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

Tailgating Football Ann Arbor Michigan

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

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

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

Jump ahead:

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

Tailgating

The Most Popular Tailgating Areas

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

 

University of Michigan Golf Course

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

 

Ann Arbor Golf & Outing Club 

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

 

Blue Lot 

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

 

Pioneer High School

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

 

Brown Lot

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

 

Sports Bars

The Best Places to Watch on Screen 

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

 

The Pretzel Bell

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Pretzel Bell

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

 

Fraser’s Pub

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

 

Scorekeepers

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

 

Good Time Charley’s

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

 

Gear

What to Wear on Game Day 

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

 

The M Den 

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

 

Bo 

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

 

After

Where to Go After the Game

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

 

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

Tailgating football Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

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

 

Wolverine State Brewing Co.

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

 

Dominick’s 

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

 

Ashley’s 

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

 

 

Do you have a game day tip?

Share it in the comments below!

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Where to Get the Best Hard Cider in Michigan

Hard cider in Michigan

Though you can always enjoy a crisp, hard cider around here, Michigan’s apple season is August through October, which makes fall the ideal season for it. After all, it is a lovely combination of our passion for craft beer and our favorite autumn crop.

In this guide, we rounded up some of the state’s best hard cider makers, located near our home in Ann Arbor and farther out. Where available, we added links so you can find these beverages on tap, bottled or canned closer to home, wherever that may be. Happy sipping!

 

B. Nektar

Based in Ferndale

Founded by a fun-loving team in 2006, B. Nektar brings a modern, sub-pop culture-inspired twist to everything they create, from the mead that has made them famous to every cider and craft beer on their tap list. And we’re proud to say this little Michigan operation was the first meadery named to the top 100 best breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com! To find out where you can get bottles closer to home, click here.

 

Blake’s Hard Cider Co.

Based in Armada

The team behind Blake’s Hard Cider has been growing apple trees for more than 70 years. Today, they have 45,600 apple trees on their property in 42 different varieties and they use those backyard harvests to create more than 60 varieties of hard cider. Their tasting room has been named one of the best bars in America, but if you can’t make it to Armada, click here to locate Blake’s sold near you.

 

Bløm Meadworks

Based in Ann Arbor

Hard cider in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery located in the heart of Ann Arbor. 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. On the tap list, you’ll also find straight-up ciders, all carefully crafted with subtle, delicious tasting notes. To shop cans online, click here.

 

Cherry Creek

Based in Brooklyn

Nestled in the Irish Hills, this family-owned winery honors over 100 years of winemaking knowledge passed down through four generations. Inside their 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! To see their wine and cider list, which has included things like Cinnamon Ginger Cider and Root Beer Cider, click here.

 

Farmhaus Cider Co.

Based in Hudsonville

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Farmhaus Cider Co.

In 1866, Claus Behrens, an immigrant from Germany, purchased 200 acres in Hudsonville, built a farmhouse and planted an apple orchard. Decades later, two generations of the Behrens family, with the business owners’ family and friends, worked nights and weekends to restore the property and, in March 2015, Farmhaus Cider Co. celebrated their first canning run. Today, they operate the Farmhaus Cidergarten on site at the 150-year-old family farm and distribute throughout the state. Click here to find out where you can get it.

 

Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

Based in Northville

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Northville Winery & Brewing Co.

This hometown spot makes all their wine, hard cider and beer on-site and is open year-round with frequent live music events and a delectable calendar of local food trucks stopping by. To see what’s on tap and what events are coming up, check out the website here, and be sure to make a visit during the fall so you can visit Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill, too!

 

Sierra Rose

Based in Grand Rapids

Sierra Rose is a program of Grand Rapids’ Cascade Winery. Making everything in small batches, they start with 100% apples and ferment the cider at cold temperatures to maintain distinct, crisp flavors. Then, they use their history of innovation, skill and creativity to create flavors like Peach, Strawberry and Blueberry Hard Ciders.

 

St. Ambrose Cellars

Based in Beulah

The St. Ambrose story starts with 40 years of beekeeping and a passion for mead. Later, they dabbled in cider, then added beer and pizza, and now they’re one of the best craft beverage makers in the state. On-site, you’ll find a nine-hole disc golf course, a bocce ball court, yard games and a bee garden, but you can also find their beverages in stores across the country and shop their online store here. To track down St. Ambrose near you, click here.

 

St. Julian

Based in Paw Paw

St. Julian has been owned and operated by the same family for four generations, and through those generations, they’ve become Michigan’s most awarded and longest-running winery. They also use only Michigan fruit to create each distilled spirit, cider and wine in their lineup. To locate these award-winning products, click here.

 

Starcut Ciders

Based in Bellaire

Starcut Ciders comes from the famous, award-winning team behind Short’s Brewing Company. Founded in 2014, this project was born out of a desire to make unique ciders using Michigan’s abundant apple harvests, including apples from local farmers whose orchards are close to their home in Antrim county. To purchase nearby, click here.

 

Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Based in St. Johns

Hard cider in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Uncle John’s Cider Mill

Historically, Uncle John’s was a wholesale fruit and vegetable farm but has been transformed since the 1970s into a destination for family fun—especially during the fall when the cider mill is running and fresh donuts are being made! From May through December, you can also stop in the Uncle John’s Fruit House Cidery and Winery Tasting Room to taste wines, spirits, premium ciders, and hard cider in cans and on draft. Throughout the year, you can also shop cans in stores throughout the Great Lakes region.

 

Unity Vibration

Based in Ypsilanti

Dedicated to health, unity and community, this Ypsi favorite serves up kombucha tea, kombucha beer and a few kombucha cider hybrids. 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. To find their creations near you, click here.

 

Vander Mill

Based in Grand Rapids

A founding member of the Michigan Cider Association, Vander Mill started from humble beginnings in 2006 inside a small, 5,000-square-foot building. Today, they’ve grown to distribute their hard cider varieties throughout the Great Lakes region, but they still press only Michigan apples and even work with the Dietrich family apple farm located nearby in West Michigan. To locate their hard ciders closer to your home, click here.

 

Virtue Cider

Based in Fennville

Practicing traditional craftsmanship and sustainable methods, using the finest apples grown in orchards with just the right climate, and handpicking their apples and their barrels, the team behind Virtue Cider crafts proper farmhouse cider. Like the art of winemaking, they press local fruit, ferment the juice on site, age it in barrels, and continually taste to develop the perfect blends. You can get more information on finding their beverages locally here.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Whether it’s on our list or not, tell us about your favorite Michigan hard cider in the comments below!

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Your Guide to Kerrytown in Ann Arbor, Mapped

Kerrytown Ann Arbor Michigan

Kerrytown is a charming neighborhood located just a few blocks north of Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor. Centered around Kerrytown Market & Shops, the neighborhood is home to the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, the Jim Toy Community Center, annual events like Kerrytown KindleFest, beloved restaurants like Miss Kim and The Lunch Room, as well as tons of local shops and services. Outside of the main Kerrytown market, you’ll also find some of Ann Arbor’s most beloved institutions, including Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Aut Bar, Kerrytown Concert House and more—continuing all the way to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum at East Huron Street.

In this guide, we rounded up all there is to do and see in Kerrytown, including the attractions of Kerrytown Market & Shops and the surrounding neighborhood. We included features on more than 30 Ann Arbor businesses. Enjoy!

