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!).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Southeast Michigan’s small towns are home to some of our favorite local businesses, eateries, breweries, coffee shops and communities in all of Michigan. In these historic cities and towns, entrepreneurs combine neighborhood sensibilities with some of our favorite things—including real, homemade cooking. And that’s what we’re celebrating in this guide.
Keep reading to see which local spots made our list, then make the list longer by adding your favorites in the comments below!
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 seasonal soups, whip up fresh homemade salad dressings, bake hot fresh bread, and prepare everything with a local sensibility using local products from nearby vendors and farmers. To view the menu, click here.
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.
This downtown Chelsea restaurant is known around the state and even as far as the James Beard House in New York City where self-taught chef Craig Common was invited to prepare a dinner for their members and guests. For more than 25 years, Craig and his team have been serving innovative New American cuisine with a seafood-forward menu and outstanding service. Preview that menu here and get ready for an unforgettable meal.
At Cultivate, you can get sandwiches and bagel sandwiches, sweet toasts and simple snacks, but the real attraction is the freshly roasted coffee, the craft beer and the community atmosphere. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” they roast their own coffee beans, brew their own beer and host some of the region’s most beloved community events. You can see those upcoming events here.
One of the community’s beloved breakfast, brunch and lunch spots, Dexter Riverview Cafe is a locally owned and operated eatery. Their menu features fresh, homemade oatmeal, homemade biscuits and gravy, pita sandwiches, coneys and so much more. To see that menu, click here.
MJ Malone and her sidekick Matty J are the powerhouses behind Matty J’s Bakery and Cafe. Driven by a passion for real food, the cafe menu balances healthy options with tasty flavors using locally produced ingredients to offer seasonal treats you’ll love. Check out the menu here to find out what breads, sandwiches and cookies you can get today.
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. These approachable, gourmet eats cater to all kinds of diets—vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Red Brick is a small, family-owned restaurant nestled in the middle of Downtown Dexter. Led by Executive Chef Cody Wiseley, the kitchen produces fresh, innovative food, and their team combines that with creative craft cocktails and a warm, inviting atmosphere complete with a full bar. That bar also boasts eight beers on tap, all from Michigan breweries! To see the full menu, click here.
Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery is housed in a beautiful, 116-year-old former church. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings in Southeast Michigan, you can enjoy true-to-style ales, wine and cider alongside locally sourced food with stunning stained glass as the backdrop.
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 The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, and that’s just one of the reasons we recommend stopping by.
Phil and Jenn Tolliver opened Smokehouse 52 in downtown Chelsea in February of 2013 and it’s been a beloved neighborhood eatery ever since. Phil’s passion for BBQ began when he was a child growing up on a hog farm in Stockbridge. Now, that passion translates into the most delicious and authentic BBQ in the region at locations in both Chelsea and Saline.
Add to the list!
The small towns of Southeast Michigan are home to some of the best local food and drink in the state. Make our list longer by giving your favorite a shoutout in the comments below!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
September 1, 1:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In very brief summary, Ann Arbor is unlike any other town. The stories behind our beloved businesses, the legends driving our annual events, and quirky things like fairy doors and Hash Bash make our hometown one of the best places to live—and one of the most interesting, too.
Living here puts residents within driving distance of Detroit, minutes from the Lower Peninsula’s largest state park, a quick trip from the perfect vacation on Lake Michigan, along the route of the Huron River and in close proximity to Michigan’s best historic small towns.
To get the short list of our favorite things about Ann Arbor, keep reading!
2. It’s home to one of the country’s best universities.
The University of Michigan is continually ranked amongst the best universities in the nation, and in the US News & World Report 2019 ranking of the best national universities, it makes the top 30. Boasting a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 30,000, UM offers students more than 1,500 organizations, more than 60 Greek chapters, and an impressive lineup of athletics for both athletes and fans.
Bookstores and coffee shops aren’t the only things that are indie and local around here. Ann Arbor also boasts tons of local craft breweries, local shops and eateries that were built right here and have become staples of our community. For example, Arbor Brewing Company was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. Learn more in Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area.
