Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a vibrant and charming city with many activities and attractions for residents and visitors.
Known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and thriving arts scene, Ann Arbor has something to offer everyone.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast looking to explore the beautiful parks and trails, a sports fan wanting to catch a game at the iconic University of Michigan Stadium, or a foodie seeking out diverse culinary experiences, Ann Arbor has it all.
With its unique blend of cultural events, shopping districts, and historical landmarks, there is never a shortage of things to do in this lively city.
So, whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or looking to make Ann Arbor your new home, be prepared to be captivated by all this charming city offers.
What To Do In Ann Arbor, Michigan
1. Outdoor Activities in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is a vibrant city with many outdoor activities catering to all interests and preferences.
From exploring scenic parks and nature reserves to engaging in thrilling adventure sports, this city offers endless opportunities to get active and enjoy the great outdoors. Some of the things you could do outdoors include:
- Rent kayaks from Argo Park or Gallup Park for a paddle down the Huron River.
- Experience the Chain of Lakes connected by the Huron River, starting from Little Portage Lake in Waterloo Recreation Area.
- Explore nature walks and hikes in parks like Nichols Arboretum, Bluffs Nature Area, and Bird Hills Nature Area.
- Cool off at Independence Lake Park, Island Lake Recreation Area, or Rolling Hills Park with designated swimming areas.
- Enjoy road biking along Huron River Drive or mountain biking at Island Lake Recreation Area and DTE Energy Foundation Trail.
- Enjoy equestrian trails at Pinckney Recreation Area or Waterloo Recreation Area, both offering horse rentals and lessons.
- Play disc golf at Rolling Hills Park, Bandemer Park, or Waterloo Recreation Area.
2. Cultural Attractions in Ann Arbor
Steeped in history and rich in cultural heritage, Ann Arbor is a city that boasts a diverse range of cultural attractions. There is no shortage of options for those seeking an enriching cultural experience.
- Explore the Law Quadrangle’s stunning Tudor-Gothic architecture, reminiscent of Oxford and Cambridge.
- Visit this Roman Catholic church, a Michigan State Historic Site with a rustic exterior and modern interior.
- Experience this campus church’s serene atmosphere and contemporary design seating 900 people.
- Discover this 19th-century Gothic-style church with intricate interiors and stained glass windows.
- Attend cultural events at this iconic sculpture, a hub for artistic gatherings and performances in Michigan.
3. Ann Arbor’s Dining Scene
Whether craving comfort food or looking for a fine dining experience, you are guaranteed to find something to satisfy your palate in this gastronomic hub. While in Ann Arbor, you can visit the following restaurants.
With its delectable Spanish tapas menu, the restaurant offers a delightful array of fresh, tangy, fragrant, and flavorful dishes that leave patrons craving more.
To further elevate the dining experience, they serve warm Spanish bread on the side, adding an extra touch of authenticity and satisfaction.
Don’t miss out on their highly recommended dishes, like the mouthwatering bacon-wrapped dates and the exquisite coles de Bruselas, a compelling blend of Brussels sprouts with pistachios, apples, olive oil, and honey.
- The Ravens Club
In The Ravens Club’s offerings, a farm-to-fork menu and expertly crafted libations take center stage.
With a commitment to supporting local vendors, the menu is constantly evolving to showcase standout dishes like their deviled eggs, succulent pork belly buns, and delectable steak carpaccio bruschetta.
For the main course, guests can indulge in options such as the decadent lobster mac with generous chunks of seafood, flavorful pad Thai, or the refreshing cilantro lime chicken.
- Zingerman’s Roadhouse
The Yankee-themed Roadhouse stands proudly as the seventh addition to Zingerman’s collection of Ann Arbor restaurants, maintaining its commitment to American cuisine.
The Roadhouse has become renowned for its towering sandwiches, indulgent mac-and-cheese, and irresistible desserts. For many University of Michigan alumni, the memories of the delectable offerings at the Roadhouse are cherished and fondly remembered.
- Café Zola
Café Zola is a trendy and comfortable dinner meeting spot and a haven for Yankee food enthusiasts.
With its high ceilings, exposed brickwork, and communal tables, the atmosphere exudes a welcoming vibe that perfectly complements the delightful array of tastes on the menu.
Visitors can indulge in signature dishes such as the flavorful Moroccan chickpeas, crispy parmesan and rosemary Pommes Frites, succulent Hawaiian ahi tuna, or savor the classic and mouthwatering Kobe burger.
At Vinology, you can experience a well-rounded meal at wine bar prices. With over 150 varieties of wine available, you’ll have plenty of options to pair with their impressive dishes like duck confit pot pie and braised short rib.
