or enjoy the family-style dinner at Weber’s, which is a complete Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to feed parties of four or more. To see all the options and make your reservation, click here.

 

5ive Restaurant At The Inn At St. John’s | Plymouth

44045 Five Mile Road | Facebook | (734) 357-5700

Located about 30 minutes outside of Ann Arbor in Plymouth, 5ive has become a destination steakhouse that offers an impressive suite of bourbons and wines from around the world and hand-cut steaks that are chosen from the top 2% of grain- and grass-fed beef in the world. The menu covers everything from breakfast and brunch to pub grub and desserts (check out the Snickerdoodle Cheesecake). On Thanksgiving Day, they’ll be offering a special holiday menu in the dining room for anyone hoping to celebrate outside of their home kitchen. Call in advance to make reservations.

 

Want to add to the list?

If you know of a restaurant in the Ann Arbor area that will be open on Thanksgiving Day, tell us about it in the comments below.

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The 10 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend November 2018

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

November is fast approaching, and with it, some of the most festive holidays of the year. This month’s event lineup includes the culture festivals we’ve all come to love, as well as craft fairs, a Veterans Day event, a Thanksgiving race, and plenty of holiday preparation events like local markets and cookie classes. Enjoy!

 

Jump ahead:

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

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Jewish Book & Arts Festival | Ann Arbor

October 18 – November 8, various times | Various locations

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Continuing into November, this multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds but is still heavily anchored by authors as it has been for the past three decades. Most of this year’s events are free to attend and the authors, performers, artists, topics and projects are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections. Check out the schedule here.

 

Stories of Service | Ann Arbor

November 5, 11 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Hill Auditorium

In honor of veterans, Fisher House Michigan is hosting Stories of Service on November 5th. This year, the free event at Hill Auditorium will include a silent auction to raise funds for Fisher House construction, and this auction will include a bi-plane donated right out of Yankee Air Museum! Last year, more than 2,000 people attended this free event in support of our local veterans and Fisher House Michigan.

 

Saline Craft Show | Saline

November 10, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Saline Middle School

Featuring an impressive lineup of products and crafts from local makers, bakers and entrepreneurs, Saline Craft Show is the perfect place to shop local before the holidays. Organized through Saline Middle School, the youth groups involved get the opportunity to practice life skills and leadership, as well as earn money for their activities. So swing by the school on November 10th to shop and support!

 

Saline Antiques & Vintage Market | Saline

November 11, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds  

Since beginning just a few years ago, Saline Antiques & Vintage Market has become one the area’s favorite places to shop real antiques. Every show features collectibles, jewelry, home goods and more. It’s the perfect place to find holiday gifts for friends, family and yourself!

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Wine, Women & Shopping | Chelsea  

November 10, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Downtown Chelsea

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

This annual event in downtown Chelsea invites the community into local shops and restaurants for discounts, deals, free samples and services, and more. To see the list of the more than 30 participating local spots, click here—and get ready to celebrate local!

 

Giving Tuesday | Everywhere  

November 28 | Various locations

Giving Tuesday is an annual day of giving that is honored all across the globe. Here in the Ann Arbor area, specific local events encourage philanthropy right here in our communities, and because the day is driven by social media and online donations, you can help from anywhere!

For example, the University of Michigan celebrates with Giving Blueday and Eastern Michigan University celebrates #GivingTrueday.

 

Midnight Madness | Ann Arbor

November 30, 7 – 9 p.m. | Main Street

Just in time for holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, as well as visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County and performances by various outdoor entertainers.

 

Kerrytown KindleFest | Ann Arbor

November 30, 4 – 10 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market

Coinciding with Midnight Madness, Kerrytown KindleFest is Ann Arbor’s version of the German tradition Christkindlmarkt. In the same location as the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, you’ll find artisans, farmers and retailers selling their holiday wares plus traditional food like pretzels, bratwursts, roasted nuts, Glühwein (a mulled wine) and beer. Then, you can shop Kerrytown retail businesses who will be open late and grab a spot around a fire pit for warmth and s’mores!

 

A Manor Christmas at Concordia University | Ann Arbor  

November 30 – December 2nd, various times | Concordia University

One of Ann Arbor’s favorite Christmas celebrations kicks off on November 30th this year. A Manor Christmas is another local Christkindlmarkt, featuring tours of the historic Earhart mansion decorated for Christmas by professional designers, a unique Festival of Trees, premium artificial pre-lit trees for sale and, of course, the European-style Christmas market. Tickets are between $5 and $7 and you can buy them online here.

 

 

Sports

 

The Original A2 Turkey Trot | Dexter   

November 11, 9 a.m. | Hudson Mills Metropark

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Greg Sadler Photography via Epic Races

Epic Races is celebrating Thanksgiving the only way they know how—with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark! This running and walking event features three different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, and a quick mile fun run. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can run both the 5K and 10K races for a total of 9.3 miles in the Iron Turkey challenge!

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies | Ann Arbor

November 28 – December 24, various times | Zingerman’s Bakehouse

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

The most popular event from Zingerman’s Bakehouse is back for the 2018 holiday season! Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies will teach participants how to make the best cookie creations using even more whole grains, local ingredients and freshly milled flours. There are 70 classes through Christmas Eve and all the spots are currently sold out, but if you sign up for the waitlist, you may be able to snag an opening in the event of a cancellation.

 

 

Happy November!

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