Another national name that began right here is Zingerman’s, and though it is nationally recognized, this community of businesses has stayed right here in Ann Arbor and has grown to include the original deli, a coffee roaster, a bakery, a cheese and gelato shop, multiple restaurants, an event venue, and more. For the complete details, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.
6. We have a year-round farmers’ market.
Speaking of loving local, Ann Arbor has an outdoor farmers’ market that operates all year long! At the heart of Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market brings together our community, our local makers, our local growers and our local artisans for weekly events—and bi-weekly events during the summer! For the full schedule and information about seasonal food truck rallies, click here.
Home to a variety of industries and an award-winning university, Ann Arbor is a great place to live, work and invest. 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. And, widening the range to the entirety of Washtenaw County, the median household income jumps to $65,618.
Looking to housing, the median value of owned homes is $271,600 and median gross rent is $1,166. Measured with the median household numbers we discussed, Ann Arbor is one of the country’s more affordable places to live—especially when compared to popular urban areas across the country. If you want to find homes on the market right now, click here to view the area’s newest listings. And to get more economic and social statistics like this, check out our other guide 10 Reasons to Stay in Ann Arbor After Graduation.
The culmination of summer fun in Southeast Michigan, August brings some of the season’s most highly anticipated festivals, races and events. Taking place in communities throughout the region, you can enjoy live music, tractor pulls, parades, craft fairs, a challenging triathlon and even a United States Air Force air show!
Peruse our top picks for August below and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a second of the action.
Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The 2019 event features five different bands each day and a special guest on Saturday! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground.
June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division
Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicked off in June, has two July concerts on the schedule, 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.
August 11, 12 – 7 p.m. | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery
The Ton-Up is a motorcycle and music festival, are they’re returning to Ypsilanti for the tenth year this August! 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 will bring vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to ABC in addition to local music and tons of fun. To learn more, check out the Facebook event here.
En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the two-day exhibit and art sale in the Tent Gallery in Monument Park. To stay up-to-date on this year’s happenings, follow the team on Facebook here.
August 16 – 18 | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds
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. This August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. Buy your tickets in advance here.
August 24 – 25 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery
An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists. This year’s summer event features more than 90 vendors at ABC Microbrewery!
Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout Kerrytown this August, you can enjoy entertainment, community, vendors, fun and, most importantly, pride. In celebration of their 25th anniversary, the team is expanding the event with more mainstage entertainment, a pride picnic, a kids’ zone and a beer and wine garden. As always, proceeds from the event benefit the Jim Toy Community Center.
At Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event brings the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show will feature presentations from the F16 Demo Team and the Screamin’ Sasquatch as well so buy your tickets here and don’t miss it. Kids 15 years and younger are admitted for free!
For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment. You can join the fun in Dexter this August!
Returning to the streets of Downtown Saline this month, Saline’s Summerfest is a hometown celebration like none other. In 2019, the event promises even more activities, attractions and amusements, but with all the local flare we’ve come to love.
The annual Fire Muster is a fun, free event for the entire community! The Michigan Firehouse Museum brings their trucks of all types to the park and they also provide a bucket brigade demonstration, hand pumper demonstrations, special activities for the kids, fire safety information and much more. For event updates, RSVP to the event on Facebook here.
One of our favorite community events in the region, the Chelsea Community Fair includes a rodeo, multiple tractor pulls, livestock competitions and auctions, demolition derbies, a local merchant tent, and more. For all the details, click here.
In 2019, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival will be bigger and better than ever before. Over the course of three days, you can enjoy live trivia in the entertainment tent, daily helicopter rides, a kids’ area with bounce houses, pony rides and games, a classic car show, the Rubber Ducky Race, a BBQ competition and more. For all the details, click here.
August 28 – September 1 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Every year, the Saline Community Fair brings together the community to celebrate Saline’s favorite activities, local vendors and organizations. This year’s event will feature tractor pulls, carnival rides, racing and derbies, rodeo presentations, livestock and animal competitions and so much more. To see the full schedule, click here.
