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The 15 Food Trucks You Have to Try in Ann Arbor This Summer

Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

For seven years, the foodies of Ann Arbor enjoyed Mark’s Carts, the town’s original food cart and mobile eatery courtyard. Though Mark’s Carts closed down for good in 2017, the trucks that called it home are still thriving and can be found at events throughout Southeast Michigan.

To celebrate those local, mobile entrepreneurs alongside the newbies, the foodies and the innovators, we rounded up the must-try food trucks in Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Found frequently at events in Ann Arbor and in our surrounding communities, it won’t be hard to track these down — and you’ll be glad you did!

 

Simply Spanish

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Simply Spanish Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Simply Spanish

This mobile eatery brings the authentic flavors of Spain to the streets of Southeast Michigan. The team’s paellas and tapas are prepared with a mix of locally sourced ingredients and imported Spanish products. They became an Ann Arbor favorite at Mark’s Carts and now can be found at events throughout the region.

 

Ricewood

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Famous amongst all Ann Arbor foodies, this barbecue joint has a permanent parking spot at 1928 Packard St. While enjoying the sun and the outdoor seating, you can taste brisket, pork shoulder and spare rib served with Pacific island style atop rice, scallion, tomato and a splash of finadene.

 

Wood Fired Up

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Pizza is one of our favorite food truck meals and Wood Fired Up takes the classic pie up a notch. Each pizza is topped with hand-pulled mozzarella and cooks in the wood fire pizza oven in less than two minutes! During the summer, you can find this truck and mobile pizza oven at Sundays in the Garden at Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck Rallies and more.

 

Cosa Sabrosa

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Cosa Sabrosa Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cosa Sabrosa

Cosa Sabrosa is an Ann Arbor original serving up some of the best tacos and Mexican food in the area. Using natural and local ingredients, the menu features seven different tacos — including vegetarian options — as well as burritos, homemade salsas, sides and drinks like watermelon limeade and horchata!

 

Crepe Day-Twah

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One of the most recognizable food trucks in Metro Detroit, Crepe Day-Twah serves up delectable crepes filled with ingredients like mini marshmallows, Oreo crumbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and chocolate syrup in the sweet options and thinly sliced prosciutto, mozzarella, baby spinach and pear slices amongst the savory.

 

Jamerican Grill

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Based out of Ypsilanti, Jamerican Grill specializes in Jamaican Jerk, Jamaican street food and American bison burgers served with hand-cut french fries. Their colorful truck can be spotted at events throughout Metro Detroit and the rest of Southeast Michigan.

 

Matt & Mo’s

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All handmade by an Italian from Chicago, Matt and Mo’s serves up authentic, homemade, Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and sausages. Savory toppings like sautéed sweet green bell peppers and hot giardiniera ensure every sandwich is flavor packed!

 

MI Burger Burger

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MI Burger Burger Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of MI Burger Burger

One of Southeast Michigan’s favorite mobile eateries, MI Burger Burger offers hand-pattied burgers made with a locally sourced, custom ground beef blend. Heaps of creative toppings and options like the donut slider make this one of our favorite burgers in the region!

 

Delectabowl

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Whether your diet is gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or strictly bread, cheese and meat, this food truck has a custom or signature bowl for you. Using local, Michigan products, the team crafts fresh, home-cooked comfort food in easy to manage bowls so you can enjoy it on the go.

 

MI POPS

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All natural, gluten and nut free, locally made and featuring 100% Michigan fruit, MI Pops’ ice pops are the sustainable, cold treat you need this summer. Each seasonal flavor is handcrafted without artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or colors.

 

Hero or Villain

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This Detroit-based food truck is the go-to for gourmet sandwiches with character (literally). Their creations are named after heroes like Thor, Hawkeye and Megatron, and they’re filled with fresh ingredients, sourced as locally as possible. You can catch them at events around Metro Detroit and at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market Food Truck Rallies!

 

Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream

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Naughty Boy's Rolled Ice Cream Food Truck Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream

Using the freshest ingredients sourced from local farms and Michigan communities, Ypsi-based Naughty Boy’s Rolled Ice Cream crafts trendy, Thai-style ice cream right in front of you. Made without artificial sweeteners or preservatives, you can rest assured your dessert is always fresh and always delicious.

 

Petey’s Donuts

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Petey’s Donuts takes homemade apple cider donuts, coffee and fresh apple cider on the go. Found at events throughout Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan, this little red trailer is one of our favorite summer sightings!

 

Shimmy Shack

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Always vegan and always gluten-free, the food at Shimmy Shack turns vegetarian and vegan food stereotypes on their heads. Featuring American classics like burgers, coneys, chili, fries and milkshakes, the menu includes mouthwatering descriptions like homemade sweet potato-black bean chili and a grilled lentil patty topped with vegan cheese.

 

TruckShuka

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TruckShuka serves up flavors not often found on the Metro Detroit food truck scene: authentic Israeli street food! Filled with bowls, platters and artisan Jerusalem pita sandwiches, the menu is influenced by Michigan ingredients but stays true to the scratch made, healthy, tasty cuisine of Jerusalem.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Let us know in the comments below!

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The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Our home state of Michigan — The Great Lakes State — 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.

And 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, these should all be on your summer bucket list!

 

Independence Lake Park | Whitmore Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 12 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission

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 kayak or leap off the dock into the water. When you’re done, you can sunbathe on the beach or continue the water-themed fun at Blue Heron Bay Spray Park, which features water canons, geysers and water slides.

 

Rolling Hills Park | Ypsilanti

Distance from Ann Arbor: 14 miles | Get directions

Ypsilanti’s Rolling Hills Park is a 439-acre park and one of the most recreational-diverse destinations in Washtenaw County. Anyone looking for swimming adventures and water-themed fun can enjoy a splash in the waves, a float on the lazy river, or a ride down the slides of the Water Park.

 

Van Buren Park | Belleville

Distance from Ann Arbor: 16 miles | Get directions

Van Buren Park Beach is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular spots for lake swimming. Just a 20 minute drive from Ypsilanti, the entire park offers hiking trails, three play structures, picnic areas, pavilions, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, a basketball court, grills, a community garden, restrooms and, of course, the beach with its own concession stand for snacks and refreshments!

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Distance from Ann Arbor: 20 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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, paddle boat and kayak rentals.

