9 Coolest Things to Do in Ann Arbor

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Stella Carnegie

A college town full of a growing community of students, foodies, and adventure-seekers alike, Ann Arbor, Michigan is small but mighty, with the energy and excitement of a bustling big city. With access to beautiful scenery of the Nichols Arboretum and Huron River and a wide range of restaurants and bars inspired by the city’s growing food revolution, this city is full of activities day and night that will ensure a wonderful stay. Check out the 10 adventuresome things to see and do in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum

Known as “the Arb” to locals and home to one of the richest landscapes of the region, the Nichols Arboretum is an outstanding arboretum operated by the University of Michigan and located on the eastern edge of Central Campus. Designed by O.C. Simmonds in 1906, the Arb hosts a beautiful variety of native and exotic trees crafted into a stunning landscape alongside its garden of peonies and collection of centennial shrubs. The Arb is the perfect place to get lost on a jog, walk around on a brisk autumn day or sun bathe and read under the warm summer sun.

Floating Down the Huron River

Huron River Green Fields

Separating the northern section of the Arb’s floodplain woods lays the picturesque Huron River. On a beautiful summer day, there’s no better way to waste away the endless days than embarking on an adventure of canoeing, kayaking or simply floating down the river. Whether you’re looking for a calm and quiet place to get your feet wet on a sunny day or looking to go all in for a summer day swim, grab a canoe and make your way through the green fields and trees to experience a lovely afternoon on the Huron River.

Visit the Big House

The greatest place on earth The Big House Michigan Stadium© Alex Mertz

It wouldn’t truly be a visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan without a visit to the University of Michigan Football Stadium. Also known as ‘The Big House,’ this is the second largest stadium in the world and the 34th largest sports venue, which houses beyond 100,000 fans almost every game. It’s not just the venue itself that may blow your mind, but the events and culture that surround it. Make sure to come experience the excitement and rowdiness that is a University of Michigan game day; join many a tailgate throughout the neighborhood and cheer on the Wolverines alongside one of the greatest fan bases you’ve ever seen. Whether you came prepared or not, you’ll leave the stadium with something yellow or blue, a newfound rush of energy and undoubtedly an experience and day to mark down in the books. Go Blue!

Law Quadrangle

Law quad dining hall

Every college town or campus is incomplete without it’s quintessential quad. Considered one of the top architectural highlights in the state of Michigan, The Law Quad will mesmerize you with its beauty, from the stone structures and walks to the rich green lawns and archways. Visually appealing and intellectually stimulating, the law quad and stunning library draws students from all schools to marvel in its beauty and study with passion and ease. Enjoy an afternoon of reading, photography or relaxing at one of the most beautiful sites in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Michigan Museum of Art

Museum of Art Michigan

Located around the corner from the Law Quad, the Michigan Museum of Art is known to many as a gem of a museum that hosts various art pieces from all over the globe. Enjoy the spacious rooms displaying masterpieces of Tiffany and Monet alongside Picasso and Andy Warhol. A welcoming and loving space, the Michigan Museum of Art provides a great way to spend an hour and a half of a lovely Ann Arbor day and as a place for a calm escape from the pace of the college campus’ outside world.

Kerrytown’s Market & Shops

Kerrytown’s Market and shops

Known to many as the best district in Ann Arbor (as it’s home to the iconic Zingerman’s Deli, alongside many a delightful coffee shop and restaurant), the Kerrytown Market & Shops will never disappoint. Even better is Kerrytown’s Saturday Farmer’s Market full of local food, art, crafts and flowers. Enjoy a Saturday stroll through the market, enlightening and inspiring all of your senses only to end your afternoon with a beautifully portioned Reuben sandwich at Zingerman’s Deli at the corner of Kingsley and Detroit streets.

Beer gardens galore

Bill’s Beer Garden for local and regional brews

After filling your stomach with a delicious array of foods at Mark’s Carts, make your way into Bill’s Beer Garden for any of the incredible local and regional brews. Other beer gardens and bars that host a vast collection of delectable brews are The Beer Grotto, HopCat and Grizzly Peak Brewing Co. For an even greater assortment of drinks and a local dimly lit speak-easy style bar with live music throughout the night, Mash has a long menu of phenomenal whiskey and bourbon mixed drinks in addition to their hand-crafted beer made with all their tender love and care, so make your way down to E Washington St for a guaranteed good time.

Michigan Theater

Michigan Theater and State Theater, Michigan

From the golden age of neighborhood movie theaters, the historical Michigan Theater, a non-profit center for film and performing arts, creates an inviting and stimulating classical space for stage productions, independent films and musical concerts. Whether you come to see a show or simply marvel in its historic glory, the Michigan Theater is an Ann Arbor must see. Enjoy the wonders of food and shops around town and end the night under the brightly lit marquee of the Michigan Theater.

Dexter Cider Mill

Perfect for a quintessential fall day is a visit to the Dexter Cider Mill for some freshly made snacks and cider. Not only is the mill known for its outstanding donuts and cider, but also even better, it is situated along the Huron River, of which guests can get a beautiful view from the outdoor seating area. To top off a pint of apple cider and a donut or two, (or three or four), don’t miss out on the apple ginger snap cookie that is absolutely to die for. Even if you end up with a sugar high or overload, you mustn’t leave without a homemade apple or maple syrup souvenir or even a big orange pumpkin ready to carve and grace your kitchen for the season. If you grew up visiting cider mills or come from a far land where cider and apple picking is not a part of the seasonal agenda, Dexter’s Cider Mill is absolutely worth the visit.

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