The Ann Arbor Triathlon is the culmination of all your training, all your running, all your biking and all your swimming. Beginning at Halfmoon Lake in Pinckney State Recreation Area, you’ll swim the waters of Halfmoon, bike the country roads of the surrounding rural area, then run the 5-mile Poto Trail course to complete the challenge. If you’re ready, register online here.
Celebrating 10 years in 2019, Swim to the Moon is an extraordinary open-water swimming adventure through the picturesque Hiland Chain of Lakes near Hell, Michigan. Participants can choose between distances including the half-mile, the 1.2-mile, the 5K or 10K. For full details and online registration, click here.
The German Park Recreation Club hosts three picnics every summer and this month’s event is set for August 31st from 4 – 11 p.m. For an admission price of just $5 per person, you can enjoy German culture, food, beer and more! Feel free to bring the whole family but no one under 21 years of age will be admitted without a parent or guardian. And, children 12 and under are admitted for free!
When it comes to creativity, motor skills, confidence and social skills, education starts early and often happens both inside and outside the standard classroom. Here in Ann Arbor, it’s easy for your kids to continue the education and the fun with hands-on classes and workshops in yoga, painting, sculpture, stop-motion animation, building, gymnastics, hip-hop dancing, playing in a rock band, cake decorating and more. Seriously, you’ll find all of those things in this guide.
We rounded up a handful of the best places for kid-focused classes in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. These local businesses provide one-time workshops, week-long camps, weekly classes and more, so keep reading to find the perfect fit for you and your family.
Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages, and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Kid-focused classes are available for youth and teens as well as for families so parents can join in, too! The center also offers Art Camps during winter, spring and summer breaks to keep the creativity going while school is out. To see all the options, click here.
The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum specializes in interactive exhibits with the goal of helping both children and adults discover the scientist within them. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics. But, if you sign up for a workshop, your kids can continue their educational explorations even further! These events cover a variety of science concepts—from stop-motion animation to computer programming and engineering—through hands-on activities, interactive demos and experiments in a small group setting. To see the upcoming workshops, check out the event calendar here.
With locations in Ann Arbor and Saline, this music center offers excellent education in music and instruments of all kinds. In addition to standard private music lessons, they also offer summer camps and band classes. Unique to the Ann Arbor Saline Music Center, Rock Band School assigns every student to a band and brings that band together for weekly rehearsal so students can get hands-on experience in all the necessary aspects of playing in a band.
The respectful and energetic environment at Arts in Motion is the perfect environment to grow confidence, have fun and be creative. Their team has created specially designed classes accessible to all ages and ability levels so adults, teens and kids can all learn to love dance while understanding the theory and history, too. Some of their most popular classes include Toddler Toodaloo and Dance Stories for young children, Hip-Hop for school-aged children, and even Ballroom for teens and adults!
Much more unique than your typical art classes, the programming at Bricks 4 Kidz combines our love for LEGO® Bricks with hands-on, educational play. Designed specifically for children, these classes also explore an aspect of science, technology, engineering or math to continue STEM education outside of the classroom. To view their current class calendar and register online, click here.
Clay Work Studio is an outstanding teaching studio where both kids and adults can get hands on with clay and practice their creativity. Their team hosts classes and workshops for all ages and skill sets, including Youth Class suitable for children ages 5 to 12. These weekly classes introduce basic building techniques through playful projects like whistles, cups and plates, vases and more. To learn more about available classes, click here.
The team at Flipside Art Studio takes a casual and fun approach to art instruction based on the belief that art should be transformative and freeing, rather than strict and formal. Through their programs with Dexter Public Schools and Ann Arbor Rec and Ed, they offer classes, events, camps and workshops for kids. To stay up-to-date on the most recent offerings, check out the website here.