 

Jump Ahead: 

Food + Drink | Things to Do | Shopping

Space

Food + Drink

Food + Drink

 

Aut Bar 

Beloved as an LGBTQ institution, Aut Bar is one of the town’s most welcoming food and entertainment establishments. Famous for their classic bar atmosphere which includes trivia nights, drag shows and holiday-themed events, you’ll also find one of Ann Arbor’s best brunches served every Sunday. To stay up-to-date on brunch and other events happening at Aut, follow the team on Facebook here

 

The Bar at 327 Braun Court

This true neighborhood bar is the place to go when you want a creative cocktail and a comfortable setting. The drink list rotates with the seasons and includes three rotating taps from Original Gravity Brewing based in Milan. And if you get hungry, you’re in a great place for a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Paneer Poutine or Vegan Chili Fries. To see the full menu, click here

 

The Lunch Room

The Lunch Room Ann Arbor vegan restaurant

Photo courtesy of The Lunch Room

Often referred to simply as The Lunch Room, The Lunch Room Diner & Canteen is this team’s original location in Kerrytown. Other eateries from the team include Detroit Street Filling Station and The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe where all their bread is made from scratch.  Because only plant-based foods are served at The Lunch Room, you never have to worry about the presence of meat, dairy, eggs, honey or anything processed with animal products. As an added bonus, many of the ingredients are also organic and non-GMO, and many meals can be made gluten-free. 

 

Miss Kim

Though the name is different than other Zingerman’s businesses—it was chosen to showcase Korean tradition and honor the restaurant’s female chef—the service and quality at this restaurant is everything you’d expect from the Zingerman’s team. At Miss Kim, the authentic Korean dishes are driven by and adapted to showcase Michigan’s bountiful produce. Shareable small plates include things like Fresh Oysters and Pork Belly Bossam alongside medium and large entrée selections like Fried Calamari and Whole Lamb Shank.

 

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea 

Sweetwaters is well-known throughout Michigan and Ohio (and even as far as Walnut Creek, California!), but the humble coffeehouse began right here in Ann Arbor. Alumni of the University of Michigan, Wei and Lisa Bee founded the first Sweetwaters in 1993 in Downtown A2. Now, you can grab a globally inspired beverage or snack downtown, in Kerrytown, on the UM campus, at Westgate Library, in Canton and in Ypsi.

 

Teahaus  

Ann Arbor’s favorite tea spot, TeaHaus offers options suited for a quick stop or an entire afternoon. For example, the full English tea is a three-tiered service brought out to each table 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. 

The team also operates Eat More Tea, a Kerrytown business open by appointment, for reservations and for special order pickup where you can get tea-inspired treats, eats, gelato and more. 

 

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Kerrytown Ann Arbor Michigan

The first business that opened in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses was this historical deli opened in 1982 with a staff of two, a small selection of specialty foods, a variety of traditional Jewish dishes and a short, simple sandwich menu. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but you can now get corned beef, pastrami, turkey, chicken, pork, fish and vegetarian sandwiches, as well as breakfasts, salads, housemade Jewish specialty foods, handmade pot pies and more.

If that’s still not enough, you can go right next door to Next Door Café for cakes, pies, cupcakes, coffee, gelato, cookies, brownies, chocolates, candies and so much more! They opened this charming shop in 1991 to offer more space and more treats both from Zingerman’s businesses and from around the country.

 

Things to Do

Things to Do 

 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum 

Highlighted in 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is home to countless interactive exhibits where children and adults can get interactive and discover their inner scientist. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics.

 

Bellanina Day Spa

This award-winning day spa offers a full spectrum of healing day spa services, including massage, facials, organic spray tans, waxing and nail services in the heart of Kerrytown. They’ve even been voted the Best Day Spa in Washtenaw County every year since 2012 by Current Magazine’s Best of Washtenaw. 

 

Encore Studio 

Encore Studio is a woman-run business and the place to go for all your hair and nail needs. In their comfortable studio, you can get haircuts and styles, waxing and makeup application, manicure and pedicure services, and more. 

 

Grateful Dreads 

Grateful Dreads is a beloved and spiritual salon in Kerrytown. Owned and operated by Sandy, this team specializes in dreads and locs whether you need them put in, maintained or repaired. Sandy and her team can also do SoCap fusion extensions, style and cut curly hair, care for afros, thread eyebrows and more. 

 

Kerrytown Concert House 

An intimate, 110-seat venue, Kerrytown Concert House is a nonprofit organization focused on community engagement and providing audiences with fine art, including everything from live music to gallery exhibitions. Inside their historic home-turned-venue, you can attend affordable events in various genres; check out the event calendar here.

 

The Rope Yoga Collective 

Located in a quiet studio above the People’s Food Co-Op, The Rope Yoga Collective is run by a small, dedicated team of certified professionals with a passion for yoga. To view their full class schedule, click here.  

 

Shopping

Shopping  

 

16 Hands 

This Ann Arbor shop has been operating in town for more than four decades. When it began in 1975, it was an artist collective of eight artists exhibiting artwork by its members in a storefront on Washington Street. In 2011, the store relocated to Kerrytown Market & Shops, and the team still showcases and sells original, finely crafted objects of uncommon quality and character, including jewelry and accessories, unique gifts, and items for the home, office and garden. 

 

Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market 

things to do in ann arbor michigan

Ann Arbor has an outdoor farmers’ market that operates all year long, and it’s located right here in Kerrytown. The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market brings together our community, our local makers, our local growers and our local artisans for weekly events—and bi-weekly events during the summer! For the full schedule, vendor information and details about seasonal food truck rallies, click here

 

Ann Arbor Spice Merchants 

A branch of the national chain, Spice & Tea Merchants, this store sells the freshest, highest quality herbs and spices available alongside an inventory of locally produced products. In Kerrytown since 2007, they carry herbs, spices, more than 60 spice blends, a variety of sea salts and peppers, and more than 100 flavors of tea with tea accessories.

 

Catching Fireflies 

Catching Fireflies is a Michigan institution with locations in Berkley, Rochester and right here in Ann Arbor. In the whimsical gift gallery, you can shop gifts for every occasion and interest, including kitchen and home goods, accessories, fashion and stationery. 

 

Durham’s Tracklements 

At Durham’s Tracklements, they specialize in smoked salmon and other custom smoked provisions. So, when you stop by to pick up their delicious salmon, be sure to shop pickled herring, rainbow trout, pickled asparagus, smoked cheeses and more, too! Follow the team on Instagram for updates on specials! 

 

Everyday Wines 

This Kerrytown Market & Shops store is locally owned and totally independent. Owner Mary Campbell and her team work tirelessly to make wine an easy and affordable everyday pleasure, and their inventory is spotted with informative cards and tasting notes so you can choose the right bottle for you. Of course, if you want even more wine opinions, ask them! They’re some of Ann Arbor’s best wine pros. 

 

FOUND 

FOUND gallery Kerrytown Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of FOUND

Perfectly merging vintage and modern, FOUND offers a mix of home decor, pillows, rugs, textiles, candles, jewelry and gifts. And many of those goods are made right here in Michigan by local artisans! Their brick and mortar location is in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district, but you can also shop much of their inventory online here.

 

Fourth Ave Birkenstock 

Owned by Paul and Claire Tinkerhess, Fourth Ave Birkenstock is the place to go for comfortable and functional shoes. To read their story, click here

 

Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars 

The original Fustini’s in Traverse City was born from a love of the oil and vinegar stores of Europe and a desire to bring the experience stateside. Now, Jim Milligan and his team have four Michigan locations: Ann Arbor, Holland, Petoskey and the original in Traverse City. Swing by to shop an impressive selection of oils and vinegars alongside other foodie goods and gourmet selections. 