For swimmers, there are two public beaches, one at Silver Lake and one at Halfmoon Lake. A third beach at Bruin Lake is only open to campers and you can see a list of available campgrounds here.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Distance from Ann Arbor: 19 miles | Get directions

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes. The best swimming lake can be found at Bishop Lake. The remodeled, universally accessible beach features a beach house with vending machines, picnic shelters and a sand volleyball court.

In addition to the lake and beach attractions, Bishop Lake is also home to Jump Island! This lake waterpark features an inflatable iceberg, inflatable slides, runways and more so you can slide, run, walk and play atop the water.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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.

Day-use swimmers should head to the public beach at the Portage Lake Unit. And registered campers can also take a dip at the beach accessible from the Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area | Brighton

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

At 4,000 acres, Island Lake Recreation Area offers a bit of northern Michigan just 30 minutes from Ann Arbor. In addition to mountain biking, hiking, boating and fishing areas, you’ll find two beaches available for swimming. There’s one at Kent Lake and one at Spring Mill Pond, a spring fed pond with more than 100 feet of sandy beach!

 

Kensington Metropark | Milford

Distance from Ann Arbor: 25 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

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 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 as well as scenic hiking and biking trails for hours of enjoyment.

And, on the 1,200-acre Kent Lake, you can swim at Martindale or Maple beaches, get soaked at the Splash ‘n’ Blast, or just spend the day fishing, boating and picnicking along the water.

 

Highland Recreation Area | White Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 37 miles | Get directions

Offering 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and lakes in the rolling hills of Southern Michigan, Highland Recreation Area is a destination for equestrian riders, mountain bikers, hikers and boaters during the summer months. Boat access can be found on four lakes within the park for fishing and recreational boating and swimmers can enjoy the public beach on Teeple Lake!

 

Seven Lakes State Park | Holly

Distance from Ann Arbor: 43 miles | Get directions

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 row boats, canoes and paddle boats, or embark on a hike across more than six miles of trails. 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!

 

South Beach Park | South Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 140 miles | Get directions

One of the most popular beaches for swimming along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, South Beach Park offers concessions, a playground and historic memorials in addition to the sandy swimming beach. Just steps from the beach, visitors can enjoy the skatepark or walk out onto the pier to watch the sunset against the beautiful South Haven Lighthouse.

 

Grand Haven State Park | Grand Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 165 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Within three hours of Ann Arbor, Grand Haven State Park is the furthest on our list, but offers some of the best views. The 48 acre park consists entirely of sandy beach with Lake Michigan bordering on the east and Grand River bordering on the north. From the beach, you can dip your toes in the water and enjoy scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse.

 

Just keep swimming!  

In the comments below, let us know where you’re headed this summer.

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8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Home to 159 parks 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 new hobbies available to every A2 local and visitor.

We rounded up our top eight activities to kick off your outdoor adventures. Mostly suited for warm weather, these are great ways to take advantage of our outdoor spaces this summer!

 

 

Hiking

Hiking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

Wonderful nature walks and hikes can be found in every Ann Arbor area park, nature area, recreation area and open space. Just within Ann Arbor itself, you’ll find trails through Nichols Arboretum, Bluffs Nature Area, Dolph Nature Area and Bird Hills Nature Area, the largest park in Ann Arbor. And minutes from town, Pinckney Recreation Area and Waterloo Recreation Area offer a combined 31,500 acres of wilderness to explore!

 

Bird Hills Trail

Inside Ann Arbor’s largest and most forested park, the Bird Hill Trail is a serene getaway within the city limits. It traverses a quick, hilly route with plenty of magnificent views!

 

Bog Trail

Located just outside of Chelsea, Waterloo Recreation Area’s Bog Trail is a 1.5-mile trail that leads to a floating bog in Cedar Lake.

 

Waterloo-Pinckney Trail

The 36-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail travels from Big Portage Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area to Green Lake and into Pinckney Recreation Area.

 

 

Biking

Mountain biking trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

Whether you’re looking for road biking or mountain biking, you can find the perfect trail in and around Ann Arbor. In addition to road and dirt routes through our communities, the surrounding parks and open spaces offer countless multi-use trails suitable for rugged bicycle adventures.

 

Huron River Drive

Amongst local bikers, the classic road bike choice is the 24-mile route along Huron River Drive from Ann Arbor to Dexter and back.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

Mountain bikers can opt for the Island Lake Recreation Area bike loops which, together, cover about 15 miles. You can travel the East Loop around the Huron River, the nine-mile West Loop, or both!

 

DTE Energy Foundation Trail

Located in Waterloo Recreation Area, the DTE Energy Foundation Trail is already an extensive trail system and is still being developed for even more mileage. As of June 2018, mountain bikers can enjoy the 4-mile Green Lake Loop and the 4.5-mile Big Kame Loop.

 

 

Kayaking

Kayaking near Ann Arbor Michigan

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

 

Argo Park

Argo Park is home to the Argo Canoe Livery where you can rent kayaks and tubes, buy concessions and participate in river-themed programs. From here, you can enjoy a relaxing, 3.7-mile paddle down the Huron River to Gallup Park, a trip that typically takes 1.5 hours.

 

Gallup Park  

Another Ann Arbor park, Gallup also has its own livery — Gallup Park Canoe Livery — where you can rent materials, learn about the river and embark on river trips. Leaving from here, your trip will begin with a van ride upriver to Barton Park then continue on the water through Argo Pond, down the Argo Cascades, and back to Gallup Park. The trip is 5.7 miles and takes about 2.5 hours.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

Inside Waterloo, paddlers will find 11 inland lakes open to kayaks, canoes and rowboats of all kinds.

 

 

Boating

Boating lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

In Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a lake or river. And thanks to our impressive system of lakes connected by the Huron River, boating is a popular summer sport amongst the locals of Washtenaw County.

 

The Portage Lake Chain of Lakes

By far the most popular boating route in the Ann Arbor area, the Chain of Lakes is located in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties and is comprised of seven lakes connected by the Huron River. The trip begins at Little Portage Lake and Big Portage Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area, travels through Base Line Lake, Whitewood Lakes, Gallagher Lakes and Strawberry Lake, then ends at Zukey Lake in Hamburg Township.

 

Seven Lakes State Park  

About an hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park offers 230 acres of water for swimmers, paddlers, fishermen and, of course, boaters!

 

 

Swimming

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

The Great Lakes State contains more than 11,000 inland lakes with plenty of shoreline for swimmers. Some of these beachside waters even boast man-made water parks! 

