As a traveler, one of the greatest thrills of crisscrossing the globe is being wowed by a city you would normally have written off as nowheresville. And when that happens, it’s like unearthing a buried treasure and wanting to show everyone what you discovered. That’s pretty much the feeling first-time visitors leave with after experiencing the overwhelmingly charming and shockingly delightful city of Ann Arbor, MI.
When it comes to the ultimate question of What’s there to do?, Ann Arbor holds its own extremely well against cities two or three times its size. Ann Arbor is a rare jewel: a small, friendly town with big city sophistication; a close-knit community with vibrant neighborhoods and a rich mix of cultures; a world-class educational and high-tech research center. As the locals like to say, ‘Ann Arbor is 28 square miles surrounded by reality.”
Perfectly proportioned with just the right amount of sights, sounds, tastes and shopping diversions, Ann Arbor makes a fantastic weekend getaway. The city is located about 25 miles from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, is accessible by Amtrak and is within driving distance of cities in the Midwestern U.S. and Canada. As well, there are many luxury and budget-friendly hotels, and unique bed and breakfasts here to choose from.
Out on the Town
Although geographically small, the Ann Arbor area is perhaps most renowned for its cultural offerings. From exclusive art exhibits to performances by jazz legends, there are abundant arts and cultural offerings. More than 30 independent bookstores, dozens of unique galleries and a variety of top-notch museums—including the newly-renovated University of Michigan Museum of Art—are all within the downtown limits. The Ann Arbor are also offers a bounty of recreational activities for those looking to golf, hike, or cycle, and three metroparks are within a short drive of the city center.
There’s no underestimating the integral role the University of Michigan plays in cultivating the city, shaping its economy, population, and cultural awareness. On Saturdays during the football season, the city is electrified with Go Blue Fever. Even if you’re not a big football fan, the atmosphere throughout Ann Arbor is energized with plenty of shops and restaurants feeding the masses late into the night. Though the city is certainly a college and sports town, Ann Arbor is multi-faceted, having reinvented itself to become a top Midwest food, culture, outdoor recreation destination.
Art Fair Fun
When spring and summer come to lower Michigan, so do a number of fairs and festivals. One of the most recognized and loved events in the area is the Ann Arbor Art Fair. For more than 50 years, this award-winning celebration of fine art and fine crafts has drawn an annual crowd of over 500,000 attendees from across North America, transforming the city’s streets into a stunning kaleidoscopic outdoor art gallery.
This one event encompasses four separate art fairs: the Street Art Fair, Summer Art Fair, State Street Area Art Fair and Ann Arbor South University Art Fair. These varied parts of the fair fit together to form an amazing impression—full of sound and color and mystery and drama. No matter which direction you turn, you’ll discover colors and sights that will energize and captivate your imagination.
Eat It Up!
Foodies will appreciate the nearly 300 restaurants within a 20-mile radius of Ann Arbor—but you certainly don’t have to leave downtown to find a place to satisfy your appetite. Options range from old-fashioned Italian bistros to trendy, contemporary American restaurants. Since winters can be quite brutal here, the city loves al fresco dining in the warmer months. If you have a chance to dine outside, you won’t regret it—people watching here is an event in itself.
While there are oodles of impeccable, fine dining options catering to nearly every cuisine imaginable in the city, we recommend dining like a local and hitting up a couple of places that are quintessential to Ann Arbor.
If you want a taste of a local institution, head directly for Zingerman’s Delicatessen. Awards and accolades have been bestowed upon Zingerman’s from some of the most esteemed culinary magazines and chefs from around the country. While you’re there, be sure to check out their exceptional array of farmhouse cheeses, estate-bottled olive oils, varietal vinegars, smoked fish, salami, coffees, teas and other tasty take-home munchies.
Another “can’t miss” institution in Ann Arbor is Le Dog. Open just for lunch Monday through Friday, Le Dog serves up gourmet hot dogs and soups.
For more information or to book your own Ann Arbor getaway, contact your local Boscov’s Travel Specialist, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-755-8020.