 

Hollander’s 

Owned and operated by Tom and Cindy Hollander since 1991, Hollander’s is a nationally recognized retailer specializing in decorative papers, bookbinding supplies and teaching workshops. Their retail store stocks more than 2,000 unique decorative papers, as well as traditional artist papers imported from all over the world.

 

Lily’s Garden 

This Kerrytown original has been providing fresh flowers and delivering joy for more than 35 years. Always family-owned and operated, you can find this bright and flower-filled storefront right next door to Zingerman’s Next Door! 

 

Monahan’s Seafood Market 

In 2019, Monahan’s Seafood Market celebrated 40 years of serving the Ann Arbor community and we’re so happy to have them. This world-class fish market is the only market in these parts that brings in the majority of their fish whole then cuts each one to your specifications. That makes their seafood the freshest and most delicious in town! 

 

Motte & Bailey Booksellers 

Motte & Bailey is a type of medieval Norman castle and the name of this local bookstore was chosen to reflect the team’s interest in books that concern all the various aspects of history. They opened their original storefront in 2000, moved into their current one in 2006, and have become notable in town for their huge inventory of books, their history-focused reading groups, and their great book deals. Speaking of which, you can take advantage of the “buy three and get a deal” offer every day. For more information, check out the website here.

 

Mudpuddles 

Mudpuddles is a specialty toy store filled with smart and creative toys and games for all ages. Local owners Jan and Sharon hand select every item in the store so you can rest assured that each one will be suitable for both education and fun. 

 

People’s Food Co-op

Kerrytown Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of People’s Food Co-op

Ann Arbor’s first natural foods grocery store, the People’s Food Co-op has been offering local, natural and organic options in every grocery department for more than 40 years. Open seven days a week, the co-op invites members and non-members to shop goods and enjoy healthy food and drink at their very own PFC Café. 

 

Sparrow Market 

An Ann Arbor tradition since opening their doors in 1983, this beloved butcher and market is the place to go for fresh cuts of meat. Their reviews are filled with phrases like, “This is my favorite place to shop” and, our favorite, “These people care about what you put in your mouth.” Next time you need grass-fed prime beef or duck bacon, check out Sparrow. 

 

Spun 

Spun Kerrytown Ann Arbor Michigan

Image courtesy of Spun

Spun is a local, family-owned yarn shop in Kerrytown where you can shop yarn and tools, learn at scheduled classes and ask questions at free, drop-in sessions. Their free social knitting and crochet sessions occur four different times per week and they host Ask-a-Knitter throughout the week, too. Regularly scheduled classes are more hands-on and intensive, covering topics like beginning crochet, crochet for knitters, introduction to lace and more. To see the full calendar, click here.

 

Title Nine 

Back in 1989, Founder Missy Park saw a need for athletic gear built for women, and Title Nine was born. Today, the team operates more than 15 stores throughout the country, and as of 2019, Michigan’s only retail store is right here in Kerrytown Market & Shops. Stop by to shop women’s outdoor and athletic apparel and gear with healthy doses of inspiration and motivation, too. 

 

The Treasure Mart 

The Treasure Mart was originally established in 1960 and is the place to go for antique finds and thrift store shopping. You can discover something new and beloved every time you stop by! 

 

Urban Rider Cargo Bikes 

Specializing in cargo bikes and electric cargo bikes, this Ann Arbor shop boasts the largest selection in the Midwest! In-store, you can shop for new and pre-owned bikes and learn all about how these vehicles help reduce global emissions and save time and money compared to cars. 

 

V2V 

This beautiful women’s fashion, lifestyle and bridal-blend boutique can be found in the heart of Kerrytown. With a focus on both elegance and simplicity, the locally owned shop is filled with fashion, accessories and everything you else you need to feel stylish and confident. 

 

 

Do you have a favorite?

If you have a favorite thing to do in Kerrytown, tell us about it in the comments below! 

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15 Free Things to Do in Ann Arbor

UMMNH free things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Our charming hometown is filled with art, history, educational opportunities and tons of fun. And, even if you’re on a tight budget, you can enjoy all of that and more—completely free of charge. Highlights in this guide include 1,588 total acres of park space, strange animal encounters, 1000 BCE Middle Eastern artifacts, prehistoric whales, outdoor concerts and ukulele parties! 

If you have a few more dollars available for entertainment, check out our other guide 14 Things to Do in Ann Arbor Under $20

 

Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

UMMA free things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Scott Soderberg, U-M Photography via University of Michigan Museum of Art

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.

 

Learn at Leslie Science & Nature Center.

This educational facility on the north side of Ann Arbor encourages sustainability, understanding and regular nature encounters. You can join the fun and visit the grounds, trails and raptor enclosures for free any day from sunrise to sunset. The Critter House is open on select days (which you can see here) and invites guests to observe frogs, turtles, snakes and other adorable and unusual animals. For more visiting information, click here

 

Explore Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the U-M campus. The botanical gardens include 11 outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more, and if you want to head inside, you can enjoy the year-round indoor conservatory filled with plants from around the world. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs.

Both the gardens and arboretum offer free admission, but if you decide to drive, you’ll have to pay $1.70 per hour for parking at Matthaei with a $5 daily maximum charge.

 

Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

UMMNH free things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian via University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The U-M Museum of Natural History story begins all the way back in 1837 when the university was created, but the first museum building wasn’t constructed until 1881. In April 2019, the museum celebrated its most recent grand reopening after a move into the brand new Biological Sciences Building, part of the U-M School of Literature, Sciences and the Arts. Today, the constantly expanding exhibits include interactive displays about mastodons and prehistoric whales, multimedia artwork, the evolution of life on Earth, space exploration, and more. You can even see the museum staff at work in the Fossil Prep Lab! For more information on your visit, click here. And remember, admission to the museum is free, but donations are always accepted.

 

Tour Chelsea Milling Company.

The home of JIFFY Mix and the industrial heart of Chelsea, tours of the Chelsea Milling Company are free and open to the public with a reservation. Your one-hour journey through the factory includes an inside look at the packaging plant, a video presentation, refreshments and a product sample. Yes, that means you get to enjoy a free muffin, too!

 

Attend Sonic Lunch

Video courtesy of Sonic Lunch

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

 

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 locations throughout town, including The Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ark, Nicola’s Books and more. Check out the locations here and see if you can track them all down!

 

Visit the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Located on the U-M campus, this museum supports teaching and research on Classical, Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeology. With a collection of more than 100,000 artifacts—1,500 of which are on permanent display—and two to three annual exhibitions, there’s plenty to explore and learn. Admission is always free, but a donation is also appreciated. 