 

Independence Lake Park

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. Just off the beach, you can also enjoy water-themed fun at Blue Heron Bay Spray Park.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area

You’ll find two beaches available for swimming in Island Lake Recreation Area. There’s one at Kent Lake and one at Spring Mill Pond, a spring fed pond that offers more than 100 feet of sandy beach!

 

Rolling Hills Park  

Anyone looking for swimming adventures and water-themed fun near Ypsilanti can enjoy a splash in the waves, a float on the lazy river, or a ride down the slides of the Water Park.

 

 

Fishing

Fishing lakes rivers near Ann Arbor Michigan

With a license, fishing is available in many of our area lakes and recreation areas. For those just starting out, we’ve rounded up a few of the region’s great options.

 

Argo Park  

The Huron River offers fishing opportunities up and down its banks. At Argo Park, you can fish for carp along the embankment that forms part of the Argo Dam. Just a ten-minute walk from Downtown Ann Arbor, this is the closest fishing to the heart of town!

 

Lillie Park

Lillie Park in Pittsfield Township offers shore fishing in multiple locations on Haven Lake.

 

Lake Erie

Second best to deep sea fishing, Lake Erie offers boat angling opportunities to catch walleye, crappie, bluegill and more.

 

 

Disc Golf

Disc golf courses near Ann Arbor Michigan

Played much like regular golf, disc golf is played with a frisbee instead of a ball. Many Ann Arbor area parks offer courses complete with metal baskets to use as landmarks.

 

Rolling Hills Park

The same Ypsilanti park that offers swimming and a water park offers an 18-hole disc golf course!

 

Bandemer Park

One of two disc golf courses in Ann Arbor city parks, the course at Bandemer Park winds through a wooded area along the Huron River. It is a nine-hole course, and each hole has three tee pads.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

The disc golf course at Waterloo Recreation Area is an 18-hole course at the Portage Lake Unit.

 

 

Horseback Riding

Equestrain horse back riding trails near Ann Arbor Michigan

In Ann Arbor area parks, horseback riding trails are nearly as prominent as mountain biking trails!

 

Pinckney Recreation Area

Across more than 11,000 acres of open space, Pinckney Recreation Area offers 13 miles of equestrian trails, a staging area and a stable

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

Waterloo Recreation Area offers 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible from a staging area off Loveland Road. And, Horse ‘N Around Stables inside the park offers horse rentals, boarding, lessons and more.

 

Brighton Recreation Area

Home to a full-service riding stable and an equine experience suited for all riding levels, Brighton Recreation Area offers 19 miles of trails, a riding stable, rustic equestrian camping and a staging area. For more information on rentals and programs, check out Brighton Recreation Riding Stable.

 

 

How do you #OptOutside?  

If you have a favorite park or activity in the Ann Arbor area, let us know in the comments below!

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend July 2018

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

July is the height of summer heat, fun and celebration in Ann Arbor. To celebrate, our communities are coming together for outdoor events, concerts, games, festivals and so much more.

To help you make this a month to remember, we rounded up our top 15 local happenings — from the recurring concerts that will get you on your feet, to the annual festivals you don’t want to miss, and everything in between!

For even more summer fun, check out 21 Summer Fairs and Festivals in the Ann Arbor Area You Don’t Want to Miss which includes events happening through August.

 

 

Arts + Culture

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

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 July with shows on July 5th, 12th and 26th. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Michigan Elvisfest | Ypsilanti

July 6 – 7, various times | Historic Depot Town

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

 

Rolling Sculpture Car Show | Ann Arbor

July 13, 2 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

The 24th 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, Surfer Joe, and family activities provided by The Ann Arbor District Library.

 

Saline Celtic Festival | Saline

July 13 – 14, various times | Mill Pond Park

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

 

Art In The Park | Plymouth

July 13 – 15, various times | Downtown Plymouth

Art In The Park is celebrating its 39th year in 2018 by welcoming over 400 artists from around the country. These professionals and hobbyists will be offering paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, woodwork, glass, photography, folk art and so much more. And all the art comes along with live entertainment and food to create Michigan’s second largest art fair!

 

Ann Arbor Art Fair | Ann Arbor

July 19 – 22, various times | Downtown Ann Arbor

Kicked off by the Townie Street Party on Monday, July 16th and hosted in conjunction with the State Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair and Ann Arbor’s South University Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair has grown into quite the event. All around town, you’ll find stage performances, street performers and street painting, an art activity zone, a youth art fair, and even more.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival | Chelsea

July 26 – 28, various times | Downtown Chelsea

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

 

 

Community Celebrations

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Ypsilanti’s Independence Day Parade | Ypsilanti

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

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

 

Hot Air Jubilee | Jackson

July 20 – 22, various times | Ella Sharp Park

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

 

 

Sports

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Firecracker 5K and Mile Fun Run | Ann Arbor

July 4, 7:55 – 9:45 a.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

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 through downtown, but the event also offers a Mile Fun Run and a Kids’ 100-Meter Dash for children 8 years and under. Get all the details and register online here.

 

Jackson Highland Games | Jackson

July 28, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Ella Sharp Park

The second annual Jackson Highland Games is returning to Ella Sharp Park on July 28th. This full day of fun and games will include traditional athletic events like tug-o-war, the caber toss, track and field events, and Highland dance competitions.

 

International Champions Cup | Ann Arbor

July 28, 3 p.m. | Michigan Stadium  

This month the International Champions Cup is coming right here to Ann Arbor. Set in The Big House, Manchester United out of Manchester, United Kingdom and Liverpool FC out of Liverpool, United Kingdom will face off for a global championship opportunity. Get tickets before they sell out and you’ll even have the chance to enjoy the Champions Lounge or the Premium Suite.

 

 

Food + Drink

July 2018 Events in the Ann Arbor Area Michigan July events

Manchester Chicken Broil | Manchester

July 19, 4 – 8 p.m. | Alumni Field

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.

 

Michigan Summer Beer Festival | Ypsilanti

July 27 – 28, various times | Riverside Park

The oldest of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s four annual festivals, the 21st Annual Summer Beer Festival will host more than 100 local breweries sampling more than 1,000 different craft beers. Guests can also enjoy live music from Michigan bands and food available for purchase!

 

Picnic at German Park | Ann Arbor

July 28, 4 – 11 p.m. | German Park

The German Park Recreation Club hosts three picnics every summer and this month’s event is set for July 28th 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.

