Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the entirety of Southeast Michigan are famous destinations for paddle and water sports. This is thanks in large part to the Huron River, a designated National Water Trail that winds through the entire region and has been developed into one of the best, most beautiful, and easily accessible recreation opportunities in Michigan.
So, if you want to try your hand at kayaking or canoeing, this is a great place to start. Keep reading to find out where you can rent or buy the necessities, where you can sign up for programs, classes and guided trips, and where you can go to paddle both on the river and off.
Where to Go
The primary reason Southeast Michigan is a haven for kayakers is the rejuvenated Huron River, which meanders through Island Lake Recreation Area over to Dexter, through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, then all the way to Lake Erie. And though the river offers fantastic waters for kayaking, it’s not the only place where you can practice your paddling!
As we mentioned, the Huron River is a huge kayaking attraction through Southeast Michigan. It winds through some of our favorite communities and is one of only 18 designated National Water Trails. The river trail sees more than 100,000 visitors every year who paddle, float and fish along the water. The 104-mile river offers 32 access sites, an all-abilities access point in Gallup Park and more accessible access points planned.
The largest state park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area encompasses 20,000 acres. Home to 11 inland lakes, visitors can paddle in several different surroundings. Overnight campers can rent paddle boats at Sugarloaf Campground and all visitors can rent at the Portage Campground. For more information regarding park activities, click here.
Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your own kayak across the water, or rent paddle boats and rowboats on site.
Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout the 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas, and the 1,200-acre Kent Lake. Paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats are available at the boat rental building near Maple Beach; you can get more information here.
An hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park is made up of farmland, rolling hills, forested land and 230 acres of water. During the summer months, you can rent or bring your own rowboats, canoes and paddle boats. Near the swim beach, you’ll find a boat launch, a concession stand for snacks, restrooms and changing courts as well as horseshoes, volleyball and playground equipment.
What You Need
There’s more to kayaking than just the kayak. Especially if you’re a beginner, there are a few safety items you may want to look into and maybe even a fun accessory or two! If you’re wondering where to start, we suggest stopping by any one of these local facilities or businesses. There, you’ll find local experts, rentals and more.
The City of Ann Arbor operates two rental facilities: Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. Here, they maintain and offer hundreds of boats available on a first come, first served basis. They also offer guided river trips, still water paddle excursions, river programs, festivals, camps for kids, and an annual canoe and kayak auction. Whether you need a boat, need to ask a question, or want expert guidance on the water, start here.
Adventure Leadership Rental Center is a University of Michigan facility that rents outdoor and recreational equipment to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. To see their operating hours, click here.
Our Ann Arbor REI is a great place to ask questions about local recreation and buy your own equipment. They also offer regular classes and trainings in recreation topics, from the How to Pack a Backpack Workshop to Kayaking Basics and everything in between.
Dunham’s Sports is the Midwest’s largest sporting goods chain. When they opened in 1937, they were just a small bait and tackle shop in West Bloomfield. Today, they have 230 stores, including one in Ann Arbor and one in Ypsilanti. Their available equipment includes kayaks, canoes, boats, life vests and more.
Play It Again Sports is the go-to sporting goods store for gently used, lower-priced sports and recreation equipment. The Ann Arbor store is located at Westgate Shopping Center.
How to Learn
Paddle sports can be dangerous in some cases, and learning the ropes through classes, workshops or guided trips is always a good idea before you take off alone. If you want to practice with an expert or take a class on the basics, keep reading!
In addition to boat rentals, Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery offer great places to learn through guided river trips. In addition to these seasonally available daily trips, their calendar includes special classes and camps in kayaking, fishing and stand up paddleboarding. To see their programs, click here.
Our Ann Arbor REI hosts regular classes in several outdoor and recreation topics. That calendar often includes workshops like free Kayaking Basics, free Women’s Kayaking Basics, and even SUP Basics. To see the calendar, click here.
Located at Delhi Metropark, Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery is open seasonally and offers some of the best, guided river trips on one of the most scenic stretches of the Huron River. Their lineup includes tubing and kayaking trips between one and four hours and new Guided Glow Paddle trips, which take place at night in kayaks equipped with color-changing LED lights. To learn more, click here.
Located right on the water in Tecumseh, this family-run paddling company offers guided river trips on River Raisin—one of the world’s most crooked rivers—and paddle practice and excursions on Globe Mill and Standish Ponds. Paddle the Ponds is an especially good option for beginners and kids! For more information, check out the website here.
Heavner Nature Connection & Canoe Rental have four locations to make traveling the Huron River easy and convenient. Their main location is at Proud Lake State Recreation Area with others at Island Lake State Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark and Newburgh Lake in Livonia. Their team offers a variety of trips ranging from one-hour, self-return trips to multi-day journeys with transportation back to the canoe rental. To learn more, click here.
Do you have any tips?
If you love paddling in Southeast Michigan, share your local tips in the comments below!
It’s not every day you have a newborn baby or a pair of laughing toddlers, and these moments certainly don’t last forever. But when your family comes together to capture those moments, those laughs and those hugs, the memories can last forever, and they can even hang on your walls for generations. The right photographer can make that process easy and comfortable for you, for your baby and even for the shyest kids.
To help you hunt down the best in and around Ann Arbor, we put together a round up we think you’ll love. Each photographer has a unique style and a distinct personality, so flip through a few galleries before you decide on the artist that’s right for you. Enjoy!