 

Hear a recital at the Charles Baird Carillon

The Charles Baird Carillon is the third heaviest in the world and contains 53 bells cast in 1936 by the John Taylor & Co. Bellfoundry in Loughborough, England. The tower and carillon were originally dedicated in 1936 and got a complete renovation in 2011. Today, you can hear the bells chime throughout the day from 9:15 a.m. to 9 p.m., including a free, thirty-minute recital performed on the Charles Baird Carillon at noon every weekday when classes are in session. To get there, enter the belfry observation deck any time during the recital, take the elevator to the eighth floor, and climb two more flights of stairs to the belfry. For full information and dates, click here

 

Visit WSG Gallery

Located on Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor, WSG Gallery showcases original fine art including paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture. The team’s special exhibits change every six weeks and you can often attend free artist talks, receptions and other special events, too! To preview their current exhibit, click here, and follow the team on Facebook here

 

Attend an event with Ann Arbor District Library

The Ann Arbor District Library provides services at no charge to all residents living within the library service area, and residents outside the area can still access available services for a fee. In five different locations, these guests can access millions of items, print and digital research materials, computer and Internet training, free WiFi, library exhibits and regularly scheduled, fun events! These include things like Tea 101 with Arbor Teas, Family Writing Labs with 826michigan, film screenings, business workshops, and family-friendly ukulele parties! To see all the upcoming events, click here

 

Preview The Creature Conservancy

free things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

This local nonprofit is home to Al the Alligator, Quinn the Bald Eagle, Suzi the Macaw, Dumpie the Ball Python, Jerome the Argentine Tegu, Harper the Mountain Lion, and several other rescued animals. Their conservation through education mission allows our community to meet these animals, learn about wildlife and nature, attend educational programs and camps, and more. On weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can enjoy limited outdoor viewing for free, and if you want to get up close and personal, admission ranges from $8 to $10 on Saturdays and Sundays. 

 

Spend time at Buhr Park

A recreation destination throughout the year, Buhr Park’s 39 acres are home to softball diamonds, two tennis courts, playground equipment, a basketball court, open fields, a sledding hill, picnic facilities with a grill, an outdoor pool with a special family activity pool during the summer, and a seasonal ice rink. The park is also connected to Cobblestone Farm, a historic educational facility with a house on-site that was originally completed in 1845. Visiting and recreating in the park are always free of charge, but admission to the pool, ice rink and guided tours of Cobblestone Farm Museum cost a few dollars each. For more information on all three, click here

 

Bike to Hudson Mills Metropark

Although there is an annual or daily fee for vehicles, hikers, bikers and inline skaters can enter Hudson Mills Metropark for free using the trail system. The park is located in Dexter and covers a whopping 1,549 acres, including Huron River access, basketball and volleyball courts, softball diamonds, soccer fields, picnic shelters, a playground, and a 3-mile, paved loop trail for hiking and biking which connects to the nearly 5-mile West River Trail to Downtown Dexter.  

 

Visit the Gerald R. Ford Library

Located right here in Ann Arbor, the Gerald R. Ford Library is one of two Michigan facilities dedicated to Gerald R. Ford. The museum can be found in Grand Rapids. At the library, guests are invited to explore the massive collection of archival materials on U.S. domestic issues, foreign relations, and political affairs during the Cold War era, focusing on the Ford administration. Other attractions include a permanent exhibit on President Ford’s life, rotating exhibitions and frequent special events. 

 

What’s on your itinerary? 

If you have a favorite free activity in Ann Arbor, tell us about it in the comments below! 

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What to Do With Your Kids in Ann Arbor Before School Starts

things to do with the kids Ann Arbor summer

We can’t believe it either, but summer vacation is already winding down. Before we start buying supplies, prepping first day of school outfits, and planning carpools, there are a few more essential, kid-friendly things to do in Ann Arbor. In this guide, we rounded up the 10 things you and your kids need to do before school starts. 

For year-round, kid-friendly activities in the area, check out our other guide, 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

 

1. Don’t miss Sonic Lunch

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2019 concert series kicked off in June and continues through August 29th for a total of 11 shows. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here. August headliners include Michael Franti and Spearhead!

 

2. Attend YpsiFest

YpsiFest is a heritage, arts and entertainment festival in Ypsilanti that has been a beloved tradition for more than 35 years. This year’s event includes a kids’ area with bounce houses, pony rides, crafts and games, daily helicopter rides, a classic car show, a BBQ competition, the famous Rubber Ducky Race and more. For all the details, click here, and mark your calendars for August 23rd through the 25th. 

To find more events happening this August, including Ann Arbor Blues Festival, Dexter Daze and Saline’s Summerfest, click here. 

 

3. Attend a food truck rally at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is a favorite thing to do in town, and it continues all year long! During the summer and fall, you can add to the fun on the first Wednesday of every month when the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market hosts food truck rallies from 5 to 8 p.m. The last three rallies are coming up on August 7th, September 4th and October 2nd. For more information, click here

 

4. Spend the day at Rolling Hills Water Park

Rolling Hills County Park covers 439 acres and offers outdoor activities all year long. During the summer, one of our favorite attractions is Rolling Hills Water Park, a huge outdoor water park located on site. Attractions include a lazy river, a wave pool, a zero-depth entry activity pool and multiple water slides! 

To find more nearby swimming holes, check out The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer

 

5. Meet the animals at The Creature Conservancy

This local nonprofit is home to Al the Alligator, Quinn the Bald Eagle, Suzi the Macaw, Dumpie the Ball Python, Jerome the Argentine Tegu, Harper the Mountain Lion, and several other rescued animals. Their conservation through education mission allows our community to meet these animals, learn about wildlife and nature, attend educational programs and camps, and more. To visit, you can stop by Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. or from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays for limited outdoor viewing.

 

6. Kayak on the Huron River. 

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Some of the region’s most popular activities, kayaking and canoeing on the Huron River are accessible for all ages thanks to Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery. These City of Ann Arbor facilities offer boat rentals, guided river trips and even river programs designed for children as young as 2 years old! For information on all of the above, click here

And for even more details on kayaking in the area, check out The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor

 

7. Explore Waterloo Recreation Area.

Did you know the largest state park in the Lower Peninsula is located right in our backyard? Waterloo Recreation Area covers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise in Chelsea and offers everything from fishing and swimming to mountain biking and disc golf. To get the details on all the available activities, check out Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

 

8. Visit Ann Arbor’s best city parks. 

Argo Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains a whopping 159 parks and 15 park facilities. Their list includes neighborhood pocket parks, larger community parks, golf courses and huge, undeveloped nature areas that are open to explore. In our blog post, Your Summer Guide to Ann Arbor’s City Parks, Mapped, we rounded up the largest and the best—offering kayaking, picnicking, disc golf and dirt bike courses, playgrounds, hiking trails, tennis and basketball courts, softball fields and even dog parks! 

 

9. Visit Leslie Science & Nature Center

Leslie Science & Nature Center is an independent, nonprofit organization serving to connect our community with wildlife, nature and science. Their grounds, trails and raptor enclosures are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk and they also open the Critter House on select days and offer public programs, rentals, birthday parties, field trips and more. To see upcoming programs scheduled on-site, at local parks and at other venues, click here

 

10. Scream for ice cream. 

Ice cream is an all-season treat, but summer makes it taste even better. In our guide, The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, we rounded up the area’s best, including local favorites like Michigan Creamery and Blank Slate Creamery and even Go! Ice Cream in Ypsilanti. 

 

We hope you enjoyed your summer vacation!  

For more activities you can enjoy throughout the year, check out 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor

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10 Reasons Ann Arbor is a Great Place to Call Home

things to do in ann arbor michigan

In very brief summary, Ann Arbor is unlike any other town. The stories behind our beloved businesses, the legends driving our annual events, and quirky things like fairy doors and Hash Bash make our hometown one of the best places to live—and one of the most interesting, too.