 

 

Happy July!  

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The 14 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend June 2018

June 2018 events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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

To help you take advantage of all four, we rounded up a handful of Southeast Michigan’s most exciting events. Fill your calendar with fun this month and don’t forget to tag us in your Facebook and Instagram posts so we can join in too!

For even more summer happenings, check out 21 Summer Fairs and Festivals in the Ann Arbor Area You Don’t Want to Miss which includes events happening through August.

 

 

Arts + Culture

 

Cinetopia Film Festival | Ann Arbor

May 31 – June 10, various times | Various locations

June 2018 events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Specially curated for the community of Southeast Michigan, Cinetopia features the best feature-length dramas, comedies and documentaries shown at the world’s best film festivals, including SXSW, Sundance and more. Outside of screenings, special pre- and post-film events include presentations, discussion panels, and Q&A sessions with directors, writers and stars.

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 7 – August 30 | 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 kicks off June 7th and continues with shows on June 14th, June 21st, June 28th and eight others throughout the summer. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Ya’ssoo Greek Festival | Ann Arbor

June 8 – 10, various times | St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church  

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

 

Gordon Hall Days | Dexter

June 23 – 24, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Gordon Hall

The Dexter Area Historical Society serves to preserve our history and inspire our community to connect the past with the future. Gordon Hall Days brings the community together to celebrate that mission through tours, shows, live music, food and fun for an entire weekend! Highlights include the Dexter Antique and Vintage Market on Saturday and Sunday, the Antique Car Show on Saturday and a ticketed performance by George Bedard and The Kingpins on Saturday night.

 

 

Community Celebrations

 

Milan Fair | Milan

May 31 – June 2, various times | Wilson Park

Milan Community Fair Michigan 2018

Image courtesy of Milan Fair

The annual Milan Fair is a favorite regional event for good reason! It’s been a community tradition for more than 65 years and, in 2018, highlights include a carnival, a parade, an artisan market, fireworks, kids’ activities, and an entertainment tent that will feature karaoke and live music.

 

Ypsi Pride | Ypsilanti

June 1, 6 – 10 p.m. | Downtown Ypsilanti  

Celebrating its second year in 2018, Ypsi Pride is a block party of epic proportions on Ypsilanti’s South Washington Street. The event coincides with First Friday Ypsilanti, a monthly art walk throughout Downtown Ypsi.

 

African American Downtown Festival | Ann Arbor

June 2, 9 a.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

Entertainment at this annual festival is suitable for all ages. Whether you’re perusing local food vendors, playing carnival games or dancing to live tunes on the main stage, the whole family will find something to love!

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival | Ann Arbor

June 8 – July 1, various times | Various locations  

As the can’t-miss, arts-centered event of the summer, the 2018 Ann Arbor Summer Festival will include world-class entertainment in comedy, cinema, food, jazz, pop and rock, acoustic, spoken word, public radio, and so much more. It all takes place in venues like the Power Center, Top of the Park and The Ann Arbor Club. Buy your tickets here.

 

Mayor’s Green Fair | Ann Arbor

June 8, 6 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

The 18th annual Mayor’s Green Fair is coming to Main Street on June 8th. In celebration of our community’s environmental leadership, the event will close down the street so pedestrians can enjoy environmental displays and green products, live music, and fun in one of the town’s liveliest neighborhoods.

 

Juneteenth Celebration | Ann Arbor

June 16, 12 – 6 p.m. | Wheeler Park

Juneteenth is an annual festival that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865, and the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. In Ann Arbor, the event is hosted by The Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP and includes vendors, a youth basketball tournament, live music, face painting and more.

 

 

Sports

 

8th Annual Chelsea-Dexter Golf Outing | Chelsea

June 7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Pierce Lake Golf Course

June 2018 events in Ann Arbor, Michigan

This annual community golf tournament brings together neighbors in Chelsea, Dexter and the surrounding area for a full day of golf and fun. The $125 registration includes prizes for every golfer, breakfast, lunch and dinner, 18 holes and a golf cart! Register your team online here.

 

 

Food + Drink

 

Taste of Ann Arbor | Ann Arbor

June 3, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor  

Taste of Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

Photo courtesy of Ryan Halsey Photography via Main Street Ann Arbor

This beloved annual event brings together local restaurants in booths throughout downtown Ann Arbor. Each one offers bite-sized foods to showcase what they do best and ensure you can taste more than one! Tickets for food can be purchased at the event for $1 each. Follow the team on Facebook for event updates.

 

Grillin’ for Food Gatherers | Ann Arbor  

June 10, 3 – 8 p.m. | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

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

 

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week | Ann Arbor

June 10 – 15 | Various locations

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week is a bi-yearly celebration of local food and business in our hometown. The weeklong event gives you the opportunity to try various Ann Arbor restaurants for one low, fixed price. Participating restaurants will offer $15 lunch menus and/or $28 dinner menus — and some will even be offering two meals for the price of one! To see who is participating and to preview their menus, check out the website.

 

 

Happy June!

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14 Ann Arbor Area Events Happening over Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Memorial Day events 2018

Memorial Day is a national holiday that gives us a dedicated time to reflect and honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Over the years, the long weekend has also become the kick-off to summer events and celebrations. This year, the Ann Arbor area is providing a healthy balance of both.

Our guide has concerts, community gatherings, outdoor shows, and eight different parades and Memorial Day ceremonies. With at least one event for every day of the weekend, you can fill your holiday with both fun and remembrance!

 

 

The Decemberists | Ann Arbor

Friday, May 25, 2018 at 7 p.m. | Event info

This quirky and crooning quintet released their debut album in 2002, and they’ve been releasing hit after hit ever since. Driven by theatrical and hyper-literate pop lyrics, their songs are often history- and literature-based — they even have a rock opera under their belt! Kick-off the long weekend with a live show on Friday.

 

Cruise in 2018 Downtown Jackson | Jackson

Friday, May 25, 2018 from 6 – 9 p.m. | Event info

Downtown Jackson car show Memorial Day events 2018

Photo courtesy of Downtown Jackson

This event brings classic cars, live music and family fun to the streets of downtown Jackson. The family-oriented event includes a variety of local vendors and some of the region’s best food trucks, too! On May 25th, Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads will be providing the tunes. Bring your whole family down between 6 and 9 p.m. for a Friday evening of fun with the community.