Amanda Dumouchelle has been a professional photographer since 2008 when she was living in Japan. Now, she’s home right here in Ann Arbor and specializes in maternity, newborn, family and lifestyle photography. Her modern approach highlights the real-life moments more than the stiff poses so you can remember your family and your relationships exactly as they are: filled with laughter, surprises and plenty of hugs.
Amanda Eskridge was born and raised in Ann Arbor and is now raising her own family here—a teenager and two toddlers—with her husband. She specializes in natural light lifestyle photography of families, children, newborns and expectant mothers. We love her intimate lifestyle approach to photography because it shows your real family in your real surroundings and can even take place inside your own home. Because she doesn’t photograph inside a studio, her images are honest and naturally beautiful.
Amy Kimball has four kids of her own and quickly learned just how important it is for families and children to have room to roam. Bringing that insight into her professional photography, she offers a unique studio experience on 70 acres of farmland in Chelsea. After backbreaking work, she and her family have turned the land into a dreamy destination for family photos and exploration. The lands include wildflower meadows, a 25-acre wood, a spring-fed pond and buildings in various states of repair. And after your family is done playing and exploring, you’ll get stunning professional photos to remember the day and the honest relationships you all share.
Bak Photography was founded in 1980 by Mark Bak right here in Saline. Today, the award-winning studio offers a staff of ten photographers and six DJs available for events and entertainment. Mark himself has been known as one of the state’s most notable photographers for several years and has more than 35 years of experience. He has also studied with 37 master photographers and now teaches other professional photographers. To meet the team and see their impressive lineup of services, check out the Bak Photography website here.
Based in Brighton, Christina Maria Photo and Design is run by professional photographer, mother and wife Christina Kafkakis. Through her business, she gets to explore her passion for photography and focuses in maternity, newborn, baby, children and family portraits. As a mother herself to three boys and a girl, she definitely knows how to make kids laugh. And since 2011, she has photographed more than 350 newborns, including several sets of twins, triplets and even a set of quintuplets.
Lori Page is an Ann Arbor-based photographer but travels to Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Plymouth, Northville and our surrounding communities. Throughout her life, she has gained experience as both a mother and a teacher; she is a member of the Professional Photographer’s of America; she was accepted through application into the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, and she was accepted as a ClickPro. In summary, she’s one of the best people to make your family comfortable and to capture those comfortable smiles, big laughs and huge hugs.
Melissa Cozart is a mother, wife and professional photographer specializing in newborns, maternity, family, children and senior portraits. Her flexible style and personality offer a combination of posed and lifestyle portraits in the location of your choice or even in the comfort of your home. Because her passion for portrait photography is heavily influenced by her own children and her desire to freeze her favorite moments, she strives to provide the same for you and yours.
Through global travels, big moves, career changes, marriage and motherhood, Meredith Allyn has always had a camera in hand, and she has always had a desire to capture every moment: both the laughter-filled and the tear-filled. Through her powerful conviction that images matter, she has developed a stunning, honest style of family and newborn photography we love. One session, the day in the life documentary, chronicles the simple interactions and everyday happenings we all wish we could capture every day.
Mary, the artist, owner and wizard behind MJR Photography, travels all over Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio to prove real photos matter and that they can and should last for generations. Experiences with her three children and husband have given her plenty of experience in making families and kids comfortable in front of the camera so she can capture the candid moments, the authentic smiles and the playful instants in between standard shots.
Trae is a mother, an artist, a knitter, an entrepreneur and one of Southeast Michigan’s best photographers. Based in Ypsilanti, she uses both studio light and natural light to photograph newborns, new mothers, children and families. Her passion is in capturing the moments you can’t capture yourself, the memories you’re wrapped up in but still want to remember forever. If you want to see her work for yourself, here is a direct link to her online galleries.
Located in Howell, Tara Droz specializes in newborn, baby and family photography in the Brighton area, Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Her studio is located in Howell, and some of her best photos have been taken during outdoor sessions all over Southeast Michigan during all seasons. Completely self-taught, we especially love her style because it offers a balanced combination of posed photos and candid moments so you have the perfect image for your holiday card and the perfect capture of genuine moments.
From Ann Arbor to Dexter and all the way to Northville—Southeast Michigan knows how to welcome Santa Claus! With events and workshops popping up right after Thanksgiving and through Christmas Eve, you and your family will have plenty of opportunities to share your wish lists in person this holiday season.
We rounded up the events, the brunches and the malls that will be hosting Father Christmas himself. Mark your calendars, check for registration or ticket requirements, and get those wish lists and festive sweaters ready!
From mid-November through Christmas Eve, Santa and his shop will be set up in Briarwood Mall every single day. Hours vary each day and there are FastPass options to skip the line. For more information, click here.
The farm fun at Three Cedars doesn’t stop after Halloween. Country Christmas turns the farm into a winter wonderland complete with Christmas trees, wreaths, hot cocoa, roping and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for hours.
Southern Michigan Railroad keeps this event small and inexpensive so the community’s kids can have a spectacular holiday experience. This December, hop on the train and enjoy a ride to meet Santa himself. From there, the train will take you back to your car for a 30 minute round trip. Book online today before tickets sell out and be sure to bring a toy for Toys for Tots!
The City of Saline is hosting three PJ’s & Stories with Santa events on December 6th. For just $8, kids in their coziest pajamas can enjoy sing-a-longs, crafts, photo opportunities, stories, and treats like milk, cookies and hot chocolate. Pre-register online here.
Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. Each December, the farm celebrates the season with Santa Visits. Available two weekends in December, families can come to the Holiday Open House to enjoy delicious treats like hot cocoa and cider, shop in the General Store, see the farm in the snow and meet Santa. There is no admission charge for this event but donations are appreciated.
The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark on December 9th allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.
Each year, Father Christmas himself comes to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one day. A Visit with Father Christmas allows parents, kids, individuals and families to come to the gardens for free and get a great, festive photo with Santa.
This year, Brunch with Santa is happening at Kensington Hotel on December 15th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Past events have included omelet stations, vegetarian options like the Michigan Apple Cherry Salad, potatoes, a dessert bar, and the always popular waffle and pancake topping bar.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 16th, guests to Polo Fields Country Club can eat, drink, visit and take photos with Santa! Prices are $36 for adults, $16 for children between 3 and 12, and free for children two years and younger. To see the menu, click here, and call (734) 998-1555 to make reservations.
Our Ann Arbor area communities are famously skilled at coming together in times of need and in times of celebration: thanks in large part to the people who call these neighborhoods home. Over the years, our peers have built outstanding organizations and nonprofits which serve our community in countless ways—from providing shelter to providing laughter.
We rounded up a handful of those organizations you can help now and all year long. Whether you want to donate your money, volunteer your time or hop on stage to put on a show, this list has an organization for you to love and an opportunity for you to help. Thanks for making our communities even better!
Click each category to jump ahead and find out how you can help:
Mission: Founded by teens for teens, The Neutral Zone is a diverse, youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership and the exchange of ideas. They provide an after-school drop-in space, weekend concerts and special events, and host more than 20 after-school programs.
How you can help: The Neutral Zone accepts volunteers and donations. Volunteers can participate in many different projects and programs, including special events and the community dinner program. Get information on both donations and volunteering here.
Mission: Mentor2Youth works to ensure youth have a promising future by preparing them to excel in life, academics and work. The organization puts together school-to-career intervention programs grounded in the principles of personal, academic and professional development. These include the Future Leaders Program, Youth L.E.A.D. and B.O.S.S.
How you can help: With assistance from more than 30 volunteers, Mentor2Youth serves over 150 youth annually throughout the school year and summer. You can join in by volunteering in tutor, mentor and leadership roles. Get more information on volunteering here. To donate, click here. And to learn about partnering with Mentor2Youth as a group, click here.
Mission: Through year-round programming and mentoring, Girls Group empowers young women in middle school and high school to achieve emotional and economic self-sufficiency by graduating from high school and becoming first-generation college graduates. As of 2018, they serve 500 young women in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
How you can help: As an organization, you have the opportunity to support Girls Group through grant funding. For more information, click here. They also welcome monetary donations which you can do online here.
Mission: As a major human services provider in our region, The Women’s Center provides direct services to more than 500 women and girls as well as a handful of men. They also assist an estimated 1,032 people who call for help in accessing community resources. Their programs assist women with counseling, divorce assistance, job and financial coaching, community resources and they also host a mom and infant group.
How you can help: The Women’s Center is run by only 4.75 full-time staff and an amazing team of more than 100 volunteers. To join in, you can volunteer in skilled positions, apply for an internship or provide in-kind contributions so the team can purchase things like paper products, gift cards, tea, breakfast bars and more. For more information on all of these, click here.
Mission: In 1973, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels began with a gift of $8,000 and 16 hungry neighbors. To this day, this local Meals on Wheels organization provides meals for homebound individuals which include a friendly visit, a bit of conversation, assurance that the client was safe and well and additional services like pet food delivery, minor home repairs, a personal care pantry, weekly produce deliveries and case management.
How you can help: Volunteers are the driving force of Meals on Wheels. Opportunities include meal prep, home deliveries, special holiday meals, special events and more. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts monetary donations online as well as donations through Amazon Smile and Kroger Rewards. For more options and links to donate, click here.
Mission: Since 1984, Arbor Hospice has been providing expert end-of-life care through Arbor Hospice in Ann Arbor and The Residence of Arbor Hospice in Saline.
How you can help: This organization has 50 different ways to volunteer, including pet visits, patient companionship, administrative support and more. For more information, click here. They also accept monetary donations which you can give online here.
Mission: As a no-kill shelter and the only animal shelter in Washtenaw County, HSHV has the highest save rate among all similar animal shelters in Michigan. They’ve been serving the community since 1896 and now help over 14,000 animals and their people every year. In addition to the shelter, they provide a full-service, nonprofit vet clinic that is open to the public and they operate Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center.
How you can help: HSHV provides volunteer opportunities that include services in the shelter, foster programs and animal advocacy. For more information, click here. You can also donate, sponsor and fundraise in various ways. Learn more here.
Mission: The Creature Conservancy began in 2005 when Al the alligator was left abandoned at the door of a local veterinary hospital. He was soon joined by a sloth rescued from a trailer park, a macaw left at a pet boarding facility, ball pythons found in a dumpster, and iguanas wandering loose on the UM campus. Today, the nonprofit organization hosts camps, classes, private events and programs that inspire compassionate connections to wildlife and allow the public to learn about ecology, biology, conservation and more through real animal encounters.
How you can help: The easiest way to help The Creature Conservancy is to attend events and learn about wildlife conservation yourself! They also offer memberships, internships and jobs, and volunteer opportunities. For more information on volunteering, click here. To make a monetary donation or get information on fundraising, click here.
Mission: The Jim Toy Community Center is a resource center that exists to provide information, education, social events and advocacy by and for the queer and ally community in our county. Their mission is to foster an inclusive community where people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity are visible and live together in equality, respect and happiness.
