The weather is warming up, the flowers are getting ready to bloom, and everything looks just a little more bright and colorful. Spring is in full swing in Ann Arbor, and while we’re tackling our latest spring cleaning chores and getting some sun on our faces, we’re also looking forward to exploring our town during this gorgeous season.
From kayaking to farmers’ markets and socially distanced patio dining, there is so much going on in the area. So put a little spring in your step with this seasonal bucket list!
Shop at a Local Farmers’ Market
Here in Ann Arbor, you can shop the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market year-round on Saturdays. But beginning in May, market hours get longer and you can shop two days a week—Wednesday and Saturday. Currently, they are also offering preorders and curbside pickup, if you’d rather shop the market from the comfort of home!
Visit a Food Truck
In addition to the longer farmers’ market hours—monthly Food Truck Rallies may return this season, too! These community events bring together some of Michigan’s best food trucks once a month from May through October for a full evening of fun in Kerrytown. The farmers’ market is still taking COVID-19 into consideration and may postpone Food Truck Rallies indefinitely. Regardless, they will still have a few food trucks every week! Click here for more information.
Explore a Botanical Garden
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the UM campus. The botanical gardens include 11 outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. Together, they provide trails, lawns and stunning gardens—especially stunning during full bloom in the spring.
Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities have developed along the banks of the Huron River amid 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.
Some of the best places to get on the river can be found in Argo Park and Gallup Park, which are connected by the Huron River and home to the Argo Canoe Livery and the Gallup Park Canoe Livery, respectively. Want to learn more? We have a complete guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor!
Grab a Seat on the Patio
Photo courtesy of Bill’s Beer Garden
Our Ann Arbor community certainly loves being outdoors—whether we’re lounging in a park, exploring a nearby trail or simply enjoying a meal under the sun. And there are plenty of places to do all three. When you’re looking for a socially distanced meal on a patio, check out The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor. Our guide includes local businesses like Bill’s Beer Garden, a beer garden and community gathering space that’s open seasonally from March through October, and Dominick’s, a local legend famous for potent sangria, Italian-inspired eats and outdoor seating.
Apply for a Plot in the Community Garden
Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers’ markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens. In fact, we have an entire list of the best—from Project Grow, which has over 20 sites around A2 to the Chelsea Community Garden. You can find our full guide here, which will show you the best spots and exactly how to apply for your own plot!
Explore our Local Parks
City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation maintains a whopping 159 parks and 15 park facilities and spring is a fantastic time to explore them all! The 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, 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!
Sign up for a CSA Program
Community Supported Agriculture—or CSA programs—are an excellent way to get local meat, veggies, fruit and/or eggs directly from a local farmer. These programs invite the community to invest in a local farm for the season and those paying members get to enjoy the annual harvest however abundant it may be. Typically, you pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the season. Then, you get to be a part of the farm community and enjoy a portion of the harvest every week! We even have a list of our favorites. Click here to learn Where to Get Fresh, Local Produce in Ann Arbor During the Pandemic.
Go on a Self-Guided Brewery Tour
We certainly have no shortage of craft breweries here in Ann Arbor. And there’s no better time to take yourself on a self-guided brewery tour, hitting all the above spots and even more. Luckily, we happen to have a guide for that, too! Please make sure to visit each brewery’s respective website to note their current COVID-19 policies. And don’t forget to wear a mask and social distance while brewery hopping!
Take a Spontaneous Road Trip
Ann Arbor is our favorite place in the entire country and we’re definitely not shy about sharing that, but we all need a little vacation now and again. We think our region’s proximity to some of the country’s and the continent’s most famous landmarks and attractions makes it even better. We’re just a few hours away from Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto and so many more amazing cities (you can read more about these destinations at The 6 Essential Weekend Getaways Near Ann Arbor). Click here for a list of our favorite scenic drives in the area!
Learn How to Bake
Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s BAKE! via Antonis Achilleos
Gone are the hearty, holiday pies and cookies of winter. Spring means light cakes, fruity tarts and delicate cookies—and you can learn how to make them all! Tucked between Zingerman’s Bakehouse and Zingerman’s Creamery, BAKE! is Zingerman’s hands-on teaching bakery. There, you will be able to 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 (which includes virtual classes!) and reserve your spot online, click here.
What are you planning on doing this season? Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram at @CharlesReinhart!