 

Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra Season Finale | Ypsilanti

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 2 p.m. | Event info

The Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra 2017/2018 season comes to a close on Saturday, but not before a wonderful show in Riverside Park! Through orchestral music of the highest artistic caliber and innovative programming, the artists and organizers of YSO continuously enhance the cultural lives of the residents of Ypsilanti and the surrounding communities. Follow the team on Facebook for finale event updates.

 

Movement Detroit | Detroit

Saturday, May 26, 2018 – Monday, May 28, 2018 | Event info

This electronic music festival is an annual music event held in Detroit each Memorial Day weekend — and it has been since 2006. The schedule for the 2018 festival features more than 75 performances across five stages and three days. The biggest names on the lineup include Diplo and Wu-Tang Clan, so get your tickets today!

 

Flower Day at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market | Ann Arbor

Sunday, May 27, 2018 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Event info

Ann Arbor Farmers Market Memorial Day events 2018

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Farmers Market

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market is teaming up with the Sunday Artisan Market to host Flower Day. Celebrating all things flowers and plants, the special occasion will include food trucks, live music, backyard beekeeping tips, gardening how-to advice, kids activities, and tons of fun!

 

Milan Memorial Day Service and Parade | Milan

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 9 a.m.

At 9 a.m., Milan’s annual Memorial Day Parade begins at Marble Park Cemetery. The service will take place in the cemetery as well, so stick around to honor our fallen veterans and gather with the community.  

 

Plymouth Memorial Day Parade | Plymouth

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 9 a.m. | Event info

Memorial Day events 2018

Plymouth’s annual Memorial Day parade will march up Main Street beginning at 9:00 a.m. It will end further down Main at Veterans Park with a special program saluting our veterans.

 

Ypsilanti Memorial Day Parade | Ypsilanti

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 9 a.m.

This community parade kicks off at the corner of Huron and Michigan then proceeds up Huron to Cross Street. There will be a ceremony on the bridge over the Huron River before the parade and the concluding program will be at the Armed Forces Memorial.

 

Memorial Day Murph Challenge | Ypsilanti

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10 a.m.

The Murph Challenge Ann Arbor Michigan Memorial Day events 2018

The Murph Challenge is a Memorial Day tradition that pays tribute to LT. Michael P. Murphy and contributes to a prestigious organization founded by the Murphy family. The CrossFit challenge begins with a 1-mile run then consists of 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats before finishing with another 1-mile run.

This year, CrossFit Ypsilanti is an official host of the Memorial Day Murph Challenge! As the only official host in Southeast Michigan, you can join them for the workout at 10 a.m. then enjoy a light brunch to celebrate.

However, they won’t be the only CrossFit team embarking on the challenge and raising money on Memorial Day so check with your local gym too!

 

Glacier Highlands Memorial Day Parade | Ann Arbor

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Ann Arbor’s Memorial Day parade is hosted by the Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association each year. This year, come together in the Glacier Highlands neighborhood for the community’s amazing parade and remembrance ceremony.

 

Dexter Memorial Day Parade | Dexter

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10 a.m. | Event info

Dexter Michigan Memorial Day parade Memorial Day events 2018

Photo courtesy of Quaila Pant via Rotary Club of Dexter

Dexter’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Ann Arbor St. and Inverness. The procession will continue down Ann Arbor St. and continue on to Main St. until it turns right on Alpine to circle back to the ceremony at Monument Park. Organized by the Rotary Club of Dexter, this has become a beloved event in the region, so don’t miss it!

 

Saline Memorial Day Parade | Saline

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Saline’s Memorial Day Parade begins at the Michigan Ave. fire station and travels west to Oakwood Cemetery for a community memorial service. The service will be followed by hot dogs, chips and refreshments, so bring the whole family down to honor our fallen veterans and gather with the community.

 

Chelsea Memorial Day Parade | Chelsea

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10 a.m.

The Chelsea Memorial Day Parade begins at the municipal park lot in downtown Chelsea and will travel south to Oak Grove Cemetery for a ceremony and gathering. This is a great way for locals to come together as a community to honor those whose who gave their all, so don’t miss out on this event!

 

Manchester Memorial Day Parade | Manchester

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 1 p.m.

Two parades are held each year in Manchester and one of them is — you guessed it — the Memorial Day Parade! This parade includes the High School Band, veterans groups and the Boy and Girl Scouts of our community. It is followed by a ceremony at the cemetery.

 

Have a great weekend!   

Wherever you’re celebrating and honoring our veterans over the long weekend, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

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Where to Take Out of Town Guests in Ann Arbor, Michigan

TeaHaus Ann Arbor, Michigan full English tea

In our totally unbiased opinion, everyone should make a trip to Ann Arbor at least once. Our quirky, historic and charming community is home to several things you can only find here, including the country’s largest stadium, hidden fairy doors and, of course, the Fragel.

As a local, it’s easy to forget all the best places to show off when you have guests in town. To help jog your memory, we rounded up a few of our must-visit local businesses and attractions. Our guide includes food, shopping, education and outdoor experiences, so there’s a good chance your guests will fall in love with Ann Arbor, too.

If you need more ideas, follow along on the Reinhart blog where we continually highlight the area’s best local businesses, restaurants, events and more!

 

Try the Fragel from MD Bagel Fragel

MD Bagel Fragel is a beloved bagel shop in town and they’re the only place where you can still get a Fragel! A 30 year Ann Arbor tradition, a Fragel is raisin-packed dough fried golden brown and coated with cinnamon sugar. The perfect combination of bagel and donut, it’s a must-try for every A2 local and visitor. Alongside Fragels, you’ll find an impressive lineup of freshly baked bagels in sweet and savory flavors, as well as homemade cream cheeses available in 20 different flavors!

 

Grab a cup of coffee

Black Diesel Coffee Ann Arbor Plymouth Michigan coffee shops roasters

Photo courtesy of Black Diesel Coffee

The small town feel and college atmosphere of Ann Arbor make it the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in a cozy setting. Because our community loves to support local businesses, there are countless neighborhood cafes. In fact, we rounded up The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area, which includes favorites like Literati Coffee located above Literati Bookstore, Roos Roast and Black Diesel Coffee. So why not take a coffee tour of Ann Arbor?

 

Find all The Fairy Doors

Fairy doors have been popping up all over Ann Arbor in various locations for as long as we can remember. Today, you can find these charming, artistic, miniature doors at The Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ark, Nicola’s Books and at least four other documented locations in town. Check out the map here and see if you can spot them all!