How you can help: To apply as a volunteer, click here, and to provide an online monetary donation, click here. The center also hosts Ann Arbor Pride every summer which is a free festival and parade open to the public. You can directly donate to the event here.
Mission: A Fisher House is a home away from home, a no-cost shelter provided for the families of active military and veterans while those men and women are receiving medical care. Their goal is to keep families together and to reduce stress during an incredibly difficult time. As of 2018, there are is not a single Fisher House in Michigan, but Fisher House Michigan is working to change that. In 2019, the groundbreaking for our state’s first facility will happen right here in Ann Arbor.
How you can help: Fisher House Michigan is primarily a volunteer-run organization and would not be able to complete their Ann Arbor home without continued help from our community. The easiest way to help the cause is to attend one of the organization’s annual events which you can see here. You can also donate directly through their website which you can see here.
Mission: Serving as a sort of savings account for our community, the Ann Arbor Community Foundation was established more than 50 years ago to distribute funds and grants to local nonprofits and scholarships. Their overall mission is to enrich the quality of life in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: Giving online through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation includes opportunities to give to Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, Community Foundation of Plymouth General Fund and Youth Council Fund. For more information, click here.
Mission: Community Action Network partners with children, youth and families from under-resourced Washtenaw County neighborhoods to create better futures for themselves and improve the communities in which they live. In addition to helping students with their education, they ensure the families are supported and the community is enriched so the positive results last for future generations.
How you can help: CAN could not be successful without the help of countless volunteers like you who help with after-school programs, arts classes, summer camps, food markets and more. For more information on those opportunities, click here. And to make a monetary or material donation, click here.
Mission: The mission of Peace Neighborhood Center is to provide programs for children, families and individuals who are affected by social and economic problems so that they can find options, improve skills and make choices that lead to self-sufficiency and community involvement. Since opening in 1971, their team has helped more than 16,000 people in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County through programs that cover education, health, well-being and fiscal independence.
How you can help: Peace Neighborhood Center accepts monetary donations online here and offers a variety of volunteer opportunities which you can see here. In addition, they host an annual Thanks for Giving Benefit Dinner, can be benefited through grocery rewards programs, and have a wish list of material items they need which you can view here.
Mission: 826michigan inspires school-aged students to write confidently and skillfully with the help of adult volunteers in their communities. They do this through tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing opportunities, field trips, in-school projects and even publishing opportunities.
How you can help: Volunteers with 826michigan provide one-on-one homework help and tutoring, teach creative writing, work the counter at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair here in Ann Arbor, and serve our community in various other ways. For more information, click here. To make a monetary donation or view the organization’s wish list, click here.
Mission: Striving to completely eliminate illiteracy in Washtenaw County, this nonprofit organization provides literacy support at no cost to adults through a network of trained tutors, and they’ve been doing so for more than 40 years.
How you can help: Since 1971, they have served over 20,000 learners and trained and fully supported over 10,000 volunteer tutors. You can find information on joining that team here. Or you can donate directly here. For just $100 you can help 50 adults improve their English in a group tutoring session!
Mission: Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition, and they strive to engage minds, expand perspectives and inspire growth in students of all ages, teachers, artists and the community. Now, they engage more than 49,500 people every year through programming, exhibitions, classes and the 117 Gallery Shop.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Art Center welcomes volunteers who get to assist in the office, with special events, and with setting up the 117 Gallery. For more information, click here. Other opportunities to become involved include purchasing a membership, applying for an internship and working at the center.
Mission: This community theatre group provides opportunities for members of our community to participate in theatre. In addition to putting together shows that are open to the public, they support artists and creatives by giving them a place to practice and enhance their skills.
How you can help: The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is supported by members who purchase memberships and then get to participate in productions, attend one free workshop per year, and vote at the annual meeting. To help monetarily, you can get information on sponsorship opportunities here. Or you can get information on volunteering as an usher here.
Mission: As a completely volunteer-run organization, Young People’s Theater helps young people build their self-confidence, sensitivity, creativity and leadership through professional theater experiences, training and educational opportunities.
How you can help: The easiest way to help the theater is to buy tickets to a show, and you can see current and upcoming shows on the website. Other ways include making a monetary donation, promoting the team’s shows in your community, and volunteering. Get information on all those opportunities here.
Mission: Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Their team of workers and volunteers distributes 6.4 million pounds of food annually through 150 partners and programs in Washtenaw County.
How you can help: You can join their efforts by donating online here. For every $5 you donate to Food Gatherers, you can help provide 15 meals to adults, seniors and children in need. They also accept food donations, material donations and host annual events so you can help simply by having fun! If you’d like to see individual and group volunteer opportunities, click here.
Mission: Ozone House is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy and productive lives through high-quality housing and support programs as well as services that provide support, intervention, training and assistance to runaway, homeless and high-risk youth and their families.
How you can help: To help Ozone House, you can donate money and items directly or through shopping programs, school supply drives and more. For more information on donations, click here. You can also get information on joining the more than 170 volunteers here.
Mission: SafeHouse Center serves to provide safety, support, advocacy and resources for any survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence and the children involved, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. They also work relentlessly to change the systems and attitudes that allow this abuse to continue.
How you can help: SafeHouse Center accepts volunteers in both Direct Services and Non-Direct Services. For more information, click here. The organization also accepts various types of donations, including shopping through Amazon Smile and buying directly from their Amazon Wishlist. For links to all donation opportunities, click here.