Gym America is the Ann Arbor area’s premier Olympic-style gymnastics school. Founded in 1979, the school provides quality instruction for every age and level—from preschoolers to recreational gymnasts to USAG national and international competitors. Education includes gymnastics for boys and girls, fun preschool classes, dance classes, and even the unique Minds in Balance option, which combines Montessori and gymnastics instruction for healthy minds and healthy bodies.
At Michigan Academy of Dance & Music, the team understands the creative and educational aspects of dance as well as the possibility for their classes to teach confidence, respect and social skills. To make things easy for parents, they even offer open enrollment throughout the entire year, and classes are available for kids 1 year old through youth and teen years. They even offer adult classes if you want to learn some moves. To peruse all the options, click here.
This locally owned and operated yoga, dance and fitness studio offers specialized classes for kids. Their huge lineup of options includes Kids Zumba, Toddler Yoga, Tween Yoga and even Family Yoga so you can all workout and unwind together. To explore all the options and find out when you can sign up, check out their website here.
Talking Colors Art School was founded in 1993 right here in Ann Arbor to provide art education to all ages and all experience levels. The team’s informal, multi-day classes are kept small so they can provide individual help and instruction, and you can choose topics in painting, drawing and even mosaic sculpture! To see their full calendar of classes, click here.
Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you can learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in topics like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. Their specially designed Kids Camp Classes are drop-off classes providing hands-on instruction in valuable kitchen skills from baking to dinner making to cake decorating! Click here to see what’s coming up.
Quite possibly the most fun-filled month in our region, July is the height of summer and celebration in Ann Arbor. To honor the season, our communities are coming together for outdoor events, concerts, games, parades, races, festivals and so much more. Our guide even includes a few inaugural events, so you may find a few new favorites!
June 6 – August 29, 11:30 a.m. | Downtown at the corner of Liberty and Division
Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicks off on June 6th and continues through August for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.
Camaro Superfest is a full weekend of fun in Riverside Park, and it’s the nation’s largest, longest-running all-Camaro car show. This year, the event theme is pioneers, honoring the first year of each of the six generations of Camaro. All Camaro owners are invited to exhibit and spectators are admitted all weekend for free. To get all the details, click here.
This inaugural event at Ypsilanti Freighthouse is free to attend and packed with family-friendly fun, including local authors, crafts, book-themed artisans, kids’ story hours and more. To get updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.
Taking place right here in Ann Arbor, Nevertheless Film Festival is a fully women-run, brand new film festival. The event serves to amplify the voices of female-identifying filmmakers, inspire audiences of all ages, and engage the community in conversation about the power of equal representation behind the camera. To learn more, check out the website here.
The 25th Annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show is returning to Main, Liberty and Washington Streets in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor this July. The event itself is free and open to the public and all cars are welcome to exhibit for a pre-registration fee of $20. On the day of the show, guests will enjoy 300 exotic, antique, classic and one-of-a-kind cars, live music from Hot Rod DJ and Surfer Joe, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.
The Saline Celtic Festival originally began as a one-day festival but has grown in popularity and fun to include a full weekend of entertainment. Today, the event includes Highland dance competitions, ancient Celtic athletic competitions, kids’ activities at Wee Folks Island, living history, jousting, free workshops, sheep herding dog demonstrations, and so much more!
Art In The Park is celebrating its 40th year in 2019 by welcoming over 400 artists from around the country. These professionals and hobbyists will be offering paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, woodwork, glass, photography, folk art and so much more. And all the art comes along with live entertainment and food to create Michigan’s second-largest art fair!
Showcasing some of the best professional Elvis tribute artists in North America, Elvisfest offers fun for fans and music lovers of all ages. With the purchase of your ticket (ranging in price from $20 to $60) you can enjoy kids activities, a classic car show, local food vendors, an adult beer tent, raffles and more.
This weekend festival began over three decades ago and has grown to be one of the best summer events in the region. Over two days and three nights, you can experience live music, an indie art market, kids’ entertainment, a classic car show and more in historic downtown Chelsea.