 

Type on Literati Bookstore’s public typewriter

Literati Bookstore Public Typewriter Ann Arbor, Michigan

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

When Ann Arbor’s original, local bookstore, Borders, closed its doors all over the country, Hilary and Mike Gustafson moved back to their home state and opened Literati Bookstore as a book-lovers haven in downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, they set out an old typewriter and invited anyone and everyone to type a note on it. Over the years, they accumulated thousands of love notes, poems, sentences and salutations. Published in 2018, Notes From A Public Typewriter compiles some of their favorites alongside essays, photos and more. Stop by and type your own note to be a part of local history!

 

Learn something new at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

One of the most obvious attractions in Ann Arbor is the University of Michigan campus. But you can do a lot more than just people watch in The Diag. Located on campus, the University of Michigan Museum of Art is one of the largest university art museums in the country. Their collections represent 150 years of art collecting and include everything from 1000 BCE Middle Eastern artifacts to 21st-century paintings. Admission to the museum is always free, but a $10 donation is also appreciated. Get full details and plan your visit here.

 

Drive out to Dexter Cider Mill

Part of the excitement of being in Ann Arbor is the opportunity to explore the surrounding communities that make Southeast Michigan the enchanting place that it is. Just 20 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor, the seasonal Dexter Cider Mill in Dexter, Michigan 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, hand picked 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 sip homemade hard ciders made on-site.

 

Go out for brunch

It’s not a trip to Ann Arbor without getting a taste of the local flavor. Our local restaurants have helped make our town a hidden gem in the foodie community — and we can’t get enough. A good starting point is brunch, AKA the most important meal of the week. Check out The 16 Essential Brunch Spots in Ann Arbor to see a few of our favorites!

 

Visit one (or more!) of the famous Zingerman’s businesses

Zingerman's Creamery Beer and Cheese pairing March 2018

Photo courtesy of Emma Boonstra via Zingerman’s Creamery 

Zingerman’s Community of Businesses began humbly in 1982 as a small delicatessen in a historic building that was once a neighborhood grocery store. Instead of following the typical franchise model, deli founders Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig decided to expand locally. Today, there are more than ten businesses operating under the Zingerman’s umbrella — from Zingerman’s Bakery and Miss Kim to Zingerman’s Food Tours and Zingerman’s Cornman Farms in Dexter. To learn more about all of them, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.

 

Sip a cocktail at The Last Word

Repeatedly named as Ann Arbor’s best cocktail bar, The Last Word is a hidden gem, literally. Located underground with no exterior signage, and offering dim lighting and an outstanding bar program, it’s a bar designed in true speakeasy fashion. The drink menu includes high-quality wines and craft beers alongside cocktails prepared with fresh ingredients and house-made syrups and bitters. The food menu includes crafted dishes like Pork Belly Tostada, Duck Confit Hash and Fried Chicken Buns — and it’s available until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday!

 

Shop the farmers’ market

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays. During the summer, you can enjoy it twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays with six food truck rallies scheduled on the first Wednesday of the month, May through October!

Because it’s located in Kerrytown, shopping the market will also give you the chance to explore one of Ann Arbor’s most charming districts. Home to places like 16 Hands, Everyday Wines, The Lunch Room Diner & Canteen, Monahan’s Seafood Market, and a beautiful outdoor courtyard, there will be plenty of other activities to enjoy post-market.

 

See a game in The Big House

Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the United States and the second largest stadium in the world. Though the official capacity is 107,601, its record attendance is ‎115,109 — which occurred on September 7, 2013. To find out when you can cheer on the Wolverines at home, check out the schedule here. And superfans can also tour the stadium and the Crisler Center at just $15 – 20 per person! Get information on tours here.

 

Peruse Nickels Arcade

Comet Coffee Ann Arbor Michigan coffee shops roasters

Photo courtesy of Joseph Saborío via Comet Coffee

Located in downtown Ann Arbor and adjacent to the University of Michigan campus, Nickels Arcade is home to some of the best cafes and shops in town. Now over 100-years-old, the covered mall is filled with natural light and local flavor. A few of the highlights include Comet Coffee, Arcade Barbers and University Flower Shop.

 

Enjoy a live show at The Ark

The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music. Founded in 1965 by four area churches, the venue now offers over 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all the upcoming events here.

 

Order a full English tea at TeaHaus

TeaHaus Ann Arbor, Michigan full English tea

Photo courtesy of TeaHaus

Ann Arbor’s favorite tea spot, TeaHaus offers options suited for a quick stop or an entire afternoon. Available Tuesday through Sunday, the full English tea is a three-tiered service brought out to each table and complete with white china and linens. The experience includes all the tea you can drink, four finger sandwiches, the soup of the day, two scones with jam, jellies, lemon curd and clotted cream, and three desserts. Get all the details here and be sure to make your reservation a few days in advance. Happy sipping!

 

Stroll through Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental gardens on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include eleven outdoor spaces full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials, and more which bloom seasonally from spring to the first frost. For colder months, enjoy their year-round indoor conservatory filled with plants from around the world.

Nichols Arboretum is one of the richest landscapes in the region. It spans miles of trails and land with collections of native and exotic trees and shrubs crafted into a landscape that was begun by O. C. Simonds in 1907.

 

Eat a late-night meal at Fleetwood Diner

This 24-hour diner is a true Ann Arbor institution, thanks in large part to their famous Hippie Hash. If you haven’t tried it for yourself, Hippie Hash is a dish of homemade hash browns with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom and broccoli topped with feta cheese. The entire menu is available 24 hours, so stop by whenever you get a craving!

 

Where are you headed?

If you’re an Ann Arbor local, let us know which spots are on your tour itinerary in the comments below!

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Your Ultimate Guide to Chelsea, Michigan

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan

Located just 15 minutes from Ann Arbor, Chelsea is a thriving community with agricultural roots and a vibrant arts scene. Both of these characteristics drive the family-friendly culture that has blossomed in the community. From world-class dining and theatre to local festivals and seasonal concerts, there’s something everyone can enjoy every month of the year. And because it’s tucked between more than 30,000 acres of state land, it’s an outdoor paradise too!

To learn more, watch the video below. Then, keep reading to explore some of the town’s best local businesses, events and attractions!

 

 

 

The Essential Eateries

 

The Common Grill

112 S Main St | Facebook

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.