Living here puts residents within driving distance of Detroit, minutes from the Lower Peninsula’s largest state park, a quick trip from the perfect vacation on Lake Michigan, along the route of the Huron River and in close proximity to Michigan’s best historic small towns. 

To get the short list of our favorite things about Ann Arbor, keep reading! 

 

1. It really is one of the best places to live.

If you already live here, you know. Ann Arbor is consistently ranked on lists of the country’s best cities to live, visit and go to school. Some of our favorites include College Ranker’s The 50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever, Livability’s 5 Great College Towns to Settle In Post-Graduation, and The Travel’s 10 US Destinations For Your Next Long Weekend Getaway.

 

2. It’s home to one of the country’s best universities.

University of Michigan Law School Ann Arbor Michigan

The University of Michigan is continually ranked amongst the best universities in the nation, and in the US News & World Report 2019 ranking of the best national universities, it makes the top 30. Boasting a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 30,000, UM offers students more than 1,500 organizations, more than 60 Greek chapters, and an impressive lineup of athletics for both athletes and fans.

Even locals who aren’t involved in the university can enjoy university facilities and programs like the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum and more. 

 

3. It’s a haven for coffee lovers.

coffee in ann arbor michigan

If you haven’t sampled A2’s coffee culture, you’re in for a treat. Our small city ranks with craft coffee giants like Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Our hometown has been named on The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America and Livability’s 10 Unexpectedly Awesome Coffee Cities. A quick trip to downtown Ann Arbor can include stops at Literati Coffee, RoosRoast, lab, Comet Coffee and Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea—all packed into a few blocks! 

To preview the local coffee scene, check out The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area. And read The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor to find a few shops that do their own roasting!

 

4. And for book lovers!

Ann Arbor’s history is rich with literature, books, bookstores and book-themed festivals. Before the nationwide bookstore Borders closed its doors for good, it was founded and headquartered right here in downtown Ann Arbor. Today, our city’s book-loving culture is alive and well through local, indie businesses like Literati Bookstore, Bookbound and Nicola’s Books. To track down even more places to shop, check out Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped. For events, clubs and more, check out The Book Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor

 

5. We love local. 

things to do in ann arbor michigan

Bookstores and coffee shops aren’t the only things that are indie and local around here. Ann Arbor also boasts tons of local craft breweries, local shops and eateries that were built right here and have become staples of our community. For example, Arbor Brewing Company was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. Learn more in Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area

Another national name that began right here is Zingerman’s, and though it is nationally recognized, this community of businesses has stayed right here in Ann Arbor and has grown to include the original deli, a coffee roaster, a bakery, a cheese and gelato shop, multiple restaurants, an event venue, and more. For the complete details, check out Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor

 

6. We have a year-round farmers’ market. 

things to do in ann arbor michigan

Speaking of loving local, Ann Arbor has an outdoor farmers’ market that operates all year long! At the heart of Kerrytown, the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market brings together our community, our local makers, our local growers and our local artisans for weekly events—and bi-weekly events during the summer! For the full schedule and information about seasonal food truck rallies, click here

 

7. There’s always something to do. 

We know in a suburban city like Ann Arbor, things can sometimes feel slow and quiet, but boring isn’t in our vocabulary around here. In addition to fun activities found in guides like 14 Things to Do in Ann Arbor Under $20, 10 Ann Arbor Date Ideas Perfect for Any Time of Year and 18 Things to Do with Kids in Ann Arbor, our community hosts tons of special events and festivals throughout the year. In our blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Ann Arbor, we highlighted more than 25! And that just covers the largest ones. To stay up-to-date on even more, check out Destination Ann Arbor here

 

8. It offers urban amenities and rural adventure.

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor offers the fun of a college town, the amenities of a city, and the open space of a charming, rural town. It’s the urban center of Washtenaw County and is less than an hour from Detroit, but also offers proximity to the huge Waterloo State Recreation Area and Pinckney Recreation Area near Chelsea and Dexter. For outdoor fun both in town and outside of it, check out 8 Things to Do in the Ann Arbor Area for Outdoor Enthusiasts, The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor, Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area and Your Summer Guide to Ann Arbor’s City Parks, Mapped

 

9. It’s an affordable place to live. 

Home to a variety of industries and an award-winning university, Ann Arbor is a great place to live, work and invest. According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Ann Arbor is $61,247 which is higher than both Michigan and the United States. And, widening the range to the entirety of Washtenaw County, the median household income jumps to $65,618.

Looking to housing, the median value of owned homes is $271,600 and median gross rent is $1,166. Measured with the median household numbers we discussed, Ann Arbor is one of the country’s more affordable places to live—especially when compared to popular urban areas across the country. If you want to find homes on the market right now, click here to view the area’s newest listings. And to get more economic and social statistics like this, check out our other guide 10 Reasons to Stay in Ann Arbor After Graduation.

 

10. It’s surrounded by more small towns we love. 

Things to do in Saline, Michigan

Living in Ann Arbor puts you within reach of some of our state’s most charming small towns. These quieter and historic communities—like Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Saline and Ypsilanti—are home to some of Michigan’s best hidden gems, from entertainment at The Purple Rose Theatre Company to coffee and beer at Cultivate. To begin your explorations of these communities, we recommend the following guides: Your Ultimate Guide to Chelsea, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Dexter, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Milan, Michigan, Your Ultimate Guide to Saline, Michigan and Your Ultimate Guide to Ypsilanti, Michigan

 

That was our short list. 

For even more reasons to love Ann Arbor, including the college culture, economic statistics and housing information, check out 10 Reasons We’re Lucky to Live in Ann Arbor, 10 Reasons Ann Arbor is the Best College Town in America and 10 Reasons to Stay in Ann Arbor After Graduation.

And to stay up-to-date on local events, things to do, favorite businesses and regional real estate, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram

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15 Fun Things to Do in Ann Arbor When You’re Not Drinking

things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor is both a college town and a great craft beer town, which means you’ll find tons of things to do when you’re looking for craft cocktails, beer gardens, taprooms, late night bars and the like. But if you’re worried you won’t be able to find anything to do outside of bar hopping and brewery crawling, there’s no need—our hometown also offers an impressive lineup of fun things to do, shows to see, classes to take, places to shop, and more. There’s even one spot on this guide serving up incredible mocktails! 

Next time you’re looking for something to do in Ann Arbor without the booze, stop by one of these local favorites for art, music, shopping, movies, food, games, tours, tea, coffee and ice cream.

 

Take a class at Ann Arbor Art Center

Ann Arbor Art Center dates in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Located in downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their educational experiences are available for all ages and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing. Depending on how deep you want to delve, you can choose a class that lasts just a few hours, a full day or four weeks. To see upcoming topics and classes, click here.

 

Go to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market

things to do in ann arbor michigan

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is open year-round on Saturdays, and during the summer, you can enjoy it twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays! From May through October, they also host six food truck rallies scheduled on the first Wednesday of the month. It’s a great place to get a sense for our Ann Arbor community and to get a little local shopping done.

 

See a show at The Ark.

The Ark Ann Arbor music venues

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Patselas via The Ark

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

 

Dine and drink at Aventura

Aventura mocktails in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Claire Lindsey, Aventura

Aventura is a charming spot in downtown Ann Arbor that offers authentic Spanish cuisine and culture, including tapas, paella, vino and artisan cocktails. Inspired by the old-world atmosphere and the historical nature of the building itself, the eatery merges Ann Arbor history with modern Spanish influence. Also on the menu, you’ll find an impressive selection of crafted mocktails like Sangria Falsa, which is made with pomegranate, Earl Grey tea, cinnamon and citrus. To see the full menu, click here.