Mission: Packard Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center and meets all federal requirements to offer health care services to people who are uninsured, isolated and/or medically vulnerable. By serving everyone who comes through their doors, they strive to build a healthy community in which every individual has dependable, quality health care.
How you can help: Volunteers with Packard Health can work in the food pantry, help with mailing services or serve on the organization’s boards and committees. For more information on volunteering, click here. To give a monetary donation online, click here.
Mission: Operating on the belief that any addict or alcoholic can get better, Dawn Farm works to assist addicts and alcoholics in achieving long-term recovery. Their team identifies and removes the barriers which prevent these individuals from joining the recovering community.
How you can help: Volunteers with Dawn Farm get the opportunity to help in the Dawn Farm garden, assist with cooking and housekeeping at Spera, help host special events like the Jamboree and Ride for Recovery, and more. For all those opportunities, click here. Material donations are also accepted and you can view the wish list here.
Tell us about your organization
Make the list bigger and better by telling us about your favorite local organization in the comments below.
This article was updated on August 20, 2019 to reflect current information and up-to-date recommendations.
Michigan is famous for its fall foliage. You can encounter a kaleidoscope of color found in our state’s open spaces, along the shores of our lakes and rivers, across rolling hillsides, and even in our tree-filled cities—and no other city could be more tree-filled than Tree Town.
Though the state’s Gold Coast rates as one of America’s Best Color Drives, according to Travel and Leisure magazine (and we definitely recommend doing it at least once), you don’t have to travel outside of Ann Arbor for a Michigan fall color tour of equally epic proportions.
Right in the city, you can meander the sidewalks and parks of the Old West Side, Huron Parkway or the University of Michigan campus. But if you have a little extra time and a stronger craving for brilliant reds, oranges and golds, we recommend hitting up these regional parks, recreation areas, and even one railroad!
One of the best ways to see Michigan’s changing leaves is to hop on a canoe and cruise down the Huron River. Ann Arbor’s canoe liveries—located in Gallup Park and Argo Park—are open through the end of October so you don’t even need to buy your own canoe or kayak! While you’re in Gallup Park, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the 69 acres that make up the town’s most popular recreation area. Amidst the trees, you can enjoy scenic walkways that traverse small islands and pedestrian bridges as well as more than three miles of asphalt trails available for biking, rollerblading, walking and running.
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.
Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park containing wetlands, woodlands, prairie and oak savannah just west of Gallup Park. Owned and maintained by the city since 1971, the open space offers a half-mile paved trail that loops through the park and a granular trail that goes through the prairie and woods then connects to a quarter mile of wetland boardwalk. The heavily wooded lands boast a huge variety of oaks, maples and other types of colorful trees.
Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. Whether you’re fishing on the river, riding your bike, or walking along the trail during the fall, you’re guaranteed a glimpse of our state’s famous seasonal foliage.
Located just five miles northwest of Ann Arbor, Delhi Metropark offers 52 acres of mature oak trees, open, grassy lawns, playgrounds, softball diamonds and more. Because the park is nestled against a bend in the Huron River, it has become a popular fishing and canoeing destination—both great activities during the fall! While you’re there, you may even spot a great blue heron, turtles or a white-tailed deer.
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.
Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddleboat and kayak rentals.
The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. While exploring these grounds during the fall, keep your eyes peeled for russet reds and blazing oranges!
Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes, 19 miles of trails and a full-service riding stable open through early December. When you reserve a trail ride with Brighton Recreation Riding Stable, you can explore Michigan foliage on horseback!
Combing serene woods with the calm waters of the Huron River, Hudson Mills Metropark offers 1,536 acres of land home to an 18-hole golf course, two 24-hole disc golf courses, a three-mile, paved hike and bike loop, and the nearly five-mile West River Trail which connects to the Hudson Mills loop and takes hikers and bikers on a journey that ends in downtown Dexter.
Independence Lake County Park is one of Washtenaw County’s favorite open spaces thanks to 360 acres, 3.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, two miles of paved trails and, of course, fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Stroll along the lakeshore to get accustomed to the bright, changing colors then head to the edges of the Indy and Woodcock prairies to see the best color in the park!
Do you have a go-to fall foliage destination?
Tell us about it in the comments below and we can add it next year!
Since exploding in the 1990s, the Michigan craft beer scene has been enjoying a resurgence in craft, style and sheer number of breweries available. And beer lovers around the entire state have been enjoying it, too!
In Ann Arbor, we celebrate the industry with some of the state’s best breweries, with several hidden gems and with local, neighborhood spots we come back to again and again. To show off our community’s love for drinking local, we rounded up the must-try spots in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea and even Milan. Enjoy!
When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. On a trip to Belgium, the couple was further inspired to innovate and they brought the first sour program of its kind to the state of Michigan. Today, you can stop in the original Ann Arbor brewpub or swing by the Ypsilanti brewery.
Biercamp has been one of Ann Arbor’s unique and best little shops since they opened in 2011. That’s when the meat shop showed us what good, natural meat is all about. Everything is made by hand in small batches using unique ingredients and family recipes. And all the meats come from farms where animals are raised humanely with no antibiotics, hormones, growth promoting drugs or artificial ingredients. The same care and attention is applied to their beer program. In the combination shop, taproom and beer garden, you can taste their small-batch craft beers which are also made in-house and by hand.
Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Their session meads and ciders are light, dry, carbonated and sessionable. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried.