4. Shopping in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor offers a delightful shopping experience for those who enjoy retail therapy, combining convenience and charm.
With various shopping centers, boutiques, and specialty stores, shoppers can find everything from unique local crafts to high-end fashion brands.
- Ann Arbor Running Co.
- Location: 901 West Eisenhower Parkway
- What you can get: Running shoes selected by highly educated staff catering to local runners.
- Location: 2386 East Stadium
- What you can get: Luxury gifts and paper goods with excellent customer service, featuring a cozy shop atmosphere.
- Ferne Boutique
- Location: 217 South Fourth Avenue
- What you can get: Classic yet trendy women’s clothing options suitable for every woman’s style.
- My Urban Toddler
- Location: 2631 Plymouth Road
- What you can get: Sweet children’s clothing and gifts curated by a mother of four with a focus on quality.
- Thistle & Bess
- Location: 222 North Fourth Avenue
- What you can get: Eclectic mix of old and new jewelry, apothecary items, home goods, and more in a charming boutique setting.
- Rock Paper Scissors
- Location: 216 South Main Street
- What you can get: Witty gifts, custom wedding invitations, and eye-catching items for various occasions.
5. Events and Festivals in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is a city that knows how to celebrate, with a vibrant calendar of events and festivals throughout the year.
From music festivals and art fairs to cultural celebrations and sporting events, there is always something happening in this lively city.
- Ann Arbor Summer Festival
The Yankee Festival, a three-week extravaganza commencing in June, is a vibrant celebration of theater, dance, music, and comedy.
From captivating performances to engaging workshops, there’s something for everyone, regardless of age.
In addition to the main events, the festival boasts an exciting feature called Top of the Park, where local and regional bands create an electrifying atmosphere while food stands tantalize taste buds.
As the sun sets, outdoor movie screenings add a touch of cinematic magic to the already thrilling experience.
While some concerts require tickets and take place in the esteemed Power Center and Hill Auditorium, there are plenty of free and accessible performances to enjoy throughout the festival as well.
- Summer Beer Festivals
Experience the 25th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival, where you can indulge in a wide selection of fresh, local Michigan beers. This Yankee tradition will occur at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park in historic Depot Town.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you sample beers from Michigan’s finest breweries and enjoy live music performances by talented Michigan bands. Don’t miss this opportunity to savor delicious brews and support the local beer scene.
- Thunder Over Michigan Air Show
The Thunder Over Michigan event not only provides a thrilling experience for aviation enthusiasts, but it also serves as a platform to support the Yankee Air Museum’s mission.
With its focus on educating individuals about American aeronautics, the museum preserves the history and promotes the advancements in aerospace technology.
By offering personal experiences and interactive exhibits, the Yankee Air Museum aims to inspire future generations and cultivate a sense of pride in our nation’s remarkable achievements in aviation.
- FoolMoon and Festivals
These two events, organized by University of Michigan art professor Mark Tucker, bring creativity and fun to the streets each April.
FestiFools, a one-hour parade on Main Street, showcases giant papier-mâché puppets and encourages participants to engage in playful activities.
On the Friday night before FestiFools, FoolMoon takes over with its illuminated sculptures called luminaries, along with shadow puppet performances, music, dancing, and delicious food and craft brews.
- Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
It is an event run by a non-profit arts organization to increase public knowledge and appreciation for contemporary fine arts and fine crafts. Art lovers will love it here.
6. Day Trips from Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is an excellent base for exciting day trips near various natural wonders and charming towns.
- Detroit – Detroit, less than an hour’s drive away, beckons with cultural treasures like the Motown Museum and Henry Ford Museum.
- Frankenmuth – Experience a slice of southern Germany in Frankenmuth, known as “Little Bavaria,” featuring traditional German cuisine and shopping.
- Lansing – Michigan’s state capital, Lansing, is a vibrant hub with Michigan State University, offering art districts, festivals, and trendy restaurants.
- Sandusky Bay, Ohio – Just down the road from Toledo, Sandusky Bay becomes a summer hotspot for kayaking, boating, and other water sports.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a vibrant and charming city offering diverse activities and attractions. From outdoor enthusiasts to culture fans and food lovers, there is something for everyone in this lively city.
With its scenic parks, thrilling adventure sports, historical landmarks, and thriving culinary scene, Ann Arbor has it all.
Whether exploring nature walks, attending cultural events, indulging in delicious tapas, or enjoying a shopping spree, Ann Arbor guarantees a captivating experience.