 

Tour with By the Sidewalk Food Tours

Founded right here in Ann Arbor and inspired by our hometown neighborhoods, chefs, businesses and history, By the Sidewalk Food Tours explores all of that and more. The Classic Ann Arbor By The Sidewalk tour is a three hour, guided walking tour through downtown Ann Arbor and Kerrytown that pairs food tastings with history, art, architecture and local stories.

 

Go out for coffee. 

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to explore Ann Arbor’s coffee scene, you’re definitely missing out. In fact, our hometown has been named on The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Lovers in America and National Geographic’s guide These Unexpected Cities Have the Best Coffee in the U.S. To explore the most up-to-date happenings on the coffee scene, check out Coffee Ann Arbor on Facebook and Instagram.

You can also preview the coffee scene with our guide The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area. And check out The Best Coffee Roasters Around Ann Arbor to find a few shops that do their own roasting!

 

Escape from Decode

As Michigan’s top escape game, Decode offers some of the most interesting and complex escape rooms in the state—and they have facilities in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit! In Ann Arbor, their facility offers a three-part adventure called Minerva’s Trilogy. The story is about Minerva, an adolescent Artificial Intelligence machine with lofty goals. The Minerva Project and Minerva’s Return are the first and last parts, both one-hour escape rooms. And the second part, Minerva’s Escape, is a free puzzle hunt through downtown Ann Arbor.

 

Get ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery.

ice cream in ann arbor michigan

Photo courtesy of Andrew Jager via Blank Slate Creamery

Locally owned and operated, the ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery is homemade using fresh, all-natural ingredients, which has landed them on numerous rankings as the top ice cream in Ann Arbor and even throughout the state of Michigan. You can see a list of several of their locally-sourced ingredients on their website, which includes milk and cream from Guernsey Farms Dairy in Northville.

To find even more ice cream in the area, check out The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

Catch a movie at Michigan Theater.

The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball—and we’re so glad it was. Founded in 1928, the theater is now home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. Check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here. Or, head over to the historic State Theatre for even more movies and shows!

 

Play at Pinball Pete’s

Pinball Pete’s opened its doors more than 30 years ago and has since become the Ann Arbor destination for arcade fun. You can spend your quarters along the entire wall of pinball machines, play video games, and challenge your friends to a game of pool or air hockey!

 

Share tea at TeaHaus

Ann Arbor’s favorite tea spot, TeaHaus offers options suited for a quick stop or an entire afternoon. For example, the full English tea is a three-tiered service brought out to each table 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. 

 

Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Natural History fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian via University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The U-M Museum of Natural History story begins all the way back in 1837 when the university was created, but the first museum building wasn’t constructed until 1881. In April 2019, the museum celebrated its most recent grand reopening after a move into the brand new Biological Sciences Building, part of the U-M School of Literature, Sciences and the Arts. Today, the constantly expanding exhibits include interactive displays about mastodons and prehistoric whales, multimedia artwork, the evolution of life on Earth, space exploration, and more. You can even see the museum staff at work in the Fossil Prep Lab! For more information on your visit, click here. And remember, admission to the museum is free, but donations are always accepted.

 

Visit 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 on campus than just people watch in The Diag. For example, 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 donation is also appreciated. Get full details and plan your visit here.

 

Head to Waterloo State Recreation Area. 

things to do in Waterloo Recreation Area Chelsea Michigan

Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula! It offers more than 20,000 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor in Chelsea, including campgrounds, mountain biking opportunities, more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boating and fishing, horseback riding, and more. To learn more, check out Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area

 

Take a class with Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. Here, you can learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in categories like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. To see the full schedule and reserve your spot online, click here.

 

Do you have a local tip? 

If you have a favorite thing to do in Ann Arbor when you’re not drinking, tell us about it in the comments below!

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Classes for Kids in the Ann Arbor Area: Dance, art, music, food + more

Ann Arbor classes for kids

When it comes to creativity, motor skills, confidence and social skills, education starts early and often happens both inside and outside the standard classroom. Here in Ann Arbor, it’s easy for your kids to continue the education and the fun with hands-on classes and workshops in yoga, painting, sculpture, stop-motion animation, building, gymnastics, hip-hop dancing, playing in a rock band, cake decorating and more. Seriously, you’ll find all of those things in this guide.

We rounded up a handful of the best places for kid-focused classes in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area. These local businesses provide one-time workshops, week-long camps, weekly classes and more, so keep reading to find the perfect fit for you and your family.

For adult classes and workshops, check out our other guide, 13 Ann Arbor Area Classes Where You Can Learn A New Skill.  

 

Ann Arbor Art Center

Art | Facebook

Ann Arbor Art Center classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Art Center

Located in Downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Art Center is our local headquarters for enjoying art exhibition, connecting with local artists, and learning new art skills. Their education experiences are available for all ages, and topics cover everything from painting and ceramics to jewelry making and metalsmithing! Kid-focused classes are available for youth and teens as well as for families so parents can join in, too! The center also offers Art Camps during winter, spring and summer breaks to keep the creativity going while school is out. To see all the options, click here.

 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Art | Facebook

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum specializes in interactive exhibits with the goal of helping both children and adults discover the scientist within them. Visiting the museum any day of the week means you can explore exhibits like Michigan Nature, Lyons Country Store, MediaWorks, and DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics. But, if you sign up for a workshop, your kids can continue their educational explorations even further! These events cover a variety of science concepts—from stop-motion animation to computer programming and engineering—through hands-on activities, interactive demos and experiments in a small group setting. To see the upcoming workshops, check out the event calendar here.

 

Ann Arbor Saline Music Center

Music | Facebook

With locations in Ann Arbor and Saline, this music center offers excellent education in music and instruments of all kinds. In addition to standard private music lessons, they also offer summer camps and band classes. Unique to the Ann Arbor Saline Music Center, Rock Band School assigns every student to a band and brings that band together for weekly rehearsal so students can get hands-on experience in all the necessary aspects of playing in a band.

 

Arts in Motion

Dance | Facebook

Arts in Motion Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Vera Davis Photography via Arts in Motion

The respectful and energetic environment at Arts in Motion is the perfect environment to grow confidence, have fun and be creative. Their team has created specially designed classes accessible to all ages and ability levels so adults, teens and kids can all learn to love dance while understanding the theory and history, too. Some of their most popular classes include Toddler Toodaloo and Dance Stories for young children, Hip-Hop for school-aged children, and even Ballroom for teens and adults!

 

Bricks 4 Kidz

STEM | Facebook

Much more unique than your typical art classes, the programming at Bricks 4 Kidz combines our love for LEGO® Bricks with hands-on, educational play. Designed specifically for children, these classes also explore an aspect of science, technology, engineering or math to continue STEM education outside of the classroom. To view their current class calendar and register online, click here.

 

Clay Work Studio

Art | Facebook

Clay Work Studio is an outstanding teaching studio where both kids and adults can get hands on with clay and practice their creativity. Their team hosts classes and workshops for all ages and skill sets, including Youth Class suitable for children ages 5 to 12. These weekly classes introduce basic building techniques through playful projects like whistles, cups and plates, vases and more. To learn more about available classes, click here.