BBQ and beer is a winning combination that has been tried and tested over the centuries and the Blue Tractor team is just about as knowledgeable as you can get in both categories. On the food menu, you’ll find classic smoked meats and barbecue dishes alongside unique, world-influenced meals. On tap, you’ll find six rotating selections every day, including award-winners which have snagged numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at competitions across the nation.
Originally located in Chelsea’s historic Clocktower Complex, Chelsea Alehouse Brewery opened in 2012 and relocated to downtown Chelsea in 2018. Their new interior features red brick walls and cozy booths, their food menu includes tacos, burgers, mac & cheese and fresh salads, and the beer list focuses on American and English style ales made for every beer drinker.
Edelbrau is a term that has been used for hundreds of years to describe high-quality beer and this Ann Arbor team brews bold beers in homage to that tradition. Their beverages are served unfiltered without pasteurization or synthetic additives and each one is produced sustainably in a way that enhances the craft, the community and the industry. Stop in the brewery and taproom to learn what mindful brewing tastes like.
A landmark in downtown Ann Arbor, Grizzly Peak began serving craft beer in August of 1995 from their century-old building with wood floors, tin ceilings and exposed brick walls. 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.
At HOMES, they take the brewery experience to a whole new level because they pair their brews with a food menu full of modern and inventive Korean food. Perfect for sharing, we recommend an order of Kimchi Fries, Pork Belly Bao Buns and maybe even a flavor-packed rice bowl. And, of course, don’t skip a flight of HOMES original brews.
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 hangout — offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, aged Jolly Pumpkin beers.
Original Gravity is Milan’s original brewery. Though Brad Sancho just opened this microbrewery in 2008, it’s the town’s only craft brewery and serves as the local destination for beer, community and fun. Focused on creating an outstanding taproom experience, their space has old-school arcade games, board games, televisions and delicious deli sandwiches.
Since their beginning, the brewing team at Pileated Brewing Company has been driven by experimental brewing. As a result, they produce beers inspired by traditional style but which have been innovated through ingredients, additions and more. So when you stop in, don’t expect to find a typical beer but do expect to find a new favorite! Because everything here is hand-stirred, hand-bottled, naturally unfiltered and bottle conditioned.
If you like your craft beer served with improv comedy, then Pointless Brewery & Theatre is the perfect place to be. And if you’ve never had craft beer served with improv comedy, move this Ann Arbor original to the top of your to-do list. The taproom where you can try beers brewed on-site and enjoy frequent events is open Wednesday through Sunday. To see the theatre and improv show schedule, 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.
Husband and wife team Jerry and Heidi founded Stony Lake Brewing Company in 2014. Named after their favorite place on earth and inspired by their favorite microbreweries, they offer big beers with an emphasis on American Ales and fresh clean flavors, as well as hard ciders, wines and select sodas.
Located on Ann Arbor’s west side, Townies Brewery opened in 2018 in the old home of Glasshouse Brewing. New owners Dan and Patty Arban have completely reimagined the space and the building with new additions to the decor and to the patio. Swing by for a beer flight and enjoy our city’s newest brewery alongside frequent live music and a community atmosphere.
Dedicated to health, unity and community, this Ypsi favorite serves up kombucha tea and kombucha beer. Similar to a Lambic fermented in oak-barrels with hops and whole fruits, Unity kombucha beers are gluten-free, vegan, organic, bottle conditioned and raw. So whether you’re craving a belly-friendly tea or a unique craft beer, visit the taproom to try a small-batch and handmade beverage.
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.
Located in the historic Centennial Center Building, Ypsi Alehouse serves a seasonally rotating menu of pub-inspired eats, craft beers brewed to highlight the finest locally sourced ingredients, and ciders and wines made on-site. As the headquarters of Mishigama Craft Brewing, you’re sure to find something to love here.
Do you have a favorite?
Do you have a go-to brewery further outside the Ann Arbor area? Or is there one in town that we missed? Tell us about it 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 Wolverine 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, great annual happenings, huge return performances, tours, 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!
September 9, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Ann Arbor Farmers Market
For the 16th year, Kerrytown BookFest is coming to one of Ann Arbor’s most beloved downtown areas. Celebrating books, authors, printers, publishers, sellers and readers, the event highlights the Ann Arbor area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts by showcasing local individuals, businesses and organizations.
September 15 – 16 | St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church
The 6th 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 2018 show celebrates the 20th year of the Orphan Car Show!
September 23, 12 – 5 p.m. | St Paul Lutheran Church
The 45th 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 find $10 advance tickets at Nicola’s Books, The Jefferson Market, Downtown Home & Garden, Argus Farm Stop and Washtenaw Dairy, or you can purchase tickets the day of the event at St Paul Lutheran Church for $12. For more details, check out the website.
The Philadelphia Orchestra first performed in Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium in 1913, was the orchestra-in-residence for the Ann Arbor May Festival for nearly 50 years, and last played in town in 1994. Now, they’re returning to Hill Auditorium for the first time in 24 years! This event is part of Series:You so you can enjoy it and four other events when you subscribe to get your tickets.
August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Rounding out the summer, Saline Community Fair provides days of fun for local families. Events include tractor pulls, a car and tractor show, the USA Auto Cross Enduro Derby, carnival rides, fair foods, and more!
September 8 – October 28 | Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard
Operating for more than 180 years, Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard offers u-pick apples, a u-pick pumpkin patch, delicious cider, a corn maze and haunted thrill park, mini golf, hayrides, and more during the fall. Throughout the month of September, you can enjoy Wiard’s Country Fair on Saturdays and Sundays beginning September 8th. For full details, check out the website.