 

Zou Zou’s Cafe & Coffee Bar

101 N Main St | Facebook

Zou Zou's Cafe Chelsea, Michigan

Famous for fresh crepes and live entertainment, Zou Zou’s in downtown Chelsea is a breakfast, lunch and dinner destination. Swing by for a grab and go breakfast or lunch during the week then come back every weekend to enjoy live music from local musicians. On Thursday, they open the mic to any solo acts, bands, storytellers, poets and comics who want to share their skills!

 

Smokehouse 52  

125 S Main St | Facebook

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 — all accented by authentic wood-fired pits, barn beams and great bourbon!

 

Cleary’s Pub

113 S Main St | Facebook

This family-run pub operates with a strong community focus, offering up a fun atmosphere, a full bar and a food menu that will keep you coming back again and again. Preview the menu here then swing by during the weekend to enjoy live music. And don’t miss the House-made Crab Stuffed Mushrooms!

 

Mike’s Deli

114 W Middle St | Facebook

This legendary deli in Downtown Chelsea serves up a regular menu of long-time favorites alongside daily specials that always impress. Handmade and fresh every day, you can enjoy hearty sandwiches, savory soups, salads and, our favorite, freshly baked cookies!

 

Thompson’s Pizza

20700 W Old US Hwy 12 | Facebook

This hometown pizzeria has won several local awards for their classic pies and creative recipes. Offered alongside craft beer and other traditional bar foods, we recommend ordering one of the best pizzas in the region and you’ll soon find out why this is a family favorite!

 

 

Things to Do

 

The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Purple Rose Theatre Company Chelsea, Michigan

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

 

SculptureWalk

This self-guided walking tour takes you past 12 different sculptures throughout downtown Chelsea. For more information on the art, you can embark on a free, guided tour offered throughout the year from the main lobby of the Chelsea District Library! Follow the team on Facebook to see photos and get updates.

 

Robin Hills Farm

As one of the area’s popular agri-tourism options, Robin Hills Farm is much more than just a farm. This eco-destination and recreation farm offers workshop classes in art, home and garden, health and wellness, and cooking, community events, festivals, summer camps and more. Follow the team on Facebook for event and farm updates!

 

Historic Walking Tour

Recently named to the National Register of Historic Places, Chelsea’s charming downtown is filled with history, stories and architecture. If you want to enjoy a self-guided tour of the neighborhood’s historic places, maps are available at the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chelsea Historical Museum — which is a great place to start. Operated by Chelsea Area Historical Society, the Mial M. Boyd House is one of the oldest houses in Chelsea!

 

Chelsea Farmers Market

The Chelsea Farmers Market is a year-round destination for anyone who enjoy shopping locally and mingling with the community. With one market day during the winter and two during the summer, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to support our local growers, makers and producers!

 

TreeHouse

This indoor playground and cafe is a favorite amongst kids of all ages — and their parents! The 9,000 square foot location boasts a huge climbing and playing structure, five slides, a baby and toddler area, swinging bridges, basketball hoops and of course, a huge tree house!

 

 

Outdoor Recreation

 

Waterloo Recreation Area

As the largest park in the Lower Peninsula Waterloo Recreation Area includes more than 20,000 acres, two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. Needless to say, it’s an outdoor haven located just minutes from downtown.

 

Pinckney Recreation Area

Covering over 11,000 acres, Pinckney Recreation Area offers several lakes, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches, boat and canoe rentals, private liveries and stables. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, it’s a paradise for backpackers, mountain bikers and anglers. During the winter, their system of over 40 miles of trail can be used for cross-country skiing and even snowmobiling and ice fishing in designated areas!

 

 

Annual Events

 

Chelsea Painters Art Fair | June

For a full weekend each summer, the Chelsea Community Fairgrounds is taken over by jaw-dropping fine arts. A local tradition for almost half a decade, the Chelsea Painters Art Fair draws collectors and art connoisseurs from all over Michigan and even from neighboring states!

 

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights | June – August

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan events

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Festivals

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights is one of the most anticipated summer celebrations in the region. Each Thursday from early June through mid-August, musical acts from across various genres perform at 11 stage locations around downtown. Check out this year’s lineup here.

 

Sounds & Sights Festival | July

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.

 

Chelsea Community Fair | August

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.

 

Smoke & Ale Fall Festival | October

Smoke & Ale is a beer festival, BBQ cook-off and cornhole tournament all rolled into one. Featuring live music, local food vendors and a kids area as well, the event is family-friendly and costs just $5 for admission! Follow the team on Facebook for updates.

 

Hometown Holiday | December

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan events

Photo courtesy of Kate Zurenko Photography via Chelsea Festivals

A neighborhood tradition for more than 30 years, Hometown Holiday takes place over three days in December. The activities start with the ceremonial lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Pierce Park and continue with festive crafts and cookie decorating, visits from Santa, a parade, theatre shows, a historic home tour and so much more.

 

Chelsea Spring Expo | April  

Hosted by the Chelsea Senior Center, this annual expo includes more than 140 local vendors, a wildlife safari show, a student art show, a kid zone, a bake sale and so much more! Admission is free so mark your calendars every year for this community event.

 

Midwest Literary Walk | April

Now ten years old, this Chelsea District Library event invites community members, authors, readers and eaters to celebrate literature. Each event is within walking distance of the next so you don’t have to miss a minute of the action and education in downtown Chelsea!

 

 

Did you fall in love with Chelsea?

Things to do in Chelsea, Michigan

If you want to find your permanent home in Chelsea, Michigan, click here to see homes for sale in the area.

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The 14 Essential Wineries to Visit Near Ann Arbor

Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

You’ve heard of California wine country, but have you heard of Michigan wine country? We assure you, it exists and it is flourishing! In fact, different regions of the state have organized their own wine trails to highlight local wines. You can explore the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail near Grand Rapids, the Bay View Wine Trail in Northwest Michigan, the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail around Grand Traverse Bay, and the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail which goes right through our backyard.

We’re adding a few stops to the local winery itinerary by showcasing our favorite vineyards and tasting rooms near Ann Arbor. Each one is worth the sip — or bottle.

 

Black Fire Winery | Tecumseh

1261 E Munger Rd | Facebook

Black Fire Winery Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries

Photos courtesy of Black Fire Winery

Owner Michael Wells went from a Fire Department Lieutenant with a dream to an outstanding grape grower and winemaker. Today, his picturesque vineyard offers a cozy tasting room and a covered deck with a lineup of handcrafted wines, a menu of mouth-watering appetizers, and live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays!