 

Flipside Art Studio

Art | Facebook

The team at Flipside Art Studio takes a casual and fun approach to art instruction based on the belief that art should be transformative and freeing, rather than strict and formal. Through their programs with Dexter Public Schools and Ann Arbor Rec and Ed, they offer classes, events, camps and workshops for kids. To stay up-to-date on the most recent offerings, check out the website here.

 

Gym America

Fitness | Facebook

Gym America Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Gym America

Gym America is the Ann Arbor area’s premier Olympic-style gymnastics school. Founded in 1979, the school provides quality instruction for every age and level—from preschoolers to recreational gymnasts to USAG national and international competitors. Education includes gymnastics for boys and girls, fun preschool classes, dance classes, and even the unique Minds in Balance option, which combines Montessori and gymnastics instruction for healthy minds and healthy bodies.

 

Michigan Academy of Dance & Music

Dance | Facebook

At Michigan Academy of Dance & Music, the team understands the creative and educational aspects of dance as well as the possibility for their classes to teach confidence, respect and social skills. To make things easy for parents, they even offer open enrollment throughout the entire year, and classes are available for kids 1 year old through youth and teen years. They even offer adult classes if you want to learn some moves. To peruse all the options, click here.

 

Peachy Fitness

Fitness | Facebook

This locally owned and operated yoga, dance and fitness studio offers specialized classes for kids. Their huge lineup of options includes Kids Zumba, Toddler Yoga, Tween Yoga and even Family Yoga so you can all workout and unwind together. To explore all the options and find out when you can sign up, check out their website here.

 

Talking Colors Art School

Art

Talking Colors Art School was founded in 1993 right here in Ann Arbor to provide art education to all ages and all experience levels. The team’s informal, multi-day classes are kept small so they can provide individual help and instruction, and you can choose topics in painting, drawing and even mosaic sculpture! To see their full calendar of classes, click here.

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Food | Facebook

Zingerman's Ann Arbor classes for kids

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you can learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing. Classes are open to the public in topics like pizza making, donut frying, flour grinding, soft pretzel creation and more. Their specially designed Kids Camp Classes are drop-off classes providing hands-on instruction in valuable kitchen skills from baking to dinner making to cake decorating! Click here to see what’s coming up.

 

Do you have a favorite kids class in the area?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 12 Essential Michigan Getaways on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Hotels Resorts in Michigan

The only Great Lake entirely located within the United States, Lake Michigan is one of the best choices for summer vacations, weekend getaways, family retreats and romantic escapes, no matter where you live. Along our Michigan shoreline, the water offers picturesque beaches and year-round fun all the way from New Buffalo up to the Straits of Mackinac.

And in this guide, we’re sharing a few of our favorite places to stay along that entire shoreline with highlights from the shores of Torch Lake and Traverse Bay, too. Enjoy!

 

Marina Grand Resort

New Buffalo | Facebook

Located on the New Buffalo harbor just 70 miles from Chicago and within walking distance of a stunning Lake Michigan beach, Marina Grand is one of the top resorts in Michigan. Overnight stays are available in king and double queen rooms, suites and lofts, and every option includes waterfront views and luxurious fireplaces. As guests of the resort, you’ll also have access to evening s’mores in the Terrace Room, Ben & Jerry’s delivery, rentals from Oleska Marina, indoor and outdoor pools, beach cruiser rentals, a game room, a DVD library and more.

 

The Harbor Grand Hotel

New Buffalo | Facebook

From the same hospitality group behind Marina Grand Resort, The Harbor Grand Hotel offers a boutique hotel experience on the harbor within walking distance of a stunning beach and Downtown New Buffalo. The personalized service at this cozy hotel can include breakfast in bed and rooms with fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, spa showers and harbor views. To see a list of all the amenities, click here.

 

Buzz’s Lakeside Inn

Whitehall | Facebook

Located on 365 feet of beautiful White Lake shoreline and just minutes from Lake Michigan beaches, Buzz’s Lakeside Inn is a family resort with a history reaching all the way back to the late 1800s. On site, guests can enjoy an outdoor garden and pool, live music performances, dining at Buzz’s Lakeside Inn Restaurant, water sports facilities, a playground and tennis court, a bar and restaurant, and more.

 

Lake Bluff Inn & Suites

South Haven | Facebook

Located right on the shore of Lake Michigan and just two miles from Downtown South Haven, Lake Bluff Inn & Suites is a stunning getaway suitable for family vacations, romantic escapes and quiet retreats. The luxurious suites come in a variety of options and all include a refrigerator and microwave, a coffee maker, air conditioning and access to panoramic views of the waterfront.

 

The Homestead

Glen Arbor | Facebook

A top resort for romantic getaways, family vacations, weddings, family reunions and even corporate meetings, The Homestead is a distinctive, four-season resort on Lake Michigan. Overnight options include charming rooms at The Inn, one- and two-bedroom suites at Stony Brook Lodge, suites in the romantic Little Belle, and beautiful cottage rooms at Fiddler’s Pond.

 

Bayshore Resort

Traverse City | Facebook

Lake Michigan Hotels Resorts in Michigan

Photo courtesy of Bayshore Resort

This Victorian hotel is nestled on the beach of West Grand Traverse Bay just minutes from Downtown Traverse City. On site, guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, complimentary internet, an indoor pool and whirlpool, a game room, jet ski and boat rentals, and more. To view all the available rooms, click here.

 

Double JJ Resort

Rothbury | Facebook

If you want a vacation where you can ride a horse, play a round of mini golf and slide down a waterslide all in the same day, choose Double JJ Resort. This family-friendly resort is home to Mystical Forest Mini Golf, Gold Rush Waterpark and stables where you can participate in cattle drives, take riding lessons, and embark on horseback adventures to explore 1,200 acres and miles of trail. And that’s just the short list of things to do! To view the accommodations, which include hotel rooms, condos and log cabins, click here.

 

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Traverse City | Facebook

Encompassing 900 acres, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa boasts three championship golf courses, five indoor and four outdoor tennis courts, four different pools, a 100,000-square-foot Health Club with classes, boat and Slingshot rentals, the Orvis Fly Fishing School, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals, and more—all on-site! With six different overnight accommodation options, you can tailor every stay for the perfect vacation every time.

 

Inn at Bay Harbor

Bay Harbor | Facebook

This Marriott hotel is a world-class resort located on the shores of Lake Michigan and has been named one of the best hotels in the world. Built in the style of Northern Michigan’s turn-of-the-century lakeside inns, modern amenities include on-site dining from four different cafes, bars and restaurants, a full-service spa, a 24-hour fitness facility, an outdoor pool and much more.

 

Tamarack Lodge of Traverse City

Traverse City | Facebook

Nestled on 800 feet of sparkling blue Lake Michigan shoreline, Tamarack Lodge is one of the top-rated resorts on the Traverse City waterfront. In addition to year-round features like free WiFi, complimentary coffee and tea, and game tables, the lodge offers a beach swimming area, beach firepits and outdoor games, a dock, a playground, a volleyball court and even more in the summer months.

 

Great Wolf Lodge

Traverse City | Facebook

This Traverse City resort is one of nearly 20 award-winning Great Wolf Resorts located across the United States and Canada. At this location, your Michigan getaway is made even better with a huge indoor and outdoor water park with more than 15 different attractions in addition to Howl in One Mini Golf and Ten Paw Alley which offers kid-sized bowling. Included with every room purchase, guests receive water park passes and access to the park on the day of arrival, unlimited WiFi, special kids’ activities and more.