The 10th Annual Harvest Festival at Sutherland-Wilson Farm is welcoming the fall harvest season with a performance by the Saline Fiddlers, face painting, carriage photos, lawn games, a pumpkin patch, house tours and self-guided building tours, a petting farm, and so much more. All of this is included in general admission which ranges from free for children under 2-years-old to $5 for adults.
September 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Webster United Church of Christ
Hosted by the Webster United Church of Christ and the Webster Township Historical Society, this fall festival has something for everybody: hayrides, live music, an auction, a petting zoo, a children’s carnival, historical buildings, baked goods and preserves for sale, demonstrations like wool spinning and blacksmithing — and the famous pig roast!
This fall celebration brings the spirit of Germany to downtown Saline. In celebration of the community’s sister city relationship with Lindenberg, Germany, you can enjoy traditional and modern music, a festive bier garten, a corn hole tournament, wiener dog races and so much more.
Wolverine football returns on the first day of September! Though their first game of the season is at Notre Dame, they’ll be playing in The Big House on September 8th, 15th and 22nd. For the full schedule, click here. And, if you’re looking for local places to watch away games, check out The 13 Best Sports Bars in the Ann Arbor Area.
Benefitting The ChadTough Foundation, a local nonprofit in Saline, this running event is celebrating its fifth year with a family-friendly 5K and a one-mile fun run. Whether you want to virtually run to support the cause or you want to run the route yourself, you can register online here.
September 16 and September 30, 5 – 8 p.m. | Growing Hope Urban Farm
Hosted by and benefitting Growing Hope Urban Farm, the Chefs in the Garden series brings together local charity, local food and urban farm education. The three-part dinner series will feature well known, local culinary talent at each event occurring on September 16th, September 30th and October 14th. For more information and tickets, click here.
August 28 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds
Rounding out the summer, Saline Community Fair provides days of fun for local families. Events include tractor pulls, a car and tractor show, the USA Auto Cross Enduro Derby, carnival rides, fair foods, and more!
Pointless Brewery & Theatre combines improv comedy shows with craft beer. On August 31st, Summer Games returns with a lineup of playful improv games. Tickets are $15 each and there are back-to-back shows beginning at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
August 31 – September 1 | Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League
The 2018 Ballet in the City Gala takes place on the University of Michigan campus. This exhibition event celebrates the best and brightest in the arts today by presenting the legendary works of George Balanchine in performance, hosting educational events, and offering up close and personal experiences with professional artists from around the country. There are two different events happening on August 31st and September 1st; get the full details here.
September 1 | Power Center for the Performing Arts
Hosted by the Waganda and Wakenya Comedians, this laugh out loud comedy show is bringing talented stand-ups to Ann Arbor from Uganda and Kenya. The feature performance will be The Queen of African Comedy, Anne Kansiime, from Uganda and other sets will be given by Smart-Joker (Michael Omuka) and 2mbili (Dankan Onyango).
Willow Run is a world premiere show by Jeff Duncan and is ending its Purple Rose Theatre run on September 1st. The play takes place during WWII at the Willow Run Bomber Plant located near Ypsilanti—the largest factory under one roof in the world. Learn more and buy your tickets here.
Home to 159 parks just within the city and located at the heart of an impressive lineup of state recreation areas and open spaces, Ann Arbor offers countless opportunities to opt outside. From hiking and fishing in town to boating through the Chain of Lakes and even kayaking down the Huron River, there are a variety of options available to every local and visitor.
If you want to extend your outdoor excursion into an overnight adventure, we recommend planning a camping trip over Labor Day weekend. Pinckney Recreation Area offers six different campgrounds ranging from rustic spots without hookups to yurts! For reservation and pricing information, click here. And to check out the nine campgrounds in Waterloo Recreation Area, click here.
Dive into a Michigan lake
Michigan borders four of the Great Lakes and contains more than 11,000 inland lakes. So, when you’re looking for a summer swimming destination, this is a good place to be.
In the communities around Ann Arbor, we get to take advantage of countless swim beaches, state parks and pristine waters. To help you on your water-themed summer adventures, we rounded up a handful of the best options around Ann Arbor. From just a few minutes away to about two hours away on the shores of Lake Michigan, check out The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer and start experiencing the true #PureMichiganLakeEffect.
With the warm months winding down, we have to get ready to say goodbye to our favorite Ann Arbor patios. They’re the ideal places to satisfy any craving for sunshine, local food, Michigan beer or artisan cocktails. The local lineup includes garden patios, beer gardens, and patios bathed in cozy string lights or shaded by trees along Main Street. To start planning your patio tour, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor.
Amongst all the food trends we love (shout out to you, brunch!), there’s one we can rest assured will never go out of style: the burger. From fast, casual eats to gourmet creations, the toppings may get more strange but the mouth-watering, beloved burger remains an American classic.
To show off our own local flavors, we’re touring Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and even hopping over to Saline to track down the best burgers in town. Be warned, our guide features burgers (and photos) that will likely cause an immediate craving. But luckily, these hometown spots are right down the street. Enjoy!
This chain restaurant has two Ann Arbor locations and is dedicated to the fine art of the burger. Theirs feature 100% organic, grass-fed and free-range meat. You can choose from five delicious signature burgers, vegetarian and vegan options, or build your own. Then, be sure to load up on fresh cut fries and thick, hand-scooped milkshakes!