 

Chateau Aeronautique Winery | Jackson + Onsted

Jackson + Onsted | Facebook

Chateau Aeronautique has two venues to taste their wines and attend special events. The original Airpark Tasting Room in Jackson features airplane decor, including paintings of vintage airplanes and a grass runway. The Irish Hills in Onsted sits on 26-acres of vineyard landscape and has a 1976 German glider wing for a bar top, vintage destination posters and airliner seats for seating. Both locations host private events, wine tastings and public celebrations! See the upcoming events here.

 

Burgdorf’s Winery | Haslett

5635 Shoeman Rd | Facebook

Burgdorf's Winery Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries

Photo courtesy of Burgdorf’s Winery

Deb and Dave Burgdorf have been making wine for over 30 years. Combined, they boast a Master of Science degree in Microbiology, a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, over 15 years of experience in fermentation, and 30 years of experience working with plants and conservation planning. This all results in award-winning fruit and grape wines which you can taste on-site at the gift shop and tasting room nestled on a 5-acre countryside estate.

 

Cherry Creek Winery | Brooklyn

11500 Silver Lake Hwy | Facebook

Nestled in the Irish Hills, this family-owned winery celebrates over 100 years of winemaking knowledge passed down through four generations. Inside the historic 1870 schoolhouse tasting room and seasonal café, you can sip award-winning grape wines, fruit wines and ciders, sample freshly made butter fudge, taste their Michigan Cherry Preserves, and more! Bring the whole family along for events, including holiday celebrations, dinners and pairings.

 

DeAngelis Cantina del Vino Winery | Ann Arbor

7879 Jackson Rd D | Facebook

Made right in the heart of Ann Arbor, De Angelis wines contain no added sulfites or preservatives — only grapes. Inside the Jackson Road winery, you can enjoy tastings and frequent live music shows. Follow the team on Facebook for updates on events and tastings.

 

Flying Otter Vineyard & Winery | Adrian

3402 Chase Rd | Facebook

Flying Otter Winery Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries

Photo courtesy of Flying Otter Vineyard & Winery

Though the work never stops inside the winery, the Flying Otter outdoor tasting room is only open seasonally. However, their charming atmosphere, live music events and award-winning wines have landed them multiple honors in the Daily Telegram’s Best of Lenawee competition: first place in the Best Winery category and second in Best Wine for 2017! They use cold climate hybrid wine grapes grown on the estate to create each of their must-try wines.

 

J. Trees Cellars Cidery & Winery | Tecumseh

703 E Chicago Blvd | Facebook

Located in the Historic Hayden-Ford Mill, J. Trees Cellars has created a cozy environment for tastings where they’ve paired their handcrafted beverages with a menu of cheese and meat platters and delicious sandwiches. Open for visits Friday through Sunday, you can stop in to sample their wines and ciders made from both estate-grown fruits and other fruits sourced from around the state.

 

Lone Oak Vineyard Estate | Grass Lake

8400 Ann Arbor Rd | Facebook

Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

Lone Oak is Southeast Michigan’s oldest and largest commercial vineyard. Over the years, they’ve developed 12 world-class European grape varieties which cover their picturesque 25-acre vineyard. Using these grapes, they craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and other outstanding European varietals — from dry to semi-dry and even dessert wines! In addition to chef’s wine dinners, special occasion concerts and annual celebrations, they host live music on the deck every Saturday from 2 – 5 p.m. with fresh baked bread, cheeses and other appetizers available for purchase.

 

Northville Winery and Brewing Company | Northville

630 Baseline Rd | Facebook

Thirty minutes outside of Ann Arbor in Northville, this winery and brewery experience is a must! The family-run business is a taphouse for their own wines, ciders and beers. And it functions as a music venue with shows from both local bands and solo musicians. Stop by on a Thursday evening to hear Dead at the Winery, a Grateful Dead Tribute Band, accompanied by some of the region’s best beverages.

 

Pentamere Winery | Tecumseh

131 E Chicago Blvd | Facebook

Pentamere Winery Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Pentamere Winery

This family-owned and operated winery is nestled in Downtown Tecumseh. They use grapes sourced from Michigan and the Great Lakes region to create wines in-house which means you can take a peek into the winemaking process and witness the beautiful transformation from grape to wine right in the tasting room. You can preview the wines and order online here, but we definitely recommend stopping in to visit this hyper-local spot!

 

Sandhill Crane Vineyards | Jackson + Dexter

Jackson + Dexter | Facebook

Sandhill Crane operates a year-round tasting room in Jackson and the Cider Mill Tasting Room in Dexter during apple season. Made in small batches right on the premises, the tasting lineup includes well-balanced acidic white wines, rich reds, flavorful fruit wines and delicious dessert wines. Upon visiting, you’ll soon find a second home at this casual, welcoming, family-friendly wine destination.

 

Sleeping Bear Winery at Grand River Brewery | Jackson

117 W Louis Glick Hwy | Facebook

This drinking destination and eatery is a must-visit in Jackson. Operating under the name Grand River Brewery, they feature a brewery, Sleeping Bear Winery, a craft distillery and a farm-to-table restaurant. There’s something for everyone to enjoy! In the brewery, they create beverages using only Michigan hops and Midwestern malted barley. In the winery, they showcase the same love for local by using locally grown grapes, as well as apples in their hard ciders.

 

Villa Del Vino Winery | Napoleon

10175 Austin Rd | Facebook

Southeast Michigan tasting rooms and wineries Ann Arbor

Owners and wine lovers Hermin Rahimi and Dan Harris have always dreamed of opening their own winery. Due to its rustic nature and proximity to the vineyards of Southwest Michigan, they chose Napoleon as the home of Villa Del Vino and have been building that home for years. Today, they have a developing vineyard of their own and also work with domestic wines out of California. Stop in the tasting room on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to taste the blends for yourself and learn more!

 

Vine2Wine Custom Winery | Northville

446 S Main St | Facebook

Owners and winemakers Mark and Sherrie Zucker found their passion for winemaking after they received a homemade bottle of wine as a gift. And today, Vine2Wine has been open for nearly two decades! Through the years, they’ve been crafting small batch wines made in the heart of Northville with the best juices sourced from around the world. 

 

Enjoy!

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