 

Shanty Creek Resort

Bellaire | Facebook

Staying at Shanty Creek Resort means you can ski in the winter, golf on four different championship courses, enjoy year-round resort attractions, partake in world-class dining on site, and more. Located a short drive from Lake Michigan, the huge resort boasts more than 400 lodging options across 5,000 acres adjacent to Torch Lake. These accommodations include custom packages, three distinct villages, hotel rooms and even vacation homes. To see all the options, click here.

 

Do you have a favorite?

If you have a favorite Lake Michigan getaway, tell us about it in the comments below!

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The List to Send Your Friends When They Ask What to Do in Ann Arbor

Kerrytown fun things to do in Ann Arbor

So, you have friends or family coming into town and you’ve suddenly forgotten everything there is to do in Ann Arbor. We’ve all been there. But luckily, there’s plenty to do in our charming little town. And with this guide, you now have a curated list to send that covers student culture, local food, townie favorites, educational experiences, music, film and books, outdoor exploration, craft beer and more.

Other helpful guides include Where to Take Out of Town Guests in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Spending a Day in Downtown Ann Arbor, Mapped. Enjoy!

 

1. Go shopping in Kerrytown.

Kerrytown is a charming market district located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. Here, you’ll find the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, other annual events like Kerrytown KindleFest, beloved restaurants like Miss Kim and The Lunch Room, as well as local shops 16 Hands, Ann Arbor Spice Merchants, Spun and more.

 

2. Get ice cream at Washtenaw Dairy.

This landmark shop has the biggest cones in town at the lowest prices, and they also serve up homemade donuts and donut minis! With more than 30 ice cream flavors, hand-dipped shakes and malts, everyone can find a cold, refreshing treat to enjoy. Follow the team on Instagram and get ready to drool.

To track down more local ice cream, check out The 10 Best Places for Ice Cream in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

3. Visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

Museum of Natural History fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian via University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The U-M Museum of Natural History story begins all the way back in 1837 when the university was created, but the first museum building wasn’t constructed until 1881. In April 2019, the museum celebrated its most recent grand reopening after a move into the brand new Biological Sciences Building, part of the U-M School of Literature, Sciences and the Arts. Today, the constantly expanding exhibits include interactive displays about mastodons and prehistoric whales, multimedia artwork, the evolution of life on Earth, space exploration and more. You can even see the museum staff at work in the Fossil Prep Lab! For more information on your visit, click here. And remember, admission to the museum is free, but donations are always accepted.

 

4. See a show at The Ark.

The Ark is Ann Arbor’s destination for live music and has been since it was founded in 1965 by four area churches. Today, the venue offers more than 300 nights of shows each year in one of the best listening rooms anywhere. In the past, they’ve brought huge acts like Howie Day, Blind Pilot and the Violent Femmes to town! See all their upcoming events here.

And for even more music-centric activities, check out The Music Lover’s Guide to Ann Arbor.

 

5. Catch a movie at The Michigan Theater.

The Michigan Theater Foundation was founded in 1979 to save the Michigan Theater from the wrecking ball—and we’re so glad it was. Originally founded in 1928, the theater is now home to three screening spaces for independent movies, concerts, comedy shows, national tours and more. You can check out the current films here and peruse the special event schedule here. Or, head over to the historic State Theatre for even more movies and shows!

 

6. Eat at Fleetwood Diner.

Fleetwood Diner is the home of late night eats in Ann Arbor. You can get their entire menu of diner classics 24 hours a day, and that lineup includes omelets, pancakes, egg dishes and, of course, the famous hippie hash, which is a plate of homemade hash browns topped with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom, broccoli and feta cheese.

 

7. Sip beer at Bill’s Beer Garden.

Bill's Beer Garden fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Bill’s Beer Garden

Open seasonally March through October, Bill’s Beer Garden is a community gathering place that offers an impressive lineup of Michigan, domestic and imported craft beers and wines. Located right next door to Downtown Home & Garden, the outdoor beer garden has long, communal tables and shaded areas for gathering with friends. Follow the team on Instagram here to get updates on weather closures and special events.

And if you’re visiting outside of the Bill’s Beer Garden season, check out Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area to learn more about our town’s best craft breweries.

 

8. Type on the typewriter at Literati Bookstore.

Literati Bookstore fun things to do in Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Literati Bookstore

Literati Bookstore is a locally owned and operated book-lovers’ haven in downtown Ann Arbor. On the store’s lower level, you’ll find the bookstore and the team’s famous public typewriter which invites anyone and everyone to type a message. Over the years, they’ve 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 to shop local for books, type your own notes on the Literati public typewriter, then head upstairs to visit Literati Coffee, a full-service coffee shop.  

If you need more books during your visit, check out Your Guide to Ann Arbor’s Independent Bookstores, Mapped.

 

9. Order sangria at Dominick’s.

Dominick’s is famous for their potent sangria, their Italian-inspired eats and, of course, their patio! Since opening in 1960, this locally owned spot has been the go-to for locals, students, families, you name it! Swing by the patio on a sunny summer day and you’ll quickly find out why.

 

10. Get a sandwich at Zingerman’s Deli.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen was the first business to open in what is now the famous Zingerman’s Company of Businesses, and it opened all the way back in 1982 with a staff of just two people. Today, the deli is still located in the small, red brick building across from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, but the menu and the staff have grown astronomically. That menu features some of the best sandwiches you can get in the state of Michigan alongside other creations—some of which are made at the other Zingerman’s businesses around town. Right next door to the deli, you’ll find Next Door Dessert & Coffee House where you can order cakes, pies, cupcakes, gelato, cookies, brownies, chocolates, candies and more.

To track down all the Zingerman’s businesses in the area (including bakeries, coffee roasters, creameries and restaurants), check Your Guide to 14 Zingerman’s Businesses in Ann Arbor.

 

11. Go kayaking on the Huron River.

Gallup Park guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor Michigan

If you visited Ann Arbor and you didn’t see the Huron River, did you even visit Ann Arbor? Well, maybe, because this picturesque river is pretty hard to miss. One of the area’s favorite outdoor activities is kayaking and canoeing on the water and resources like the Gallup Park Livery and Argo Park Livery make it easy to do. For full details on where to go and what you need, you can read The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Ann Arbor.

 

12. Explore 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 on campus than just people watch in The Diag. For example, 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.

 

13. Visit Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental gardens located on the U-M campus. The botanical gardens include 11 outdoor spaces full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more which bloom seasonally from spring to the first frost. During the colder months, you can head inside to the year-round conservatory which is filled with plants from around the world.

The second area, 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 originally started by O. C. Simonds in 1907. To see visiting information on both the gardens and the arboretum, click here.

 

14. Go to the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market.

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is open year-round on Saturdays, and during the summer, you can enjoy it twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays! From May through October, they also host six food truck rallies scheduled on the first Wednesday of the month. It’s a great place to get a sense for our Ann Arbor community and to get a little local shopping done.

 

15. Spend a day in Ypsilanti.

Located directly southeast of Ann Arbor along the Huron River, Ypsilanti represents some of Michigan’s best and most interesting hidden gems, including dining destinations, outdoor recreation, historic attractions, craft breweries and events. To begin your exploration of this charming community, check out Your Ultimate Guide to Ypsilanti, Michigan.

 

Want to add something to the itinerary?

Tell us about your essential Ann Arbor activities in the comments below!

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