It’s all in a name, right? And at Frita Batidos, the burgers are the main attraction. The Frita is a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo and served with shoestring fries on a soft egg bun. A Batido is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice, sweetened milk and rum (optional, of course). That’s what we call a perfect pairing!
Sidetrack has been a Ypsilanti 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 neighborhood atmospheres. Their burger — Our Famous Burger — was included on GQ’s 2005 round-up of The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die, so it’s probably about time you tried it.
If you’ve been in Ann Arbor very long, you know Krazy Jim’s — and you know exactly how to order. They’ve been serving up customizable sliders with one-of-a-kind style since 1953. When you arrive, simply grab a tray and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to order. By the time you reach the end of the line, you’ll have one of Ann Arbor’s best burgers prepared just the way you want it and made with fresh beef, ground in-house daily.
The family-owned Rappourt offers a communal dining room and a true community atmosphere. Pair that with a gourmet burger and you’ll leave happy every time. Their menu offers three signature burgers: their namesake burger topped with Gruyere cheese, the A2 Melt with Wolverine Lager beer cheese, and the Diner Burger which features a smashed patty and classic toppings. Additional bonuses include 48 taps of rotating craft beer and a delicious Vegetarian Black Bean Burger!
Hunter House Hamburgers was established in 1952. Their original home is a small, white pill-box diner on the first paved road in America in Birmingham, Michigan. Their second location opened in Ann Arbor in 2014. Consistently named one of the best restaurants in the Detroit area and frequently ranked the best burger in Michigan, Hunter House is a must-visit!
In the Got Burger kitchen, the meat is always fresh and the burgers are always handcrafted with natural ingredients. If you decide not to build your own, you can choose from nine signature options, including the vegetarian Portobello Bliss. But with choices like the Puree Garlic Burger served with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pureed garlic sauce, it may be tough to choose.
CBC is a sports bar, a beer bar and a gourmet restaurant all rolled into one. Alongside one of the biggest selections of craft brews and beers anywhere, they offer a menu of pub-inspired eats that includes everything from Duck Poutine to Chicken Parmesan. And right in the middle of that menu, you’ll find ten one-of-a-kind signature burgers. For example, the Pretzel Burger comes with maple glazed bacon, cherry BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun. Yum!
HopCat is known for a lot of things, including their famous Crack Fries and having 100 beers on tap. Today, we’re making sure they’re known as the home of one of the best burgers in Ann Arbor. In addition to a classic burger, a turkey burger and a black bean burger, the menu features four stuffed burgers: a half-pound of signature beef patty stuffed with Wisconsin American cheese! See the menu here then get to HopCat ASAP (you’ll want to, trust us).
Offering a laid back, neighborhood bar setting, Dan’s Downtown Tavern has been a Saline favorite for years. Their menu features comfort foods, one of the largest craft beer selections in town and an entire section dedicated to custom burgers. You can choose one of 15 creative flavor combinations — from the Cowboy topped with chili, bacon, jalapeños and BBQ sauce to the Peanut Butter Burger which includes a peanut butter infused patty!
The Wurst Bar may be named for its gourmet bratwursts, but the burgers should definitely not be overlooked. Made with house-ground brisket and dipped in a blend of umami-rich sauces and flat iron grilled, every 6.5-ounce burger is cooked to order and comes atop a pretzel, sesame seed or brioche bun. Is your mouth watering yet? If not, check out Mr. Monster on the menu.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse is a go-to option amongst many Ann Arbor locals. So when you’re craving a burger, it’s always a safe bet. This branch of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses brings the fresh ideals of Zingerman’s together with globally-inspired eats and locally-sourced ingredients. That means when you order your burger, you can bet the hand-formed patty was made with Washtenaw County meat!
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 and even a United States Air Force air show!
Peruse our top picks for August events 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 2018 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 7 – August 30, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor
Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2018 concert series kicked off on June 7th and continues through August with shows on August 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.
August 12, 12 – 10 p.m. | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery
Ton-Up Motorcycle and Music Festival is returning to Ypsilanti for the ninth 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.
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 three-day exhibit in Monument Park.
August 17 – 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 here.
August 18 – 19 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery
An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists!
Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout the Kerrytown District this August, you can enjoy a parade, face painting, family-friendly activities, presentations, a silent auction and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the Jim Toy Community Center.
Returning to the streets of downtown Saline this month, Saline’s Summerfest is a hometown celebration like none other. In 2018, the event promises even more food, fun, music and memories but with all the local flare we’ve come to love.
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.
In 2018, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival will be bigger and better than ever before. There will be two stages in the music, entertainment and beer tent, more arts and crafts vendors as well as a juried competition, an expanded Magical History Tour, a larger children’s entertainment area, and so much more! To stay up-to-date on everything coming this year, follow the team on Facebook.
Presented by Wayne County Airport Authority at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event is bringing the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show will feature presentations from Team Oracle and Quicksilver P-51D as well so buy your tickets today and don’t miss it. Kids 15 years and younger are admitted for free!
August 29 – September 3 | 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.
August 4, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Pinckney Recreation Area
The third and final event in the Wolverine State Brewing Company Series of Races, 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 classic Poto Trail course to complete the challenge. If you’re ready, register online here.
Run Manchester is the fun, race event that kicks off Manchester Street Festival. Starting in historic downtown Manchester racers will run through quaint neighborhoods, past award-winning schools and finish back downtown for cold drinks, live music, a vintage car show, a kids corner, duck races, a pancake breakfast and more!