For the third year, Ypsilanti Township is hosting this hyper-local arts and crafts show at the newly renovated North Bay Park. Guests can shop from local makers, enjoy kid-friendly activities, see live entertainment and more. For updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.
Honor and celebrate the July 4th holiday with one of the area’s favorite, patriotic traditions: Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade. This 90-year tradition is Michigan’s oldest parade and will fill the streets of Depot Town with community fun and plenty of red, white and blue!
Offering free admission and just $5 parking on site, Jackson’s Hot Air Jubilee is a full weekend of hot air balloons, entertainment, carnival rides and food. Along with several balloon launches scheduled throughout the festival, you can explore the Ella Sharp Museum, dance to the live DJ, play in Kids Kingdom and so much more! Check out the full schedule here.
On the morning of July 4th in Downtown Ann Arbor, racers will take off from the intersection of Fourth and Liberty—the most patriotic intersection in town. The main race is a 3.1-mile course, but this epic event also offers a one-mile, noncompetitive distance, a special kids’ run, a Children’s Bicycle-Decorating Contest and the optional add-on event, Ray’s Red Hots Hot Dog Eating Contest! For more details and online registration, click here.
The Pro Wakeboard Tour is the most dominant professional wakeboard circuit in the world, and this year it’s making a stop right here in Ypsilanti! At Ford Lake Park on July 13th, attendees can watch men’s and women’s competitions in surfing and wakeboarding, and advance tickets cost no more than $5. To see all the additional deals and ticketing specials, click here.
One of the coolest triathlon events in the country, Battle of Waterloo features 10 different legs totaling 42 miles throughout the beautiful Waterloo Recreation Area. Participants in the full distance will bike paved roads, run dirt lanes, climb steep trails and swim across three lakes. Or, you can opt for Half the Battle, which includes six legs and 18 miles. For all the details and online registration, click here.
Each year on the third Thursday of July in Manchester, the largest chicken broil of its kind comes to town! Benefiting local public schools, community parks, libraries and civic causes, your $9–10 ticket includes a dinner of chicken, locally famous coleslaw, a roll with butter, potato chips, radishes and a beverage, as well as live music entertainment and a classic car show. For event updates, RSVP to the Facebook event here.
The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the 22nd Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival will host approximately 150 local breweries sampling more than 1,000 different craft beers. Guests can also enjoy live music from Michigan bands and food available for purchase! To purchase your tickets and learn more, click here.
We know, kids can be the pickiest eaters in the world. And apparently, so do our local eateries, because many of them offer menus and environments that can make even the pickiest kids want to eat dinner.
We rounded up 15 of the best restaurants in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Dexter and Saline that offer specially designed kids menus, a comfortable and fun atmosphere, and weekly specials — and some on this guide even offer all three!
The Blue Nile is a casual Ethiopian restaurant in Downtown Ann Arbor offering both delectable plates and all-you-can-eat platters. Both options offer meat and vegetarian foods. On the lunch menu, the all-you-can-eat feasts are available for half the price for children under 12 and children under 5 years old eat for free! You can see the lunch menu online here.
Taking inspiration from real, historic pubs in Ireland, Conor O’Neill’s is the place to go for community fun, social gathering, Irish hospitality, hearty food and great drinks. The pub was even designed and built in Ireland! And their menu amps up the Irish culture even more with meals like fish and chips, Mighty Murray’s Corned Beef & Cabbage, Kate’s Shepherd’s Pie and more. They made this list for the fun atmosphere and their Tuesday special when kids under the age of 12 eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal.
Fresh Forage fills Ann Arbor’s need for both convenience and health as well as quick and locally sourced. The team’s ingredients are sourced from their own family farms and other local farms, and several are even sustainably foraged from Michigan’s deep woods. Using 100 percent compostable materials, they prepare these meals rapidly so the busy people of Ann Arbor can fuel up on the go. Their Kids Menu offers all these healthy ingredients at a low price and prepared in approachable, kid-friendly meals. You can see it here.
At Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction because a frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. And a batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). The team’s Kid’s Menu offers all of that fun in mini sizes plus shoestring fries and fresh fruit. You can see the full menu here.
Harvest Moon Café has been a staple of the Ypsi community for more than 30 years, and their home-style menu offers something everyone can love, including the kids! That’s because their Kids Menu is one of the largest on this guide and offers smaller portions of some of their best creations: fish and chips, a slow-roasted turkey dinner, linguine with marinara sauce and more. To see the menu, click here, and don’t forget to order your free kiddie drink!
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. In the Dexter tasting room and kitchen, you can enjoy their signature sour beers while your kids enjoy kid-sized portions of fried drumsticks, burgers and cheese pizza. On Family Night every Wednesday, kids can eat free with the purchase of any full price sandwich or pizza.
This famous brewery was born in Dexter in 2004 and operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In Downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll find Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery, a full-service brewpub serving lunch, dinner, brunch, late-night eats and a large kids menu that offers simple selections alongside adventurous choices (plus three delectable desserts!).
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 is made with ingredients from local purveyors and farmers, too! Every Sunday from 12 to 10 p.m., kids ages 10 years and under can enjoy up to two free kids meals with the purchase of any adult entree, and they’ll be enjoying some Mexican classics like quesadillas, tacos and arroz con pollo.
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 that extensive menu, you’ll also find several smaller, lower priced, kid-friendly selections, including Pita Pizza, Grilled Cheese and Spaghetti with Meatballs.
The Pretzel Bell was the place to be for students, townies and visitors for more than 50 years. When the doors reopened after a brief closing, it became one of the Tree City’s warmest and coziest spots while still functioning as a popular student hangout. The menu offers a modern take on traditional American comfort food with hearty items like fried chicken and signature burgers. That gourmet style extends to the kids menu where you’ll find items like the Lil’ Bell Burger and Mini Mac topped with a Goldfish cracker topping. From Sunday through Wednesday, kids eat free!
Red Brick is a small, family-owned restaurant in the heart of Downtown Dexter where their team offers fresh, innovative food alongside craft cocktails and a warm community atmosphere. Adults can enjoy some of the region’s best, most creative comfort foods, and the kid’s menu doesn’t skimp on quality, either. Approachable selections like homemade mac and cheese and chicken tenders come with a side of fries, sweet potato fries, chips, fruit, sauteed vegetables or celery and peanut butter, and on Mondays, kids eat for free with the purchase of an adult entree!
With more than 2,400 square feet of video screens, 100 different arcade games and 27 lanes of bowling, Revel & Roll might be the most kid-approved option on this list. Because, in addition to offering tons of entertainment, they also offer a gourmet menu that covers all the pub favorites—from buffalo chicken nachos and loaded tater tots to a PB&J burger and mouth-watering pizzas.
Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery and restaurant is housed in a beautiful, 118-year-old former church. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings in Southeast Michigan, you can enjoy true-to-style ales, wine and cider alongside locally sourced food with stunning stained glass as the backdrop. On Tuesdays, kids eat for free from a menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, pizza and poutine.
The first business that opened in the Zingerman’s Company was this historic deli; it opened in 1982 with a staff of two. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but you can now choose from an enormous menu of both classic and creative sandwiches, breakfasts, salads, housemade Jewish specialty foods, handmade pot pies and more. In addition to offering a great Kids Menu (which you can see here), they host regular events, including storytime tastings and classes! You can check out that schedule here.
At this all-day restaurant, the Zingerman’s team showcases their favorite things about American food—both locally and nationally. The regular menu includes grits inspired by South Carolina, Maryland-inspired crab cakes, Carolina barbeque, local meat from Washtenaw County, produce from local farms, artisan cheeses, micro-brewed beers, and fine wines sourced from all over the country. The Just for Kids menu offers more approachable, smaller portions of some of our favorite Roadhouse flavors, from Mac n’ Cheese and the BBQ Slider to Roadhouse Corn Dogs and a Fish Plate with the fresh catch of the day. You can see the menu here.
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.
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.